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Seb Anthony

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What to do when they just don’t get it???


I'm currently training a group of 14 people on a particular process on the company system. it's quite basic just a bit in depth. Eight members of teh group got it quite quickly but the other members of the group are struggling.

I've triedgoing through Visual, hearing and kinesthic. i've walked through teh process individually and as a group and I've used the smartboard to show them on screen but for some reason I'm getting blank looks from them.

Any ideas???
Stuart Farmer

7 Responses

  1. get someone else to do it!
    Are they being obstructive? If not, why not get one of their peers who you’re sure understands it to lead them through – they are likely to work quite hard not to look an idiot in front of their peers.

  2. when they don’t get it
    What about splitting them into 3 groups and setting each group a task of researching a part of the content and ‘presenting’ the material etc to the other groups?

    I.e. put the responsibility of learning & the problem with them – at the moment it seems that they have successfully psaaed the ‘buck’ back to you

    Mike M

  3. Talk to them
    I like Mike’s idea of passing the buck back to the learner it’s a tactic I’ve used with success in the past.

    You could also see if their more succesful peers could help them to learn – sometimes it’s just you that’s causing a block for the learner, it’s not necessarily your fault but it does happen.

    Or you could try the tried and tested method of asking them what it is that they feel is stopping them from progressing at the rate of their peers and what you could do to help them move forward – it’s my favourite tactic of all, it draws the learners attention to the issue but also enables them to take advantage of support.

    It may also be that these people struggling are less computer literate or just plain less interested in the change you are imposing on them as an organisation, were they consulted re the system on introduction, have they understood the benefits of the system etc. If not they could be plain refusing to play the game and in that case it’s not really you – it’s your company and management at fault. Of course this only applies if the people being trained have been with your organisation for a while.

    There is one final option – talk to their managers, explain the issues you are facing, why you think the learners are not as motivated and ask them to speak to their staff before training goes any further. Sometimes it’s just a kick up the backside that the delegates need – but I would use this as a last straw and not a first option.

  4. try a breezeblock with key words written… then proceed to repe
    OK so I was being flippant. It is however tempting to resort to basic caveperson tactics.

    Try getting the group to create a flowchart / process map using flipchart – really big – take up the whole floor.

    Then literally walk them through the process asking them questions all along… alternatively get them to ‘drive’ you through the process and you ask them questions.

  5. Got ’em
    Hi folks,

    I tried the technique of acting like an idiot and asking them to walk me through the process and an hour an a half later we hit the sweet spot and everyone got it.


  6. Learning Styles!!
    You’ve tried different approached which is great. It appears to me though that the basic 4 learning styles may not have all been addressed. An alternative is t structure your sessions using the 4MAT system:
    1. Why/Reflector-Reasons
    2. What/Activist-Details
    3. How/Pragmatist-Exercises
    4. What if/Theorist-Consequences or questions from the audience.

    I use this & V A K a lot & get some great results.

    If you want any more info. drop me a line.

    Good luck & regards

  7. Break it down and make it fun and/or competitive
    First of all, it is important to identify the reason(s) for the block. That will make the probably solution clearer.

    In addition to the good ideas, below, I have found two things help in getting across material that seems boring and/or complex to the learners.

    The first is breaking the material down and teaching the bare essentials (overview)first, and only adding the detail when you are clear that they have grasped the essentials.

    Secondly, I have generally found that bringing an element of fun and/or competition can help. Is there some way you can make at least part of the learning into a game-type activity? As other respondents have mentioned, getting people involved in doing and in making discoveries for themselves helps. If you can bring in fun element, people are generally more receptive (IF, and only if, they can see the point of the exercise). An element of competition also gets people involved. Some examples I have seen or used are: using cards to categorise different kinds of welfare benefits; using Winnie-the-Pooh characters to demonstrate the make-up of different types of tribunals or to look at different learning styles (which also involves relating something unknown to something known); and using a “pub quiz” format for re-cap quizzes about SVQ jargon and basic principles.

    If you want more ideas, you could attend some of the courses (or buy DVDs of the courses) by The Training Shop (


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