Not to play fast and loose with vocabulary and connotation, but if you use these techniques as you create your learning materials, you will draw in even your jaded learners, despite themselves.
1. Write action foreshadowing, not topic headings.
When you outline your course, no matter how small or large, your lesson title tweets excitement to your learner if you let it.
Compare these two titles. Which one would you want to read?
Uncovering Financial Fraud
The first is a topic heading, indicating no action for the learner, much less any useful action that the learner can apply directly to their role.
The trick is to lead with a verb, and frame the topic with the actions learners will perform with that information. Instead of a course named Bluetooth, for example, you could call it Pairing with Bluetooth. Learners know by reading the title what they will learn, and can decide in seconds whether the course is relevant for them.
2. Tell stories or use themes, instead of writing training.
People love stories but dread rote learning. One of the most common ways of teaching language, for example, is to “follow the life” of a person, and teach you the words outright. How much more subtle and seductive would it be to learn it indirectly by solving a mystery? For sales training, how about having participants learn financial acumen by figuring out how their CFO is cooking the books?
You can even be a little bit ridiculous, and your learners will smile despite themselves. For example, in call center training, I used two characters, Will and Wanda, to illustrate examples of desirable and undesirable soft skills behaviors. Wanda Doright came out on top. 🙂
If you can’t think of a story, themes (such as seduction) and complimentary word usage (“easy,” for example) can drag them chuckling and giggling through your composition. In other words, I hope I’m walking the walk.
3. Make your illustrations “work it.”
Learners who are losing interest begin to skim, and startling illustrations cause them to re-engage. For example, here’s a comparison between a Bluetooth signal and a radio station signal:
Keywords are a big help when you are searching image libraries, and use the image feature on Google to search keywords as well. What you find may inspire you to tweak your writing with even more flavor!
4. End with a “bang!” (har har)
Every lesson where you teach an action, make sure your learners get a chance to practice in a memorable way. Games are a fantastic technique; scenarios are common too. Either way, activities are your opportunity to make sure your learners can “hit that.” Training without practice is like seduction without… um….. a happy ending?
One of the best experiences I’ve had so far at SuccessFactors was when I saw an Easter egg in a course’s final activity, where the employee profile had a picture of Michael Scott. I still remember what I was learning about: employee profiles!
Ok so your turn: Will you apply this to what you write? How? Tell me! I’d love to listen.
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