Sep 292011

Learning Environments: Twelve Tips for Creating Adult-Friendly Learning Environments

Learning Environments: By Lenn Millbower, via The Presentation Skills Examiner

Here are twelve tips for creating  adult-friendly learning environments:

1. Clearly state program expectations. Share logistic and expectation information with your participants. Tell them what time you will conclude, when breaks are likely to occur, what their role in the program will be, and how they can help you deliver the information more effectively.

2. Create a culture of exciting discovery. Believe in your content with an enthusiasm that will catch hold of your participants. If you aren’t excited, you cannot expect them to be.

3. Don’t just tell: get them to tell you. When you say it, you own it. When they say it, they own it. Set up situations where participants tell you the answers you want to hear.

4. Validate participant contributions. When participants share their opinions, validate them. It is not necessary to agree with incorrect statements, but it is important to celebrate the contribution process.

5. Move around. Ditch the podium. It is a barrier between you and your participants. Model your openness by moving out from behind it.

6. Admit what you don’t know. You build credibility when you admit you do not know the answer. When this Examiner was a training leader at Walt Disney World, we always taught new cast members who did not know an answer to respond with, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.”

7. Be calm and collected. Be in control at all times, and especially when thing go wrong. Ironically, your best opportunity to make a positive impression is in the way you respond to problems. Knowing the possible technical problems likely to occur will help you maintain your cool during even the worst of situations. Prove you are a professional by acting like one at all times.

8. Watch your own videos. Never, ever leave the room when you put a video on for your participants to watch. If it is not important enough for you to see, you cannot expect them to think it is important to them.

9. Be human. Professional speaker Mark Scharenbroich actually recommends demonstrating your humanity by making a mistake that participants can help you with (IE- making a reference to someone who is in the popular culture but “struggle” to remember the person’s name. The participants then help you out by telling you that person’s name.). Even if Scharenbroich’s approach is not one you wish to use, early in your presentation demonstrate that you are human too.

10. Do what you say you will do. Keep your speech, brief, or training firmly focused on what you stated its goals would be. Deliver what you promise to deliver. Break when you said you would break. End when you said you would.

11. Keep it light. Maintain a positive attitude of enjoyment in the content being delivered, joyfulness for the presence your participants have granted you, and humor to make your program engaging and enjoyable.

Learning Environments


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

Learning Environments, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC