ACTIVE Reviewing Tips
for dynamic experiential learning


Reviewing for Different Ages

Roger Greenaway's Active Reviewing Tips ~ ISSN 1465-8046

is no longer published but you can view more back issues in the ARCHIVES

For Roger's blog and other writings please see the Guide to Active Reviewing

ARTips 12.1   Reviewing for Different Ages - part two

New readers may also like to see the previous issue 11.4
'Reviewing for Different Ages' which is now at:

Or BETTER STILL you can now read the complete article at:


In '5 learning myths to dump before the New Year' Nigel Payne's
Training Zone article included two learning myths about age:

"Myth #2: Learning gets harder as you get older

"There is no evidence that older people find learning
difficult... If you build the sharing of experience and knowledge
into the equation, your older staff can be your most effective
ambassadors for learning.

"Myth #3: Generation Y need a totally new kind of learning

"Age is a dangerous area to fixate upon. Someone of 45 can
demonstrate all the characteristics of a generation Y persona,
and someone of 25 won’t! ... Fixating on one group is naive and
divisive and simply will not work. Read the research if you do
not believe me."

[Extracts from Nigel Payne's myth busting article at
Direct link to article: <http://digbig.com/5baywk>]

This is what I wrote to Nigel.

Subject: "Read the research if you do not believe me"

"Nigel - I enjoyed your article and would like to refer to your
Myths 2 and 3 (about age) in an article that I happen to be
writing about reviewing with different ages.

"Please pander to my laziness or give me a clue about how to
follow your tantalising comment on Myth #3: 'Read the research if
you do not believe me'. I do believe you AND I would love to see
the research.

"My article draws on my own experiences and those of other
trainers. It started out as an attempt to come up with tips or
principles for working with different age groups, but ends up not
far away from concluding that adjusting for age often results in
limiting what is possible. When the article is published (soon) I
will send in the link.

"Thanks for the myth busting - a very useful activity! I have
accidentally followed a similar pathway - in relation to age."


Roger Greenaway

ARTips readers: when I do find the research, I will let you know.


The full article, including all examples received so far is at:


When I set out to write 'Reviewing with Different Ages' I thought I might end up with a reasonably tidy list of age-related tips. But looking through all these examples I have ended up with just one 'extra big' age-related tip - which is to take care that you do not limit your choices based on assumptions about what is (or is not) 'age appropriate'.

Of course, what you choose needs to be appropriate for the people
you are working with. And if you are not sure what is
appropriate, then try letting the people choose. Some of the
above examples show how groups and individuals have chosen how to
reflect on their experiences - and made good choices.

A recurring theme, in the examples above is the value and
richness of moving beyond purely verbal approaches and making
reflection a more active and creative process. In some of the
examples, there are no words at all, but the usual story is that
the greatest power comes from a mix of methods that engage the
whole person in the process of reflection.

Here are the key points again. They make more sense if you can
relate them to the original example. And they make even more
sense if you can relate them to your own experiences. Given my
'extra big' age-related tip above, I have removed most references
to age in the summary below.

1.Learning from experience appears to be an innate quality. > And
the funny thing is that most of these observations hold true
throughout life.

2.Finding the right question or finding the right method? > What
I learned from this was to seek alternatives to asking questions
- or at least to offer alternative ways of responding.

3.Enquiry and reflection for all ages > You are unlikely to
discover the participants' wisdom unless you provide them with an
opportunity to demonstrate their wisdom.

4.Giving and receiving balanced feedback > When everyone knows
they will have a turn at both giving and receiving feedback,
motivation, care and quality increases!

5.Reflecting on values - using pictures and deciding line >
Deciding Line generates high involvement, and the use of pictures
and appreciation makes it easier to achieve consensus.

6.Reflection, appreciation and feedback - using Smurfs > Choosing
a Smurf makes it easier to think and talk about personal
qualities - especially when there is a wide variety to choose

7.Changing a negative peer culture - with creative feedback
methods > If everyone knows that they will each have their own
turn at both giving and receiving feedback, they will readily
become more responsible and conscientious about doing so.

8.Active Learning - the importance of feedback > When using
active learning include suitable opportunities for feedback.
Remember that feedback can be active and creative too!

9.Creating a safe place to talk frankly - the Diary Room > A
change of context can help to engage people more deeply -
especially if the context is both novel and familiar.

10.Letting people explain things in their own language > In
experiential learning the best explanations arise from
facilitated reflection on experience - even when learning about

11.Letting people explore their world - through improv drama >
Finding an active way in which these people could reflect on
their experiences  helped to engage them in the learning process.
> Genuinely believing that they had the ability to create and
perform a play was also an essential ingredient.

12.Learning from participants how important reviewing is to them
> By reviewing activities we show that we care about what people
experience, that we value what they have to say, and that we are
interested in their progress. When people feel cared for, valued,
and respected they will be better learners!

13.Communicating with the help of a clay model > A creative
process (such as the making of a clay model) promotes reflection
and dialogue - with all who see the product.

14.Reflecting on street life - with poetry > When participants
write and read poetry, the reflective and mutually supportive
nature of a group can be transformed.

15.Giving feedback - using a football metaphor > Start from
strengths and existing knowledge. These football enthusiasts knew
about teamwork on the football field but had not so far applied
these insights to their own teamwork and team roles.

16.Reflecting on leadership - with pictures > A varied collection
of pictures can really help people think things through -
especially when touching, moving and rearranging pictures is also
part of the process.

17.Reflecting on working, relationships and change - with music >
Using music for reflection removes the normal constraints of
words and jargon and can lead to a deeper understanding.

