How many of your training initiatives have your employees sitting passively listening to information? We’ve all heard that learning improves when people are active, and the latest neurological research provides additional evidence that supports that view.
Researchers have known for some time that the hippocampus region of the brain is critical for long-term memory and learning.
New research shows that exercise causes increases in serotonin production, which promotes the growth and rejuvenation of nerve cells in the hippocampus.
Ok… what does that mean? Well, it suggests that if we create learning environments where people can be active, learning will increase. I’m not sure that means we should hold lectures while sitting on exercise bikes or doing jumping jacks, but I do think that as much as possible trainees should be up and moving around as part of their training program.
How can you do this?
1) Break out sessions – form groups that cause trainees to get up, move around, and re-form to discuss concepts and derive solutions. This isn’t just to avoid monotony – the movement helps accelerate learning.
2) Instead of having groups sit and discuss, have them STAND around the whiteboard, flip chart etc. You’ll be amazed at how much more effective this is in generating useful input.
3) Consider active learning exercises, and then conduct your debriefs while standing.
4) Use live simulations/on-job-learning. Anyone who has read the articles we’ve published here know that we think on-the-job training (if it’s done properly) is the BEST way to learn. The evidence on the link between physically moving and serotonin production, and the effect on learning, just reinforces our belief.
Have a look at your training sessions: if the majority of the time is spent passively receiving information, a re-design to include more activity and movement may just be what you need to increase learning – and ultimately performance.