The Trainer's Toolkit

Bringing brain-friendly learning to life

By: Larry Reynolds , Kimberley Hare


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 297mm x 210mm
Pages : 224
ISBN : 9781904424239
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2003

True brain-friendly learning is not about gimmicks. It is far more than just putting on classical music or playing games. It’s a movement rather than just a method, a movement to recover the real joy of learning and bring sizzle and substance to your training sessions.

This resource provides a blueprint for a new generation of Accelerated Learning methods and at its heart are five key principles:

  • Keep it real
  • Facilitate the flow
  • Honour uniqueness
  • Make it rich and multi-sensory
  • and State is everything

There is a clear explanation of the theory behind Brain-Friendly Learning from the inside out; the concepts and learning models you’ll need to underpin your approach, along with a journey through the most complex structure in the universe - your amazing brain.

You’ll discover a concise guide to Brain-Friendly training design along with tools that you can pick and adapt to help you create new training events or make-over existing ones.

Picture for author Larry Reynolds

Larry Reynolds

Larry is the principal consultant at 21st Century Leader and has twenty years' experience of developing leaders and trainers in a wide range of organisations. He believes in creating organisations where people love to work.

Picture for author Kimberley Hare

Kimberley Hare

Kimberley Hare has been described as 'a pioneering visionary for change and learning-. Her focus is on helping individuals, teams and organisations to create the future they want.



  1. This large-format A4 paperback is a real break through in books about learning, not just for its content but the style as well. Built into three parts, the first part consisting of 30 pages, concentrates on helping you understand the principles of -˜brain-friendly learning', innovative yet realistic. Less than ten pages covers part two but they're important as they deal with the design process of brain-friendly learning. The final part is divided into five sections to cover the tools - making it real; for facilitation creation; for honouring uniqueness; to make it rich and multisensory; to manage state. If you really want to deliver training programmes that hit all the learning spots, these 200 pages will guide you through. This resource provides a blueprint for a new generation of Accelerated Learning methods.
  2. Let's face it - at some stage most of us will either have attended or facilitated a training event which we are not quite sure has gone the way we had planned or hoped. Left with information to process, our heads are full of detail we are not quite sure what to do with.

    Here then is a resource to help turn those mixed-up ingredients into something tangible. The authors show how to use various techniques based on the concept of brain-friendly learning to put into practice some of the new insights and theories learnt.

    It is a veritable how-to book packed with ideas of how to make training both effective and efficient. Topics covered range from the basics of how to set up and equip a learning environment to the softer issues of how learning is received and processed by the human brain.

    The book does cover some old ground such as Tuckman's 1965 utterings of the forming, storming. norming and performing stages a group go through when developing. This however does not Leave the reader with the feeling of having just read something which has been dressed up but rather that the concept can be fun and useful if used in the right context.

    This resource provides an array of activities for the trainer or facilitator in business, education or group situations. It acts as a type of blueprint for accelerated learning methods based on a number of principles such as keeping the content simple but realistic while making the flow of information easy to follow. The other vita[ principle upon which the learning methodology is based is to take account of the environment in which people are applying what they have learnt and make the learning experience akin to that.

    To me, as a training and HR practitioner, the book is a neat balance between theory and practice. It is a useful tool for anyone wanting to put together anything from as basic a training course as they need to training the trainer in how to be more effective in what they do.

    The authors have opted for a simple formula to underpin what is behind brain-friendly learning. It is described as a I movement rather than a method' which is borne out by the range of facilitative exercises eluded to throughout the text. These range from the old brain-storming favourite of getting people to generate ideas to the more in-depth tools of understanding how people learn.

    This is where the detail of the book could lose the uninitiated. The theory becomes a little heavy at times talking, for example, about the types of learning people undergo such as explicit and implicit. The detail is important however to understand the concept of what accelerated [earning is all about which is, after all, the main thrust of what the authors are trying to explain.

    There are numerous learning models provided which underpin a range of training approaches with a concise guide to training design along with toots that can be used and adapted to help create new training events or upgrade existing ones.

    For the more curious reader there is an entertaining section describing how the brain works with a range of factoids provided - did you know for example your brain weighs about three pounds and is no bigger than a grapefruit? On a more serious note these facts and how the brain processes information in order to learn are vital to understanding how brain-friendly Learning can be put to the best possible use.

