Engaging Students through Creative Learning Activities

“Students don’t need to go to school or to a library. They can get information in a second. It is at their fingertips, in multiple sources, and it doesn’t have a nervous tic. What students need to learn today is how to sift through, evaluate, and apply information…it is important that students learn actively and that they do not just acquire information, but that they do something with that information.”

This is so true this day is not about what you know but how you apply your knowledge. No one wants to hire an encyclopedia because it is useless but someone that could link the information has great value.

For me, it means that as a teacher we should have activities that engaged the students actively and help him to apply the knowledge learned.

I will do a lot of creative learning activities in my class, and I will try to take it out in the “real world” as much as possible.

Barkley, E. F. (n.d.). Student Engagement Technique. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.





Empowering Students as Partners in the Learning Process

Weimer said “Empowering students to be active partners in their learning requires a subtle but thorough shift in focus away from what the teacher is teaching to what and how the student is learning.”

For me, it makes total sense especially the HOW the students are learning. By understanding how the student learn we could maximize on it. If the student is a partner in his learning he will get more motivation that will feed his active learning and will result in a higher student engagement.

I will apply this principle in my practice by incorporating a lot of experiential learning activities. The student will be at heart and when possible will fix his own course objective.


Barkley, E. F. (n.d.). Student Engagement Technique. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Engagement and Motivation

Brophy defines motivation in the classroom as “the level of enthusiasm and the degree to which students invest attention and effort in learning.” (2004, p4)

I choose this quote because I firmly believe this is true. Motivation comes from within.E Barkley said “this definition implies an internal state, a concept that differs considerably from the external manipulation of rewards and punishment that was emphasized in early, behaviorist studies of motivation.

For me, this quote reflects well what Daniel Pink had to say in his TedTlak https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation. To get motivation, we should promote autonomy mastery and purpose, not the carrots and sticks.

The easiest way to apply this to my teaching is:

1. Purpose: Adult needs to know WHY they are learning. How is it relevant right now.
2. Autonomy: This might be childish, but I believe that there’s always a way to give autonomy to students. Letting them choose the subject of an assignment. Classroom agreement or as simple as time to take a break.
3. Mastery: I think that this is a bit more difficult for me to see but I believe that it is part of applying the growth mindset

Brophy, J. E. (2004). Motivating students to learn. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
Barkley, E. F. (n.d.). Student Engagement Technique. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Extrapolation of Experiential Learning

Today, Meetings. “Six Trends in Experiential Learning for 2017.” Six Trends in Experiential Learning for 2017. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <http://www.meetingstoday.com/NewsEvents/IndustryNews/IndustryNewsDetails/tabid/138/RegionID/0/ArticleID/29670/Default.aspx&gt;.

I really question de source of this article, it might be a advertorial but was still interesting information,I am not sure how that they all fit with the Kolb experiential learning cycle. Because the experience is just one part of the process.  If you tell your class: ok we are building a bird house and give them wood, glue, a hammer and leave it at that. What will they really learn? Just what they did that work and did not work,they could do that at home.

I strongly believe that for an experiential learning lab or activity to be successful the teacher or facilitator need to apply the Kolb’s experiential learning cycle that you could see below.

Experiential learning.PNG

*Image from Glenhaven Park website http://glenhavenpark.com.au/activities/camp-activities-year-4-up/

In the meeting today article they bring up the learning by silence as one of the 2017 experiential learning trend. I would like to apply silence in class between step 3 and 4. I personally  do meditation and firmly believe that it help to open the mind.

Exactly how would I do that? I’m in sales, so role play is really the best way to learn the art. There is already a lot of role play in my training.

  1. Every student try to sale me something in front of the class and I will play a typical client.
  2. As a group we discuss every play right after. I write down our observation and reflection before we move to the next role play.I would never do more then 5 students in a row.  This is step 2 and 3 of the Kolb’s experiential learning cycle.
  3. I would lead a 2 minutes of breathing exercise, eyes close. I would like to see if it help improve the result .I would redo step 3 after the meditation. Base on this blog post of the Huffingtonpost How Mindful Meditation Boosts Creativity and Innovation I think it would be helpful.
  4. Together as a group, we look at all the notes we have on the board and make our  own statement.
  5. We apply the statement in real life see if we get result

Experiential learning is a great way to pass knowledge to adult student in my field and I can’t wait to see more alternate reality games in the corporate experiential learning. I do realize that funding is the biggest issue here but as the years pass, I expect to see some of it.

