The Interactive Classroom: It’s Not Lecturing

Much of today’s traditional classroom training is focused on boring lectures and PowerPoint presentations containing as much text as the slide will permit. “Mastery” of materials is tested by multiple-choice questions that only support the ability to memorize. Think about the likely results of such training this way: Can you imagine getting on an airliner with pilots only trained by lecture in a classroom and hoping that they can transport you safely to your destination? Yet, as a leader, that’s what you are doing with your people. You don’t know if they’re well-trained. You don’t know if they can get you to where you need to be. You certainly don’t know if they’re giving you a competitive advantage.

Many years ago, I was the Assistant Director of Flight Education at Ohio State University training aviators. It was while at Ohio State that I began to form the principles of M-Pact Learning. At the heart of M-Pact Learning is the recognition that classrooms have to be interactive. Learners have to be engaged.

What’s an Interactive Classroom Look Like? There are some basic principles involved in using M-Pact Learning to create interactive classroom segment including:

  • Learner-Centric Design – Design the classroom so the impetus for learning is on the learner, not the facilitator.
  • Problem-Based Learning – Give the learners a problem to solve and the content required to solve it.
  • Collaboration – Ensure that part of the problem-solving activities/scenarios involve collaboration between learners with the facilitator, etc.
  • Assessing for Application – The assessment can’t simply be a multiple-choice exam that tests rote memorization. The assessment must test for application of knowledge and skills.

Why Interactive Classrooms Work: Interactive classroom sessions are effective because of the M-Pact Learning methodology we employ at S4 NetQuest. As mentioned above, problem-based learning and collaboration are two of the core design principles. M-Pact Learning results in much higher levels of learning – application and correlation vs. rote memorization. This is critical when the audience is composed of Millennials, Gen-Xers, etc. They require learning to be interactive and collaborative. They will not tolerate the old “sage on the stage”. In fact, these generations are known to leave organizations that do not provide them with innovative, highly effective learning solutions.

More Information: If you’re interested in discovering more about why interactive classrooms create effective and efficient learning, I provide detailed methods and real-life examples in my new book: M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage.