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Can you recall that glance? The one that froze your hand as you were reaching for the cookie…the one that stilled your giggles where you sat…the one that promised that “if you don’t stop that thing right now I’m gonna…”. Most mothers possessed that activated beam, that mind-freezing glare that could instantly alter your behavior- even if she was 20 feet away.

In corporate training, sometimes we wish for an ounce of that magic to help our users on their path to behavior change! Here are some tips from “Mom” that can help improve your training game.

1.  Every “Kid” is different. Just like every child is different (and responds to different ways of motivation), every learner is too. When designing a learning course or module, incorporate a variety of ways to engage with and master the material. Remember to include content that will engage Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic Learners. Build in opportunities for each type of learner. Remember, there is a fine middle ground between “what you want to say” and “what they are interested in”. It exists, and it is important to take the time to find it.

2.  Timing is Everything! Where possible, allowing some flexibility in the timing and speed of a course gives the user the space to concentrate on the content, and allows them to take things at their own speed without pressure. Giving employees protected space or time to engage with learning is extremely important in producing successful outcomes.

3.  Humor helps. Lighten up! Add some humor and creativity. Learning experiments show that users respond far better to a tutor avatar that interacts more like a friend (“hey, what are you thinking, try it again!” versus “that was the incorrect answer”). Humor is proven to be one of the fastest relationship builders available, use it to help your learner engage with your material. Humor reduces stress and tension, improves information retention and promotes understanding.

4.  Make It a Game. Come at new material in a way that shows how it will help the user succeed and do a better job once they master it. There is a reason those “gold star” performance charts work…everyone likes to be praised and see their progress. We know that positive reinforcement makes it more likely that a correct behavior will occur again in the future. Even small encouragements built-in to a course will lead to improved information retention.

By applying Mom’s “Training Secrets”, we can design more effective learning for our audiences…and maybe have a little fun along the way. And, while you are at it, send your Mom a shout out this week for the hours she put into “training” you.

IMAGE CREDIT: STEVE NEASE 2005

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