Make sure you use modeling.

Sight is one of the most powerful senses, if not the most powerful for learning:

  1. “Seeing is believing” is a popular saying with a lot of truth to it.

  2. 60% of people are primarily visual learners (while only 30% are auditory and 10%, kinesthetic).

  3. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the flip side of this.

Famous psychologist Albert Bandura in his Social Learning Theory introduced the concept of modeling, and besides, parents and teachers have known about it for centuries. Bandura said that when a person sees someone doing something (the “model”), they have a tendency to imitate the behavior. The more powerful or influential the model, the more likely it is that their behavior will be imitated. Haven’t we all seen a little child imitating their mommy or daddy?

We also unfortunately see the influence of modeling in our motion pictures and TV programs. Violent and unusual crimes depicted in movies and on TV are often imitated on the streets, as most law enforcement officials will attest. The movie/TV medium seems to intensify the power of the modeling, and as Bandura pointed out, the more powerful the model, the more likely it will be imitated.

I’ve found that in my training when I instruct participants on how to do something, some of them may pick up a few tips to use.

  1. Many of the participants say they enjoyed the training and “got a lot out of it,” but when pressed to discuss how they have implemented the new skill(s), they most often are at a loss.

  2. When I demonstrate the skill(s) in front of the class, however, more participants report later that they have used what was demonstrated.

  3. When I use video segments in addition to talking about it and demonstrating, more participants seem to “get it” and later describe how they have used the skill. Other trainers report similar experiences.

Training and learning events that include role playing and practice are important, but without appropriate demonstrations participants are less likely to learn “how to do it right” and the learning is less likely to stick.

Whether you conduct the training or sponsor training that others conduct, make sure that the desired skills are demonstrated by the trainer and modeled through use of visuals, preferably video. The more powerful the visuals, the more likely they will stick. Click here for my top 4 favorite training video sources.

What about one-on-one learning and coaching? Video segments today can be delivered via the internet either from websites of video producers and distributors, or, the latest technology, embedded in Powerpoint. This makes it very easy to sit side-by-side at the computer and view a short segment that demonstrates the skill being coached. We have new programs from Inscape Publishing with embedded video segments – IDX Ready series and DiSC Application Library series — check them out and you’ll see why they’re getting rave reviews.

Until next time…

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