The backbone of strong training programs are well thought out lesson plans. Five of eight key components of lesson planning are discussed below, with related web-links that I just might come back to another day to help me design effective programs. Enjoy!
1. Blooms Taxonomy
A challenge faced in my industry is to bring people into the higher levels of the affective domain. In safety, steps you take are often viewed as ‘something you have to do’, not something you want to do, or something you intrinsically believe in. The ultimate goal is for individuals to willingly build safe practices into every choice they make, portraying excellent attitude and role modelling. This article explains the theory and approach to doing this. By strategically including activities to bring people higher in the affective pyramid, we will help more individuals adopt a culture of safety.
2. Characteristics of the Adult Learner
In some programs we have participants with low level literacy, and some who, by choice, haven’t been in a classroom for many years. Looking at these characteristics of some adult learners, as explained in this article, I have raised my awareness of a barrier these learners face: fear of engagement due to perceived likelihood of failure. I realize now that we need to create an environment where these individuals feel like valued members of the class, that their contributions are important to the group’s overall development, and that their literacy level will not limit their success.
3. Learning Environment
As indicated in this article, a trainer needs to set up the classroom to be engaging from the moment a person walks in. With many of our course participants reluctantly attending our training sessions, we need to do our best to turn the classroom into a positive place to be. This article offers lots of ideas for tone setting: playing music, placing interesting visuals around the room, not crowding people (or placing them in a vacuous space), and getting instructors to greet people sincerely and promptly. Instructors also need to relieve the participants’ fears of failure or lack of skill, in order to establish the most effective scenario for learning.
The ARCS model includes relevance as one of the key components of motivating students. This concept is reiterated in the article referenced here. I have always felt it critical to explain the relevance of topics/training to a class – now I understand the theory behind it! This article has motivated me and offered strategies I can apply to my classes!
Planning Frameworks for Lessons
I have designed a small number of (what I believe are) effective lessons. Upon reviewing Gagne’s Seven Step process for lesson plans, I realize I consistently missed a step: assessing learner’s prior knowledge, and requesting that the learners muddle through what they know. Upon reviewing some of the strategies in the referenced website I now have some creative methods of tapping into a learner’s prior knowledge. I believe adding this step into lessons will improve training, making learners more motivated to participate and providing trainers with a better understanding of the individuals in their classes.