Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Creative Training Course Titles: Around the Corner vs How a Differential Works

In my last post I asked you to review a couple training videos about the complex gearing system in cars known as the differential.

I purposely did not mention which video I viewed first.  The video that Dan Roam shared on Facebook was the video from 1937.  I'll be honest and say my reaction to the first 60secs or so was something short of "this is lame! I must have clicked the wrong link.  These are motorcycles, not cars."  But then of course the story begins to unfold and connections are made.  Nothing short of BRILLIANT!

I will spend the next few posts pondering the instructional design of each video as I see it.  You may not see it the same as me.  And so, I'm hoping you'll join me in a conversation about these 2 videos and the 70+ years of instructional design and corporate eLearning theory between them.  As a quick primer I started with the simple yet often overlooked TITLE.

Around the Corner
What is in a name? What I completely missed in the 1937 video, the first viewing, is the catchy little title to the story...oh wait... excuse me... training.  They titled it Around the Corner.  What?  Why around the corner?  AH, NOW I GET IT!  Holy moly, they actually incorporated the problem being solved into the title...nice!  And besides, simply being curious about WHY the "course" is titled in such a way engages the learner.  I would think that even on a subconscious level creating interest in the first 5 secs with a mysterious title would be a good thing.  Even if the learners simply asked themselves why a training video would begin with such a title.

How a Differential Works
The title of the 2011 video is predictably How a Differential Works.  I'd swear the first spoken words are straight out of the designers handbook on how to write an appropriate objective,
 "We're going to explore what a differential is...".  
I wonder how many instructional design reviews it took for the Ph.D. to finally land on the word "explore" as apposed to learn, or discover, or look into.  I'll bet some of you reading this were critiquing every word.  Go ahead, it's okay to admit it.  You've been "trained" well, and you paid a lot for that masters degree, so you have every right to question each and every word your peer has chosen.  While I'm at it I'd like to point my finger at those of you dying to tell me that these are "information" and  <eyes rolling>  not REALLY training. </eyes rolling>
"For cryin' out loud, man!  Where's the practice and feedback?" 
Yea, I get it.  Now get over it.
But I digress...

I love these videos for so many reasons.  Discussing the titles is only the beginning.  The next time you begin the design process you might want to ask yourself how you might incorporate a creative title into your design.  Your stakeholders may not approve, but if they ask you "Why did you title it this way?"... well... then you've done your job well.

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