    The simplicity of Hare's and Reynolds' work appears, at times, to be almost surreal. It quickly becomes apparent though to the reader that a Lot of what is being explained is not in fact some complicated theory but rather under-standing what we all do day in and day out - using our brains on a practical level.

    All in all for what is essentially a text book, the content is fun. It is light hearted and tr-eats the concept of brain-friendly [earning and development as something to be enjoyed rather than dreaded. It might just make the lives of trainers that Little bit easier in trying to convey messages which, after a[[, are more often than not plain, simple common sense.
  3. THIS BOOK IS MORE THAN A TRAINER'S TOOLKIT. It is a user-friendly and informative resource that can be used by professionals from a variety of disciplines.

    The resource covers both new and existing ground with a dynamic approach. Accelerated learning techniques are brought to life through graphics, human-interest stories, humour and science. The connection between the mind, body and soul, and our environment in relation to effective learning is excellently illustrated.

    The book is divided into three main parts. Part 1 describes the principles of brain-friendly learning and the fact that it is a more creative way of imparting information to the learner; it is described as a movement to recover the joy of learning; “combining sizzle with substance!'

    Part 2 focuses on brain-friendly design and the principles of implementation that are divided into five main areas: Keep it real ” ensuring that there is ownership of learning and that the activity designed is related to business goals. Facilitate creation - ensuring that the activity has meaning and value for the learner. Honour uniqueness - asks the facilitator to recognise differences in learners' behaviour and how we react to information. State is everything - the authors reiterate that learners must be in the right state to benefit from their learning experiences and gives specific examples for encouraging a healthy state. Make it rich and multisensory- this section advises that learning activities need to be developed to appeal to all the learners' senses. Activities should incorporate movement, colour, simulation, discussion and real life projects.

    Part 3 talks about the importance of compelling goals within the learning experience and brain-friendly learning. Examples for keeping the experience real and relevant to the learner are recommended from the development of the event to its delivery. The book reinforces the position that if brain-friendly learning techniques are introduced, effectively, learners should feel energized and motivated to implement their learning in the workplace.
  4. As a keen embracer of Brain Friendly and Accelerated Learning, I was delighted to be asked to review Kim and Larry's practical and easy to use book of training tips and ideas. Accelerated learning is sometimes more sizzle than substance, or passed off as virtually anything done with Mozart as an accompaniment - however, The Trainer's Toolkit is in-depth information which can assist anyone in giving their presentations a makeover which will not only add to student enjoyment but increase that all-important factor of transferring learning back to the job.

    The book is clearly laid out, with 3 parts usefully divided into informatively indexed sections, making it easy to dip in and find relevant tools and ideas when you're planning.Part One covers “The Principles of Brain Friendly Learning”, offering readers an understanding of what brain friendly learning is all about; from updating the learning paradigm and discovering more about the brain, to exploring the following 5 main principles in detail:

    Keep it Real
    Facilitate Creation Not Consumption
    Honour uniqueness
    Make it rich and multi-sensory
    State is everything - (well almost!)

    Part Two gives a comprehensive guide to training design the brain-friendly way, and Part Three is a treasure chest of tools which you'll want to dip into whenever you're planning a training session.

    A minor criticism is that I would have liked to see some colour in the book, to stimulate the visual, but it's a minor consideration. It's really almost a complete training course presented in an accessible style, and anyone who gives presentations of any kind - whether in business, teaching or training who really wants to make sure their learners absorb and use what's on offer would benefit from adding this book to their own toolkit.

    What others are saying:
    “This is a book all trainers should skim through for ideas -and I guarantee that within seconds you'll be reaching for a pen to make notes”

    “This book is very practical. It includes fun games, but it makes the very clear point that Accelerated Learning should be Substance as well as Sizzle! You'll get lots of both here”

    “If your aim is to enable learners to explore, integrate and make sense of knowledge or skills that will help them in their work - and for you all to have fun in the process - then the contents of this resource will put you well on the way”
    “After reading this book, I felt empowered, imaginative and very enthusiastic about what I could do to transform the way I train”
  5. Several years ago a high profile learning styles trainer told me that in the near future a plethora of trainings would appear based on the concept of what was then called “whole-brain' learning. She further said that many of them would be superficially attractive and gimmicky with the aim of grabbing attention and promising transformative, quick-fix approaches to training and learning.

