Engagement Microlearning Science

Harness the Power of Aha! Moments to Help Your Team Learn

Written by Alex Khurgin

The haystack was important because the cloth ripped.

Do you get it? Maybe if I added a picture.

The haystack was important because the cloth ripped.

Do you get it now? Think about it a moment before you move on.

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

The haystack was important because the cloth ripped.

Parachute!

If your brain just went from confusion to sudden clarity, you have experienced an aha or eureka moment. The feeling corresponds with a jolt of activity in the right temporal lobe of your brain.

Multiple research studies suggest that because you had to puzzle out the meaning of the sentence, you are now far likelier to remember it. Simply put, when you are made to think harder, you remember better. And the sudden positive feeling of aha! provides a strong cue for later recall.

Your challenge today is to start harnessing the power of aha moments to help your audience form stronger memories.

Whether you are designing and facilitating learning experiences, or simply trying to communicate an important message to your employees, you should aim to create an aha! moment from the start, rather than simply begin presenting information.

Here are some options:

Tell stories

Not only are stories psychologically privileged, meaning they are easier for people to pay attention to, comprehend, and remember, but they are also excellent mechanisms for sparking sudden insights. For example, this story begins a Grovo lesson on how to make sure a solution is working after it has been implemented.

Ask reflection questions

Prompt your audience to think hard about questions they may not usually consider, like “How often do you play to your strengths at work?” or “What is your purpose?” These questions not only get your audience to engage with the material on a personal level but may also lead to elaborative thinking that ends in a deep realization. Sometimes, the insight can be helped along by presenting the answer as well:


Present surprising facts or statistics

Sometimes all it takes to trigger an aha! moment is a few facts that put everything into context.

Feature passionate experts and role models

Aha! moments tend not to come from information, but from how it is presented. Having an expert passionately lay out his or her point of view may spark the same passion or perspective in the audience.

Put it into practice

Don’t squander the attention of your audience. Try to give them an aha! moment immediately, creating a little win in their brains and making what you present that much more memorable.

Microlearning is the shortest path between aha! moments. Looking to create more of them across your organization? Download our book on microlearning to learn how.

Alex Khurgin is the Director of Learning Innovation at Grovo. He applies philosophy and humor to roiling debates about organizational learning, and has presented his insights at conferences such as ATD, Techweek, DevLearn, and CLO Innovators.

Follow him on Twitter @learninkhurgin

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