Next week Beth Kanter and I are teaching simultaneous master class sessions prior to the Connecting Up conference in Australia, hers on social media and mine on technology planning. I'm very excited that we worked together to find a way to bring the classes together at the end of the day to cross-polinate the learnings from the day and give them some time to reflect.
It is so important to give folks you are teaching time to digest and reflect on the knowledge you are sharing. I know when I began to do a lot of education I felt that I had to spend the majority of the time sharing information – mostly talking with some discussion. What I have learned from Beth and other educators is how important it is to give students time to think about the information you are sharing and how they can apply it.
Exercises where they can apply what they just learned – even in a brief exercise – goes a lot further in helping them digest and really learn the information, which does not happen as well by them just listening and taking notes. By asking folks to share with each other what they have learned and what they plan to do with the information, it not only helps it stick for them, but provides others with reminders of the content and ideas about application.
Whenever you are building an education session, whether online or in person, try not to have just stream of information from you to the students and some discussion. Try to include activities where students can process and act on the information you give them, then time for reflection. I know when I am a student, time to work with the knowledge I'm gaining and reflect on ways to apply it makes the expereince much richer and more valuable.