Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.”
                           -  George Bernard Shaw

I am often asked by non-learning people, "What is the best way to go about developing materials for a course, exercise, or learning activity?"

I say it's easy.  Start with Rule #3Go Slow, this information is critical to your audience.

"Go Slow..."  Pace your talk.  No matter what you think about how long your activity will be, it will take at least two times as long as you think it will.  You need time to let material sink in, to let learners absorb and process the new skills.  And remember, you will get questions!  They always add time and can turn into lengthy but valuable tangents.  Leave time to create a connection with your audience.

"... your audience."  Focus.  When you are assembling materials don't try to cram everything into one exercise or session.  Figure out what you really want to get across.  Ask yourself, what skills or information do you really want your learners to leave with.

"... #3:"  Remember the rule of three.  The human brain is limited as to what it can take in and store at one time.  Every time someone gets "full" they shove things to the back to make room for new facts.  Think of the last conference or class you were at and how many things you really remember from it.  Try to narrow your exercise down to three of the most important skills.  This is especially true if you have to share the day with other presentations. 

Remember Buck's Rule #3 and you really are off to a solid start.

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