The Unexpected Benefits of ‘Second-Time Around’ Training

popcornWhy would you want to see the same movie a second time?  If it is a great cinematic production, you look forward to reliving favorite scenes.  You remember the dialogue, the characters and the sets. And even when you have seen the movie more than a few times, you inevitably see or hear things you missed the first time.

So, what does repeating a favorite movie have to do with repeating a training class?  I had a chance to find out when I facilitated several classes of Paradigm Learning’s business acumen simulation (Zodiak®) a second time for a total of 300 participants.

As you might expect, many participants came into the class skeptical about why they were there, so I liked to start with a simple challenge: I asked them to think of the experience as if they were watching their favorite movie for the second or third time. Invariably, people would pause, shrug and give me a look, “Ok, I’ll give it a try.”

As we got deeper into the simulation, I could see that some participants remembered certain, but certainly not all, aspects of the game.  It was fun to see their smiles and comments, “I remember this!”  Other participants pointed out key concepts they hadn’t noticed the first time.

Unlike the unfailing charms of a favorite movie,  however, playing a business simulation a second time is a dynamic experience. When you make a different set of business decisions, for example, you change the  impact on the bottom line.  Plus, your own business will have changed since your previous training session. The class discussions will reflect those changes. So it’s a combination of a returning to a familiar storyline, combined with significant scene updates, that makes a repeat training session fresh and new every time.

My advice to you: If your organization asks you to participate in a program a second time, think of it like watching your favorite movie. There are parts that you will remember, and there are aspects that, as with any good movie, you will see for the first time. If you’re the facilitator, give participants the “movie revisited” challenge. Emphasize new elements in the discussions. Your participants will walk out with smiles—and new  knowledge.  But don’t forget the popcorn!

20f867fWayne Briesemeister is a supply chain and operations executive in Milwaukee. Wayne has facilitated the Zodiak simulation for more than 1,000 participants in manufacturing and distributor environments (www.linkedin.com/in/wbriesemeister/wbriesemeister@hotmail.com; 262.945.6051).

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