I have a fantasy of mixing gamification to blend learning in sales and get a great result of ARG. Objective of the game would be to get more sales or close a deal. First you do a online training on how to develop a good social sales network, then your get a fake contact from LinkedIn or Facebook that is the “bug” and it go from there. Fake phone calls, E-mails … would be a great way to evaluate the student too. This is me brainstorming by myself but if  your are interested and would like to put something together, you know were to find me:) That could be bringing the experiential learning to the next level.

How Mindset Impact My Teaching



Here we see well the difference between the two mindset. I’m not worried about the growth mindset students, please send me a class full of them. This concept will impact my teaching, because I will try to transform (influence) the fixed mindset students.

How could I promote growth mind set? I will apply praise on the process and focus on the self-estime.

Dr. Dweck did her research with kids, yes adults are different, in this specific case I think I could transfert her result to adult learning with out empirical research but just based on my personal experience and observation. We all worked at one point with that person that didn’t thought they could do the job and they never manage to do the job because they were there worst ennemie.

The concept is easy someone with a growth mindset believe in himself. He might not reach the goal right a way but he know that he can learn the skills to get there. So he will put the effort, resource, embrace the challenge and welcome the feed back. Of corse this will lead to growth and reinforce the belief in himself. It’s a cycle.

mind circle.png

Picture from trainugly.com

Now a student with a fixed mindset will believe that he’s not born with the skill needed for the goal, so will not believe in himself. That will lead to no effort, he won’t lisent to feed back and will probably give up. So the first step to growth mindset in believing. If I could bring the student to this first step, they could probably do the rest by themselves.

The second way I will promote growth mindset is by the word that chose to praise and give feed back. We already know that adult learners don’t react well with negative feed back or criticism (Recipes for a Delicious Positive Learning Environment). One of Dr. Dweck research showed that 5th grader that get told that they are successful because they are intelligent develop a fixed mindset versus 5th grader that attribut their success to hard work and of course  are more likely to create a growth mindset. I realize here that I will have to adapt my parenting too. I will compliment the process and not the talent.

In her TED Talk of 2014 Carol Dweck mention a school of Chicago that when a student fail they would get de grade “Not Yet”. The point is, it is not because they fail that they can’t do it. Not yet leave room for growth and I will use it in my classroom, Elearning design and at home with the little one, probably with the future spouse too but lets keep that one between you and me 😉

What about you, do you think school should tell you how bad is a score if it is below the passing mark? Failing at 59% 0r 32% why would a student need to know?



Adult Learners: How to Engage & Motivate Them to Learn. (2016, August 16). Retrieved January 21, 2017, from http://www.growthengineering.co.uk/adult-learners-how-to-engage-motivate-them-to-learn/

I Really liked this article by growth engineering about motivation.

In the introduction they said ”The experiences we have in school as children can often dictate how we feel about and approach learning as adult learners in later life.” For me this relate somehow to the margin Theory of McClusky where he said that the margin ( Load/ Power) is determine between the age of 0 to 25.

*Margin: Margin is where the adult learning occur.

*Load : Demand from all life responsibility. (pay rent, laundry, kids, volunteering responsibility, goal, desire, expectation )

*P0wer: Ability to anser demands to carry the load (previous knowledge, health, strength, money, influence, ability to relate to friends and family, ability to reason )

The McClusky theory does affect my style of teaching because of the impact I could have on the load that every student carry. Dr Day and James determined the 4 way that a teacher could impact the load to increase the margin: attitude,  behavior, task and environment.

I try to work on my attitude because I want to be a good listener, have empathy and be easy to approaches for my students. Behavior from my part, I think is my strength, I always make eye contact, I gesticulate but not to much to distract. When it come to the task required by the students, in my  field I believe that they need to be limited and not required, if they want to take action it have to come from them. So I might suggest but not mandate. Environnement definition from Dr Day and James is different from  my recipe for positive environnement. It  is really the physical environnement that they refer to. This one could be tricky as a single personne to make changes but I could always recommend to my employeurs and keep the doughnut far away from my class. This is totally personal to me but a  class on a sugar crash is the last ting I’m looking for.

