Three rules for trainers to live by (Guest Commentary)

And how they apply to e-learning
By Lyndsay Green
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/18/2006

After 30 years of working with adults in technology-supported learning I have found three principles to hold true.

The first is that adults execute a finely honed personal cost-benefit analysis when it comes to a learning or training task. The basic tenets of the equation are, “How long will it take me to figure this out?” and “What will I get out of it?” This calculation is made continuously throughout a learning program, which means you can lose them at any point. Conversely, if they want to learn something badly enough they’ll put up with seemingly insurmountable challenges. So the number one principle is, “It’s all about the motivation.”

My second observation comes from years of listening to adults talk with passion about their learning experiences. The common thread of these stories is that the learners were at a point in their lives when they could use the knowledge. As the Buddhists say, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” So despite the tales of woe about low rates of participation in company-mandated training programs, we know that people like to learn, and will learn what they want to know. So the second principle is, “It’s all about relevance.”