Difficult Learners August 2009
3 Stages of Concern • Personal • What’s in it for me? • How much time will it take? • What is my part? • Management • How do I make this work? • Impact • How will the learning of this material impact my teaching?
Adult Learners – Difficult to Work With… • How can I use this – tomorrow… • Preconceived ideas and biases • Why are we doing this? • Old habits die hard • Filled with fear of risk • Don’t want to change • Time…. • Not knowing something may reveal an inadequacy
Adult Learner Needs • Feel Safe • Be Autonomous • Option of working solo, in pairs, or in teams • Enjoy Success • Feel valued and cared for • Enjoy themselves
3 Types of Learners • Explorer • Love being in the training and want to learn as much as they can from the session • Vacationers • Vacationers want to have as much fun and free time as possible. • Prisoners • Prisoners resent being in the training and imagine themselves breaking free.
Difficult Participants… What can we do? • A difficult participant is anyone whose attitude or behavior prevents that person or others from meeting the objective.
Latecomer • Start on Time • Praise “on-timers” • After breaks, start with hot topics • Do a classbuilder • Use a visual timer • Don’t wait and delay your training
Preoccupied • Clear table of all personal belongings • Make a To-Do list, and have them set it aside for later • Structure interaction among team members – don’t use “group work” • Use proximity to encourage eye contact and engagement • Have a private discussion with the participant
Introvert – Shy or Fearful • Classbuilding • Teambuilding • Assign jobs and tasks • Have teammates practice “encouragers” • Enlist their ideas after teamwork or pair work
Domineering – shares war stories, asks meaningless questions, bosses others • Select who starts • Use proximity • Set ground rules for both the good trainer and the good participant • Select the teams • Use talking chips • Use timed turns within the group
Prisoner • Explain the three types of participant: prisoner, vacationer, and explorer. Follow it up with a RoundRobin activity: Which one are you? • List the benefits: “What’s in it for me?” • Allow them to leave • Use negative examples about yourself to illuminate their behavior • Empathize and move on
Prove It • Assign them to do research • Give references • State facts • Ask the class – What are 5 reasons why? • Project quotes
Know It All • Conduct a pre-test • Acknowledge expertise • Ask them to share successes • Draw a common object – penny • Sometimes we don’t know everything we think we know • Watch them teach the content
Can’t Afford to Spend Time • Explain why training material is required and critical • “Parking Lot” – participants put questions on wall and trainer answers them after the break • Explain how lucky they are
Yes, But • Give examples from their job or in their content • Use concrete examples • Give testimonials • Show data • Tell successes, but say that they “May not work for you” • Ask them why? Why not?
Conclusion • Identify and handle the problem participant quickly and effectively. • Turn difficult participants into assets. • Turn questions and skepticism into opportunities to delve more deeply into the material.