What, Why and How of Training Methodology and MaterialsTo answer the 'what' question, you may say that training methods and materials are the techniques and resources the adult educator uses to organize a training workshop and transfer new knowledge, skills, and attitudes to participants. Many a time it is useful to differentiate between the methods, tools/aids and techniques in order to use them effectively. There are some differences between methods, aids, equipments and techniques, which are highlighted below.
In order to answer the 'how' question, you can point out that active learning workshops use a variety of training methods in order to engage participants in the learning process.
When choosing teaching methods for a particular session, you may consider the following questions:
- Is the method suitable for the objectives?
- Does the method require more background knowledge or skills than the participants possess?
- How much time does it take to prepare and then to use it in the learning session?
- Is that sort of time available with the adult educator and adult learners? How much space does the learning dession take?
- Is that kind of space available at the venue of learning sessions?
- Is the method appropriate for the size of the learning group?
- What kind of teaching materials does it require?
- Are those materials available?
- Does the method require special skills to use?
- Does the adult educator possess these skills?
1. Knowledge-based Learning SessionsThe broad factor guiding the selection of methods is the focus of learning. If the focus of learning is increasing knowledge, then the methods used may be lectures, field visits, demonstrations, self-study, etc. Adult educators need to keep in mind that they need to talk about only those facts which the participants need to know. It is important to get the participants' attention before explaining why they need to know the topic. Tell a story that shows why it is important.
Give a summary. Explain the main themes you are going to cover. Present the facts and information. Use handouts to reinforce the talk. Participants learn more by listening and actively participating than by taking detailed written notes. Ask participants to tell stories about how the facts will be used by them. Among the materials to be used, whenever possible, use audio-visual aids such as Chalk- board, Flip chart, Models, Posters, Photographs, Overheads, Slides, Video, etc.
2. Skills-based Learning SessionsIf the focus of learning is to increase skills, the methods used are more of practice sessions, demonstrations, apprenticeship and learning by doing.
Examples of Activities for Skills-based Learning Sessions
- Name the skill. Ask if participants have for it any other name(s) in the local language(s).
- Tell why it is important. Ask if participants have in mind other reasons for its importance.
- Explain when to use it. Ask participants if they use the skill in any other context.
- Describe the steps involved in performing the skill. Ask the participants if they include some other steps in performing the skill.
- Demonstrate the skill. Ask the participants to demonstrate the skill as understood by them.
- The demonstration must use effective methods, which are applicable to the work environments of the participants. Ask the participants if there are other effective methods to master the skill.
- Use only that equipment, which is available to participants in the field. Ask participants to name equipments available locally for mastering the skill.
- All participants must be able to see what you are doing. It is possible that one of the participants may be able to, or may want to, demonstrate the various parts of the skill. Invite such participants to demonstrate all or some operations.
- Explain what you are doing (a written handout with pictures will help reinforce the explanation). Ask participants to draw pictures of what the skill is supposed to involve.
- Arrange practice sessions.
- Come to the most important part of conducting skills-based learning sessions and take time to practice. Make all participants practice the skill.
- Each participant must receive feedback from you as well as from fellow learners.
3. Awareness-generating SessionsIf the focus of learning is to generate awareness then the methods used would be role-plays, small group discussion, case studies, simulation, learning games, structured exercises, etc. One's own experiences, both past and present and others' experiences form an important source of learning. Hence the experiential learning methods provide an opportunity for learners to experience, share reactions and observations, reflect upon implications and consequences, discuss patterns and dynamics, develop practical and conceptual understanding and apply it to the real life situations.
Besides the focus of learning, there are some other important considerations for selecting methods such as who are the learners, what are their backgrounds? Is the knowledge and experience base of learners being used? Which methods are helpful in building an environment conducive to learning at a particular point of time? How can individual and collective learning be ensured, etc. Other factors that play an important role are time, space, competence of facilitators, group size, etc.
Participatory Training Methods/ TechniquesParticipatory training has several methods which are in vogue in adult learning. We will discuss the following more popular methods in this section.
