Pull Vs. Push Technique
While jamming your LXD with entertaining, game-like, and fun activities can capture the learners’ interest and attention briefly, it will not sustain engagement long enough to achieve the desired learning outcomes
To ensure a long-term Learner engagement, the learner must see relevance between learning and his personal needs and then choose to learn. However, when it comes to adult learners, engagement can be even more complex; adults tend to get dis-engaged in passive learning and lean more towards contributing and integrating their personal knowledge and expertise to the learning process.
Pulling is a technique that encourages learners to add from their knowledge, experience, insights and reflections to the whole learning group
Pulling occurs when the facilitator allows the participants to share and interact with each other, add from their own previous experience to the session and share their perceptions and opinions. This can take place through questioning, discussions, or any different cooperative learning method. Here, the facilitator is not solely adding new learning outcomes to the learners.
On the other hand, the Push technique has been used in learning for as far as we can remember. It relies on adding knowledge from the facilitator him/herself, who directly adds new learning outcomes to learners --through mini presentations, videos, etc. Facilitator cannot push feelings and insights, as it has to come from the participants
Recently, the Push technique has been under a lot of criticism for being rigid and outdated technique that adversely affects the leaner’s engagement, enthusiasm and professional development.
While Pulling is extremely beneficial to the learner experience, it should not be used at every stage regardless of the situation.
For instance, if your learning outcomes involve adding knowledge to the learner--whether it is factual, statistical or in the form of a model presentation-- it is not recommended to start by pulling from participants. While introducing a new model or explaining new terminology, it is not logical to expect the participants to previously know what this new model contains, or if they can guess what these abbreviations stand for.
By doing so, you may negatively impact the learner eXperience through:
- Encouraging improvisation, where wrong information provided by one of the learners might stick to other learners' minds
- Jeopardizing the safe environment
In such case, it is recommended to start with using diversified pushing techniques, then using pull techniques during reflections, insights and possible applications; allowing participants to practice and apply.
Although Pulling focuses on placing the learner in the driver's seat, it is not wise to let him drive all the way. Push and Pull techniques can be most effective when cohesively integrated into your LXD. Favoring one technique over the other, regardless of each learner’s state and unique relationship with the learner experience, may cause an undesirable resistance from the learner. While understanding that the two opposites in fact complete and compliment each other, will take you a step closer towards a perfect Learner eXperience Design.