He was asleep. And it was my fault.
I’d regularly taught supervisor safety training for six months. No matter how I taught the 4-hour course, few people paid attention. The course material was dry, the videos were dated, and I was still nervous in front of audiences.
So when he fell asleep, I understood why.
After that class, I quit blaming the curriculum and the videos and focused on my delivery. I began to put an emphasis on engagement, asking each supervisor what their job was and relating the course to their work.
A few years later, I read “Brain Rules” by John Medina and finally understood the secret to better training. I’d thought engagement was the key, but Medina’s “10-minute rule” helped to give my training necessary structure.
The 10-minute rule states: “Emotional arousal helps the brain learn. Audiences check out after 10 minutes, but you can keep grabbing them back by telling narratives or creating events rich in emotion.”
Using this idea, I broke up the training into 10-minute blocks, each with a beginning story or anecdote, to grab and hold attention.
Is training more than 10-minute attention getters?
Yes, but without attention your substance is quickly lost and rarely remembered.