We recently posted about how adult learners are active—their brains are always at work, and any learning experience is competing with everything else going on for attention. We wanted to go further and share a few tips for dealing with this state of affairs.
GRAB ATTENTION. Do something unexpected right at the start of the course to wake everyone up and engage them.
- Draw them into a strategically told story.
- Get them doing something right away (but watch for signs of discomfort).
- Start with “level 3” energy. The first words out of your mouth set the energy level for the session. You’re likely to relax into your normal speaking voice quickly—your “level 1.” So start off at least 2 levels above normal.
KEEP ATTENTION. Every 10 minutes or so, reset the energy with something active. Ideally, your content will include exercises about this often, but even if it doesn't, there are things you can do.
- Get physical. Poll the learners by asking a question and providing some response options; ask them to vote by standing up. Alternately, have everyone stand up and then sit down to vote.
- Use applause. Start it yourself: to acknowledge a contribution, agree or disagree, vote by applause, etc.
- Get ‘em laughing. When people laugh, they increase oxygen intake, boost their energy, learn faster and remember more.
What techniques do you use to grab and reset attention?