Participation Leads to Better Learning

Personally, I am an individual who learns things best by getting his hands dirty.  Specifically, I favor kinesthetic learning over auditory and visual learning styles.  I want to get involved in the activity and see how it’s done, try it out for myself, and learn from the experience, including mistakes that I make in the first try.  I want to experiment with the process and see if I can break it or test the limits of the rules.  I feel much more comfortable with any given task once I can try it out myself for the first time.

Although studies have proven that one individual does not necessarily succeed more using one specific learning style, in my experience it does seem that people in general retain more of the material when exposed to kinesthetic (or hands-on) experiences.  For the kinesthetic learner, Utah Valley University provides some tips on how you can best utilize kinesthetic inputs to have better results in your learning.  If you’re like me, and you learn by getting in and actively participating, these tips are for you.  Try them next time you are in a classroom and see if it makes a difference.

On the other side of the podium, how can you utilize the aspects of kinesthetic learning to improve your students’ results? Well, first of all, they need hands-on experience and practice.  Some of the best musicians in the world didn’t learn their arts by just listening to others perform.  Classroom Management Success by Bill Alexander has some great advice on adding practices to your classroom to appeal to the kinesthetic learner in all of us.  Basically, the idea is to get your students involved.

In business and professional process training, my rule of thumb is to include hands-on exercises or practices whenever possible.  This can extend the amount of time needed for training a process, but it will be well-worth the effort.  If they require practice exercises, make them easy enough to understand, but maybe throw one or two curveballs to keep them on their feet.  Once the process is learned appropriately, give them a self-guided exercise and sit back to watch how they do (obviously be available for questions).  The success of your organization likely rides on the success of your training, so you should be pulling out all of the stops to make it as effective as possible.

What were some of the more interesting exercises or hands-on experiences you’ve had in a classroom?  Share it here and let’s get those ideas out!

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