Make your Training Planetarium-worthy

The first time I walked into a planetarium I was star-struck (pun intended). I was so immersed in wonder and discovery that I lost track of time (and my classmates) and needed to be dragged out of there. That was long ago, but the experience stayed with me – and it inspires the work we do at Heartwood today.


By making training memorable.

But first, let’s look at how Planetariums do it.

Memorable – by Design

Effective and memorable employee training doesn’t just “happen.” It needs to be intentional, just like it is at the planetarium.

Case in point, when designing the new Mission Moon exhibit for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Exhibit Developer Annie Vedder made it memorable by using genuine artifacts visitors could see and touch, along with actual recordings of the mission astronauts and others who played a part in the historical events of the first mission to the moon. She created an interactive exhibit that people could EXPERIENCE. Way better than a lecture about the moon landing.

And that “immersive experience” is a constant at these exhibits. The Hayden Planetarium combines authentic scientific observations, data, and models to create a digital projection across its theater’s 67-foot-wide hemispheric dome – and every seat has an amazing view.

The result is stunning:

“How ‘bout the stuff we don’t know?” Neil DeGrasse Tyson says in the video above. “That excites me.”

But when was the last time a formal technical training session inspired excitement for the equipment?

Making Learning Engaging

Most employees view training as just another item to check off of a list. Worse, it’s something many try to avoid. Think about it – how many people use training week as the best time to call in sick? It’s a running joke at many businesses.

Why is that? Because even with all the time and money invested in training, it feels like a chore, with trainers and trainees just “going through the motions.” Even mandatory attendance rules don’t fix the core issue, which is that training, using traditional methods, isn’t MEMORABLE – and it has to be.

How do you make training memorable? By making it hands-on and interactive, versus passive and uninspired. Tom Friedman, market president of First National Bank, Ankeny, calls hands-on training, “fantastic,” continuing, “Fun, interactive training is even better, it is memorable, and that is the ultimate goal of training.”

Indeed, the ultimate goal of training to be memorable is so that –  it can be remembered. And that’s much more likely when training is stimulating, engaging and immersive – like the planetarium – versus reading a manual or hearing a lecture.

It’s the principle that explains why people fall asleep watching movies, but not playing video games. Because “doing” is engaging, and watching is not.

Real Customer Example

L4_6_Dosing_Injector_Mod_ver_2_0Consider these sample slides from a Diesel Engine Training Course:

Relative size of equipment or parts is unclear
Context of how parts integrate to the whole is unclear
Function is represented in a flat 2D form, unlike the real world

The visuals don’t give trainees a sense of what the equipment actually does. The odds of remembering anything useful from the images and applying them to real equipment later are slim. Now look at the same course as Visual and Interactive:

There’s a reason “learn by doing” is one of our credos. It’s why visiting the planetarium beats reading a book about astronomy any day. For training to be memorable, it must be interactive, immersive and engaging.

Build your training with these elements and your staff won’t just tolerate training – they’ll actually enjoy it.

How should you start? Begin by reaching out here.

Image Credit 1
Image Credit 2