Numerous Activities for Learning

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    Numerous Activities for Learning

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting,
    Adapted from the Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
    and Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision for Nonprofit Staff.

    There are numerous types of activities which learners can conduct
    to reach their learning objectives — arguably the best activity
    is life itself. The learner can conduct one type of activity below
    or several. The list actually comprises what might be called types,
    modes and methods of learning and even some learning aids.

    Note that conducting any of the following activities (or types
    of activities) will not by themselves necessarily generate learning.
    Ideally, the following are selecting during the systematic design
    of a training and development experience, whether self-directed
    or other-directed.

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Some Typical Ways of Learning
    Miscellaneous Other Ways
    Some Tangible Results that Can Be Used
    to “Document” Learning

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Activities for Learning and Development

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs
    that have posts related to Various Ideas for Learning Activities. Scan down
    the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog
    Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the
    bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Career Management Blog

    Human Resources Blog

    Leadership Blog

    Library’s Supervision Blog
    Training and Development Blog

    Different Activities for Learning

    Training methods are either on-the-job, implemented outside
    the organization or a combination of both.The following is a brief
    overview of rather typical methods of development (in alphabetical


    For centuries, apprenticeships were the major approach to learning
    a craft. The apprentice worked with a recognized master craftsperson.
    Particularly during times of low unemployment, businesses are
    eager to get any kind of help they can find. Seeking an apprenticeship
    may be a very useful and effective way to eventually develop a
    new skill.

    Career Counseling

    Hopefully, learners have the opportunity to work with their supervisors to
    develop career plans which identify areas for improvement or advancement, how
    those areas can be addressed and when. See Career Advancement.

    Classrooms and Workshops

    Workshops, seminars, convention sessions, etc. are useful, in particular, for
    highly focused overviews of a particular subject or training about particular


    Coaching is becoming a very popular means of development, and
    often includes working one-on-one with the learner to conduct
    a needs assessment, set major goals to accomplish, develop an
    action plan, and support the learner to accomplish the plan. The
    learner drives these activities and the coach provides continuing
    feedback and support. See Coaching.

    Continuing Professional Development

    Many professions require verification of ongoing training to
    retain certification, e.g., social workers, some fields of law,
    nurses, etc. Professionals must stay up-to-date in the views and
    practices necessary to lead and manage in today’s organizations.
    There seems to be an increasing number of universities, colleges
    and training centers associating continuing education units (CEU’s)
    with their courses and workshops.

    Continuous Learning

    Continuous learning is learning how to learn. Typically, this involves developing
    skills in reflection, which is the ability to continually inquire and think
    about experience to draw conclusions and insights. It also involves the ability
    to conceptualize the learning process. Continuous learning is often associated
    with the concepts of systems thinking and organizational learning. Continuous
    learning is NOT about continually taking courses — it’s about developing skills
    in reflection and inquiry — it’s about learning how to learn so that your life
    and work experiences become your own learning lab. Organizations and other environments
    are changing rapidly. Therefore, it’s extremely important to continually be
    aware of those changes, and to be reflecting on them and learning from them,
    as well.
    Basic Definition

    Many Steps to Continuous Learning? None


    Universities, colleges and training centers often have a large
    number of courses in management, professional and personal development.
    If the learner is looking to build a skill, then he or she must
    actually apply new information from these courses — otherwise,
    the learner is collecting information (hopefully, knowledge),
    rather than building skills.

    Distance Learning (eLearning, Virtual Learning)

    Distance learning has become a mainstream approach in training and development.
    This typically includes learning by getting information and / or guidance from
    people who are not face-to-face with the learner, e.g., learning via satellite
    broadcast, broadcast over the Internet, e-mail or postal mail correspondence,
    etc. Some people consider online learning or elearning (e.g., information, tutorials,
    etc., available on diskette, CD-ROM, over the Internet, etc.) to be distance
    learning, as well.
    Education: An Overview

    of Distance Education

    Statistical Analysis Report: Distance Education in Higher Education

    and Distance Learning Pros and Cons

    to Design An Elearning Course on a Budget

    Steps to Award-Winning E-Learning Design Process

    Stage Fright and More

    Blogs – Using the Web to Train the World

    Classroom Training Dying?

    Mobile Technologies in Education and Training

    Hybrid Online/Classroom Programs the Answer?

    Classrooms: New Look for Experiential Training

    Digital Training “An Affair to Remember”


    Internships are offered usually by organizations to college
    students wanting to find work experience during the summer months.
    The internships offer precious, real-life job experience and the
    organizations often get skilled, highly dedicated service. Many
    times, interns go on to be hired by the organizations, as well.

    Job Assignments

    Job assignments are wonderful opportunities from which to learn.
    We just aren’t used to thinking of them that way. To cultivate
    learning, consider having employees write short reports, including
    an overview of what they did, why they did it, what areas of knowledge
    and skills were used, how the job might have been done better,
    and what areas of knowledge and skills would be needed to improve
    the job.