- Case Study
- Role Play
- Learning Games
1. LectureThe lecture method is an effective way to introduce new information or concepts to a group of learners. The learners always appreciate a concise, stimulating and well - delivered lecture. The lecture method is primarily used to build upon the learners' existing base of knowledge. The lecture must always be suited to the learners' level. Asking some relevant and effective questions can help elicit information. Thereafter, the adult educator will have to make constant efforts to situate the new information in the context of the training by continuously providing examples and illustrations to relate it to the learners' context.
Lectures are useful for conveying new information and concepts to the learners and for providing context so that learners can relate what has been learnt to a conceptual framework. Lectures are also good for stimulating and motivating learners for further enquiry and for presenting a specialized body of external information.
To lecture effectively, the lecturer needs to prepare for the lecture, become very familiar with the subject matter, identify and prepare supporting aids to illustrate the points. One needs to provide examples to link the subject matter to the lives of the learners and ask questions to check whether the learners are following the lecture. A good lecture provokes the learners to ask questions and note key points. It is advisable that the lecturer maintains eye contact with the learners to assess whether they are following or not, whether they are interested or bored. The seating arrangement has to be such that all can see the aids equally well and hear the lecture and maintain time stipulations. It is important to be aware of one's own body movements and facial expressions and speak clearly, loudly and use simple language.
Given below are the advantages and disadvantages of the lecture method.a) Advantages
- Allows the presentation of facts, Information and concepts in a relatively short span of time.
- Makes possible interaction of learners with multiple resource persons with different points of view.
- Is possible to use for illiterate learners.
- A diverse range of supportive materials can be used to support the content areas, e. g. slides, charts posters, etc.
- A large number of learners can be accommodated at one time.
- The world view of the speaker dominates the knowledge.
- It does not promote interaction in most cases.
- The input may be too abstract if not related to real life situations.
- The pace of learning is determined by the lecturer.
2. Case StudyIn the case study method, look at others' experiences in the form of a case. The learners reflect upon and analyze these experiences to derive new ideas. The learner's own experiences, values, feelings form the basis for analysis of others' experiences. The adult educator may present case studies in written or verbal Participatory Training and Research in Adult Education forms or even through the medium of films or songs, depending upon the background and experiential level of learners. In order to use the case study method, the adult educator may present the case study to the group. One way of presenting the case study is to divide the group into smaller groups and give each group the task (question) to reflect and discuss. Then each group's views may be presented and consolidated in a collective session.
Among the reasons for using the case study method you may point out that the case study method helps to convey complex theoretical concepts in a simple way. It makes the group reflect on its own situation in the context of others' experiences, and it gives a chance to discuss complex situations. This exercise sharpens learners' analytical and diagnostic skills and exposes them to situations they might not ordinarily experience in their own lives. It exposes learners to similar experiences elsewhere to enable them to feel a sense of solidarity and validation. In addition, it helps in creating new knowledge through collective reflection, analysis and synthesis. Given below are the advantages and disadvantages of the case study method.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Study Method.a) Advantages
- Can be used with illiterates and relatively unsophisticated people.
- Can be used for cognitive learning too.
- Low cost, culturally appropriate.
- May be difficult to find an appropriate case study.
- The case study may be too general to focus on a specific issue.
- Case studies written by some one else contun the writer's perceptions, feelings and ideologies which may lead to distortion of the objective reality.
- Hypothetical or prepared case studies may be too idealistic.
3. Role PlayOne of the most common training methods is the role-play. Role- play is useful where learners share a somewhat similar experience, which is difficult to recall because of its emotional nature. You can also use it where the uniform possibility of recall is less likely among the learners. Role-play is a structured experience; it means that learning takes place from re-enactment of past experiences. It is a powerful training method if the focus of learning is to generate awareness.
The method of role-play is useful as it helps learners utilize their experiences of real life situations. The enactment is helpful in developing awareness at individual and group levels. Through role play it becomes easier to discuss complex social issues in a non threatening environment.
