by Lou Russell

May 15, 2021

A Book that Elegantly and Simply Describes Learning Development


As I work at home, I often find a book that I haven’t looked at in a very long time. The surprise book that I found this week is by the very gifted Renie McClay, MA, CPLP.  She has a wonderful book called “Interactive and Engaging Training – a Practical Guide.”  It looks like I got this book in 2013, and like most of my learning friends, I haven’t seen Renie in a very long time. But this little book ROCKS.


Renie elegantly and simply describes learning and development. There are four succinct chapters in this book:

  • Setting the Stage
  • Livening up the Learning Process (...oh JOY!)
  • Gearing up Guided and Individual Practice
  • Exercise Examples and Instructions


Setting the Stage

Renie’s start: “According to adult learning principles, we learn by processing information, linking it to previously held knowledge, and then applying the new information”. She goes on to say “We know learners are more engaged when the training is interactive – meaning that participants are actively working with and responding to the content and each other leading to a more engaging and successful educational program."

Amen sister. Renie goes on to encourage us to Know Your Audience, Know the Organization, and Audience and my old favorite VARK: Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic which are different ways people process information their way.


Livening up the Learning Process (...oh JOY!)

Additional words of wisdom from Renie includes:

  • People are capable; they learn new skills and achieve their goals every day. It’s a mistake to sell them short in the classroom.
  • To make training more effective and engaging, use a variety of techniques.
  • Get the book – her ideas in this chapter are gold.


Gearing up Guided and Individual Practice

Chapter three shares lots of examples of alternatives to lectures. Renie includes everything you need including review games, group teaching, non-lecture methods, simulations, increased interactivity, and of course, fun, and more.


What’s Next: Exercise Examples and Instructions

“Remember to open your mind and be creative. Think about how to support interactive learning transfer. Remember all activities should support the learning goals. “ 

There is a multitude of ways to engage learners, limit lectures, and meet the objectives. 


Lou Russell

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