Hard out it of to is understand order words.
Read that sentence again, turn away from your computer, and recite it back. It is nine words. How many of them can you remember in the right order?
It is hard to understand words out of order. That’s the sentence if we rearrange the words. That sentence is a lot easier to remember because it makes sense. We can feel its truth if we have tried hard enough to remember its words as they first appeared.
As we arrange information to move people to action, we have to pay attention to that same rule: does it make sense? Does it connect with a real emotion? Does is provide the path of least resistance to the most behavior change?
Too often, the answers to these questions are no. We put information out expecting the receivers of that information to reorganize it into something that makes sense to them. We trust that people not expert in our topic are able to take information and apply it to their context, to do things differently without the benefit of practice. That is a big jump.
I know it is also a big jump for people who don’t live and breathe adult learning and curriculum design to innovate new solutions to how they deliver information. It means stepping out of information and into what you want to see or hear at the end. It requires reverse-engineering exactly the right information and practice needed to leave people ready to do things differently in their context. That calibration of content and engagement lies at the heart of a well designed set of resources.
Here’s a program to help. Registration is now open for the 2022 cohort of Design for Results: How to create curriculum that leads to change starting on January 27, 2022. Designed for learning leaders, program directors, consultants, and trainers working in the social sector, it leads participants through a well-tested design process that yields a ready-to-use curriculum (or whatever collection of lessons, tools, and experiences you need to achieve your goals). Participation unlocks a peer group, extensive resources, and one-on-one support available to you until you get where you need to go.
I began this email with the mixed up sentence opening after reading one “must read” book on nonprofit boards that meandered around in circles to the point of confusion. I then reviewed a training intended for action but designed for overwhelm. In both cases, I found myself sorting their parts into a more sensical order. That got in the way of me learning. Your work matters—nothing should get in the way of people learning what you need them to know to move forward.