    Well, she was right. At that time, Alistair Smith was one of the few UK trainers delivering Accelerated Learning courses; certainly published resources were thin on the ground. However, more material is emerging and as it does, it becomes trickier for the customer to sort the chaff from the wheat.

    Happily, this book falls into the latter category and indeed identifies the same problem that I have outlined above ; the authors state on page 3 “Since writing this book, we've noticed a kind of bandwagon effect going on amongst facilitators"put some Mozart on the music system, and throw a koosh ball around and voila! ” you have accelerated learning.' I have observed this process going on in schools ” the book describes it as “manicuring a corpse'!

    Instead, the process should be about bringing the corpse of tired, unmotivated training and learning back to life. It follows hot on the heels of “The Teacher's Toolkit' and is as I have suggested based on the principles of Accelerated Learning. It is divided into three sections ” an introductory section outlining the principles of “brain-friendly' learning, an overview of the five principles of design a training session, and a large third section of “tools' for facilitating creativity, honouring uniqueness, making training rich and multi-sensory and managing state. The material draws heavily on techniques used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and presents them in a user-friendly way. I particularly liked the summary at the end of each chapter which demand a reader response ” basically a short test to check whether the material has penetrated, but done in a creative and fun way which personalises what has been learned for the reader.

    The book is aimed at trainers new to brain-friendly learning and the authors use a variety of methods to present their approach and involve the reader throughout. It reads at times like a book about child-centred teaching and this is not surprising as it puts the learner at the heart of the process. The third section lists a plethora of ideas, grouped into categories such as “developing your own intelligences' and “-˜dressing the learning environment' for what to do, so many that at times I began to feel a little overwhelmed. The authors' enthusiasm and experience clearly shines through here and the book is such a rich resource that even trainers who are familiar with brain-friendly learning will find much to harvest.
  6. As a trainer I found this book both interesting and useful.

    There are tools and activities contained within the pages that can be used as they are, or modified to suit the individuals being trained. It outlines, explains and explores how unconscious learning can augment the training and gives detailed explanations of the 5 methods that can be used to create the best states for learning. It is a very practical tool for anyone involved in training.

    With this book you can design a fun, multi-level training course that aids both unconscious and conscious learning for participants.

    I would recommend this book.
  7. Some useful activities and ideas to carry out with students on Qualified Teacher Status duties.
  8. If Where's your Spotlight is the introduction to switch you on, this is the manual you'll plan your sessions from. Previously only available as one of those hugely expensive training packs, it has now been published by Crown House at a very affordable price.

    This is a book all trainers should skim through for ideas -and I guarantee that within seconds you'll be reaching for a pen to make notes.

    It comprehensively and engagingly covers all aspects of brain-friendly training. It gives you the background information you need, plus practical things you can do in the many different situations you encounter in training - including the breaks. It's written for business trainers, but it should be a must-read for all teachers - and just imagine what a difference it would make if all teachers viewed their students as paying clients!

    Part One gives the principles of brain-friendly learning. It covers the five main aspects:

    • Keep it real

    • Facilitate creation not consumption

    • Honour uniqueness

    • Make it rich and multi-sensory

    • State is everything (well ... almost)

    Part Two is about designing courses in a brain-friendly way. Part Three is the toolkit of the title - giving lots of specific tools, techniques and suggestions within 5l categories. Most of it you can use straight off the page (and permission is given for photocopying for educational or training events). It explains the stages of group formation (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing ” and possibly also Dorming and Mourning), the Disney strategy (Dreamer, Realist, Critic), chunking, how to give instructions, how to -˜dress' the learning environment, Bernice McCarthy's 4-MAT approach to designing learning, using music (including a summary of licensing issues from Mark McKergow), memory techniques, integration strategies ” and that's just what immediately jumped out at me on a quick flick through. This book is very practical. It includes koosh balls and fun games, but it makes the very clear point that Accelerated Learning should be Substance as well as Sizzle! You'll get lots of both here.
  9. The Trainer's Toolkit is brimful of ideas for underpinning and complementing teaching, training and learning. It is to be highly recommended for use in a variety of teaching and learning environments.

