Top 5 Takeaways From CTTC 2017

A couple weeks ago, we held our 24th Annual Creative Training Techniques® Conference in Minneapolis. We want to thank everyone who attended and made the conference a success! We were blown away by the level of enthusiasm and energy our attendees brought to the conference this year.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve summarized five of the top takeaways and themes from the conference. We hope you’ll be able to join us next year for our 25th Anniversary celebration.

Top 5 Takeaways From CTTC 2017:

  1. No change, no change.

Keynote speaker Mark LeBlanc kicked off the conference with these powerful words, repeated like a mantra. His words are a reminder that we cannot achieve change without making changes.

  1. Everyone’s journey is different.

Every learner who walks into your training room is a little bit different. They will have different styles of learning and will take a different journey to reach the same results. Our job as trainers is to be aware of these differences and to do what we can to customize material to make the journey an easier one. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, not for training programs and not for people.

  1. Breaks are as important as active learning.

If you attended one of the sessions dedicated to spacing, you know what this one means. If you didn’t, you certainly experienced it in action (even if you didn’t realize it!). Interspersing active learning with periods of reflection, revisiting, or an outright break actually increases retention. Spacing gives learners an opportunity to absorb information and prevents “dropping” of information when learners reach overload.

Even the half-hour breaks between sessions during the conference were designed with spacing in mind, giving attendees an opportunity to socialize and reset in time for the next session.

  1. Reduce tension, increase retention.

There’s always some tension at the start of a training session. Participants are preoccupied with emails and responsibilities back at their desk, or they don’t want to be there, or they’re skeptical about the training process. To increase engagement and retention throughout the session, break tension as soon as possible with an activity or icebreaker. 

You experienced this in every session at the conference. Within 5 minutes of starting the session, the training consultant had you talking with your tablemates or even collaborating on an activity. And did you notice that afterwards you were much more engaged in the session? That’s because the tension was removed.

  1. You cannot teach anyone anything. You can only lead them to discovery.

This gets to the core of what participant-centered learning is about. By shifting the focus from instructor to learner, you are putting the task of learning in the participant’s hands—where it belongs. The active learning process happens within the minds of the learners, so why wouldn’t the focus of the learning environment also be on the learner? In participant-centered training, the instructor guides learners to “discover” knowledge on their own terms.

Thanks again for such a great CTTC 2017! Those of you who attended, we hope you left CTTC charged with new ideas and eager to get back to work so you could start putting them into practice. And we do hope you’ll consider joining us for CTTC 2018! We have a lot of ideas up our sleeves about to make our 25th anniversary a conference to remember.

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