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Fried Training Talk- Negative to Positive

Published: Friday, August 16, 2019
Updated: Friday, August 16, 2019

     Most of the time when designing a training, I don’t like to show people how “not to do something”. You’ve probably seen those trainings where an instructor shows a video or acts something out with someone giving really bad customer service, and all the trainees laugh at how badly the employee acted. For me the problem is, the people being trained often remember that “funny” wrong way of behaving instead of the right way to do something.

     All that said, sometimes using a negative example and building from it seems more engaging and thus more effective (though I have found it difficult to gather data that proves this). The discussion generated by a negative example can lead to people talking about solutions.

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     Do any of you brilliant folks out there have some good examples of this negative to positive training technique working for you?

5 Comments
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In a different forum someone posted-In Germany we have a famous parody on safety Instructions which every author/ID loves. Actually It is a splatter movie. In the style of professional training films it vividly depicts the incorrect handling of a forklift truck.

YouTube link- https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yta70t1cJdo

English Description-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forklift_Driver_Klaus_–_The_First_Day_on_the_Job

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Great post, Keith. I've never been a fan of dramatizing negative behaviors in training, as this method typically produces mixed results. I am a much bigger fan of scenario-based training that encourages demonstration or application of desired behaviors. I typically utilize branching scenarios that lead to either positive or negative outcomes based on a participant's behavioral choices throughout the scenario. This method is more engaging and produces more desirable learning outcomes for me.
Mr. Wittrup- I think putting trainees into situations where they are actually doing (rather than listening or watching) will almost always make the learning stick better. The age old problem is, in larger Instructor Led training sessions it can become more difficult to assess if they are successfully completing the scenario and give the appropriate feedback (this is much easier in ELearning).
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Keith - not sure that I'm brilliant but I'll answer - I agree that bad examples = bad ideas. Instead, when someone performs an incorrect action in a scenario I ask participants if they saw something wrong and then build the discussion from there. I always make sure to point out what was done correctly as well - nobody likes being the bad example! I call it the Laroq principle after a college professor...he was fond of saying "Good, good, good....BUT...." when evaluating students!
Shane - One of the things I believe is, we as trainers can use negative examples really effectively when presenting scenarios and letting the trainee analyze it. This is particularly true if spotting errors is a part of people's job function (like training someone for a compliance function).
In those circumstances it allows the trainer to focus on what the trainee did right in finding the error.
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