Let’s imagine that you are a caveman or a cavewoman. Your entire life is filled with activities that are critical to your survival such as hunting, gathering, building weapons, preparing food, and looking after children. Learning how to do these activities requires lots of “hands on” training and practice. The stakes are always high for cave people, and mistakes can easily lead to unpleasant encounters with sabre toothed tigers.
The National Training Laboratories Institute has conducted extensive research on this topic and created the “Learning Pyramid” (shown below) that shows the direct correlation between passive and participatory teaching methods. In other words, the more involved you are with an activity, the higher your retention will be (the ability to remember). For people working on oil rigs, in hospitals, construction sites, mines, chemical factories, and nuclear plants, the stakes are also quite high and a worker’s retention of safety procedures can be the difference between life and death.