Technical eLearning Made Easy – Tip #204

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Technical training appeals to me a great deal because of the way training is designed around technical and factual information and the ability to get returns from whatever investment has been made.

The challenge presented by these trainings, has always been the inundation of so much facts, measurements and other factors.  As a result, there is a lack of focus on the right and much needed learning content. This causes tremendous overload in our learning design.

Learning by Doing : Problem-Solving Approach

In today’s learning environment, the reality is that there are varied types of learners including those with technical or even medical orientation. The best way to help them appreciate the learning is by taking them through the discovery process.

Science, Mathematics, Technology and Engineering are major areas where technical and scientific data abound. So, how do we sift through the massive information to generate meaningful and useful content for the learners?

How do you fuel their interest and raise interactivity levels to keep them engaged and focused?

Let them discover the problem and work to resolve it!

Discovery learning takes place in problem-solving situations where the learner draws on his own experience and prior knowledge. It is a method of instruction through which students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.(Wikipedia)

Faye Borthick and Donald R. Jones emphasized the advantage of collaboration in discovery learning and the sense of community that results from it. They opined that, “In discovery learning, participants learn to recognize a problem, characterize what a solution would look like, search for relevant information, develop a solution strategy, and execute the chosen strategy. In collaborative discovery learning, participants, immersed in a community of practice, solve problems together.”

Implementation Models – Discovery Learning Approach

Here are two implementation models to help you guide your learners through the Discovery Learning Approach.


Ask learners to study the process and find the deviations.

This may mean looking into technical documentation and even into the equipment
Ask them to look for deviations and identify the exceptions or those not within the norm

The important info is not in the norms or standards. Rather it is in those deviations the learners discover. These are what they focus to resolve.

Creating the Micro-Content

Prepare a micro-content – not teaching all the details or all of the content. Rather, identify what is most important that must be learned or resolved.

The basis of identifying micro-content is affected by the deviations that are discovered. This is what you drill into, as the learners work out the solutions to the deviation or problem.

Take the learners through the above learning process so they are able to approach it properly.

What have we accomplished with this design?

In the model above, realize that the job of the trainer is to organize the setting so that you may ask the learners to do all of the above steps in the process. This allows your learner to go through their own discovery journey.

Identify an issue with characters in conversations
Allow them to play around with a representation of the equipment
Let them go through the equipment

This allows a trial and error process as well. You can ask the learners to translate the complex technical information into real and vivid ways.


Why is this a more fun way of doing technical training compared to lecturing to your audience?

This design approach helps the learners discover the learning on their own. All you need to do as a trainer is to prepare the environment where they could do this.

It alludes to the “near-learning” concept that the learning and the distance to application in real life are very close to each other.

Let the learners do the work. You create the conducive environment and ask the learners to complete the journey to discovery.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”