Are you thinking of developing a training program for your new agents and administrative staff? Your programs should consider the strategy of generative learning, which involves learners actively creating their own knowledge and understanding of a topic. In this blog post, we will explore the findings of Grabowski’s (2004) review of empirical studies on generative learning and how they can be applied to instructional design.

Grabowski’s review found that self-directed learning plans are more effective than instructed lessons providing there is an assessment, or marking component. This means that when learners create their own organizational structures for new information, they are more likely to remember and understand it. In a brokerage, case studies with written analysis can be very effective when teaching new concepts.

Another finding from Grabowski’s review is that student-generated examples and questions improve retention and transfer, but not always more than instructor-provided elaborations. This means that while self-generated examples and questions can be an effective learning strategy, it is not always superior to instructor-provided elaborations.

Finally, Grabowski’s review found that learners may become frustrated if staff are not developmentally ready for a generative activity. For admins, this means preparing them for a learning curve that may go beyond assigned scope and giving them the necessary resources to be successful. For agents, this can be addressed during the hiring process; a review of writing skills correlates to critical thinking and ultimately success in their role as a fiduciary.

We are an instructional design company and we believe in utilizing generative learning strategies to create engaging and effective learning experiences for our clients. By incorporating these findings into our instructional design process, we can create customized solutions that cater to the specific needs of our clients while ensuring that our solutions are grounded in theory and practice. If a client requires training on a new software application, we will create a customized training program that utilizes generative learning strategies such as student-generated examples and questions. We will also ensure that the difficulty level of the tasks is appropriate for the learners’ developmental level.

Contact us today to discuss your custom training needs.


Wilhelm-Chapin, M. K., & Koszalka, T. A. (2016). Generative Learning Theory and its Application to Learning Resources. ms, Syracuse University.