A long while ago, Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” He was right – the best learning involves doing, and the more the better. Here’s a simple strategy you can use to structure your instruction so that what you are trying to teach actually gets learned.
The EDGE Method
The strategy is called the EDGE method; E-D-G-E. The Boy Scouts came up with this great acronym, but it can work for anybody. Each letter stands for a step in the process. It goes like this:
Explain – talk about what you will be doing and why it’s important. It can be very useful to have visual aids for this – a chart, diagram, model, or anything else that will help them get the general idea.
Demonstrate – Next, show them what the skill looks like when it’s done correctly; you can talk about what you are doing as you go so they understand your actions. When you are done with this step, they will know what “right looks like”
Guide – Now it’s their turn. Give them the tools, and let them try; you may need to talk them through the process step by step so they understand. This phase will probably take the most time, and you have to be patient; you may even need to demonstrate again.
Enable – In the final step, they get to do it on their own. If they can properly demonstrate the skill themselves, than they have effectively learned the skill. The best training ends with the learner showing off his new ability.
For an example, let’s say you want to teach someone how to tie a square knot.
First EXPLAIN – this knot is used to join two pieces of rope that are the same size
Then DEMONSTRATE – this is what it looks like when you tie a square knot; right over left, left over right
Next GUIDE – them as they do it; here’s some rope, let’s do this together…put an end of the rope in each hand and twist the right side over the left side…
Finally ENABLE – have them do it on their own
Looking for more? To get additional ideas and techniques for every step of the process, you can download a free EDGE Method Tip Sheet to help you prepare.
Using the EDGE method to teach something is a great way to get organized and will help ensure that actual learning occurs as a result of your efforts. When you are done, if your student can show you how to do it himself, you were successful. And Ben Franklin would be proud!
That’s your two-minute tip for today; I wish you the best!
Did you know you can use the EDGE Method as a guide for how to lead your team through every stage of its development?
Check out these other tips to communicate more effectively as a leader.
The Teaching EDGE is a trademark of the Boy Scouts of America