One of the things I learned early in public education, is that students respond well to rewards. Positive reinforcement, such as prizes, gratitude, extra recess, free time, and treats always lifted my student’s spirits.
Believe it or not, I also saw a positive correlation between rewards and learning retention with my students.
So I used rewards as a classroom strategy.
And I used them a lot.
To be honest, some days I just wanted to have a calm classroom. Other days, I targeted a specific learning or procedural outcome, with the reward used as a tool for motivation.
Feeling Good about Learning Tools
In the adult learning space, we use something called the Kirkpatrick Model to determine the effectiveness of a learning tool.
At the base level of Kirkpatrick’s model, the reaction of the learning participant can be measured in many different ways – one of which, is enjoyability.
Was the learning tool enjoyable to interact with?
Was the training enjoyable to engage in?
Think of positive responses to these questions as a door opening. Once this door is open, it allows for learning, knowledge accumulation, and behavior change. If a participant doesn’t engage with a learning tool or training in a positive and enjoyable way, the door stays closed and learning won’t occur in the first place. Without learning, knowledge transfer can’t occur, and behavior change is unreachable.
A Little Something Extra
So what does this mean? To put it simply, if a participant enjoys a training, they are much more likely to learn from the training.
When I hold trainings, or build a learning tool, I try to keep this in mind. I always try to include something extra for the learners, to make them feel better about the process. In a webinar style training, that could be an FAQ document provided at the end. With in-person trainings, it could be candy dishes available for the participants.
Whatever it is, giving something extra can make for a more enjoyable experience – which translates to better learning outcomes.