Then growth engineering get back to the 5 principles of adult training from Malcolm Knowles. I heard somewhere that we retain only 10% that what we learn in school and if I could pick one thing to retain it would be the principles of adult learning by Knowles. I think that if I could get these principle anchor in my practice and apply them in every lecture, E-learning curriculum development and tools that I develop I will be a great asset to any corporation. Knowing this theory principles is one but applying them is a totally different story.

1.They understand why they’re being taught it

They gave on example about sales training, maybe this is the reason that the article is interesting to me . To understand why the student is being taught, in the first 5 minutes or prior to the training, the student should know the end goal. That is why I’m a big fan of naming the training by he’s purpose. If you are  a software company and you are doing a training about  a new version of your product, the training should not be called version 3.7 but:

How get great commission selling version 3.7 for the sales department.

How to increase your customer satisfaction rate with version 3.7 for the customer service department.

How version 3.7 is more user friendly for the technical support team.

2.They have the freedom to learn their own way

This is why I’m a firm believer of blended training. I did a post on the generation challenge where I explain how every generation learn differently. I don’t think I need to explain how every individual learn differently. I remember my best friend in the school bus before a big exam she would be really annoying with a song that she made up herself to retain information. This wouldn’t work for me, but I was linking information between chapter and class subject and drawing graph. I had to see the big picture to retain information. Every person is different. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic to different level and so much more that impact our personal learning ways. It’s a teaching style

Blended training did hit most  aspect of the different ways of learning if the ELearning part is well build. Blended training is also called hybrid learning and mixed-mode learning. It’s a teaching style where we use a mix of classroom and online training. Example if I come back to the new software 3.7 version. We might give a general E-learning video that explain the new feature to every employee in the company follow by a multiple choice questioner to do prior to the class training. The in class training should reflect every department needs thru like role play and exchange between each other on top of a lecture about what is the company goal and expectation. Maybe do some competitor feature exploration too. This should be follow by a other E-learning multiple choice exam and a survey monkey about the learning experience. I believe that every student would get is way in this kind of structure.

3.Learning is experiential

Experience is by far the best way of learning. When I was in sales in the roofing industry we called it: Touch it, Feel it, Taste it! When you are talking about a product made of bitumen and you link it to taste it is wired but was the best way. It was also much deeper then the kinaesthetic way. If I gave a training and just talk, the student engagement wasn’t at is best but if I gave sample to every students and ask them to hold the product and install it on a peace of wood as I’m giving them the specification. I would get more questions, they where interested and engage. Role-play is mandatory in every training for a job that include customer interaction.

4.The time is right for them to learn

For sure this is link to principle 1 the purpose of learning but adults could trick the adult brain just like we do with our kids. I often say to my daughter would like the unicorn pyjama or the cupcake with built in feet?  Then she would answer. What I really wanted to say is: Go put your pyjama! I got what I wanted and she think it was her choice. How would I apply the pyjama trick here, to get the learners to say that the time is right for them to learn in a mandatory corporation training? 90% of the time we have to give more then one session because you can’t stop the planet to turn because your employee are having training. You still need employee on the floor right. So we would devised the staff in groups so why not let them pick the time and day thru a doodle pool. Only one group set a fix day and let them vote on the time.

5.  The process is positive and encouraging

Always be happy, I’m coming from sales and I do understand how your personal attitudes impact others. Yes like everybody I could have a bad but in front of students is always the best day and enthusiastic. This goes much deeper then that. Gamification and prices to win could be grate tools. So many option but went it come to this point I think that in the field we sometimes forget the fondation of point 5 that is by happy, love what you do, do it with passion and your students will be passionate too.

I hope you appreciate the read and find it useful. Stay tuned for more information about the cognitive science of learning.

