“Oh no!” thinks Sally

“I’m screwing this up.”

Sally has created a new eLearning session about a change in the company’s policy that must be read and understood by everybody with Customer contact in the company.

Sally feels she has done some of her best work, including a video involving some of the contact centre staff.

But doubt has crept in.

What if people switch off when they see the subject?  What if they don’t get past the opening?’

 What makes an opening irresistible?

All designers are flitting around other people’s work skimming openings and looking for that opening that glues learners to proceed into the meaty part of the learning . . . with their full attention.

Training is about more than information and entertainment.  Learners also want to be comforted.  They’re looking for connections, for like minded spirits who can make them competent and comfortable in their jobs.

The most seductive openings empathise with the learner, and make him feel less alone.

So show your learner you understand him and you’ll help him.  Here’s some ideas for seductive openings.


Seduction 1 :  The “you” opening

This type of opening addresses the learner directly, and it often (but not always) starts with a question.

This is the easiest type of opening to write and it beats a boring “Learning Objectives”.

Here’s an example:

Do you often feel embarrassed when a Customer says, “that’s far too expensive” or “nobody will pay that much.”

Red-cheeked you wonder what you can say to change the Customer’s mind.

Do thoughts about the marketing department’s pricing create a fog in your brain?

To write a ‘you’-focused opening, picture your target learner in a scene.  What’s bothering him?  What’s going wrong?  Describe this scene in your opening, and address the learner directly by using the word “you”.


Seduction 2: The Story Approach

This opening mimics the ‘you’-focused opening.

Instead of addressing the reader directly, describe a scene in the third person and develop a feeling your learner recognises.

Here’s an example:

John is about to enter his fifth call of the day.  It’s not been a particularly good day as he is introducing a new product to his retailers and he is inclined to agree with the first four calls where his Customers have told him the product is too expensive for the present market.  Only one of them decided to stock the product.

John feels he should go and have a coffee instead of making this call.

How does he overcome this feeling and go ahead and sell the concept over the price?

Note how the example opening uses specific details to sketch the scene; we can picture John sitting in his car outside his next call having had an unsuccessful morning and knowing in his mind that he is about to face the same resistance once again.

Warning:  Don’t get too focussed on telling the story and forget what you started out to do.


Seduction 3 : The “me” opening

Trainers are usually nervous about using “I” and “me” in their eLearning.  This can sound like an ego driven classroom presenter and we know what we think about them.

To make the “me” focus work consider it as another variation of the story approach.  Instead of writing about a third person, share your own story of a problem.  Make sure the learners recognise your feelings.

Here’s the example:

One of the biggest struggles I had as a young salesperson was dealing with the price objection.

I had days when I didn’t want to make calls because I was afraid that I was going to be told that the retailer would not stock my product because she thought it was too dear.

Then I met Maria.  Maria was a very successful salesperson and it was through her that I overcame my fear and became very successful.

In this Modlette we are going to unveil Maria’s success secrets.

An engaging trainer writes like she’s having a conversation with you.  You may even nod your head when she poses a question.

And in eLearning, just like to face-to-face conversations, it’s okay to use the words “I” and “me”.