On the Authenticity – Training for Trainers workshop we advocate “testing” your participants understanding of your material on a frequent basis throughout the training. When I say “testing”, I don’t mean the formal examination type of testing you find in formal education settings. I mean checking in to see if people are on track and are learning what you want them to learn. It is easier to adjust your training as you go than to wait until the training is finished before you find out they “didn’t get it”.
Simple ways to test include:
- asking a question that requires a hand-raise
- eliciting related situations or ideas
- asking the audience for examples and flipchart them
- starting (and monitoring) paired shares on the topic
- asking the group for their thoughts
- asking ‘What’s the most interesting thing we’ve covered so far?
- Getting them to demonstrate.
- Getting them to identify (or draw) the key stages in a process.
- Get them to teach someone else.
We were recently asked whether we should adjust our “testing” to allow for different learning styles. I think it would be fair to say that if we categorised the above testing methods by Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic, you might conclude that answering questions or describing thoughts might suit an Auditory learner. If they demonstrate or participate in a skill check, it might suit a Kinesthetic learner. A visual learner might prefer to draw or write.
If a test suits a particular learning style, then it might be fair to suggest that it is “useful” to use a variety of tests throughout the day to give all your learners the chance to succeed.