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Does Learning Have To Be Fun?
Submitted by Leslie Allan on June 16th, 2011
Some trainers obsess about the need to put fun into their training programs. The thinking seems to be that if training participants aren’t having a good time, they won’t learn as much. This can be a worry especially for those trainers who don’t see themselves as born entertainers.
If you don’t naturally tell jokes or engage in light-hearted games, there is good news. Every training program does not need to give participants a belly full of laughs. For some programs, the “fun” element needs to be very measured. I’m thinking here of those kinds of program that aim to change participants’ interpersonal behaviors. These kinds of programs include bullying in the workplace, dealing with difficult people, mutual goal-setting, and so on. These programs should stretch participants’ boundaries. If they are laughing all the way through, it means they are not being challenged to introspect and modify their habits and attitudes.
On the other hand, where a group of people come together for the first time, they need to become comfortable with each other or they will not learn effectively. Your job as a trainer is to ease the natural feelings of discomfort that some participants will experience. Whether you do that by playing a game or telling a joke is up to you. Choose whatever methods are appropriate for your personality and the course objectives. Introducing light-hearted moments at the appropriate time will serve to break down the barriers. So yes, learning can be fun, and at times is an essential element of effective training. But don’t fall into the trap of making “fun” the overriding objective of your training.
How are you incorporating fun elements into your training programs? Do you think it makes a difference? Is it helping your participants learn?
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