In order to use role-play effectively, you need to select a suitable role play depending on the purpose of learning and identify role enactors/performers. Next, you need to prepare briefs and explain the situation to the learners and tell the audience all the points to be noted. Now is the time to set the stage and start the role-play. After the play you can consolidate and debrief.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Role-play Methoda) Advantages
- It is energizing.
- It helps the suppressed and illiterate to express their feelings.
- It is a simple and low cost learning tool It focuses on problems which are real.
- It presents complex issues simply and in a short time.
- It does not need materials/ props or advance preparation
- There is a possibility of the role play becoming entertainment which vitiates learning.
- Participants can get too involved in their roles and later lose objectivity during analysis'.
- Acting can become an end in itself and participants can overact or distort the roles.
- If points for observations are not clear, it may dilute the focus of learning.
You can also use role-play to stimulate discussion on complex issues. A brief enactment by adult educators or learners or both, can be used to stimulate further group discussion on similar issues and experiences that learners share. This method of learning is essentially group discussion where role-play merely acts as a stimulant or catalyst for the discussion that follows. Its use in this case is similar to an aid e.g. charts, video clipping, etc.
In certain situations, a role-play is also used to practice skills. For example, you can practice how to motivate adult learners by enacting different roles. The prime method of learning here is practicing and receiving feedback from learners and adult educators after that practice. You can also use a role-play as a re-enactment of past experiences. Learners may enact a past situation with which they are familiar.
4. SimulationSimulation is a method based on 'here and now' experience shared by all learners. It involves assigning definite roles to each participant and having them act out a situation according to the given roles. It is carried on long enough to generate responses and reactions based on real feelings as participants need to genuinely 'get into their role'. However, learning takes place without any serious risk because the situation is after all 'make- believe .
The original meaning of the method is derived from the situation used to train aircraft pilots. Since real life training is too risky, and any error during learning would prove fatal, realistic conditions of air and pressure are created inside a 'simulator' cockpit, and the pilot learns how to fly.
You may use simulation to understand complex societal issues and to learn in a situation which is very similar to real life. Here learning takes place at different levels. Simulation involves "pre-simulation" phase in which you need to select a simulation according to the purpose of learning and develop a conceptual framework. Then you prepare a list of rules/ instructions and briefs for all roles and assign roles to different learners. Try to include all learners, as simulation does not require an audience, and define the situations and events in which the characters will interact. There may be more than one situation/ event.
Decide the location for simulation. The site/s chosen need to be as close as possible to real life sites of the chosen situations. You need to keep necessary props ready at hand, to be used for different roles.
For conducting a simulation, you need to assign roles, give each person the appropriate role brief. Ask the participants to study their roles and try to 'become' the role. It is not a good idea to let different roles study each other's briefs. Yes, you need to prepare name tags or some other appropriate means of identifying the different roles. Then brief the participants about the situation and let them start acting according to their interpretation of the role. Stop the simulation when appropriate, or when the essential part is over, or if it is getting out of hand. In the post-simulation phase, it is better to give the participants time to get out of their roles. Then ask the participants to share their feelings by posing direct questions, for instance, "what happened to you during the simulation?' " how did you feel?", etc. You may try to draw parallels with real life while analyzing the patterns in the data and collate the participants' feelings. Finally collect necessary inputs and summarize the entire proceedings.
advantages and disadvantages of simulation method.a) Advantages
- Allows an exploration of real life situations, social processes and behaviors in a relatively non- threatening manner/ situation. It allows for the study of very complex social processes.
- It is entirely controlled by the learners' pace.
- It involves activity and universal participation.
- Learning takes place at the awareness level
- It requires that participants cooperate and internalize the roles.
- It is a difficult method and requires an experienced and skilled adult educator to conduct it.
- Mismatch of roles may lead to poor performances by the learners.
- Critical skills are needed to handle feelings generated in the process.
