Business Performance Blog

We share our news and reflections on the world of business.
Join our discussion on the latest research, reports and opinion.

Does Learning Have To Be Fun?

Submitted by  on June 16th, 2011

Trainer with FUN written on blackboardSome trainers obsess about the need to put fun into their training programs. The thinking seems to be that if training participants aren’t having a good time, they won’t learn as much. This can be a worry especially for those trainers who don’t see themselves as born entertainers.

If you don’t naturally tell jokes or engage in light-hearted games, there is good news. Every training program does not need to give participants a belly full of laughs. For some programs, the “fun” element needs to be very measured. I’m thinking here of those kinds of program that aim to change participants’ interpersonal behaviors. These kinds of programs include bullying in the workplace, dealing with difficult people, mutual goal-setting, and so on. These programs should stretch participants’ boundaries. If they are laughing all the way through, it means they are not being challenged to introspect and modify their habits and attitudes.

On the other hand, where a group of people come together for the first time, they need to become comfortable with each other or they will not learn effectively. Your job as a trainer is to ease the natural feelings of discomfort that some participants will experience. Whether you do that by playing a game or telling a joke is up to you. Choose whatever methods are appropriate for your personality and the course objectives. Introducing light-hearted moments at the appropriate time will serve to break down the barriers. So yes, learning can be fun, and at times is an essential element of effective training. But don’t fall into the trap of making “fun” the overriding objective of your training.

How are you incorporating fun elements into your training programs? Do you think it makes a difference? Is it helping your participants learn?

High Impact Training Guide

Do you need more impact from your training programs? Are you ready to deliver more learning per program? Then check out our high performance training guide, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance. Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and maximizing learning transfer. Find out more about From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance and download the free introductory chapter today.

Posted in Training | Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Does Learning Have To Be Fun?”

  1. Eugen Pfister Says:

    I agree! Most of training fun packages are poor substitute to the lack of true learning. So let’s have fun. The only exception is to spontaneous humor, not those planed jokes, and group dynamics just to fill airtime.

  2. Leslie Allan Says:

    Thanks Eugen, Yes, I’ve been saying for a while now that getting learners engaged in the learning is our first priority. Fun can help here at times. However, it should not be our prime focus. And contriving a “fun” activity can sometimes backfire.

    Regards, Les Allan

  3. uma arora Says:

    Fun at learning is over rated. When people need to unwind and have fun, they need to go for a break or fun offsite and not training. Learning is serious business and spontaneous humour, action and engagement is a part of it. If people have fun in the process, good for them (and most of the times they do) Fun (in pure form) at learning is for kids, not adults…

  4. Karen Says:

    Fun helps engage learners and put them at ease. While it uses Level 1 essentially, learners should feel comfortable and training at least reasonably enjoyable. It comes down to solid instructional design, knowing your audience and being an empathic trainer. A project I am working on in software training development, we made real scenarios and only changed the names to rock and movie stars- making for a few chuckles during training.

Leave a Reply

Share This

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • googleplus
  • gmail
  • delicious
  • reddit
  • digg
  • newsvine
  • posterous
  • friendfeed
  • googlebookmarks
  • yahoobookmarks
  • yahoobuzz
  • orkut
  • stumbleupon
  • diigo
  • mixx
  • technorati
  • netvibes
  • myspace
  • slashdot
  • blogger
  • tumblr
  • email
Short URL:



Recent Posts