Sep 3, 2008


Compliance courses rarely have learners lined up for hours for the opportunity to enroll in them. In most cases, learners take these courses not because they want to, but because they have to. Intrinsic motivation versus external enforcers.

There is information that the company feels is important for the learner to get from the course, so one option may be to provide the content in a linear presentation format. However, because the information does not satisfy an immediate need for the learner, it may be difficult to really learn from it.

An alternative is to present situations where the learner will use the knowledge and skills of the course in real-life scenarios. By getting the learner to think and make decisions will help process the information and integrate it into their knowledge base.

Tom Kuhlmann presents three questions that he asks before building scenarios for training programs.
  • What situations require the learner to know this information?
    By putting learners in real-life situations, they will be able to apply it to their work more easily.

  • What choices could they be expected to make in that circumstance?
    The choices offered should be real and not so obvious. My making the learner stop and think about their actions, that increases the value of the training. 

  • What are the consequences of those choices?
  • You could provide very concrete feedback statements. Or, you could continue building the scenario on top of the learners' choices. In many situations, there isn't a direct cause-effect relationship, but a domino effect where small deviations can combine into a larger result.

Spreading myself too thin?

I wasn't really aware of how much a nerd I am until now.

I am currently enrolled in an online university to get my Masters in Eduction, focusing on Instructional Design for Online Learning. I have 12 credits until completion. In two weeks, I will start a Train the Trainer certificate program at my local community college. And I just enrolled (for audit) in an online course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge just for the curiosity of it.

What's strange is that no one is making me do this. I have no real reason for perusing all this other than the desire to know stuff. For the past 2.5 years, the stuff I want to know is all about education and instructional design. Who know, maybe in another 2.5 years, I'll want to know more about the mating rituals of Peruvian cockroaches. But today, it's about education.

I'll keep you posted as to what happens.