Using Games and Exercises
Experienced HRD professionals fully understand that the audiences of the new millennium are considerably different from their counterparts of even a few years ago. They are younger, more educated, often less formal, and really are interested in learning. They want information that is practical, relevant, timely, and user-friendly. They want to learn to be sure—but they also want to have fun in the process!
Interactive exercises or games have been used to liven up presentations ever since it was discovered that people have a very short attention span. In fact, there are studies to suggest that the average attention span of most adults is at best three to four minutes! If you doubt that, think of a meeting or presentation you may have attended last week and ask yourself how much of what that speaker or facilitator said last week can you remember?
While we've already addressed the laws of learning in Chapter 10, it might be appropriate at this point to discuss the "Law of Forgetting." In essence, the law of forgetting states that immediately upon hearing something, the average person forgets 50% of what he or she has just heard! Startling to be sure, but it's true.
Let's reiterate. As point of fact, some recent studies claim that the span of attention for most of us varies anywhere from ten seconds to three or four minutes. It's easy to see, then, why people become easily bored (or underwhelmed) with overly technical material and respond much better when there is life and variety in the training programs and presentations they attend.