5. Instruments'Instruments' are usually in the printed format containing clear instructions and a series of questions, either with multiple choices, or requiring brief replies. Participants fill in the questionnaire individually or in twos/threes for each other. There are instructions at the end of the instruments explaining how to examine answers, assign scores and tally them. The connotations of different scores are also clarified. The purpose is to generate data about each learner. However, it is left to the learners to decide how to use this information. Some examples of instruments are the personality trait inventory, interpersonal perception form, T-P questionnaire for Leadership, FIRO-B, etc. The advantages and disadvantages of instruments method are as follows.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Instruments Methoda) Advantages
- Can be a very effective method for learning more about one's own self through systematic self- examination, reflection, and in cases, feedback.
- The learner does not feel external pressure or compulsion.
- Learning takes place at the individual's own pace according to his/ her interest and inclination.
- Can only be used with a group which is highly literate.
- Needs a certain amount of honesty and genuine interest of the learner to generate meaningful data.
- Works better with people who can learn intellectually at the level of abstractions.
- Very difficult to design instruments.
6. Learning GamesLearning games are seemingly fun activities involving all participants. There are rules and regulations and the games may or may not include a competitive element. You may use games to convey feelings and processes which are implied within the game being played, e. g. tnst games, leadership games and so on. After the game is over, it is essential that the feelings of the participants are debriefed and consolidated; otherwise it will remain either an icebreaker or an energizer.
The reason for playing learning games is to explain group processes involving issues of trust, social relationships and so on. You can play the learning games by explaining the game and involving the learners in the game. After the game, you need to consolidate, debrief and derive learning. Given below are the advantages and disadvantages of learning games method.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Learning Games Methoda) Advantages
- It is lively, fun and involves everyone's participation.
- Complex issues can be explained in a simple manner.
- It allows the participants to experience the matter under consideration within the course of the training itself, (also called here-and-now experience).
- Finding or designing appropriate games is not very easy.
- The focus of the game must be clear to the adult educator otherwise debriefing will be confused.
- May generate lot of feelings, thereby obstructing learning.
- Entertaining without learning is not the objective.
7. Other MethodsBesides the methods discussed above, you may also look at the following other methods which are useful in some cases.
- Field visits
- Apprenticeship Practice
2. Field Visits: Field visits refer to demonstrations in practical situations, i. e. where the subject matter actually occurs or happens in real life. Some examples of field visits are as follows - taking the learners to a hospital in the course of health training, or taking learners to villages in the course of a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) training, or taking community level workers to the block office for training on local government, etc. The emphasis again is on observing, asking questions and understanding.
3. Apprenticeship Practice: Apprenticeship and practice are methods of paramount importance for skill training. The difference between the two lies in that practice is done in controlled situations while apprenticeship is done in real life situations and is usually of longer duration. It is essential in both methods that the learner be supervised by the adult educator and given feedback. These two methods can be used for any skill. In the course of training, it is easier to incorporate practice, while apprenticeship can be an entire training in itself.
Training Materials and Resources
- What materials are available?
- Will the material facilitate active learning?
- What can the training facility accommodate?
- Does the adult educator know how to use the material?
- Can the participants learn how to use the material?
|charts and diagrams||slides|
While choosing audio-visual materials, you need to consider how the material would enhance active learning and if the material is appropriate to the knowledge level of the participants. Also consider how you will use the material and if it is available during the training. You need to ensure that all the participants are able to see and hear the material.
In case the method requires any supplemental materials, ensure their availability. To show a film you need a screen or a blank white wall. To use a flip chart you may want to use different color markers. Make sure that the facilities are appropriate for use of the material.
Roles of Adult EducatorsGiven the learning agenda, an adult educator has to play several critical important roles to ensure that the learners and learning process are at the Centre of all training. The educator needs to ensure that there is adequate stimulation to critical analytical faculties of learners, and there are occasions to value, analyze, share and reflect upon the experiences of learners. In the process learners feel empowered and there is enhancement of their self-image. Try and create and nurture conditions of learning.
The adult educator also needs to keep in mind that these multiple roles are played not only during the training, but also prior to the training and after the training as well. Each Of the roles during training and after the training requires a particular set of critical competencies, comprising three components, namely, knowledge, awareness and skills. An effective performance of any role involves the use of multiple competencies.
