By Alan C Kay
I recently taught a group the first of a 3 day course on leadership and collaboration. I noticed they had a few of the ‘low energy’ moments that can happen in a daylong session. When this happens, the group is not getting full value from the learning. It’s the presenter’s responsibility to minimize the lows.
I had tried several approaches to maintain energy. At the end of the session I asked them, what worked and what could be better next time. They told me the session was fine, but I persisted in asking them what could have been better.
They said, “you gave us a few too many small group activities and work sheets — next time, could you answer more of our questions directly and work more from the slides?” I asked, “So, You want more instructive learning, vs. interactive learning?” They agreed and I thanked them for the input.
Learners give me some great feedback when I focus on them as ‘customers’. A great deal of their satisfaction/feedback comes from using interactivity and action learning tools. So what was different about this group? Every group is different — individually and collectively. At the start of our session together, I helped the learners set out their learning action goals, but we might have spent time assessing their preferred learning styles instead.
When you use solution focus in your teaching both as a learning tool and as a program content tool, your learners will notice a difference right away.
Here are a few Solution Focus tips for you to try out at your next presentation:
1. Assess what the participant’s preferred learning styles are by asking — when you had a great experience at a previous learning event like this, what worked?
2. Have learners talk about and scale their learning goals in the context of the work they will be doing in their workplace after the session. For example, I want to guide them in taking a more collaborative approach when we develop concepts.
3. Ask frequently — How do you see this being useful to you so far in the context of your work or with the issues you face?
4. Help them understand their accountability for the learning by asking — suppose you make the most of this learning at work, what will people see you doing to put it in action?
5. Do solution focus like role model exercises to let them see the learning and the ideas in action.