Fried Training Talk- Negative Examples Revisited

Published: Friday, February 21, 2020
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2020

This is the 2nd “retro” topic of 2020 (these will continue to appear on the 3rd Friday of each month) based on topics from 2019 you folks requested more discussion on.

Based on a request from Ina Whitehead (on LinkedIn), this month we’ll take another look at use of “Negative Examples”.

Originally posted on August 16, 2019. I wrote:

“I don’t like to show people how not to do something…. The problem is, the people being trained often remember that wrong way of behaving instead of the right way to do something. Sometimes using a negative example and building from it seems more engaging and thus more effective. I have found it difficult to gather data that proves this.”


Some training designers feel showing people what not to do can be more important and impactful than what to do. At times the “what not to do” moment can be really funny and memorable, because we tend to laugh at pain and remember it.

Though I still believe focusing on negative examples does not produce optimal training, I rarely talk in absolutes. There may be cases where teaching using negative examples is the better approach.

What do you all think?

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