Roles of Adult Educator: You can now look at the roles of an adult educator.
Training and planner
- Assessing learning needs and evolving learning objectives.
- Planning strategy of training.
- Working out the detailed contents, sequencing them and choosing appropriate methods.
- Involving learners in the designing phase. Identifying and preparing resource persons.
- Preparing and selecting learning materials and aids.
- Prep g self and the adult educator-team.
- Delegating responsibilities for training.
- Facilitating group processes, to keep the group together and let it grow (participation, communication, decision -making, leadership, conflict resolution etc.).
- Summarizing, synthesizing information.
- Creating a learning environment.
- Pursuing, nudging, pushing, cajoling, building their confidence so that participants can perform beyond their existing potential.
- Managing the heterogeneity within the group.
- Mobilizing financial resources. Planning dates/venue.
- Scheduling logistics and required inputs.
- Providing administrative support.
- Ensuring communication with learners, resource persons regarding the venue, travel details, etc.
- Planning and co-coordinating arrangements for field trips, etc.
- Arranging for needed support systems at the venue (separate formations for men and women; for children arrangements accompanying mothers).
- Providing new information and concepts.
- Eliciting learners' experiences and analysis by setting up structures, asking questions, etc.
- Synthesizing, consolidating and Appreciating encouraging conceptualizing information and analysis. new individuals and the group as a whole. Initiating discussions, articulating unsolved group issues.
- Directing, managing structured learning experiences -role-plays, simulations, discussions, etc.
- Using learning aids effectively video-camera, tapes, flash cards, audio -visual aids, etc.
- Being accessible to learners, listening to them, their anxieties, thoughts, problems, joys, by being a sounding board.
- Sharing one's own life experiences with the learners.
- Providing a sense of direction, by giving feedback.
- Developing a close rapport with learners and building their trust and confidence.
- Being a sounding-board when required responding positively and understanding the origins of the anxieties or problems of the learner.
- Setting up sessions to enhance the self- confidence and self-esteem of the concerned individuals, in an informal manner.
- Showing solidarity, holding hands, offering a shoulder to cry on, being sensitive to and responding to a crisis, if any.
- Observing keenly the flow of content and processes taking place.
- Maintaining detailed notes on a regular basis.
- Involving learners in the recording / documenting efforts.
- Exchanging roles with co-adult educators and incorporating it into further planning of sessions.
- Addressing additional issues of providing relevant feedback to the individuals and groups that may arise in the process.
- Paying attention to what others are sharing, being open to and accepting differing frameworks of analysis and perspectives.
- Seeking additional information, clarifications, asking questions. Acknowledging others' abilities and appreciating them.
- Accepting "learning structures" set up by others during the training, and supporting each learner.
- Planning evaluation/monitoring mechanisms.
- Involving learners in the evaluation process.
- Soliciting formal and informal reviews to assess every event and ongoing process.
- Matching feedback with objectives of the session and assessing if learners are learning.
- Communicating at regular intervals.
- Disseminating feedback from individuals and organizations to feed into the next training.
- Assessing future learning needs and planning additional events for the same Providing support through participation, involvement in designing, preparing strategy and materials, etc.
- Reflecting and evaluating the training outcome with co-adult educators.
- Planning a reporting format (from learners' needs expressed by learners).
- Organizing all the needed information, notes, and flip charts for report-writing.
- Preparing separate reports for different constituencies, if need be (i. e. fund providers, learners, etc. )
- Disseminating it to both learners and wider audiences.
1. Systematic PreparationThe role of the adult educator in participatory training is much more radical and critical than the role of adult educator in traditional training. Participatory adult educator has to be much more resourceful, competent and creative to fulfill his/ her task as facilitator-manager of the training processes. The adult educators need to systematically prepare to effectively play the multiple roles, fulfill the engrossing functions and shoulder the demanding responsibilities incumbent on them. Three key aspects of adult educator's training include i) learning the theory of adult learning, ii) developing skills as a facilitator and 111) self-development of the adult educator. In fact the third is the most important, since the other two are of no use in the absence of the third one. Let us talk a little more about this aspect in the next sub-section.
