Every trainer has found themselves in the predicament of standing in front of a classroom full of people who would rather be anywhere else. It feels like an impossible task to overcome: We know that people learn best when they are motivated, but you cannot motivate other people. So, what is a trainer to do? You may not be able to motivate others, but you can create an environment that encourages self-motivation. The following methods will help you to foster a motivating learning climate.
1. Create a need.
Every learner comes into your classroom thinking, “what’s in this for me?” Right off the bat, you need to answer that question. Start every presentation by providing your participants practical examples of what makes the information valuable and how they will benefit from learning it.
2. Cultivate a sense of personal responsibility.
After you’ve laid out the parameters of your presentation, instruct your participants to identify their goals for the session and what they are willing to do to accomplish them. This will transfer responsibility for the success of the session from you to them. Once they’ve created an investment, they will be more likely to feel motivated to reach a certain outcome.
3. Offer opportunities for choice.
We are inherently more motivated to do things we have elected to do. However, chances are good that many if not all of your participants are not attending training of their own volition. Offering small opportunities for choice—choosing between case studies to examine or selecting one of three different activities—will increase their investment in the session by ceding a sense of control.
4.Foster wholesome competition.
Wholesome competition measures oneself against oneself. Don’t pit participants against each other, but challenge them to think, “Where am I now, and where do I want to be?” This can help them identify internal motivations, such as the desire for promotion, and will motivate them to seek self-improvement.
5. Tie content to life and long-range objectives.
As you move through your material, make a point of providing practical applications for each piece of content and establishing its big-picture utility. Understanding both the immediate and long-term practical benefits of learning make it easier for participants to absorb and apply.
By Becky Pike Pluth

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