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How to Bring Dry or Boring Training to Life

Posted by Beth Brashear on 12/27/17 8:00 AM
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Photo by: Geraldine Dukes via Pixabay

At Langevin we believe there is no such thing as dry or boring material. Right now, you are probably thinking, “What about policies and procedures, regulations, etc.? That content is definitely dry!” While, yes, the content may be dry or boring, there are instructional techniques that help add a little zest to your content to make it more fun!


Whenever possible, you want to paint mental pictures to help learners “see” a point, link to memorable sounds, smells, or touch, and illustrate complex points with simple explanations.


In our workshop, How Adults Learn, we discuss how to trigger the senses using descriptive language. Some of the recommended techniques include similes, analogies, and anecdotes or stories.



Similes compare two dissimilar things using terms such as “like,” “as,” and “as if.”

Example: Failing to hook on your safety harness is like bungee jumping without the bungee cord.



Analogies are extended similes that compare an unfamiliar concept or process to a more familiar one to help the reader understand the unfamiliar concept.

Example: Training needs analysis is like going to the doctor. First, the nurse or doctor will ask you some preliminary questions to collect data. Then, they will ask more specific questions to gain a better understanding of the problem. The doctor will then schedule testing to rule in or rule out potential causes. Lastly, the doctor will provide solutions for the cause of the problem.


Anecdotes and Stories

Short anecdotes or longer stories are used to add interest and reinforce key concepts in a training session. Stories can be humorous or serious, illustrate what should be done or what should be avoided, and may be delivered orally or in written format.  


When trying to generate ideas, identify a current movie or TV series you can link it to. Or, think about a song, silly comparison, or current event that would make a great jumping off point. For a list of questions to help guide your idea generation, check out the Idea Generator Worksheet.


By using some of these techniques, you can really add some zest to potentially dry content and help reinforce the learning. What other methods have you used to help bring life to your content?


Ultimate Guide to Making Training Fun

Beth has been a course leader with Langevin since 2015. She currently resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Beth began her training career in 2006 and believes, while training needs to be educational, it also needs to be fun! Outside of the classroom, Beth enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, playing volleyball, photography, and travelling. She hopes to one day visit India during the Festival of Lights, Mexico for the Day of the Dead Celebration, Rio for the Carnival, and China for the Chinese New Year.

Tags: adult learning principles

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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