Recipes for a Delicious Positive Learning Environment

James Ballou, J. (2011, July 11). Creating a Positive Learning Environment for Adults (J. Jacqueline Chinappi, Ed.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.brighthub.com/education/online-learning/articles/41064.asp


Serving:  full class of students

Preparation time: ≈ 43h

Cooking (Presentation) time: 1h

“Teacher’s job is not to do the learning for the student, but to build a rich environment that facilitates the kind of learning that will benefit the learner… enabling the learner to develop concepts, think critically, and apply and evaluate what they have learned, by providing opportunities and experiences that are relevant to such goals.” Tony Bates Blog post Building an effective learning environment.

For me that say it all, the trainers job is to create opportunities to learn. How we do that you are asking? Tony Bates said it: by building a rich environment that facilitates the kind of learning that will benefit the learners. Here’s the positive learning environment recipe that I recently learn.

-5 cup of premix andragogy assumption principal in a large bol

– Treat students as adults and recognize their existing skill and experience

-Set clear and meaningful expectations for adult students

-Avoid creating an environment that results in hostility

-Address errors privately and respectful

In the oven cook in trust, respect, open communication and shared learning experiences.

** if premix Andragogy is not available in a mortar pestle mix the Malcom Knowles and Kearsley assumption of adult learners.

 3/4 cup  Self-concept
As a person matures his/her self concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being

3/4 cup Adult Learner Experience
As a person matures he/she accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.

3/4 cup Readiness to Learn
As a person matures his/her readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his/her social roles

3/4 cup Orientation to Learning
As a person matures his/her time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his/her orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject- centeredness to one of problem centeredness.

3/4 cup Motivation to Learn
As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal

3/4 cup Planification and Evaluation to Learning
Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

3/4 cup Experience
Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.

3/4 cup Problem-Centered Orientation
Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

For the visuals here is a great infographique.


This is how I make positive learning experience: apply andragogy principal to a environment of trust, respect prompt for sharing experience.

Personally where I think I have to be careful is in my way of giving feedback, I could tend to forget that if I have to give negative feedback it should ALWAYS be in one on one. I sometime take that as an opportunity to share the bad experience as we learn from mistake too.

I also heard somewhere that we should give a good 4 second to the student when we ask a question for them to process it. I tend to not be the best at this and I think it could be part of the positive environment.

Please let me how you modify, substitute or the result you got from my recipe in the comments below.

The Generation Challenge


Johnson, S. A., PHD’RN, & Romanello, M. L., PhD, PT, SCS, ATC. (2005). NURSE EDUCATOR (5th ed., Vol. 30) [PDF]. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,Inc. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://www.chw.org/~/media/Files/Medical%20Professionals/Nursing%20Students/Preceptors/generational%20diversity%20teaching%20and%20learning%20approaches.pdf

Nursing is not my domain but this chapter of a nurse educator book, is gold to me. Multi-generation in the work place is a reality. The boomers that don’t retired as plan because of lack of saving and increase of the cost of living create some challenge, not only that promotion are harder to get then in the past but in learning and development we are dealing with not only 2 but 3 different generation in our classroom. More then often the 3 generation are equally represented in my field.

Here you could find the Robertson associates visual on the characteristics by generation.


When I link Johnson and Romanello chapter of generation diversity to Robertson associates table, it is more then obvious that the teaching and learning approach need to adapt and reflect the need of the boomers, generation X and millennials. They have different and distinct aspiration and career attitude, it’s impossible to motivate them the same way.

Here is the generational learning styles that you could find in Johnson and Romanello chapter.

capture I really like Johnson and Romanello table on the generational learning styles. I will definitely keep that in mind, when building and presenting corporate training. It has to reach every generation group, one example ,I will keep the old lecture style and ask how the new knowledge link to past experience and what they already know for the boomers. Will do a test and put the important information in there to insure the knowledge retention and class participation of the generation X. Plus because I’m in sales,role play is a must and this technique suit well the millennials.

I hope 2017 and the years to come will give the adult learning community more information about generation diversity. It is a specific challenge to andragogy , you can’t ran in multi-generation class in pedagogy. The only field that I see that is running in this challenge is management, here is one of the many raison why in any corporation training and management team need to be tight and communicate well. Not only that  they share common goals and challenges but they depend one on the other.

