Focus on Teaching First, Then Finance
To reach students, prepare materials that will encourage them to choose to want to learn. That principle applies regardless of whether the audience is teenagers sitting in desks or retirement professionals. In “Focus on Teaching First, Then Finance
,” an article in the Fall 2015 edition of Plan Consultant
, Heartland Financial USA’s Brian Kallback outlines how one can do that.
View yourself as a teacher first and as a financial professional second, argues Kallback, and look at engagement strategies through the lens of adult learning techniques. “We need to understand the dynamics of adult learning so we can create sustained self-directed employee engagement,” he says.
Coaching an education team to use relevant adult learning techniques, Kallback says, will result in stronger, more effective presenters — as well as more employees who choose to take action regarding their retirement.
Traditional training in the retirement industry is instructor-led, with employees passively listening at desks or tables with chairs. In this environment, employees are dependent on educators to direct their knowledge and content. The alternative dynamic makes it possible for employees to choose to drive their own learning while the educator serves as a facilitator or consultant.
Kallback suggests a few practical applications to help employees make a conscious decision to learn. He argues that every interaction with an employee — whether within a group, individual or virtual setting — should include answers to the following questions:
- Do the employees know why they need to learn this material?
- Does your presentation relate to what the employees likely have experienced in their lives?
- Do you have a way to get the audience engaged?
“An educator’s responsibility,” Kallback concludes, “whether standing before a secondary education classroom or a group of employees, is to understand the audience well enough to ensure that the intended learning is delivered to most attendees. If the learning is not received, then the educator did not accomplish the purpose of the presentation — no matter how nice his or her suit looks or how polished the marketing materials are.”