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5 Instructional Techniques to Spice up Dry Training Material

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 8/5/13 4:00 AM
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I recently had a boisterous discussion on LinkedIn regarding how to spice up “dry material” during training. This discussion struck such a chord of interest that I was compelled to share some of the ideas in this blog. Here are five tips that I walked away with from this discussion:


1. Highlight the benefits. Stating the benefits early on addresses the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). When learners can identify the relevance of the content and how it will help them, it allows them to change their perception of the material being “dry” because it matters to them personally.

2. Use a variety of methods and avoid “Death by PowerPoint!” We all know that we learn by doing and not by someone giving us a chalk and talk. We must be creative and incorporate methods that allow interaction and participation. Popular methods are interactive lecture methods, teach backs, games, role plays, and case studies, just to name a few. We have a glossary of 50 presentation and application methods that are addressed in many of our Langevin courses. Using a variety of methods will surely add spice to dry material.

3. Incorporate stories and analogies. In a recent blog, I talked about the power of using stories in training. Stories and analogies allow the learners to engage with the content on a visceral level. When this occurs, it deepens the retention and the learning. I once heard that a two-minute analogy can be worth sixty minutes of lecture. Often it is the story that the learners remember when applying the content, not just the facts.

4. Never tell the participants that the material is “Dry!” Ok, maybe it is dry! This is where we, as trainers, must deliver the content by identifying the juice in the material and making it live! It is important that we set the tone and deliver the content with enthusiasm, energy, and excitement. Doing this will surely engage the learners.

5. Use Humor and Have Fun! Incorporating appropriate humor adds levity to material that may be dry and allows the participants to have fun while learning.

Incorporating these five instructional techniques will surely add some spice to any training that was once perceived as “dry.” What have you used in your training to spice things up?

Dealing with Difficult Participants

Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Topics: instructional techniques, tips-for-trainers, humor in training

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