18.Reflecting on a development programme - with paint > To get in
touch with your creative self and let your thoughts run free, it
is helpful to use a creative medium for reflection!

19.Reflecting and leading - creatively > Creative arts have a
useful role to play both in reflecting on leadership and in being
effective leaders.

20.People gauging opinion more quickly - with active reviewing >
Challenge norms and take risks if you want to leave safe routines
and discover more effective ways of learning.

21.Reviewing with a defensive group - letting the group decide >
Sometimes the smartest move is to share your concerns, leave the
room and let the group surprise you with their solution.

22.Reflecting - with drama > Drama presented a different kind of
challenge, and drawing as it did on their own experiences, it
proved to be highly relevant.

23.Telling a life story through drama > Enthusiasm for learning
and development is not age-related. And those who know most about
learning from experience are probably those who have done most
learning from experience.

24.Reflection through movement, dance and song > If talking isn't
working, remember that there are whole other worlds and channels
through which people can recall, reflect and discover.

If you wish to add in your own examples, it is never too late
because this is a web text to which I will be more than happy to
include your own contribution to this growing document. Please
write with your comments or contributions to:

The full article, including all examples received so far is at:


The Active Learning Manual is a pilot project using video to
demonstrate active learning methods. You can view my introductory
video and three one minute videos
- Action Replay
- Moving Stones
- Talking Knot
at https://www.youtube.com/user/rogerreview

If you are a client (or potential client) who has access to the
equipment and skills to take and edit 2 minute videos of a
similar style and quality to the pilot videos at

For a limited period I am now offering a third day's training
free in exchange for two minute videos that I can add to the
Active Learning Manual collection. To discuss this, or other
possibilities, please write to me at: roger@reviewing.co.uk


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the Children since January 2006. Thank you for your purchases.

Do ALL your Amazon shopping (not just books) via
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In Transfer of Learning (2001) Professor Robert Haskell reviews
100 years of research about the transfer of learning. He
summarises his findings into '11 Principles of Transfer':

Haskell attaches greatest importance to his eleventh principle:

"Finally, and most importantly, learners must observe and read
the works of people who are exemplars of transfer thinking. This
means reading systems thinkers, accounts of scientific
discoveries, of invention and innovation; it means reading the
great poets. Poets are masters of transfer."

The most important point in Haskell's general theory of transfer
(Number 11) is a fascinating one: Poets are masters of transfer.
It has inspired me to set up debates within trainer-training
events on the question of whether a poem or a plan is a better
vehicle for the transfer of learning. Here are some of the ideas
that have been stated during these debates:

You discard even the best plans when they are finished.
You keep the best poems - they last forever and can inspire many
Poems capture the essence of the experience.
Plans capture what you can use and do with it.
A poem is a reminder of good times - it inspires.
A plan is a pathway to better times - it inspires.
Poems convert an ordinary experience into something special.
Plans convert an ordinary experience into something special.
Poems create something that was not there before.
Plans create something that was not there before.
You need imagination, creativity, rhythm and timing and a careful
choice of words to be a poet.
You need imagination, creativity, rhythm and timing and a careful
choice of words to make a plan.
Plans know when to stop - they have deadlines.
Poems don't - they are lifelines.
Poems can be fun, profound, entertaining.
Plans can create anything you want.
So can poems.

[Extract from: Greenaway, R. (2002) "How Transfer Happens" in:
Organisation Development: Topical Papers No. 5, February 2002,
39-55, Brathay, Ambleside]

This may not be quite what the professor had in mind, but I
continue to gain interesting insights from these debates, and I
am increasingly convinced that we should approach transfer both
logically and creatively. And we should provide the means for
learners to approach transfer in a balanced and well resourced
way. Transfer is too important to make it the exclusive domain of
planners - or poets.


If you are a provider of facilitation training, please send me
the details if you would like the details included in future
issues of Active Reviewing Tips.

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If you would like to host an open event or arrange for an in-
house customised trainer-training programme please get in touch.
Write to: <roger@reviewing.co.uk>

Or view the sample training workshops at <http://reviewing.co.uk>
which has had a new year makeover and is much easier to navigate.


Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence (2009)
Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer, and Robert Bjork
conclude that at present, there is no adequate
evidence base to justify incorporating learning styles
assessments into general educational practice.

Different Strokes for Different Folks?
A Critique of Learning Styles by Steven A Stahl
http://digbig.com/5baywt (pdf)

Dale's Cone of Experience has been widely misinterpreted says
Michael Molenda, Indiana University (2003)

~ 8 ~ LAST ISSUE: Reviewing for Different Ages (Part One)

Reviewing for Different Ages (Part One) is now at:

Or BETTER STILL you can now read the complete article at:

~ 9 ~ NEXT ISSUE: How to be very engaging?

This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked - how to
engage learners. So I will be returning to this issue and drawing
together the various tips and articles I have written on the

And please let me know what you would like to see in a future
issue of Active Reviewing Tips.

~ 10 ~ About Active Reviewing Tips

EDITOR: Dr. Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
9 Drummond Place Lane STIRLING Scotland UK FK8 2JF
Feedback, recommendations, questions: roger@reviewing.co.uk

The Guide to Active Reviewing is at http://reviewing.co.uk
'One of the best training sites I've ever seen' Training Journal

COPYRIGHT: Roger Greenaway  Reviewing Skills Training

I enjoyed the co-authoring aspect of this issue about reviewing for different ages. As often happens when I write, it was also a learning journey. I look forward to opportunities for other kinds of collaborative writing in future issues. I think it is a win-win-win formula: better for authors and readers. Is anyone interested? Proposals welcome!

Each month Active Reviewing Tips brings you:

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 INDEX to reviewing.co.uk - resources for dynamic learning
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