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Bologna Sandwich or New York Strip – What Would your Learners Prefer?

  1. Pen Marissa Nichols
  2. Calendar June 15, 2012

Training Consultants - Training CompanyForgive the food analogy. It’s nearing the lunch hour and I’ve spent most of my evenings this week watching the Food Network Star marathon.

Let’s face it, without learner engagement the goals of a training initiative will not be met. In the corporate training industry we’ve been faced with a colossal challenge: to successfully engage a new generation of learners. This new generation, often called the MTV generation, lean towards the ADD side of the learner spectrum. The MTV generation expects the fast-paced, high-quality visual elements in company training that they’ve become accustomed to on TV, online, and even in their K-12 education materials.

I’ve noticed a strong similarity between the way Food Star contestants must create beautiful plates that entice their audience (hungry food critics) and the way that training consultants must create beautiful training to engage learners. This can be a complex challenge when the ingredients in a dish are completely unappetizing, and alone will fall flat on the palate (see compliance training).

At Allen, I‘ve learned to appreciate the strategy and effort that our training consultants and instructional designers put into making training palatable. Allen, long recognized for our instructionally sound training methods, is also now being recognized for providing stunning, movie and video game industry-quality training and interactions, designed to keep learners engaged. This year alone, we’ve won multiple Telly awards. One of those training awards was for the introductory segment for RMA Ethics training.

Food Star hopefuls and instructional designers both must balance two critical components to create winning products. In addition to plating food superbly, it has to taste incredible. At Allen, we have over 30 years of experience creating corporate training that is instructionally sound. We continue to receive recognition for our custom content development created to meet the business needs of our clients. This year we’ve been named one of TrainingIndustry.com’s Top 20 Content Development Companies and as a Bersin & Associates Learning Leader.

In short, we work up a sweat daily in our kitchen creating training that boasts not just the sizzle, but the steak and that fancy gruyere sauce too…

Comments 4

  1. What a great analogy!! I went out to dinner last night with my husband. When our meals came, his looked so much better than mine. Since he wasn’t willing to share, I was stuck eating my own. It was actually pretty good too … but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had just looked tastier.

    As instructional designers, we are passionate about creating meaningful and useful training. But if our users have judged our training based on appearance … graphics, multimedia, presentation … they may not be able to fully appreciate the prime instructional quality that we created for them.

    1. Post

      I recently watched the movie Casablanca and was struck by how slow the pacing was. It is still a classic, but I’ve noticed that our minds are now trained to move at a much quicker pace. In order to be effective, we’re forced to design training in a way that conforms to how our learners have been conditioned. This includes faster paced, interactive and game-like activity. It will be interesting to watch how corporate training and learning continue to evolve.

  2. Progress in media brings new challenges for instructional designers. Where just five short years ago we struggled with authoring tools and content management, we now face new demands for making programs more inclusive of learners, leveraging informal learning, and building a farther reach for the L&D department. Here are your keys to the architecture and organization skills needed!

    1. Post

      That’s great insight. It is important in our industry to maintain foresight on the organizational challenges facing L&D departments to deliver on the evolving expectations of learners and the ever-changing business needs of the companies we serve.

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