New Year’s Resolution? Make it stick

It is now the beginning of April — if you are like the masses, you likely have not been keeping up with your New Year’s resolution.

The reason why, that habits are hard to create and then sustain, is an excellent lesson for instructional design and teaching. 

We think of the mind as a bottomless vessel that can continue to be filled throughout life. Instructors also tend to teach in accordance to that bias. We feed participants and students a near endless stream of information and expect it to “stick”. 

Shockingly, it often doesn’t. 

So, I offer you two training tips that should help to make things stick and to help with training-room-management. 

Training Tips: Make it stick

  1. Allow time and space for participants to grapple with the information in new and novel ways. This is key. My go-to for curriculum design is to think about a cycle of teach/lecture, group engagement, solo engagement, small-group engagement. The teaching and lecturing should be as brief as possible and serve as a way of introducing new content. The rest is a mix of activity that allows for connections to be made between what is being presented and previous experience and the insight and knowledge of one’s peers. When I facilitate a training, it often moves along at quite a clip so that engagement stays incredibly high and the ways of learning are diversified. 
  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Here are a few ways to allow for repetition that don’t feel, well, repetitive. 
    • At the start of each lesson, I give a summary of what I covered previously. Better yet, I engage the learners in an activity where they recall and build upon the material. 
    • Write a summary email after a training with a few of the key takeaways. Provide an additional way for readers to engage with the content like a video, article, or discussion prompts. 
    • Quiz games and activities. In a recent role, I trained contact tracers on COVID protocols. As you can imagine, as protocols evolved, it could be tough to keep track of the protocols and what changed. I introduced daily quiz games for the team. They were optional, quick, usually less than 5 minutes, and provided a fun way to reinforce learning and highlight where participants need reinforcement. (Fun addition, we also found out who our most competitive team members were!)

Are you looking to develop a training or even a series of meetings for your team? Could you use some help in jazzing it up? Would an outside designer or facilitator be helpful? Well, look no further! Please reach out so I can help you make your training “stick”.