Years ago, I got a traffic ticket for some minor thing — I can’t even remember what I did — and I had to go to traffic school.
I dreaded it like the idea of eating worms. The prospect of an endless day of sheer boredom felt intolerable.
I remember searching around to see if I could fulfill my obligation by taking a Comedy Traffic School class, but alas, no such luck.
I was stuck with plain, old, boring traffic school.
Thankfully, I was at least able to do it online, on my own time.
I happened to work at a yoga studio in those days, in exchange for free classes, so I managed to get in 15 or 20 minutes of traffic school while sitting at the receptionist station each day, and over a period of a couple of weeks, little by little, I slogged through the class.
If I’d had to do it in one day-long chunk, though? It would not have been pretty.
Sadly, painfully boring days like this are still the norm in too many fields.
Take my colleague, Mary, who works in mental health, where practitioners are required to earn a certain number of continuing education credits each year.
In other words, people sign up to take classes, not because they necessarily even want to, but because – just like traffic school – they’re a captive audience.
Mary uses experiential learning, like me, but recently her higher-ups rejected her active-learning agenda in favor of a 6-hour PowerPoint®.
And then, when all the facilitators were talking and engaging amongst themselves during one part of the session — but not engaging or interacting with the participants — they patted themselves on the back for how “engaging” and “interactive” the session was!
Um, yeah — engaging and interactive for the facilitators, but not for the participants!
Mary’s manager judged the event a huge success, because participants stayed logged on for the entire six hours… but of course they had to, in order to get their credits.
Did any learning happen? Unclear.
Was it a positive experience for participants? Unlikely.
Will participants rave about it, and look forward to attending again? *Cough*
The good news is that you don’t have to be like Mary’s manager.
Even if you have less-than-exciting content that you need attendees to learn, there are ways to make it engaging, and even fun, in a virtual setting!
(There’s a reason why people prefer going to Comedy Traffic School! Nobody likes being bored.)
But “non-boring” is more just a “nice to have.”
Science shows that humans learn best when they are engaged and interested. So making it fun is actually essential if you want learning to stick.
If you’d like to experience some brain-friendly exercises that activate learning while building connection, come to my next Non-Boring Virtual Meetings Learning Lab.
Interested to learn more? Message me to chat about how I can use my signature system to help your employees infuse connection, joy and delight into virtual meetings, trainings and events at your workplace.
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