Stop your presentations frequently and have learners do something with the information

When learning, people have an ability to take in about 15 minutes of information before becoming distracted. And we know that the learning really occurs when participants get involved with the information.

To make the most of this, pause frequently during a presentation and allow time for learners to process the information. (As a rule of thumb, you should lecture no longer than 15 minutes without having learners process in some way.)

Stop your presentation and ask learners to:

  • Describe out loud to a partner what they just learned.
  • Write a brief summary of what was just covered.
  • Develop five to ten review questions and exchange them with a partner.
  • Give a partner a quick oral quiz about what was just covered.
  • Take five minutes to create a graphic or pictogram of what was just covered.
  • Sort out a jumbled deck of cards containing information from the presentation. Put the deck in order showing proper sequences or connections between elements.
  • Quickly create a comic strip that would illustrate the most important points of a presentation. Share this with tablemates.
  • In teams, write a song parody or rhyme about what was presented.
  • What else could you have learners do?

(March /April 1998 issue)