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Beyond the Slides: Using Audiovisuals Effectively

Beyond the Slides: Using Audiovisuals Effectively
The Prepare Training® program uses state-of-the-art adult education principles when teaching skills through a simple model:

Demonstrate—Participate—Explain
We extend this model in delivering interactive lectures during which we further explain the skills and reinforce various models and concepts:

Term—Definition—Example
These simple yet powerful models provide guidance in addressing the unique needs of adult learners. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula for any learner, adult learning needs tend to cluster around three primary modes of information processing:

Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic
During your Instructor Certification program, you discovered that visual learners learn best by seeing things, auditory learners learn best by hearing things, and kinesthetic learners learn best by doing things. Incorporating all three concepts into our training delivery enhances every segment of the Prepare Training® program.

 

 

We also enhance participants' overall learning styles because the models:

  • Facilitate the effective transfer of knowledge and skills to visual learners visually, to auditory learners through their sense of hearing, and to kinesthetic learners experientially.
  • Expose all participants to other methods of information processing. Participants naturally begin to adapt their learning styles so that, to varying degrees, they are capable of processing and retaining information and skills through other styles.


You have undoubtedly found that adults have short attention spans. This is not because adults lack intelligence. It is due instead to the massive amounts of information we process every second of every day. It is difficult to focus our attention unless there is a reason to do so. This is one of the many reasons that, throughout the Prepare Training® program, we conduct bite-sized lectures interspersed with a variety of activities, discussions, and experiential exercises. The models provide direction in the creative use of state-of-the-art adult-education principles.

Note that there is no magic in anything we teach, and no single method will be successful with every employee group all the time.

These models are vital in teaching skills, delivering content, facilitating discussions, and explaining concepts.


Your Prepare Training® program's revised Teaching Notes for the Foundation Course, Topic Modules, and Specialized Training Segments will often suggest CPI's vision for the use of applicable visuals. Any of the Teaching Notes that have already been revised and upgraded will often highlight these points with the audiovisual icon (see right).

There are many other tools available to Certified Instructors for tailoring the program to meet organizational needs by invoking relevant workplace incidents, integrating organizational policies and procedures, and viewing both through the lens of the Prepare Training® program.

Audiovisuals help us to expand key points. They provide creative resources that can help us incorporate the Demonstrate—Participate—Explain and Term—Definition—Example models into many aspects of training delivery. Audiovisuals can enhance the training experience by illustrating a concept and delivering a message effectively to adults with differing learning styles.

Trainers sometimes make the mistake of assuming that audiovisuals involve only two tools—videos or presentation software—but these are only two categories of audiovisual resources. Other examples include transparencies, flip charts, sounds, music, audio and video clips, photographs, posters, and documents. Audiovisuals may include LCD projectors, presentation software, live Internet access, and interactive audio and video.

Effective use of audiovisuals can play a large role in enhancing the training experience and help to meet the needs of adult learners. Misuse of audiovisuals can detract from an otherwise optimal training environment. It can contribute to challenging behavior in the classroom and detract participants from the learning process. Misuse can also occur when trainers develop a dependency on audiovisuals, overuse them, or fail to connect the chosen tool to the topic at hand.

Best Practices for Audiovisual Use
Effective trainers use a variety of audiovisuals to conduct quality programs. The following best-practice strategies begin with recommendations that generally apply to all of these resources.

  • Carefully select audiovisual tools that support the training rather than overshadow it.
  • Remember that a visual reinforces learning only if participants can see it.
  • Respect patent, trademark, and copyright restrictions. A common, but mistaken, belief is that anything used in an education or training environment is exempt from these laws. This belief is inaccurate and making similar assumptions about any type of “automatic permission” can put trainers and their employers at significant risk for copyright infringement.
  • Face the audience rather than the visuals. Some trainers appear to talk to a poster or whiteboard even though they think they are addressing the audience.
  •  Remember to keep explanations simple and clear in order to enhance the relevance of the resource. Complicated explanations obscure rather than clarify key points.
  • Always model safety for participants by assessing and tending to any safety concerns that might be created by audiovisual equipment. Some examples are power cords, computer cables, and speaker wires. They can create hazards when they sit loosely on floors or walls. Be sure to secure loose cords, cables, and wires. Use grounded outlets rather than adapters. Attention to details can contribute to the safety culture within your workplace. This attention can help reduce the possibility of accidents and minimize risk exposure for your organization.
  • Don't let a poster, slide, transparency, or other visual serve as your lecture notes. Visuals should contain key points rather than details. They support the training, but they're not centerpieces.
  • Be careful about using an audiovisual as a time-filler or as a substitute for interaction or activities. There is a strong temptation to do so with some of the resources and tools we describe in this article.
  • Use caution in placing too much information on one visual—this may confuse adult learners rather than enhance their learning.
  • When using an electronic visual, avoid dimming all the lights in the training room in the interest of seeing the visual better. If possible, dim only the lights within the immediate projection area.
  • If using a projector of any kind, keep a spare bulb. Spares for overhead projectors can sometimes be hard to find at the last minute. Spares for LCD projectors are expensive and can be challenging to purchase on the day of training.
  • Create a backup plan and be prepared to use it. Equipment occasionally fails and it is important to recover flawlessly rather than allow equipment failure to disrupt your training style.
  • Be sure to transition to an audiovisual in much the same way you would transition between units or within the Foundation Course, Topic Modules, and Specialized Training Segments.
  • Bridge back to concepts and terminology from other Prepare Training® components.


Order an Electronic Presentation to teach a Prepare Training® course.

 
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