Has anyone built a tutorial for SMEs about adult learning?

Sep 30, 2011

I work for a hospital and am working with our workplace safety group to develop an instructor led training class.  Our safety leaders are true experts in the safety field and are use to educating staff, but it's more teaching staff and managers how to use patient lift equipment, how to safely mop a hallway, etc. They also have a few general safety courses they teach but are mostly lecture based with slide decks of bullet point slides.

The course I'm developing will be for managers on their workplace safety responsibilities (ie: reporting injuries, updating your department policies, etc.)  Our department was asked to design the new course to ensure it's instructionally sound and not a PowerPoint lecture.  I have a solid design with interactive lectures as a small percentage of the class and hands on exercises for a large portion of the class.

I'm concerned that the safety leaders may revert back to their comfort zone (lecture) with the course so I'd like to build a short Articulate Presenter/Quizmaker course to explain delivery tips, adult learning, and perhaps a few pieces on instructional design to explain why the course is built like it is.

Here's where I'd like some input from the community.

  • Has anyone built a short course targeted to SMEs that will be doing course delivery?  How did it go?
  • If you were able to build a sort course, what would you include?
  • What are some ideas to make it fun and engaging but get the point across - don't muck with the course design


2 Replies
Amir Elion
Bob S


I have worked with folks before to develop facilitation/presentation skills and created specific courses to suppor that effort. In addition, I have taught new IDs about adult learning theory. Here is what we found...

It may not be best to try and educate your presenters on adult learning theory... not really.  Instead focus on the specific tactics/skills they need to effectively present or facilitate the materials they are given.  If you have presenters questioning why the materials are the way they are, a simple exercise or two concering ID and/or Adult Learning is usually enough to show them there is a real science to it and it's "like watching sausage being made... you don't want to really know". 

Here are some suggestions for giving your presenters just enough of a peek into why a course is designed as it is....

1) Try running them through an exercise in how they remember things. Do the one where you speak the names of 20 or so objects every few seconds and after the last one, they have to write down each one they can remember. Group share results and talk about "first, last and strange" (primacy, recency and oddity for you academic types) being one how most humans remembering things.

2) Try having them play designer, in this case architectural designer, with little plastic building blocks (yes, the famous brand) and you as the builder that only shares limited info from the client. Some of the details are too hard to explain here, PM me if you want to know more, but the idea is after struggling for a few minutes they get an idea of what it might take to design a course.

Exercises like that are usually enough to give them a taste that learning theory and ID are "real" and they shoudl trust the design of the course. Then give them the skills they need to present/facilitate the course effectively. Every one wins and they come away with a new skill set and apprectiation for training.

Hope this helps,


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