I don’t know the answers to these questions. What I do believe is that we have more control and influence than we give ourselves credit for, especially when we are interacting with other people.
Let’s put this into context. In particular let’s put this into a facilitation of learning context. If I am going to spend 7 hours or so with a group of people helping them learn then it is important to them that during the time with me that they get as much value as possible. This means it is my job to make sure those hours provide the maximum benefit and return for the group.
Ok Phil, how do you do that?
I focus on three core areas:
The physical space
The first experience
These areas (like it or not) have a HUGE impact on learners likelihood to learn and retain information.
Let me be clear, this is more than being present, smelly pens and bright coloured toys, a smile and being front and centre. They are important and at the same time you can do more, so much more!
As the facilitator of learning my role is pivotal. I don’t need to know everything or even have all the answers. I am the orchestrator of their learning experience, I am there to make sure that all the instruments are playing beautiful music. I can only do that if I am at my best.
Over hours of reflection I have worked out what helps me to be at my best. It includes eating, sleeping, speaking to my family, the room and some memory stuff too.
I take active, purposeful and deliberate steps to make sure that my state is what it needs to be to be at my best.
The physical space
This one links to the first experience and is also about future proofing too. What you need to bear in mind is that this is your space; it’s the environment, the context, that is going to transform the performance of your learners (replace with participants, trainees or other name as required).
It is important that if I am going to orchestrate learning I need all of my instruments in the right place so I can call them to play when needed.
There are many, many elements to this one. Ranging from and including: layout of the tables, placement of the projector, how you have dressed the room and where you will (physically) be to facilitate different types of learning.
The First Experience
It needs to be at least… ‘OK, this is different to normal!’ … I’d be happy with… ‘Wow, this looks impressive!’… I am after… ‘WOW! What is going to happen today!?’
A combination of dressing the room, instead of name cards; memorising, retaining and using everyone’s names, using colour and resources linked to the theme/content of the day.
By making ALL of it link, if it all fits and is part of the learning to be achieved it will make sense to one and all.
You need to make sure that you have tuned your instruments to what the orchestra will play.
The responsibility of helping people learn is a huge one, give it the respect it deserves, make sure that all of what you do is both deliberate and on purpose.