La tête dans les nuages LMS-> SaaS

learning in the cloud.PNG

Harward, D. (n.d.). Training Industry Magazine. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from https://www.trainingindustry.com/ezine/current-issue/key-trends-for-2016-focusing-on-the-science-of-learning-to-better-engage-the-adult-learner.aspx

Doug Harward  in is article in Training Industry Magazine made really interesting comments on how LMS are evolving to cloud base,the SaaS (software-as-a-service) platforms.

Like Harward say the cloud and the apps “allow us to deliver training content pre- and post-learning experience, or to better manage and track the effectiveness and efficiency of online training, will change how we use devices for training. Mobile apps are not just about how we access content, but in the future will be more about how we monitor learning and skill progression.”

For now, we are just realizing what data we could collect from this new type of E-learning, the SaaS is a new trend not only in adult education but in a lot of other fields. It will impact how we evaluate success, build and deliver training for sure we just haven’t seen how just yet.

With amazon finally coming in Montreal like The National Post said on dec, 20th 2016. We will see the trend on our territory too. I personally believe that in the next 3 to 5 years we won’t see the gap between US and Canada anymore. Yes, currently Canada is behind with all the cloud technology but for a good reason. Our government don’t allow us to store information in the US and for the longest time all the cloud storage was in the US soil. Now the leader Amazon have 2 storage option in central Canada. They are competing in the SaaS with Bell Business Solution, Radiant Communications, Cloud Pockets from Vancouver and Netelligent.

Personally, what I find the most positive about this technology is the small and medium size business market that become more reachable for the adult educator. As per statistic Canada their or over 176,014 Small businesses in BC. They cannot afford an in-house trainer for 99 employees or less but doesn’t mean that they are not in need for continuing education. SaaS is the perfect medium to deliver and could also make personalize training more affordable.

Provinces/ Territories Employer Businesses
Small Medium Large Total
(1–99) (100–499) (500+)
British Columbia 176,014 2,623 329 178,966

*Source: Statistics Canada, Business Register, December 2015.

Was the prediction right? Have we seen, what was suppose to be a trend in Business 2 Business sales?


B2B Sales & Marketing Trend

Agrawal, A. (2015). How B2B Sales Will Change in 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.inc.com/aj-agrawal/how-b2b-sales-will-change-in-2016.html was telling us in December last year that we would see 3 big change in the B2B sales and that would be the trends as a result.

One year later I would like to highlight that we still don’t find common 3D advertising. I don’t know for you do but I still don’t owner 3D google and they are not on my Christmas list. That being said I agree with Agrawal that probably over 75% of the B2B sales and marketers did create more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.I don’t have stats to support that but it seem right. I totally agree that these days marketing budget are totally independent of the economy being fast or slow, like we’ve seen in the past. Customers push business to invest in marketing to stay competitive. Agrawal was right, buyers have access to all the information they need and the sales person in not the knowledgeable advisor that they used to be. Video and social media really are part of the best practice when it comes to marketing. Agrawal predict the first change to be “A Change in Marketing will Cause a Change in Sales” I totally agree.

He also predicts that a “Changes in Buyer Behavior will impact sales techniques”. I agree on this statement but not on his rationalization. It’s true that buyers are more educate than ever before on the product itself but sales people are still the best resource when it come to the sales process. I hear one day that sales is an art that need to be constantly refine, I’ve been citing that one for so long that I don’t know where I got from. It’s exactly what it is adaptation and creativity make some of the best sales people out there.

Agarwal last statement was “Software is changing” focusing on the need of CRM system. I think that this is so 2000 late. I can’t understand how come business in 2016 still do not have a CRM in place, yes they are expensive and it’s an investment but it’s need. “CRM offers an average return of $5.60 for every $1 spent.” 18 Surprising CRM Statistics | Base CRM Blog. (2016). Retrieved November 30, 2016, from https://blog.getbase.com/18-surprising-crm-statistics If this doesn’t prove how important CRM are in an organization I don’t know what will. CRM is definitely one of the best field for sales people right now. Competition is savage but still a lot in demand and an investment in your CRM is always a good investment. Cloud, mobile, reporting, add on are proven to bring efficiency and financial returns.

I would say that over-all Agarwal was right. Will he become the Nostradamus of B2B Sales?