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If You Had a Choice, Would You Pick Directive or Interactive Learning?

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Can you remember the most boring professional learning experience you’ve attended? Was it someone just lecturing at you, reading slides with little audience interaction?

Now think of the most positive adult learning experience which has impacted you professionally. Was it interactive, conversational, and provided a gamified and/or hands-on learning opportunity? Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) research shows that this latter experience is the more effective learning and development approach.

According to SHRM, people gain and retain more knowledge from active participation in many different situations and activities. Being actively involved in learning fires up our brains and aids in retention of what is learned. Thus, passive listening is the

lowest form of learning engagement, next to reading information. Adults rely on prior knowledge, experiences, failures, and successes when learning, and new information is often encoded and retained in relation to these prior experiences.

Learning for adults can be enhanced by asking questions and having discussions. Adults are also oriented toward solving problems and applying new knowledge or skills. Relevancy to the learner's issues is key to retention of the learned information. Using common experiences to relate new and difficult information provides a bridge to familiar encounters. More critical learning points need to be repeated in a variety of ways so they will move from short- to long-term memory.

Adult learners want engagement with others and with the content. They want to be actively involved in their learning. Active learning stimulates cognition and the use of higher-level thinking skills like analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. It means learning activities where the learner is doing something and is involved in critical thinking while doing it. While active learning strategies may require more up-front work, ultimately these strategies increase an adult's learning and retention of knowledge and skills.

This graph outlines the relationship between knowledge retention and learner participation.

Fuse is proud to implement the highest degree of participation possible in all our workshops. Every workshop includes at least:

  • Demonstration

  • Discussion

  • Practice by doing

  • Suggestions for immediate use of the learning

Some workshops, such as our AI Business Simulation workshops, even provide months of real-world experience in a matter of hours.

Learn more about our Artificial Intelligence Simulation workshops at

Are you a coach, facilitator, or trainer?

Interested in learning to lead our AI Simulation workshops?

Contact Fuse - - to learn more about becoming an accredited facilitator.


About Fuse - Igniting Communication

Fuse offers a variety of workshops focused on improving workplace

communication skills in the areas of:

-- Inspirational Leadership

-- Team Collaboration

-- Partnership Development

Reach out to learn more about our virtual, in-classroom, or outdoor workshops.

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