Written by: Patti Myers, Learning Experience Consultant, Zenith Performance Solutions

What? Thanksgiving? Haven’t you seen the signs: “7 Saturdays till Christmas” “50 days until Christmas”…Thanksgiving, really?

I know…I do love Christmas, but Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays growing up and still is today. It may be that fall is in the air, and things seems to move at a leisurely pace; the traditions, the great food, family, friends, and football. Just to name a few…

We usually start our day with the a fun pastry breakfast, watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade until the very end when Santa comes, join the family for Thanksgiving dinner, and then we disperse. Kids off to play, guys to watch football and/or take naps and most of the women visit and look at Black Friday Ads.

We have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, at least traditional where I live. Cornbread dressing and Turkey with all the fixings. My extra mom and I make the dressing every year and we make it a week in advance with one pan with onions and one without to please the masses and freeze it. And, yes, it is still delicious!

Whether you have a traditional thanksgiving in your geographic location or hide the turkey altogether, most of us gather with friends, family and loved ones to celebrate a time of thanksgiving.

So, you say, what does that have to do with training? Well, a lot really. If you think about thanksgiving, you have to prepare for the festivities of the day and the different likes and dislikes of your guests. This is not much different than preparing your Training/Instructional Design plan and focusing on your target audience.

  • Yours may like a traditional sit down feast – Traditional Leader-led training; or
  • Yours may like a totally new twist on the traditional – elearning or v-learning; or
  • Yours may like to take it somewhere new – mlearning; or
  • Yours may like a little bit of a mix – Blended learning

The standard approach of using sound instructional design concepts is the same, but the approach for your audience may be slightly different. You may want to keep them interested, like a football game with some action, interactivity, or gamification. And you may have a call to action at the end or leave them with something intriguing like the Black Friday ads: a discount, a giveaway, a new course.

No, the approach to Thanksgiving and Training is not so different. And the key to a good Thanksgiving? Not the turkey, not the meal, but happy, satisfied guests who are thinking of what they have and not feeling overstuffed, but ready to come back for seconds! And isn’t that what we want from training?

So enjoy your Thanksgiving this year and as you look around your table, reflect on what you are thankful for and see how training can make that pumpkin pie just a little better.

  • As in Thanksgiving, what approach do you take to your training?
  • What ways do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How can you compare that to your training?
  • Traditional or Non-traditional? What type of training do you prefer? How can you spice up either one?
  • How can you add components to keep your learners coming back for more?
  • While the holiday (course) is going, how do you keep your patrons interested and engaged?

Well, I hope you will see Thanksgiving a little differently this year. I know Christmas is around the corner, but take some time to relax and enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Zenith Performance Solutions!