When delivering a learning program, you want people to ask relevant questions. But what if they all come from the same person? A learner who monopolizes your dialogue with the class can discourage other participants from getting involved and push you off topic, but you don't want to make an already engaged learner feel ignored or excluded. What should you do?
In an in-person training program, you can use a prop to enable hyperengaged learners to stay involved without dominating your class. It enables you to correct their behavior without calling them out or hurting their self-esteem.
Here's how you do it:
- Set up a wall chart or flipchart at the side of your classroom. Label it "Parking Lot."
- When someone begins taking over a conversation with questions, reach out to him. Acknowledge that his questions are relevant, valuable, and important. Then say that you want to hear them but need to make an arrangement for the sake of time.
- Give the learner a pen and large pad of sticky notes and ask him to write down his questions and comments as he thinks of them. Then tell him to post his sticky notes to the Parking Lot wall chart.
- Promise to review everything the learner posts on the Parking Lot at an appropriate time and confirm that you will answer any relevant questions.
- When you reach a break or appropriate opportunity, go to the Parking Lot and review the participant's questions.
To achieve the same effect as the Parking Lot but with learners who provide excessive suggestions instead of questions, put up a second chart and label it "Resources." Follow the same procedure as you would for the Parking Lot and invite the class to review the suggestions during breaks.