One of the more meaningful books I read last year was Made To Stick. If you’re a learning professional, you need to read this book. There are many great examples on how to make ideas (read: training) “sticky”.
In particular, the Beyond War scenario:
Statistics are rarely meaningful in and of themselves. They will, and should, almost always be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.
When the anti-nuclear missile group, Beyond War, described the out-of-control arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1980s, no one realized the scale of the growth. Even though a single warhead was enough to decimate a city, the number worldwide had grown to 5,000.
To demonstrate the scale, a Beyond War speaker would pour 5,000 BBs into a metal bucket. BBs are weapons, and the sound of the BBs hitting the bucket was threatening. It was irrelevant whether there were 4,135 nuclear warheads or 9,437. The point was to hit people in the gut with the realization that this was a problem that was out of control.
I love it!
How many elearning designers do you think would have taken the time to create or find a sound effect that simulates 5000 BBs hitting a bucket?
OK, admittedly I Googled for five minutes and couldn’t find any, either. I did, however, have some popcorn and a sauce pan.
A 30-second audio recording of popcorn hitting the pan and one hour of Photoshop/Flash development yielded the following example:
The rest of your course slides could be static and text-based, but what a great way to gain attention for a new chapter or module.
This was just a quick example but hopefully enough of one to demonstrate how a little creativity, combined with intrinsic motivation, can deliver engaging results.