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The 10 drill design principles

How to create personalized courses that meet and exceed the learning goals?

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1. Chunk the learning material.
Break up the learning material into manageable pieces. Microlearning motivates the learner and is more effective. 

2. Focus on the Need-to-Know.
Put all crucial information that needs to be anchored and retained in a drill. 

3. Develop a story if you want to add context, relevance or current events to the course. 

Stories can be placed before and after a drill. The actual learning will always take place in the drill. Stories that are short and to-the-point will engage your learners. 

4. Design one question per learning element.
This allows you to precisely measure what the learner already masters and whatnot. Smart repetition ensures that elements that are not yet correctly mastered, will be presented more frequently. 

5. Put the actual learning information in the answers.
This is what the learners will memorize. So:

  • avoid  True / False or Yes / No questions 
  • avoid negative questions (eg: “Which behavior is not acceptable?”) Focus on what the learner should know or do.

6. Design short, relevant and positive feedback. 
Positive feedback that focuses on the correct answer, enhances the learning effect. 

7. Use different question and answer types. 
Design drills with varying question types such as multiple-choice, open, serie, sequence, and hotspot questions. Use images, video, and sound. Avoid recognition of answers based on external characteristics: design answer options of the same length and format. 

8. Design question variants.
A question variant is a differently worded question addressing the same knowledge element. This is to avoid the repetition of the exact same question. 

9. Engage and challenge your learners: 

  • Set learning objectives on your drills. Your learners will be invited to develop their knowledge in frequent intervals and to maintain their knowledge year-round. 
  • Adapt the tone of voice, case studies, scenarios, and news items to your target audience. 
  • Regularly update your drills and stories to keep the content up-to-date, challenging and relevant.
  • Show a video with a message from an expert or company hotshot in a story at the beginning or end of a course. 

10. Communicate with your learners.
Enlarge the learner engagement by sending a challenging invitation email or drill description linked to a role, competence or recent event. Show a video with a message from an expert or company hotshot in a story at the beginning or end of a course. Regularly update your drills, surprise, and challenge your learners each time they brush up on their knowledge. 

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