One of the most difficult decisions when designing a training program is to determine how much content can be covered and to what level it will be learned. The deeper the level of learning that’s required the more time you need to build in. Some of that time needs to be spent on reflection. In my most recent trainer blog post I talk about how important it is to give people time to reflect on what they’re learning.
When we learn something new, we don’t just need information and practice. We need time to think, to reflect, to debate and to consider how we will use what we’re learning. There is a lot of focus in the learning field about the transfer of skills; how successfully participants will actually use what they have learned on the job. You increase the likelihood that participants will use what you teach them when you build in reflection time. Reflection time allow participants to visualize how they will use the new information or skills; it enables them to consider obstacles they might face; and, it allows them to plan how they will incorporate what they’ve learned. All of this increases the likelihood that they will use and benefit from what you have taught them.
Reflection time can be as simple as giving participants one minute to consider what they’ve learned. It can be as complex as structured group problem solving to overcome the obstacles they might face back on the job. However you structure it, reflection time is a valuable part of learning.