    Job Rotations

    This can be one of the most powerful forms of development, allowing learners
    to experience a broad range of managerial settings, cultures and challenges.


    Journaling is regularly writing down one’s thoughts about past or current experiences
    and thoughts. A person can significantly deepen and remember their learning
    by using journaling. See Journaling.


    Lectures, or focused presentations by experts on subject matter,
    are held in a wide variety of locations, not just in classrooms.
    Professional associations often bring in speakers. Guest lectures
    are often sponsored by local universities, colleges and training
    centers, and announced to the public. Many times, the lectures
    are repeated over local radio and television.

    Management Development Programs

    Local universities, colleges and training centers usually offer these programs.
    Carefully review their program content and design to ensure that training includes
    real-life learning activities during which learners can develop skills for the
    workplace. See
    Management Development


    Memorization is one of the most frequently used methods of learning and it
    refers to activities which can help the student to learn by committing the new
    information to memory. An example is repeating the definition of a term until
    the student can define it correctly without referencing a written definition.
    See Memorizing.


    Hopefully, learners find experienced managers in the workplace
    who are willing to take learners “under their wing”
    and provide ongoing coaching and mentoring. See Mentoring.


    Note taking is perhaps the most frequently used method of learning during lectures.
    It involves writing the most important information conveyed by the speaker.
    Experienced note takers can efficiently separate what is most important to write
    down and what is not.

    Off-the-Job Training

    Off the job training occurs when an employee works after hours
    to learn. See Training Methods: On Job Training and off the Job Training Methods.

    Online Training

    There are an increasing number of approaches to online learning. See Online
    . Sources of online training include learning from computer diskette,
    CD-ROM, the Internet or Web-based training, etc.
    Use of Mobile Apps – New Technology in Training

    Day in the Life – Hybrid Education

    or “Blended” Education – After Week One

    On-the-Job Training

    This form helps particularly to develop the occupational skills necessary to
    manage an organization, e.g., to fully understand the organization’s products
    and services and how they are developed and carried out. Also see
    the Job Training (Definition)

    is On the Job Training?

    the Job Training

    Skills for On-the-Job Trainers

    Other-Directed Learning

    This includes having someone other than the learner identify the training goal,
    methods to achieve the goal, and approaches to evaluating the training and progress
    toward achieving the training goal. See Ways
    to Look at Training and Development Processes: Informal/Formal and Self-Directed/Other-Directed

    Orientation to New Jobs or Roles

    A carefully developed procedure for orienting new employees is very helpful
    for getting employees “off on the right foot” when starting their
    jobs. See Employee

    Peer-Based Methods

    This includes formats where peers focus on helping each other learn, e.g.,
    by exchanging ongoing feedback, questions, supportive challenges, materials,
    etc. See Peer


    Portfolios are a collection of various results from a learning and development
    experience, for example, essays, presentations, art work and journals that effectively
    convey the nature and extent of learning from the experience. See
    — and Learning and Development Tool

    Professional Organizations

    A wide variety of professional organizations often offer courses,
    seminars, workshops and sessions from conventions.


    Reflection is thinking about ones past and/or current experiences in life in order
    to learn from them. Reflection can be done in a scheduled and orderly way or it
    can occur in a spontaneous and unfolder manner. See Reflecting.

    Self-Directed Learning

    Highly motivated learners can usually gain a great deal of knowledge and skills
    by identifying their own learning objectives, how to meet those objectives and
    how to verify they’ve met the objectives, as well. See Strong
    Value of Self-Directed Learning in the Workplace


    Storytelling used to be viewed only as means for entertainment. However, we
    coming to understand that it also is very powerful means for enlightenment,
    when listeners are guided to reflect on the stories and to identify themes and
    patterns that emerge — and tell us about ourselves, our lives and our work.
    See Storytelling.

    Taking Tests

    Although tests usually used to verify and evaluate new learning, the experience
    of taking the test can be powerful means to deepen the learning about the subject
    matter in the test, because the student has to recall the new information and
    affirm it by writing it down in the test. See Taking-Tests.


    Tutorials includes guidance to proceed through learning some technique or procedure,
    e.g., a tutorial on using a computer software package. There are an increasing
    number of online tutorials (tutorials available on diskette, CD-ROM, over the
    Internet, etc.).

    Miscellaneous Other Ways

    Using Life Simulations

    52 Free Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Staff

    Some Tangible Results that Can Be Used to “Document”

    If you or others are seeking to verify results from your training
    and development, it helps to produce tangible items that can be
    evaluated to discern if you’ve achieved your training goals and
    objectives. The Sample
    Learner’s Results
    comes courtesy of The Union Institute, which
    suggests the list to learners when developing their own learning

    Go to main Training
    and Development

    For the Category of Training and Development:

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