Spotlight on learning activity

Spotlight on learning activity

Have you been that trainer? Me too… The one that starts the class with an overview of the day ahead, a catchy quote of the day and then launching into a meticulously well-prepared PowerPoint presentation.

Do you know this student?

The one that is filled with energy and has a well-prepared bag of notepads and pens ready to be tidily arranged. A good and polite student who secretly dreads the thought of yet another boring PowerPoint.

Chris, why are you picking on PowerPoint?

Okay, okay. I like PowerPoints too. They help me remember where I’m up to and what I need to talk about during training sessions. The problem is that it is all about me and what I’m doing and what I need and… it shouldn’t be.

It needs to be all about the learners. I’ve already had my turn to become qualified and experienced in the thing being trained and now it’s their turn in the spotlight. So, if I am presenting all my worldly knowledge underpinned by a fantastic PowerPoint presentation, what am I doing? I’m saying, “hey listen to how much stuff I know!” – queue sleepy students.

Put your students in the spotlight

You know what happens on the stage when the spotlight focuses on somebody? Do they stand there and look at the audience waiting for them to talk? No… they do something!

Your learners should be doing something because it’s their turn in the spotlight. Ask for their ideas. Ask them questions. Get them to discuss. Have them do activities. Allow mistakes to be made safely.

Some might think, “it’s not possible to make learning interactive,” because the learning outcomes are knowledge based and quite dull (cough, generic health and safety). But you aren’t thinking that. You are thinking, “what can learners do that is interesting”. You are thinking about how learners can be active in their spotlight.

I can’t write about all the possibilities so we’ll use good old health and safety to help our thinking about learning activities. The rules… there is only one:

NO POWERPOINT (or similar presentation – no cheating).

1-hour safety inspection learning program:

5 minutesWelcome learners and briefly introduce the topic
10 minutesOpen the floor to the learners: “Have you ever worked or seen a workplace that made you think, ‘I don’t feel safe’?” prompt with a short example only if learners are shy.
10 minutesTimed activity where learners brainstorm all of the things they can think of that may be unsafe in a workplace (don’t define what the workplace is. We are doing a formative assessment to see what learners already know). Use lots of colours and a big bit of paper or whiteboard – learners do the writing or draw their ideas.
5 minutesDebrief and provide positive feedback about learner ideas.
20 minutesProvide learners with a handout – safety inspection checklist. Invite them to wander around the building and spot hazards using the checklist.
10 minutesback in the classroom, learners discuss and compare their findings.

Your turn – Give it a go with your learning program

  • No PowerPoint
  • 1 hour
  • Your own learning objective
  • Lots of learners doing stuff

Share your ideas with the group