How to Use the 10 Minute Rule in Your Instructor-led Training


The 10-Minute Rule Supports ILT and Prepares Content for eLearning Development

It’s time to start adding some design to your existing instructor led training event. With the video, you should have no problem reviewing the event enough times to sketch out the flow of the content.  My personal design preference is to work within constraints. Knowing that, in the end, I want small easily consumable learning chunks in some form of digital media helps constrain my design process even for the instructor led training (ILT) event.

As you review the slides and the video of the event, it should be pretty easy to see the natural breaks in the content. Depending on how well your subject matter experts (SME) prepared, some topics may be more easily defined than others.  But just remember this is the starting point. From here you can begin to formulate questions and begin working with your SME to more accurately define the topics and offer your expert advice.

Start ILT Design by Planning Around Logistical Constraints

For ILT, the biggest constraints are logistical.  Let’s start there. Let’s say your subject matter expert is convinced that his class MUST be an entire day-long event. Great! This is where we start. Oh…and remember, we are not making judgments or getting into debates with our SMEs at this point.  We are still letting them make a LOT of decisions based on what makes them comfortable. It certainly won’t hurt if the class ends early.  And if time runs out before all the material is covered, then you work something out.  But it’s not the end of the world. And it’s not worth getting upset over it, or making your SME feel bad. You are making him/her a rock star, and hurting their feelings doesn’t get you closer to that goal.

We now have a full day to work with. I like to start with the easy basics and begin building from there. What time will you start and end? These are your first 2 simple design constraints.  Let’s go with 8am to 5pm. Now let’s divide that into 10min segments. If you created a spreadsheet you would notice 54 10min. blocks of time between 8am and 5pm. Wow! That’s a lot of topics for learners to consume in just one day, right? Fortunately, there are more logistical considerations to add.

screenshot Classroom Template Spreadsheet

Morning of a day-long course broken into 10 minute blocks.

*Download the spreadsheet here

Don’t Forget the Breaks!

Your learners will need a lunch break and a shorter morning and afternoon break. These breaks will fill a few of the 10min blocks. Drop in a morning break 9:40-10am, and an afternoon break 2:40-3pm, and then lunch from noon-1pm. If you are following along at home, you’ve now reduced the number of available 10min blocks by 10. You are now left with 44 10min blocks for content and other activities.

Before jumping too quickly into your content there are some other easy items you can add to fill the blocks. For example, you need to introduce the course, and the SME…your rock star. And depending on the size of the class you will want the attendees to introduce themselves as well. You will also want to plan time for review after lunch and at the end of the day. And perhaps save a block or two for quizzes or tests? You get the idea. Use your experiences to add in the common elements of ILT.  This will give you a more realistic idea of how many 10min blocks remain for your content.

Social Learning is a Critical Element in ILT

For a day long class I think its important to establish a social setting which is why I like doing attendee introductions. Even if you know everyone in the class, it’s more important that they get to know each other. As a proponent of the aspects of social learning, I believe the traditional classroom environment is the perfect catalyst for initiating social connections and helping employees and/or customers build their networks.

The 10 minute block of time forces you to define and re-define your subject matter experts content. If you are a 20th century instructional designer your instinct will be to get this spreadsheet completely filled with content, totally overhauling your SMEs entire course.  While you can certainly use this spreadsheet as a complete design tool, it is not the best use of this spreadsheet.

The idea of the 10 minute blocks is to not only help you improve the ILT, but to also identify content that can be converted into short digital media elements. The spreadsheet is the blank framework that will help you communicate with your SME about ILT improvements and also give you both a good sense of which content can be quickly converted to online content. This will also help you both work together to define whether or not the online digital media should be consumed before, during, or after the ILT session.

I hope you are beginning to see how the 7 Levels of corporate training and elearning development are interconnected and flow together as an iterative development process.  I’ve learned a lot from the Lean manufacturing methodology, rapid prototyping and rapid eLearning development communities, incorporating bits of each into this model.  Feel free to comment with your concerns, or questions.