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.

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

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