2. Understanding SelfIt is important to understand the self in-the context of participatory training. It is generally agreed that the self has three broad aspects. These three constantly interact with each other causing confusion or congruence depending whether they are in harmony or not.
- The Cognitive Self: This refers to our mental or intellectual capacities to store and process information, our memory and logical abilities.
- The Affective Self: This refers to our emotional side, our capacity to feel and express emotions.
- The Behavioral Self: This refers to our behavior aspects, our actions, skills and expressed behavior.
Self development of your role as a facilitator implies different things. In reality, these different meanings may overlap, but it is useful to understand them distinctively. Here we will discuss some of the main implications of self- development.
Self-development implies developing a positive and healthy appreciation of one's capabilities, limitations and the self. It means overcoming the negative self- concept in some cases, and excessively unrealistic self-concept in others. Self- development means the art of acquiring internal control over oneself. In many cases, we depend on others to define ourselves. We need to develop our own definition of ourselves and not allow our definition of self-concept to be exclusively and totally determined by others. It involves creating a sense of initiative and self-control in each person. Self-development entails the development of the cognitive, affective and the behavioral aspects. This implies developing and sharpening our cognitive capacity, becoming sensitive to one's own emotions and feelings and developing the ability to articulate and express them and sharpening emotional capacities.
Self-development is to create a sense of congruence between different aspects of self. This implies an internal congruence and consistency between cognitive, affective and behavioral aspects. This also implies that our behavioral aspect represents authentically our cognitive and affective aspects and our actions are congruent with our thoughts and feelings. This is one of the major challenges in self- development.
Self Development has two important aspects, understanding one-self and changing one- self. Understanding one-self requires collection of information about "one's own self', whereas change of behavior requires self-disclosure. As adult educators, we need to develop "openness" in ourselves, and feedback and self-disclosure become essenqal in this process. Feedback from others and self-disclosure are reciprocal activities crucial for self-development. Let us learn in brief a bit more about feedback and self-disclosure.
Feedback is a verbal or non-verbal communication with a person or group which provides others with information on how their behavior affects you. Feedback is also a reaction by others usually in terms of their feelings and perceptions, about how your behavior is affecting them. Self- disclosure is a process of sharing of "me" with others. Feedback is information given to a person (or a group or an Organization) about how one affects others. It helps one become more aware, both of one's strengths and weaknesses. It does not tell one what one should do, but it raises questions and helps one to decide whether to change one's behavior, so that one can be more effective and better able to achieve what one wants. If feedback is given in a positive way it can be helpful. But if it is given ineffectively, it is not only unhelpful, but can also be quite destructive.
3. Planning for Self-developmentPlanning for self-development usually involves identifying areas that require development. One can identify aspects about oneself that one would like to develop; for example, I want to reduce my aggressiveness or I would like to be able to say no without feeling guilty, etc. Prioritize these needs and assess their importance over the next few months. There may be sexæral aspects that one would like to develop. It helps to assess what is more important and needs immediate attention. Choose one priority area to begin with. Identify obstacles in self and in environment. Then you can try and identify the factors that are likely to block the process of self-development. This could involve looking inside one's behavioral patterns, attitudes, temperaments, etc. The environment, other people, and situations can sometimes create obstacles in the process of self- development.
The next logical step is to decide how to go about improving an aspect of self. This includes detailed planning of activities to be carried out in order to achieve the goal. A time-frame also needs to be developed for this plan. You may seek others' help. Self-development plans invariably necessitate seeking help from other persons. It is rather impossible to develop oneself in isolation, all by oneself.
We need the help of others, our colleagues, family members, etc. to be able to engage in self-improvement Any change process needs regular monitoring. In some form or other self- development process also needs close monitoring. You need to evolve mechanism for such monitoring at the time of planning itself.