Let Your Learners Do it Wrong (In Fact, Tell Them to do it Wrong)

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

textures-glass-broken-1.ltIn training scenarios, we do everything exactly how it's supposed to be done. But maybe it would be better if we let our learners do it wrong.

Some of the greatest lessons we ever learned growing up were when we made a mistake and felt the consequences - so why not recreate that during training?

Perhaps you should have your learners fill out records with missing data and then have them run a report. Let them see that the report doesn't include the record (even though it should) because the information was omitted or keyed incorrectly. You can even take it a step further and have the "boss" look at the report and make decisions based off the inaccurate results.

Have them create duplicate records, and then pretend to have a phone call with them. When they search for the customer/opportunity, and see multiple records, they'll realize that it's pretty difficult to have a phone conversation with somebody when you're not sure which record has the latest information.

Have a pretend meeting where they are supposed to prepare themselves by researching a contact from Salesforce. When they can't find the record anywhere and they go into the meeting totally unprepared, make them understand the consequences of not entering contact information. That pretend scenario could look like this:

- "Hi John, how are you? So, can you tell me a little about your company?"

- "I already went over this with the last guy..."

- "Right, right... ummm... but can you tell me?"

Let them make mistakes - actually, tell them to make mistakes. And then let them see (and feel) the consequences of those mistakes. Those lessons might sink in a little more.

It's not to "teach them a lesson"

If you approach it as a "I told you so" moment, you'll get a negative response from your learners. People don't like to be "taight a lesson" even though we all love teaching others those lessons.

This is more of a, "Let's see what happens if you do it this way." See if you can add a little emotion in it, too - stress, anxiety, worry. We remember moments that are associated with those emotions.

Your training shouldn't just be them making mistakes, but throw a few of those scenarios in there. It will spice things up.

Managers get it because they see the consequences

Ever wonder why managers seem to be so concerned with doing everything right? Because they see and feel the consequences. They sit in meetings with the boss and see what happens when information is inaccurate. They get yelled at when numbers look bad (even though the numbers aren't really that bad).

When somebody gets a taste of where the data goes and how it is used, they usually begin to learn that lesson.

So while including consequences may not cure all of your training woes, adding them to the mix will shake things up and perhaps get folks to change their behavior so they can avoid the negative consequences in real life.

Topics: Live Training