I’ve presented twice in the past week on learning design principles with the goal of helping people reach their own conclusion that “telling does not equal learning.” I’ve posted my presentation on SlideShare.com – feel free to review it and share it with others. Here’s a quick summary:

Principle #1: Content does not equal outcomes.

Oh yeah, we’ve all been there. The subject matter expert (SME) comes into the meeting and says, “Here’s what the training needs to include,” and it’s a huge PowerPoint (at least 100 slides). It contains everything he or she wants to “tell” the learner with no serious thought as to what business outcome will be achieved or what laerning objectives might link to that business outcome.

How do you get out of this trap? I suggest positioning the learning experience as gears – with the outcome gear driving the learning objectives and the content. (See my slides.) I tell SMEs: “content isn’t BAD…unless it’s the wrong content.”

Learning Principle #2: We won’t pay attention to boring stuff – and we’re all easily bored!

USA Today reported two weeks ago that advertisers are cutting commercials from 30 seconds to 15 – because people won’t pay attention for 30 seconds! If people won’t attend to a 30-second TV spot, what makes us think they’ll ebe glued to our 45-minute e-course???? To gain/regain attention:

  • Tap into the emotional by telling stories, using humor, etc.
  • Be VISUAL: show rather than tell. People think in images, not words. Dumping tons of text or audio on people is a sure-fire way to get them to check out.
  • Make it competitive/fun: Try a game instead of a lesson. People love to learn by doing and a competitive game that allows them to problem-solve and discover on their own is way more compelling than a big “tell.”
  • Leverage the principle of difference. We pay attention to what’s different – not what is just like what we’ve already seen. Do the unexpected.
  • Personalize it and make it about THEM. People love I and me way more than they love “them.”

Principle 3: We can only learn what we remember – and we need LOTS of help!

Techniques for helping people remember:

  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. How do YOU memorize something? You probably repeat it many times. You have to find creative ways to review and help people rehearse new info.
  • Visuals (again). We can more easily remember images than we can words. Use them as menumonics.
  • Link familiar to unfamiliar. Use a common-place example to help illustrate something that is new to people. (See my scrambled eggs activity in presentation.)
  • Stick to the essentials only! Yep – be ruthless in deleting anything you don’t want them to remember. My Goldilocks activity does a fantastic job of helping people realize that including extraneous info dramatically increases the odds of people remembering the nonessential stuff and forgetting the essential stuff.

Enjoy the presentation. It will be up as a recorded webinar in the next month or so as well.

TiER1 Performance Indy

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New Palestine, IN 46163
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phone: (317) 861-7281

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