RolePlayPRO – Prisoner, Vacationer, Expert or Explorer?


RolePlayPRO – Prisoner, Vacationer, Expert or Explorer

In a training environment, there are generally four different types of people – the Prisoner, the Vacationer, the Expert, and the Explorer.

Prisoner learners are those who have been sent by management and personally don’t want to attend the training.  They don’t want to be there and don’t see why they need to be there. They don’t want to contribute and they will lower the energy levels in the room.

The Vacationer sees training as a time to get away from work and routine tasks, an opportunity to just sit back, relax and daydream. S/he will get involved, but ultimately are more interested in having fun and avoiding the work left behind on their desk rather than learning anything.

The Expert is someone who knows it all and loves a challenge. S/he thinks s/he already has the knowledge or information. S/he likes to challenge the trainer on every topic instead of taking the opportunity to listen and learn.

The Explorer is the person who loves to learn and explore new ideas.  This type of learner is attentive during the session, gets actively involved in group work, and brings high levels of energy into the room.

shutterstock_125063339As a trainer, understanding which category your learners fall into is crucial when you’re delivering training. In the same regards, if you are an employer, being aware of this can dramatically alter the way training and development efforts are approached within your company.

This process of consideration is not about labeling the individuals and writing them off. Instead, it is about becoming knowledgeable about your staff’s diverse needs and supporting their learning process, wherever they are.

If you have a large number of what you perceive to be prisoners, one way to begin understanding how to better adjust to their learning style is to simply ask the question;

“What kind of learner are you? Prisoner, vacationer, expert or explorer?”

Then explain to them what each means. By creating open communication, you will not only help yourself better understand their learning styles, but help the learners discover it themselves. This can be a great first step to working with the learners to come up with the best possible training method that will produce active explorers.

shutterstock_125338115Video can be an alternative to classroom learning for those who either indicate up front that they don’t want to learn in a classroom or for those who attended a classroom section and did not meet objectives/outcomes. This way, the prisoner learner can feel less like the training exercise is just an interruption and more of a resource.

There is an explorer lurching inside all of us. It is up to the employers/trainers to unearth and encourage each participant to actively engage in their own training and professional development.

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