Episode 27: How to Create Engaging Workshops w/Anna Gullstrand

29 Seprember, 2020 / Host: Petra Färm

Creating Engaging Workshops and Meetings

In a world where workshops and meetings are frequent, it can be challenging to keep the audience engaged and committed to the information presented. It is vital to understand how to optimize learning and build long-term memory for every presentation, meeting or workshop. According to the Neuro Leadership Institute, their recent science has developed a model called the Ages Learning Model that helps us understand the factors that foster engagement in meetings, presentations, and workshops.

The Ages Learning Model, which stands for Attention, Generation, Emotions, and Spacing, is a model that focuses on how the brain works during learning. The model helps to optimize learning, build long-term memory, and create real and long-lasting values for the group. The key insight from the Ages Learning Model is that the average human attention span is approximately 20 minutes, according to research.
In this episode, Anna Gullstrand will explore how to apply the Ages Learning Model to make workshops and meetings engaging and productive.

Understanding Attention: How to Catch and Keep the Brain’s Attention and Focus

The first component of the Ages Learning Model is attention. Attention is crucial in workshops and meetings because it allows the brain to focus and retain information. The human brain can pay full attention for approximately 20 minutes, and this is the maximum duration that a presenter can hold their audience's attention.
However, in today's world, there are several distractions that can hinder the audience's attention, including cell phones, laptops, and even colleagues' actions. Therefore, it is essential to keep the distractions at bay and create an environment that promotes engagement and focus.
Here are some tips to promote attention in meetings and workshops:
  • Limit the use of cell phones and laptops.
  • Encourage the audience to be engaged by asking questions or taking part in activities.
  • Use visuals to aid in attention retention.

Multitasking is another distraction that hinders attention. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not productive as it requires more mental effort and decreases productivity. Therefore, it is essential to focus on one task at a time to maximize attention.

Understanding Generation: How to Generate Unique Meaning to Information

The second component of the Ages Learning Model is generation. Generation refers to the participants' ability to generate unique meaning to the information presented. When the audience generates unique meaning, the information becomes more meaningful and memorable.
In workshops and meetings, the presenter should encourage the audience to participate actively in generating unique meaning. Some tips to promote generation include:
  • Encourage the audience to ask questions.
  • Use real-life examples to help the audience relate to the information.
  • Use open-ended questions to encourage participation.

Understanding Emotions: How to Create Situations that Trigger Emotions

The third component of the Ages Learning Model is emotions. Emotions play a crucial role in the learning process as they help the brain to remember information. When the audience experiences emotions, the information becomes more memorable.
To promote emotions in workshops and meetings, the presenter should create situations that trigger emotions. For example, the presenter can use storytelling to create empathy and inspire the audience. Some tips to promote emotions include:
  • Use storytelling to create empathy and inspire the audience.
  • Use humor to lighten the mood and create a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Use positive language to create a sense of optimism and hope.

Understanding Spacing: How to Split Information into Smaller Fragments

The fourth component of the Ages Learning Model is spacing. Spacing refers to splitting information into smaller fragments to create space in the brain to process and retain information. When the information is presented in smaller fragments, it becomes more manageable and memorable.
In workshops and meetings, the presenter should split the information instead of cramming all the information into one long workshop or presentation. Spacing out the learning also provides participants with the opportunity to reflect on the material and consolidate it in their long-term memory. This can be achieved through follow-up activities, such as quizzes, assignments, or group discussions.


  • Understanding the AGES learning model can help optimize learning and build long-term memory in meetings, presentations, and workshops.
  • Attention, generation, emotions, and spacing are the four components of the AGES learning model, and each one is crucial to creating engaging and memorable experiences.
  • To improve engagement and long-term memory, it's important to minimize distractions, focus on one task at a time, and use emotions and spacing to create unique and meaningful learning experiences.

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