You’re ready to TEACH but are they ready to LEARN?

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“Get ‘em early and Get ‘em interested”

You may have learners physically present at your learning event, however, it’s vital that you get them mentally present and ready to learn as well.

If you want to be a great learning developer, it is your role to give your learners a positive learning experience to reignite their passion for learning. If you have them in a mentally ‘excited and engaged’ state whilst taking in information, then the learning sticks in the brain for long term retention, retrieval and action.

A trainer’s role is to embed information in the most effective way possible for the brain to absorb easily. By using delivery skills honed on the 5 Principles of Brain Friendly Training, we can make their learning experience really brilliant. 

The first Principle, and by far the most important, is that the learner’s mental and attitudinal STATE is vital.  Several important studies have shown that all learning is ‘State dependent’. Learning gets neurologically associated with our mental state.  If you want a learner to feel resourceful when they are applying or using their learning, they need to feel resourceful whilst they are learning it.  Feeling and emotions are extremely important to learning and retention.

Trainers can influence state by the language we use; where we put our focus, and the  physiological movements we ask of the learner.

There are Five Big States for learning which active the brain’s chemicals, functions and neuro-centres to maximise learning. These include: peptide molecules, amino acids, parietal and frontal lobe engagement, noradrenalin, amygdale engagement, cortisol, dopamine and many others.

These Five great learning States that really help learning are:


  •  “Hook’m early and get ’em curious”

Begin your session by getting them curious. Stimulate the desire to learn the answer to a problem, thus activating the reward system of the brain.  So even before the answer is given, the state of curiosity provides a reward and a positive feeling.  The Reticular Activation System (or RAS) of the brain is engaged, as is the Parietal and Frontal lobes – the human thinking part of our brain.

You can do this a number of ways:

  • Give them a challenge
  • Use an engaging video clip
  • Get them predicting outcomes of a scenario
  • Gather some really interesting facts and figures and display them via a graph or visual form
  • Provide a captivating story that you leave unfinished until later in the program (this is called ‘story nesting’)
  • Some interesting side benefits for them personally, as well as for the company


  • Create a sense of WOW!!  Here you are stimulating the sense of inspiration and awe. This can be done through the story, activity and movement that they experience. Even a simple picture can create this sense of awe.  Something that really makes them connect with enthusiasm


  • Here you are making sure they taste success and mastery. This is the ‘conscious competence’ stage. This reinforces the brain’s desire for rewards and success.  A victory now and then, entices them to seek further victories and ‘feel good’ states as they progress through their learning program


  • Here you are deliberately setting out to active the chemical ‘Cortisol’. You don’t want to overdo the Cortisol as it is the chemical of stress; however, in manageable doses via ‘do-able’ challenges it can help cement learning. Stretch them and their new skill levels.  You are aiming for a sense of accomplishment. Use problem solving, quizzes, competition and prediction

Chill Out:

  • Have you ever experienced having a mental “blank” (someone’s name) then gone and put your attention somewhere else and the answer just suddenly comes? This is called the’ incubation state’ where ideas are given over to the subconscious mind and answers are generated. Again, this is to do with brain chemicals and the importance of relaxation for successful learning

In designing training modules, content is important, but if you want that content to transfer into the workplace you must also put a great deal of thought and planning into how you are going to stimulate these FIVE big resourceful learning STATES for the Learners and their Brains.

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