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to communicate less and participate less. As a general rule of thumb, allow participants to have a moment of self-reflection, writing, or sharing with a ‘buddy’ before asking them to work in small groups or share with the entire workshop. If you ask the whole group a question and get a long and deafening silence, simply ask them to turn to the person next to them to discuss the question, issue, or scenario for a minute before re-inviting whole-group sharing. Of course, nobody likes to be put on the spot, yet we have all experienced such treatment, or done the same to our participants, (possibly a learned behaviour from our school days?). The ‘buddy sharing’ approach is especially useful when there is steep authority gradient between participants in a class (e.g. senior managers and subordinates) and people are concerned about looking bad in front of their colleagues. Over time, as trust, communication, and teamwork build, defences are lowered, engagement and participation levels increase, and it is easier to facilitate discussions and whole-group sharing without having to start with buddy sharing every time. Once a safe learning environment is established, ‘magic’ can start to happen. Trainers (and fellow participants) can then coach, stretch, and challenge each other to grow and, as a result, learning can occur at a greatly accelerated pace.

Adult Learning Theory Having set an appropriate tone for the training using the ‘context set’, and a safe learning environment, how do we maintain a training approach that is conducive to high-impact learning throughout the entire workshop? First, (according to adult learning theory or ‘andragogy’) we must recognise that adult learners are ‘self-directed and autonomous learners’ and trainers are ‘facilitators of learning’. According to Dr. Malcolm Knowles, the ‘Father of Andragogy’, there are six assumptions we can make about the adult learner. The Six Assumptions are that adult learners: 1) Need to know the reason for learning something; 2) See ‘life experience’ as the basis for learning; 3) Like to be self-directed in the planning and evaluation of their learning; 4) Are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their lives; 5) Are problem-centred rather than content-oriented; 6) Respond better to internal motivators (e.g. self-esteem, growth, sense of achievement etc.) rather than external motivators (e.g. promotions, higher salaries etc.) Understanding these assumptions can help you to create a powerful and productive adult learning environment. It is important to review your training programmes, topics, and exercises to see how you can adapt them to better meet the needs of the adult learner. For example, in addition to acknowledging the experience participants have on the training topic during the ‘context set’, it is vital to constantly draw on that wealth of experience. The key is to facilitate more than you lecture (where appropriate). Also, given that adults are self-directed and have lots of life experience, in a security simulation or problem-solving session, for example, try allowing participants to brainstorm, design, and critique their own security measures and tests. Given that adults have a strong readiness to learn if they see immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives, let them know ‘what’s in it for them’ at the start of every topic or exercise and by giving concrete examples of how the topic being taught can benefit them. And, if adults need to see the immediate application of learning, add role-plays and problem-solving scenarios, wherever possible, to training topics to allow participants to immediately practice the skills they have

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