By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

Active Training

Engaging People With Team Learning

Active Training

© Veer
Pavel Shlykov

Are you ever disappointed when people don't pay attention during a training session? They might check text messages, look out the window, or simply stare into space. And no matter what you say, you can't get them engaged and excited about the important skills that you're trying to teach them.

Active Training – an approach that involves game playing, role playing and other team activities – can help you out in situations like these. In this article, we'll show you how you can apply it in your training sessions.

Elements of Active Training

Experienced trainers have long known that when participants are actively involved in the learning process, they understand information better and retain the information longer.

Mel Silberman, a leading Active Training expert, and an author of the book "101 Ways to Make Training Active," says that Active Training is "the process of getting participants to do the work." This means getting the group members involved in structured activities and events that support the learning process.

In Active Training, the facilitator gives a short lecture. Then, using games, role playing, or another structured activity, the group puts what they've learned into practice. Because people are actively using the information that they've learned, they'll understand it better, and more able to apply it effectively in a practical setting.

For example, imagine that you need to teach your team how to use your organization's new system for submitting expense reports. Using visuals, you go over the essential "how tos" to using the new system, asking your team to take notes.

You could then make the training active by dividing your team into pairs and assigning each of them to a computer. Each pair then submits a sample expense report on the new system. Once they've gotten the hang of it, you play a game with your team: whichever pair can submit their expense report first, with no errors, wins a prize....

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