2015 was our busiest training year ever. We delivered 10 IAP2 Foundations programs and 10 customized Delaney + Associates facilitation courses, plus several smaller sessions, too. We meet many people in our training courses – more than 300 this year alone.
The quality of the learning experience is different for each participant, for many reasons. Here’s what we notice about participants who are really engaged in their learning:
1. They give themselves permission to “be present” and to participate fully. It’s often tough to get corporate approvals for training, and once acquired, they don’t let the day-to-day realities of work interfere with the learning at hand. This is the hardest thing to do for just about anybody, but planning ahead, messaging internally and being conscious about only checking in over lunch can play an important role in allowing you to be present during the lessons.
2. They are motivated. They participate in the pre-course work, which includes a pre-course learning needs survey, on-line discussion, and background readings. We’ve noticed a positive relationship between people who prepare for a course and their level of engagement and satisfaction. It’s about getting into the learning mindset, reflecting on their current engagement challenges and opportunities, and actively planning for being away from the office for several days.
3. They share – their experiences, hopes and fears. Some of our participants have walked away from a course with near-complete engagement plans because they were willing to “put it all on the table” during small-group activities with their classmates – bonus!
4. They have a keen sense of their learning preferences and take advantage of every opportunity we provide, from the fiddle toys for the kinaesthetic learner to the videos for the auditory learners to the handout packages for the visual learners. When something isn’t working, they tell us! And, we fix it because we can – much better than reading about a problem in the post-course evaluation.
5. They ask questions… and ask questions… and ask questions. Engagement planning is not for the faint of heart! It can appear overwhelming to newcomers to the field. The vulnerability and honesty imbedded in every question asked is a huge gift to the entire group.
It’s good practice to reflect on our personal approach and attitudes to engagement work. It might be a good idea also to reflect on our personal approach to learning, before signing up for that next course!
For those who are looking to engage fully in a new learning experience in 2016, D+A has several IAP2 courses coming up – Toronto in February, Calgary in March and Vancouver in May. Plus, register by Dec. 31 and use the promo code “12 Days” to receive a 20% discount. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts. Visit our training page for more info.