Oh No, Not Another Lecture (Part 1)

The Situation

Imagine the look of horror on my face when, after an hour and a half, I asked the trainer if there were going to be any activities in the 3-day course that I was evaluating, and his response was, “No, this course is all lecture!” I almost fell on the floor in shock. I was concerned that a lecture-based course was probably not going to lead to an actionable learning event.

Based on the trainer’s response, I had an idea that it would be difficult for the participants to learn over the next three days in this environment based on what I know about the principles of adult learning. After his response, I was curious about the trainer’s background, so I checked it out.

I knew that the only way I would stay engaged was to pretend that the trainer asked me...Deadra, Please Rescue My Training! So, that’s exactly what I did. I wouldn’t stay engaged unless I focused my efforts on how I would rescue his training design, development, and delivery.

If you’ve been following me, you know this is how I make it through learning experiences that are not exceptionally engaging by imagining how I would rescue it as the Wonder Woman of Training.

In this episode, I’ll explain how I would rescue the training design. Here’s how I made it through another lecture-based learning event…

The Design

First, I pulled out my lasso of truth to rescue the design. The truth was that the training really wasn’t designed. In fact, I later learned that the company doesn’t have an instructional designer on staff. How did I guess?

I’m just going to share the short list (There were at least 20 others, but I didn’t want to bore you.) of examples that demonstrate how both the content and structure need an emergency intervention.

  • No interaction with other participants.
    All lecture and no activities except for taking practice tests. Participants had five Mountain Dew sodas and three coffees at 2 PM on day one. Two employees were napping in the front of room.

  • It was all presentation like reading five pages of definitions and no application and feedback except for asking an occasional question.

  • No alignment to how the concepts could be applied in their real-world environment.

The Solutions

When the expectation is for participants to learn skills to use on the job and enhance performance, it’s vitally important to design training that adequately prepares them to take action and transfer what is learned in the workplace.

Here are a few suggestions for how I could rescue this training design to ensure that it has the right content and structure...

  • Consider a blended learning approach to ensure that you have the right formula of presentation, application, and feedback. Add small-group activities to encourage interaction, would be better.

  • Design engaging activities like role plays or buzz groups that align with the learning objectives.

  • Use an engaging activity to present definitions by searching for answers in a crossword puzzle. To add more engagement have participants do this in pairs.

  • Add case studies and short scenarios to present real-world situations and allow participants to use the participant guide to solve it. The trainer could highlight key learning points.

The Results

Implementing a few suggestions above could be the first step in achieving an actionable learning event and these three results.

  1. Participants have more clarity about what they should be able to do at the end of the training.

  2. The trainer could effectively measure, through observable actions, if learning occurred.

  3. Participants would have a more interactive, positive, and engaging learning experience, providing the trainer used well-developed materials and effective delivery techniques. The most effective way to learn is to be an active participant where you have opportunities to interact with other participants and share experiences.

Take Action

As a trainer, your focus should be on the learner. Ensure that your training is designed properly to create actionable learning experiences. Give it a Training Check-Up see if the design is effective. I can rescue your training for you with a Please, Rescue My Training! Consulting Package.

Another alternative is you can rescue your design yourself with the But, I’m Not Instructional Designer! Toolkit .

Stay tuned for the Part 2 of Oh No, Not Another Lecture! In Part 2, I rescue the development of materials ...