Sesame Street has a lot to answer for

I once heard a comment from a teacher that, “Sesame Street had a lot to answer for.” Sounds strange on face value because this famous TV program has been educating children for decades. The teacher then went on to state that kids now all expect to be entertained, not just taught.

Interesting perspective isn’t it? If you look back at all the training you’ve received in your career to date, how much of it has been entertaining? I’d imagine that most of it has probably been as dry as a desert during a 10 year drought. Do we need to be entertained to learn?

Does our world’s ever-shortening attention span need to be accommodated in the way we are trained?

OSS has a few problems that directly relate to training. For a start, there’s an endless amount to learn and the content is constantly changing. There are so many breadcrumbs that make up an OSS, so no single person can know everything that needs to be trained / mentored. OSS subject matter can be even drier than your usual content (and that’s coming from someone who is passionate about this stuff!!).

I believe the trick with any form of teaching is to design it around first date principles. It’s all about them (ie the trainees). But most OSS training I’ve seen is pre-packaged and often contains content that isn’t targeted to what the audience actually needs. Another trick is building the learning around interactivity, without intimidating the trainees who might be seeing the not-always-intuitive tools for the first time.

It’s one of the reasons why I think that delivering Decision Support Systems (DSS) for interactive, on-the-job training goes hand-in-hand with delivering OSS tools.

Do you think our tools would be more effective if they were not just intuitive but actually had an entertainment factor to them? I think they’re primed for gamification.

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