In your training design include opportunities for low stakes losing before learners are thrust into their high stakes, real-world situations — be it a qualifying exam or on the job performance.
Recommendations for a “losing” design:
- Make content available on demand so that learners can review material as needed
- A common mistake is being overly controlling with content. If the goal is for learners to gain knowledge and skills, shouldn’t they have free access to the tools that can make that happen?
- Communicate how the learner is performing relative to passing scores or via peer-to-peer review as appropriate
- By communicating how comparatively well they are doing, learners can better sense where they can improve. This also gets their competitive juices flowing.
- Allow plenty of practice opportunities before the final assessment occurs
- If the only time that learners can demonstrate knowledge is a final graded test, their opportunities to “lose” are reduced to one high stakes moment. Build in low stakes assessment opportunities that prepare learners for the one that counts.
This post originally appeared in July 2011 on The Total Learner Experience.