How much content do you provide in a learning experience?

Good question. This is another one of those questions I get asked all the time – how much content is too much content to include in my workshop, presentation or course? The answer is really quite simple.

In short, give enough:

  • reasons to motivate your clients to WANT to learn it,
  • theory to help them understand HOW to do it,
  • examples that SHOW it done ‘properly’ right through to ‘poorly’, (so they can see for themselves all the different ways it can be done and learn how to avoid mistakes), and
  • activities that give them the opportunity to APPLY their new skills.

If you’re rattling on with theory that doesn’t help them achieve that end aim of APPLYing their new skills, and you’ve given them clear examples of HOW to do it properly (and how NOT to do it poorly), then that’s your cue to cut the content.

Focus on the application of the content. Get them doing a task that uses that new knowledge or skillset.

Simple.

If you miss any one of these steps, your clients are going to:

  • Not be engaged or really caring whether they learn about it or not,
  • Not really grasp the basic mechanics behind how to do it properly,
  • Have no idea whether they’re doing it ‘right’ or not, and
  • Not even bother giving it a go or knowing whether they’re capable of getting it right.

And THAT, is the epitome of a learning experience that leaves your clients frustrated, disappointed, and not impressed with the facilitator.

Exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Right?

Now. You see, I like to practice what I preach.

Do you see what I’ve done here?

 

Have a look at the article from the top, down to this point.

There was a question posed: How much content is too much content? Then I gave you: 

  • the THEORY (the basic mechanics behind the answer to the question), and then
  • the WHY (what happens when you don’t do it the right way).

What should I be giving you next?

An example. Actually, two examples. Right oh. Decide whether the first example is the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ example.  Here we go.

Play a game with me. Click on the gold arrow over there to expand these boxes >>
Follow the instructions. Pause and do whatever I ask you to do before reading on to the next bullet point (unless you want to spoil the fun).
  • Imagine you’re learning a foreign language.
  • If I put this thing in front of your face and told you the word for it was ZUZU, what would you say the English word for it is?

content quantityPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

  • First answer – go on. Don’t think about it too hard.
  • Right. Say ZUZU 20 times while looking at it.
Got it? Understood? Right. Now I’m going to test you on it. So what’s your answer then? What’s the English word for ZUZU? If you said pen, YOU’RE WRONG. How are you feeling? Hope you enjoyed your learning experience. Hope you come back for the next lesson and rave about my teaching skills.
How did that go for you?

Now unfortunately, this is what a lot of content delivery looks like online.

It’s just THEORY THEORY THEORY, with little explanation, demonstration, or chance to test your knowledge out.

By the by, how stupid did you feel

  • saying it 20 times and not really knowing what it was?
  • Then being told (more than likely) that you were WRONG when you more than likely were thinking of the most obvious answer – PEN?
  • Bit stupid?

Sadly this is how a lot of clients or students feel when they don’t get enough demonstration or theory, then BAM are expected to test their knowledge or ability with the concept. Stupid, a bit vulnerable and quite frankly not enticed to come back for another round of humiliation.

Like I said. The epitome of a terrible learning experience.

Ready to see what a proper learning experience should look and feel like?

Play another game with me.

Properly this time.

  • Imagine you’re learning a foreign language.
  • If I put this thing in front of your face and told you the word for it was ZUZU, what would you say the English word for it is?
    First answer – go on. Don’t think about it too hard.

content quantityPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

  • Did I hear you say pen? Well it is a pen, but it’s other things too.
  • Can you think of other English words that would describe that pen? You might be thinking…. #long #skinny #small #plastic #useful #convenient
  • Well, all those things are right, but what if I showed you these other pictures. What do they, and the pen all have in common? What’s the English word for ZUZU?

  • If you said RED, you’re right! Hoorah! ZUZU means RED in English!
  • Now. Can you find something immediately that’s ZUZU #inRealLifeYou’reHoldingaRedThing

And immediately YOU the learner knows you’ve nailed it, and ME the facilitator knows it too.

How are you feeling after THAT little learning experience?

Better than the first round? I hope so! Everyone will interpret your ‘theory’ differently, depending on their perspective, experience and background.

It’s YOUR job as the facilitator to ensure that everyone gets a chance to interpret it the way you were intending them to – and you’ll only know that if you’ve followed the steps I’ve recommended.

So I’ve practiced what I preach.

I’ve given you:

  • the motivation (you want people to recommend you based on their success with your content)
  • the theory (step by step instructions on what to do, and what NOT to do)
  • examples (the ZUZU game, version 1 and 2, AND this whole article is a demonstration!)
  • and now a chance for you to try it out yourself.

Ready to try this out for yourself? 

ACTION:

  • Go find a piece of your content.
  • Can you find those 4 steps in it?
  • If not, you know where your problem lies!

If you want to create transformative learning experiences, you need to use a structure that sets them up for success. It’s a simple but very powerful formula that will help confirm you as the expert in your niche – that gets results for your clients. 

Like this style of learning and keen to see more in the same style?

What you’ve seen in this article, is just a snippet of what’s in our online courses.

In fact this article covers just a small part of one strategy that we take you through in our ‘Online Learning Strategies 101’ online course – which covers 7 major strategies involved in best practice teaching and learning strategies for adults. You can find out more about the course here.

Ready to take action? Sick of sitting on a mountain of IP that could be out there helping people?

Want to chat with someone who has been there, done that, and created hundreds of learning products for small businesses, not for profits and government organisations? Find a time that suits for a quick chat here.

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