Hot, moist cakes fresh out of the oven, the aroma wafting through the air, filling you with warmth– sounds inviting doesn’t it? Ordering food at a restaurant or café is fun because it gives us control and the power to choose from a variety of menu options while also letting our eyes feast. Choice is power, and that’s what makes the whole process of dining outside much more exciting as compared to staying back home and enjoying a regular meal.
What if learners could choose how they learn? Would that be just as exciting as a restaurant-café experience? With these questions, a few thought leaders have explored what they call “Cafeteria style learning”.
When trainees walk into a training room, they see a range of stations set up around the room. Each of these stations is meant to allow the learner to explore and apply the day’s content. Complete freedom is given to them to choose the specific activities that they participate in. As each activity is introduced, learners must approach it with the consideration: What do I feel most drawn toward? What’s most relevant to me?
Activities are as diverse as board games, to a booth where participants record themselves as they tell personal stories in response to targeted prompts. Learning experiences that are both group based and solo, vary in their level of complexity and required cognitive load. The idea is to give a multitude of choices to the participants.
One of the notable aspects that such a medium of learning highlights is how different people have different learning styles. Moreover, the learning style of each person varies according to individual situation and subsequent perception. The impact of empowering one to select the medium and pace of learning for each course/module could be in stark contrast to the impact that traditional forms of instructor based and online media have as far as knowledge transfer and retention are concerned.
Such path-breaking innovations are what we probably need to make unconventional learning a reality. It is high time that learning changed its characteristic of being unidirectional transfer of information to a learner-friendly, engaging, and enriching experience which enraptures learners. And maybe then, learning too would be as alluring as hot cakes!
The Power of Choice in L&D – byJillian Douglas, Shannon McKenzie