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How to Build Creativity into your Training

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 10/6/14 4:00 AM
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I’ve often heard trainers complain that their courses are dry and they want to make them more interesting and fun. Bring on the creative instructional techniques! They want their courses to be livelier, however, in the same breath, they share their reluctance to take risks and try something new and creative.

I recently read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review, titled “Reclaim Your Creative Confidence,written by Tom and David Kelley. Although the article was not related to training, I was struck by the core message, “Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, but over time, because of socialization and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses.” This statement resonated with me because of my experience working with young people from pre-school to high school. I recall the younger children being vibrant and eager to play and participate, while the older children became more self-conscious and reserved. As adults we don’t want to look bad and thus, become more inhibited. In the process, we lose some of that creative confidence. So, how do we reclaim that creativity?

The article identifies four fears that interfere with our creativity. Let’s look at each one:

  1. Fear of the messy unknown – There are a plethora of ideas and instructional techniques to implement creativity and fun in the classroom and yet many times our creative ideas sit on the shelf and never get implemented because we don’t know for sure if they will work. Forget the messy unknowns and do it anyway.
  2. Fear of being judged – As trainers we don’t want to look bad, particularly if the risk we take to be creative doesn’t go well. We may then risk appearing incompetent. Again we don’t know until we try…and if it goes bad, what an opportunity to be human and laugh at our flaws, learn from the experience, make adjustments, and do it better the next time.
  3. Fear of the first step – I’ve heard so many reasons for not taking action. The big one is time. Not enough time for a brainteaser or an icebreaker. There are loads of brainteasers and icebreakers that can take a minimum of five minutes or less. We just have to dip into our instructional techniques tool box, take the first step, and use them. They pay huge dividends in the end.
  4. Fear of losing control – I believe the previous three fears can all be rolled into this one. There is a need to be in control. We have to teach the content, manage time, the class, technology etc. There’s a lot at stake and yes, there are clear risks when being creative in training. However, I believe the benefits outweigh the risks and there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience for both the trainer and the learner.

These are common fears we all face as trainers, particularly when we are challenged to try something new and different. I often hear people say, “I’m not creative.” Well, I believe creativity is something you can practice and often times it just needs to be stimulated. I’ve observed this happening so many times in our Langevin courses. Learners are astounded when they reclaim their creativity and view training as a fun, exciting, and engaging experience.

So, take a leap of faith, let go of the fears, and let the child within revel in playfulness as we reclaim our creativity with confidence. Just Do It!

Dealing with Difficult Participants



Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Topics: energizers, instructional techniques, icebreakers

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