Thursday, April 16, 2015

Event #4-7: Presenting Information - Providing Feedback

When I brought out the guitar and the keyboard, I knew I had everyone’s attention. The props were for a training on GarageBand, and by the time I was ready to use them and begin with Event #4, I had already done the following:

  1. Gained their attention - I used a storytelling technique for this approach, telling of a young musical team that will need to use the software to record.
  2. Informed the Learner of the Objective - I briefly mentioned what we would accomplish in training, emphasizing that this was just an intro course.
  3. Stimulated Recall - I told learners that we would be recording the song “Heart & Soul,” allowing them to recall what the song is supposed to sound like so that they can compare it to the recording.

After that, I was ready for Events Four through Seven.

Now that we were ready to open the application and begin recording, it was necessary to give a short tour of GarageBand and demo what the program could do. Presenting information can take on many forms depending upon the type of material you are presenting. In this case, I was presenting a piece of software, so the information I was giving to learners was more visually based. If this had been a training on procedural information, the presentation would have been more aural.

If you follow the ADDIE process, how you present the information for your training will be worked on during the Development phase. Take the time to consider the best approach for reaching your learners. There is no right or wrong way, but you will often find that some methods work better than others. You may even want to write in contingencies if your original method does not seem to strike a chord with your audience.

Now that you’ve given the learners the information they need, this is the time for them to provide feedback. Training often incorporates group discussion, games, or roleplay and all of these provide opportunity for the instructor to provide guidance to the learner. In my GarageBand training, I provided guidance while learners added a new instrument for recording. They had just seen my demonstration, and now I would walk them through the process.

At this stage, you will see the variations in how your audience learns. For some, just seeing the demonstration is enough - those are your visual learners. For others, they will need to perform the motions themselves before committing anything to memory - those are your tactile learners. No matter what, it can be agreed upon that the more practice available, the more likely attendees will retain the information.

By the time I had demonstrated the process and walked the participants through the process, they were ready to repeat the process on their own. This is where eliciting performance comes in to play. Typically, you will see this aspect of training in the form of role playing. In the case of technology, practicing the use of the software or equipment is the equivalent of role playing.

I’ve written in the past that I am not a huge fan of role playing in the traditional sense and I still stand by my reasoning. There are other ways to elicit performance that are not as gut wrenching as performing in front of your peers. I challenge you to think out of the box and let me know which ways you get your learners performing during training.

You cannot, in good faith, let a trainee leave having not followed up with them on their performance. Ultimately, you want to let people know how they did. Are they getting it right? Do they need some extra practice? Are they struggling with a specific concept? In order to provide feedback, you will need to be observant so that feedback is detailed and tailored to each individual.

Giving feedback to participants to help them grow does not need to be a formal conversation, but should be conversational and fit the scope of the course. Anything from “Good Job” to “You may also want to try it this way” or “If you would like more practice” will be perfect for most training courses.

It is important to note that Eliciting Performance and Feedback should be continual, going on even after the training is complete. Once the learner is back in the trenches, they will be expected to use what they learned (eliciting performance)  and receive feedback from their supervisor. And this sets us up for the final steps of Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction - Assessment and Retention.