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Resistance is a Sign of Learning

Awaken Prior Knowledge

"Start with the learner and never lose focus." ~ Harold Stolovitch

Recently, one of my program participants really pushed back on some of the points we were making. In short, he wasn't buying it. He didn't think that what we were offering as a model, solution, and process for his performance improvement squared with what he thought was needed. And, he let us know.

In the past, I may have thought this resistance to learning would be a negative. "Oh my," I'd think, "I have to win this person over!" My response may well have been to revise my facilitation for next time in order to avoid this situation in the future.

Oh, how wrong I was. You see, to encourage learning we awaken prior knowledge and combine it with the new knowledge. When we don't we cause cognitive dissonance, also known as "Whaaaa?"

If we awaken prior knowledge, through compelling learning experiences, we may well see resistance The resistance isn't the problem, though. This is just an outward sign of our learners working through how the new knowledge fits in with the new knowledge.

Through simulation and other engaging techniques, these reactions become very evident. It's only when we stop lecturing that we can actually see and respond as instructors to what our learners are trying to tell us. Engage your learners, awaken their prior knowledge, and more learning will occur.


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