Too Much Set-up = Brain Shut-down

When designing how a training course begins for your learners, flavor your approach with less Do Re Mi and more In Medias Res. No matter how linear the content, no matter how compliant-heavy the material, you don’t need to bore your learners with a lot of set-up. Throw them right in–most adult learners will thrive on the immediate challenge!

Emergency SignSo: Instead of beginning a training course this way…

This course is designed to train you on longshoreman safety. It is important for you to follow safety guidelines when working on ships to avoid danger. The company requires that you know all this information. This course is designed to help you do the following:

    1. Wear your helmet.
    2. Make sure your two-way radio is functioning properly.
    3. Avoid smoking at all times.

…think about starting your course more like this. (Use video! Use comic-book-style frames!)

A 15-year veteran with the union, Jack is a confident longshoreman. He’s well respected and successful in his job. Even the most experienced employees make mistakes. Jack had no way of knowing that the moment he decided to light up on the pier would change the entire course of his life… [Cut to emergency room.]

Which “grand opening” piqued your interest the most?

The learning objectives can still be the same with either approach. The second example goes right to the heart of the reason the training exists: There are some safety concerns. People are making mistakes. Empowering your learners to get involved in a scenario from the first moments they’re introduced to the course helps involve them in discovering the solutions to the problems. The difference is that the learner is engaged right away with the second example.

Your learners want to be involved. They want to be respected. And they want the content to be relevant and meaningful. Start off with the action and let them discover the details along the way.

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