Deep Learning in Training (Part 4)

Part 4: Applying Deep Learning

“As you can see from PowerPoint slide number 79, it says…” and the trainer turns their back on the audience, faces the screen and reads out exactly what’s on there. Have you seen this one? Have you perhaps done it yourself?

If you are delivering training or a presentation, and you want it to engage the audience, ask yourself this question: “If there was no PowerPoint, how would I deliver this?”

‘Deep learning’, as a rule, has no screen. Most PowerPoint type approaches and e-learning (though a screened device) are as flat as the screen itself. Can e-learning be deep? Yes, if it is self-directed (i.e. you have something specific to learn, because you have a desire and/or you need to learn it). Videos, audios, books/reading materials are all unidirectional and hence do not necessarily utilise your existing neurology to the fullest. It is only when you have a genuine interest that you can get the best from these media.

I recently ran a series of courses for a company, designed to introduce and educate staff about their new disciplinary policy. Traditionally, these HR policies would be taught bit by bit via a PowerPoint style presentation.

Instead, whilst designing the course, I asked them to tell me the main things they wanted people to take away from the session. We then turned these into a set of questions. On the course itself, the audience got into small groups with a copy of the policy and the set of questions. They had an hour to discover the answers for themselves and to write down other questions that they then had as a result of looking through the policy. With a member of the HR team in attendance, we then discussed the answers to the questions they had been set. They also raised their own questions (many of them were ‘what if…’ type questions). This led to an engaging conversation that everyone could be part of. It also allowed those with experiences to talk about things they had encountered, and how they handled them. The feedback from this course was very different (in a good way!) to previous ‘flat learning’ courses (click here for more information).

What I particularly love about the deep learning approach, is that it uses the collective intelligence in the room, not just a single source. I continue to learn from others, both in their real-world examples and in their approaches to handling situations.

This gives us our fourth rule of the Imaginarium Deep engagement approach to Learning (IDeaL):

IDeaL Rule #4   Wherever possible, make the learning a conversation with the audience. Use the collective intelligence of the group. As the trainer, be open to learning new things.

By Joe Cheal

The Model Presenter by Joe Cheal and Melody Cheal

For lots more information on how to engage your audience, see The Model Presenter. To order your copy click here.