September 01, 2016
It doesn’t have to be your average safety training, where participants file into your workshop and listen quietly as you provide instruction. Then everyone rushes through a few quick practice drills in preparation for the certification test. As the instructor, your day flies by and you are left guessing, were they REALLY listening? Will they pass the test? Will they be able to effectively keep themselves and others safe on the job site?
OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. I’m sure you veteran trainers have developed a number of strategies to prepare your students for success, far and beyond what this little blogger could ever imagine. However, my goal is to leave you with a small list of ideas that will help remove some of the guess work.
Number 1: Know What They Know. Quickly poll your audience to find out what they know. Why spend time a lot of time on a topic that 80% of your class already understands? Not only that, understanding what your audience already knows allows you to enhance trainings by inviting your participants to share their knowledge and experience with their peers. You are not only building an environment of active and engaged learners, but truly tailoring instruction to meet the needs of the participants, while creating a more meaningful and relevant learning experience.
Qwizdom Actionpoint Software is a great tool for a more structured poll or survey (like the example above describes), in which you pre-plan questions, create and tag slides for quick data collection. Depending on which response system you are using, the Qwizdom Web Response App or Audience Response keypads, you can use up to 11 different question types to carefully build your survey to evaluate technical requirements. After posing your questions, you can then display the results either privately on your Qwizdom instructor device (a kind of a fancy clicker) or to the group. This lets you instantly assess participant understanding and adjust instruction as needed. Post-session you can export results and compare scores to the final certification test. This allows you to document and measure growth.
Number 2: Feeling Like You Are Losing Them? Ask Questions to Wake Your Audience Up It’s an obvious fact that there is always a lot of information that needs to be covered in a short amount of time. As you are rolling through the list of required topics, you imagine that you are knocking out the best training of your life when… you look up to see that everyone’s eyes are glazed over.
Wake them up with a few spontaneous questions. You could supply your participants with different colored cards and ask Yes, No questions, or perhaps A B C D cards, if you have excellent eyesight. But why would you? There are many easy-to-use electronic polling systems that collect data in a matter of seconds. Who wants to count cards or have limited options, when you can use technology to do the heavy lifting for you?
Qwizdom Survey Bar Application is an excellent way to quickly poll your audience to wake everyone up. Ask a verbal question and use an instructor device (you know, the fancy smancy clicker-thing mentioned earlier) to send questions to the participants’ keypads or smart devices.
If you are a planner like me, don’t panic. Prepare a couple of wake-up questions ahead of time (just in case the old noggin freezes for a second) and get the discussions rolling. For those that fly by the seat of their pants, imagine the possibilities. The Survey Bar could become your best friend.
In other words, don’t always wait until the end to ask questions. Poll your audience and get responses throughout your lessons. It will help keep your audience on their toes and spark more active discussions.
Number 3: Encourage Honesty To better connect and get to know your audience in a short time, encourage everyone to be honest. As you know, you can establish this expectation in the ground rules in the beginning of your training. Qwizdom response allows you to further reinforce this expectation by asking hard questions and reassuring your participants that their feedback is truly anonymous. This could be especially helpful when conducting sensitivity training.
In conclusion, audience polling is simply one of the many tools / techniques that can help you connect with your attendees. There is no one magical technique or technology that alone will enhance learning. Learning happens through meaningful interactions and experiences, and through the hard work of mentors and trainers like yourselves. I would like to turn this over to my readers and find out what you have used to help engage your audience and enhance learning in your trainings? Please share your knowledge and expertise.
Categories: Audience Polling