Lessons from Thiagi

Instructional design guru, Thiagi, presented at the Association for Training and Development (ATD) of Great Cleveland last night. If you haven’t heard of Thiagi, be sure to check out his website (www.thiagi.com) for more information and over 400 templates for activates and presentations, and if you have the opportunity don’t miss the chance to see him present!

Following are some notes, quotes, and ah-ha’s from his Faster, Cheaper, Better: Really Rapid Instructional Design program.

  • Use jolts to get participants involved and gain their attention. “A jolt is an engaging learning activity that lasts for a brief period of time and illustrates one or more important learning points.”
  • “People learn from activity, not from presentation.” Include active learning and self-discovery in your training.
  • Stop feeling guilty about not following traditional instructional design. “People don’t learn by ADDIE.” Mix it up! Your needs analysis can be as simple as asking “Tell me more.”
  • Historically it has been believed that to have an effective training program you need to spend more time and money to create it. However, when studied it was found that the more time and money spent on a training program “the more it suck(ed).” Rapid training gets to the point, is learner based, and puts more responsibility on the learner.
  • Don’t train how to do something from scratch. There is a lot of information and training programs already out there. Use what is already existing.
  • Include the target audience when designing training. Ask representatives what they need to know and what problems they encounter. When designing training, keep delivery in mind. You need to be “a good trainer to be a good designer.”
  • Record the training so you can later evaluate it and update it. Training should continuously be evaluated and improved.
  • “True learning comes not in getting a conclusion but in the discussion.” Collaborative learning. Team learning. They are the key to real learning.
  • “Keep asking the client what business result they want to produce. The only worthwhile training is level four. The rest is irrelevant.”
  • Use scenarios to insure learners can apply the learning.
  • Instructional designers should not try to “teach a facilitator how to facilitate! Don’t include facilitation skills or content. This of the facilitators as co-creators of the design.” In a facilitator guide provide the activity, instructions, and the outcome. Allow freedom for the facilitator to use the activity or use something else, as long as the same outcome is achieved.
  • Ziegarnik – People tend to remember unfinished things more than finished (consider sitcoms, serial publications, etc.). Stop training for breaks or even ending the day in the middle of a page, a paragraph, a sentence, or even “a wor.”