    The book's layout is clear, straightforward and very user-friendly. It contains so many useful and interesting parts and sections that we, as teachers and trainers, are really spoilt for choice.

    The versatility of this brain-friendly learning approach will mean many stimulating sessions in the future which will certainly benefit participants of all kinds.
  10. Initially I felt that his book would be more suitable for trainers in a business setting rather than for educationalists. On reading the book, however, I was pleasantly surprised. It is highly readable, interesting and full of useful ideas. Part one is particularly interesting. The interactive nature of the book helps generate and keep the reader's interest. I will recommend to the PGCE groups.
  11. Excellent introduction to Accelerated Learning for trainers new to this approach. Also contains invigorating suggestions for those already using the techniques. One quibble ” some of the neuro-science is a little too simplistic. Liked the invitations to think and summary activities ” the book walks its talk!
  12. This splendid collection of tools and ideas for trainers draws from the widest variety of sources. It not only gives a useful foundation for applying accelerated learning in the training room, it is also highly practical. We've been waiting a long time for someone to produce such a useful guide - three cheers for Kim and Larry for having finally done some justice to this fascinating and vital topic.
  13. The first thing that struck me when first opened the trainers toolkit is that it's layout and presentation is so well thought out. It immediately becomes an inviting publication where a busy trainer looking for ideas and fun interesting input can easily find what they need with ease.

    Kimberley and Larry have ensured that accelerated learning methods follow the principles of making it practical and relevant to everyone who may use it. The background information of brain friendly learning is explained in an informative and interesting way without getting too heavy.

    The toolkit is superb for well laid out exercises and activities that will assist every learning event to have a profound sense of fun and thought provoking activities.

    The well laid out publication helps further by presenting itself in three parts. Each dedicated to the principles of brain-friendly learning, brain-friendly design and the Tools for brain-friendly learning. All are informative and a pleasure to read.

    I particularly felt that after reading this excellent publication that I was able to better understand brain-friendly learning and effectively incorporate it into any learning session, knowing that everyone involved would enjoy and benefit from the activities.

    In particular I found the items on principles and design quite superb. Kimberley and Larry really hit the mark for me in their statement ” Keep it real"ensure there is a clear link to the business. The importance of this could not be over emphasised for me having dealt with so many professional organisations over the last 20 years.

    Although mind mapping and energizing sessions are not new to me it's always interesting to continually develop new ideas to keep event fresh and lively. An invaluable tool for the trainer and facilitator.

    A fascinating point is looking at sessions such as “Keep the ball in the learners court” where it is refreshing to look at traditional learning compared to brain-friendly learning.

    The Trainer's Toolkit offers a fresh approach for introducing new activities into new and existing presentations and learning events. Each session could be used in a wide range of events in management development, quality and efficiency, personal development and creative thinking. In fact the toolkit offers something for everyone and would make an invaluable addition to any professional trainers collection.

    I read with great fascination the subjects on two mode processing exploring Explicit and implicit learning and also the inspiring and engaging of all the intelligences where the writers effectively explain the areas of linguistic, bodily and interpersonal intelligences among five others.

    The Trainer's Toolkit also provides a wealth of ideas, activities and thought provoking sessions for introducing tools for making learning rich and multisesnsory.

    The writers have provided some extremely interesting reading on unconscious learning. Their examples of embedded commands are so well presented that it really made me stop and re evaluate the strength of how we learn without always realising it. The superb opportunity this provided to me was to be able to introduce more embed learning statements into written material and comments in learning activities.

    Overall The Trainer's Toolkit offers a wealth of thought provoking and well-designed activities and sessions that everyone will find interesting and useful. Anyone involved in professional training will gain superb ideas and examples to continually improve their existing skills and presentation styles. It is a well laid out publication that is user friendly and informative. This is a must for all who look to develop new ideas into their training and development events.
  14. If you consider learning to be creation not consumption, then the Trainer's Toolkit will help you to create learning with any group of participants.

    It has just enough theory to show why this matters, and bundles of practical advice to supplement any trainer or facilitator's resource box.

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