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Avoid Audience Overload: Less Is More

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istock_000005896614xsmall4-150x150Pic­ture it: You’re a stu­dent in a class­room. The instruc­tor is throw­ing out fact after fact. At first, you lis­ten intently, try­ing to grasp every­thing that’s going on. After about 15 min­utes, your atten­tion drifts.  After try­ing to focus a few more times, you feel so over­whelmed (and pos­si­bly irri­tated and bored) that you just give up.

Hey-how did you like being on the receiv­ing end?

Trainers, have some sym­pa­thy. The instruc­tor was just try­ing to “cover the mate­r­ial.” (How many times have YOU used this line?)

The fact is, more content does not produce more competencies. Information overload can produce confusion, anxiety, and indecision. It does NOT help students transfer learning into the real world.

Training Rule: “Less is More”

Identify the most important pieces of content. Spend training time to ensure that participants can process the information and apply it to real-world situations.

Here is a short list of instruc­tional strate­gies you can use to bring your lesson’s con­tent alive:

  • Dis­cus­sions
  • Sur­veys
  • Con­tests
  • Case stud­ies
  • Drills
  • Reflec­tive writing
  • Mind maps
  • Jig­saws
  • Brain­storm­ing
  • Role-plays
  • Sim­u­la­tions

The moral is: By trying to “cover all the material,” you do just that—cover up what’s really important.

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