How to Make Your Training Course Like a Disney Experience

In Oct 2013, I stood in line for the Tower of Terror ride at Disney World. With me were my wife, and two kids, 8 and 10 at the time. It was our kids' first trip to Disney, and my 8-yr-old daughter was eager to ride (she is our little daredevil whose been doing thrill rides since she was 6). My son, on the other hand, plays to his strengths and logically concludes (yet again) that this is not an experience that would be in his best interest. So, he's with us for the wait until we could hand him off to the safety of a cast member just before getting on the ride. The Disney Magic For those readers that have been on the Tower of Terror, you know that the wait in line begins to build anticipation

Knowing These 4 Adult Learning Principles Will Make You More Effective

Our participants come into our training course with an agenda of what they want to see, hear and learn. Unfortunately, that agenda is locked away in their brains. So how can we get to it to find out what they want? We could ask them, but we'll likely not get the full story. What if there was a way you, the training professional, could better prepare? The best way to prepare is to understand what the training industry knows about adult learners. Malcolm Knowles was a pioneer in the development of the core principles of adult learning theory. In my Train-the-Trainer workshops, we focus on the four adult learning principles listed below. What's in it for me? Your participants want to know what

The Day Roger Schank Blew my Mind

While working in the Training & Documentation group at a large telecom company, I attended the 2000 Online Learning Conference to find out what was new in online media. Somehow, I stumbled into a standing-room only presentation being given by Roger Schank. I wasn’t aware of who he was at the time, but his presentation was talking about using video in training. The Scenario In the video clip that he showed, we see a young social worker/psychologist - played by you (indicated by first-person POV). You are given a case to review (for a 13-yr old boy) and you must do your homework properly because you will have to present your assessment to the boy’s mother the next day. Well, as it turns out, y

About That Time I Took a Training Course at a Funeral Home...

The following is - incredibly and unbelievably - a true story about my unique experience with a training vendor. In 2010, I was managing a very small training team, and our primary focus was on developing and supporting the training we provided to our external customers. So I began scoping out potential vendors to help us support the growing request for employee training. I found a Coaching Skills course offered by, well let's just call the company: "Some guy's First Name, Some guy's Last Name" Seminars. And the all-day course was only $79. Red flag #1 $79 for 8 hours of training - that's less than $10 an hour! What a deal, right? Stay tuned. So I registered and, on the day of the training,

How Many Slides Can You Deliver in a 4-hr Training Course?

I had just been promoted into the role of Training Manager for our division and my first task was to redesign the 4-hour Intro to our Company workshop that our sales people presented to contractors. So, I drove from Atlanta to Louisville, KY to see one of our sales managers deliver the presentation. Yep, I said the "P" word - presentation. Truthfully, this wasn't a workshop nor was it training. It was a genuine, "show up and throw up" presentation. And referencing back to the title of this blog, the presentation did contain 247 slides...delivered in 4 hours (minus breaks). You do the math. But those were minimal slides, right? About those slides - they weren't elegant, succinct slides crafte

How to Instantly Know Your Training Audience in Only 99 Seconds

What if I told you that there was a way to easily identify a participant's individual teaching style, and that it only takes 99 seconds? Would you believe me? It can be done, and I have successfully used this technique for the last 7 years. Better yet, it has proven to be fun for the participants and is actually one of the most remembered aspects of my Facilitation Basics Workshop. And depending on the number of participants in your course, you can typically complete this activity in 15-30 minutes. Why 99 seconds? The technique that I use is one that I adapted from the 99-sec presentations contest made famous (and fun) by Thiagi ( at various national Training conferences. But

Why You Should Bring an EMU to Your Next Training Course

Think back to the last training course you attended. How long after the course did you ask yourself, “What did I learn?” - only to realize that you didn’t learn much at all. Chances are the course may have done little to grab and hold your attention, allow you opportunities to contribute your knowledge and experience or deliver the content in a way that made it easy and worthwhile for you to remember. Brain 101 Research from the book Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School highlights research-backed principles of how the brain learns. How these principles are applied in a learning environment determines how well you, as the stude

8 Reasons Why Your Trainers Continue to Present Training

As much as the corporate training field is seeking to design and deliver more engaging training, the fact remains that many training programs continue to be delivered the old-fashioned way. And by old-fashioned, I don't mean instructor-led. I mean presented. One-way communication. Turning on the fire hose. Show up and throw up. You know the terms; we've experienced them as a student..and we've even delivered such programs ourselves, right? In this scenario, the instructor starts the day at 90 miles an hour and rarely slows down, except for a raised hand from the audience. The instructor talks a lot, often running 2-3 hours between breaks. And the impact on the audience....? We had a consulti

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