Emotions in learning

Emotions in Learning: 5 great tips to ensure a positive impact on your learners’ emotions

How often do you wonder how your learner’s emotion impacts what they actually learn, how well they remember it and how much will they use it after the workshop? 

Emotions have a huge impact on the learning process – they are the key to attention, memory and learner’s motivation, and are a crucial ingredient of an impactful learning process.

That is why one of the important (yet fairly advanced) skills for trainers is to create emotions that impact learning positively, and to learn to manage emotions in the training room.

Developing that skill is definitely a process and not something one can learn in one go – instead, it is learned and developed through experience, through paying attention to emotions in our learning room, while also consciously reflecting on that process and testing out different tools and approaches.

Here are 5 very quick tips on how you can leverage emotion for more impactful learning – and in case you wish to deepen this learning, check more materials and courses available below. 

Tip 1: Start by noticing more

During your workshops try notice:

  • Which are the moments that there is a boost of positive emotions and energy? 
  • What actions precede that moment? 
  • What is the emotionally strongest part of your workshops (e.g. opening, small groups, discussions, closing..) and what is the most challenging one in terms of emotions? 

Start by noticing tendencies and correlations.

When you understand it more deeply, you will also be able to start being more proactive about managing it.

Tip 2: Work with managing your own energy and emotion

Your own energy and emotion as a trainer is crucial for two reasons: 

  • First, it is contagious and often they will pick up your “vibe”. 
  • Second, it is the foundation which will give you stability and clarity to be able to use part of your mental and emotional energy to manage the group and impact the emotion of individuals. 

That is why learning to manage your own mental and emotional state is the foundation for any group management. 

Tip 3: Don’t get mixed up yours and theirs

While emotions are contagious, that does not mean that the participants will follow on all of your emotions. 

You do want to lead with the emotions that you want for them too – but don’t be deceived that just embodying that emotion is enough!

One of the dangerous traps is to base our assessment of participants’ emotion or energy level on our own. It can backfire in many ways: I feel my batteries are full, so I don’t give them a (needed) break. I am tired so I keep the pace slow (and they get bored). I am in a good mood and motivated about the topic so I don’t notice they got pissed off at each other. 

To avoid this trap, it is crucial to keep an eye on monitoring my own energy and emotion, as well as keep a separate “eye” on their emotions and energy. For that, you can observe their body language, levels of energy and emotions in voice, but you can also measure it with the group or ask for their feedback about it. 

This is especially important in virtual workshops, where the trainer has a bit less of “feel” for the room. 

Tip 4: Set intentions

While it is important to be aware of existing emotions in the learning room, it is as important to have clarity on what emotions would be valuable and impactful for the specific part of the learning experience or the workshop. 

Start by asking yourself, what emotions would you like (overall) for your learners to experience at this workshop?

Then, go through the “flow” of your session design and ask: “What emotions are learners likely to have in this part of the workshop? What emotions would I like them to have? What emotions would be (more) beneficial for their learning?” 

Try to truly put yourself in the participant’s shoes and recognise what emotions are likely to happen within each part of the program or activity. 

Then, make a plan on how you can nudge them into those emotions. 

Tip 5: Start building your toolbox

Ask yourself, what are my tools (and tips and tricks) which I can use to impact my learner’s emotion? Start making a list and gathering that toolbox. When you do something in training that seems impactful, capture it in your toolbox! 

Keep your toolbox in mind when designing and delivering a new workshop, so you become more and more agile in leveraging it when useful. 

We hope you find the tips helpful and decide to play and experiment with them, making your learning experiences more impactful!

More resources

To strengthen your toolbox (as well as your awareness of emotions, learning process and all the possibilities), consider joining us at the course about “Managing energy and emotions in workshops and training events– it will blow your mind with all the options and opportunities! 

You can read a few more quick tips and ideas in this great blog post about Leveraging emotions for more impactful learning experience by Nikolina.

To dive in deeper, grab our free 16-pages-yet-very-dense-ebook about Emotions best for learning and how to create them.

Once you read it through, do shoot us an email and let us know your favorite insights, as well as your questions and reflections – it will help us shape future blog posts. 

For more ideas and practical tips, check 40 min long (free) webinar recording “Optimal emotions for learning – and how to build them up in your workshop”

If you are looking to get (even) better at managing emotion and energy in your workshops and programs – join us for the 3 modules course on this topic.

It is happening in the week of the 5th of October (3 online modules, all in one week), and signups are open until the 30th of September.

The course is engaging, insightful, and highly practical. It is delivered in a very small group (max of 8), with a lot of tangible, science-based insights, as well as a lot of experimentation and discussions with other trainers on how we can best use those insights. 

Find the details about the program, fee, and dates on the link:

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