Facilitators – Beware of the Shiny Object!

Beware of the Shiny Object

I’ve really enjoyed partnering with APEN to run the 2014 Roadshow. This involved delivering ten workshops on ‘Designing Effective Events’ throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The workshop helped participants to get their message to ‘stick’ through understanding the basic Adult Learning principles to successfully engage people.

A key section focused on the different types of learning modalities. In summary, there are three main forms of communication and learning:

  • Visual
  • Auditory; and
  •  Kinaesthetic.

We all use the three forms to some extent but, for each individual, one is often dominant and used more automatically.

Why do you need to know this?

If you’re facilitating a session we all know the importance of staying focused. A key part of our role is to keep participants on track. Hence we need to minimise distractions.

In a typical population, the proportion of the styles is V = 35%, A = 25%, K = 40%. So it’s worthwhile being aware of the different styles, what stimulates their learning and involvement and importantly, what distracts them.

Here’s a guide to help you.

Visual LearnersVisual learner

  • Like reading
  • Appreciate drama and art Good at reading facial expressions and body language
  • Use terms like: “I see that” and “That looks right”
  • When spelling they try to ‘see’ the word

Natural enemies:

  • Excessive movement and activity
  • People or activity outside windows

Auditory learnersauditory learner

  • Like to listen and talk
  • Prefer to learn from lectures, talks and audio recordings
  • Use terms like: “It sounds right” and “Listen to this.”
  • When spelling they try to ‘sound out’ words phonetically

Natural enemies:

  • Background noise (garden blowers, phones)
  • Side conversations
  • Pen clickers

Kinaesthetic learnersKinaesthetic learner

  • Like movement and action
  • Prefer to learn by writing, acting out, pacing and gesture
  • Use terms like: “I feel that is the case” and “I get it”
  • When spelling they try to write the word mentally to see if it feels right.

Natural enemies:

  • Sitting still and being stuck inside
  • Boredom, not being able to move

The key message:
Be aware of your preferred style and what distracts you most. Work had to stay focused. Once you become distracted, so do your participants – distraction becomes magnetic.Don't be a distracted facilitator

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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