How to keep a diverse audience engaged during learning

by L&D10 Aug 2016
There are a wide range of methods to keep a diverse audience engaged during learning, but it all depends on the context, according to Senior Lecturer Lowe Joo Yong, Department of Human Resource Management at the National University of Singapore.

Lowe told L&D Professional that it is possible to determine that some learning strategies are more appropriate or suited for certain learning needs. 

“As an illustration, if you are trying to improve the sales techniques of your sales people, role play and watching videos or live demonstrations of the sales techniques would be preferred over a pure lecture approach that teaches sales principles,” said Lowe. 

The choice of the learning methodologies depends on the complexities of the learning needs. Consequently, a combination of learning methodologies may be needed in some cases, Lowe added. 

“So we are not talking about just one learning methodology at any one time, but sometimes a combination of different learning methodologies will deliver the best results,” said Lowe. 

He also stressed that a major factor in engagement is the actual quality of the trainer. 

“Outstanding trainers have the ability to deliver good learning and sustain audience attention,” he said. 

“Their ability to understand the learners' needs helps them do this.”

Therefore, when organisations evaluate the various training options, it is important to also review the quality of the trainers who are an integral part of the training program.

Increasingly, organisations can also look into e-learning which can do away with the need to hold an audience together physically in a training room. 

“E-learning can basically be accessed anytime and anywhere and this does give the learner the autonomy to decide his or her own learning and thereby increase their interest and motivation towards the learning,” said Lowe. 

However, Lowe said that e-learning is not suited for all kinds of learning. The bottom line is always to consider various options and also combinations of these options.

He added that it’s also important to factor in the learning objectives, the subject matter, the educational backgrounds of the learners, the time available, etc, and determine the best method that will deliver the learning as well as sustain the audience. 

Finally, the budget will always play a crucial part. 

“Organisations will find that some learning programs and their trainers who are known to deliver good learning and can sustain audience attention are also more expensive precisely because of their reputation,” Lowe added.
 
 
 

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