Sex, chocolate and training

It’s Friday night. I’m lamenting the difficulties of keeping adult learners focused in a software training session. My partner looks like he has a pearl of wisdom to offer. He turns and says to me:

People are motivated by sex and chocolate.

I look at him strangely. He continues.

You obviously can’t use sex in your software training but a little chocolate bribery may help.

I always have chocolate in training but it seems hard for people to maintain their attention. I explain to my partner that sometimes I make people turn off their monitors so they will actually listen for a moment rather than playing with it. His response?

Awww. You took their toys away?


I’ve trained staff on and off over the years. I’ve been accused of being very school teacher-like. The tools of our children’s educators seem taboo in a workplace environment. Asking staff to complete tests to demonstrate they’ve understood the concept seems to generate a faint hiss in the room.

My year 1 teacher used to have a bell she would ring to get everyone’s attention. We couldn’t talk when the bell went off.

Sometimes I need a bloody bell.

I know there are gazillion articles out there on adult education that I could try for tips but to be quite honest I’m not in the mood for answers, I’m in the mood for complaining! And why not? We all reach a point where a little lamenting may be good for the soul. I’m facing 7 full days of training in the next 3 weeks. For me this is a lot. It ranges from 3 people to about 16. I fear that chocolate bribery will only go so far!

So I’m bringing in the big guns. I figure if chocolate alone isn’t enough, it’s time to bring in a little violence. I’m not referring, as you may expect, to me adopting very old fashioned teacherly ways and caning my students.

No, I’m talking about ‘prop destruction’. I think of many training sessions that I’ve attended and I’m reasonably confident that at the end of the day I’d enjoy taking to something with a cricket bat.

So I’ve ordered a pinata. A dinosaur pinata to be precise. I intend throughout the day to pin all our antiquated tools to the triceratops before we smash it up and release the confectionary!  I’m hoping this will spice up training; generate some enthusiasm and some laughter.

If it doesn’t, perhaps someone should confiscate my cricket bat.

Disclaimer: before anyone raises any concerns about a charity spending money on a lurid orange dinosaur for the purposes of training, be assured that it is my personal donation to the success of the course.


Posted on July 14, 2012, in Not for Profit. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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