From Scratch

Possible Frameworks

A Walk-Through

The Expert's Mistake

It's always nice to dodge obstacles, and new training projects allow you to do just that. Instead of struggling against legacy formats, the focus shifts to designing and testing.

Remember, best performances originate in training formats that match the task.

If the task is heavily decision-based, as was the poker example, then the training must follow those decision sequences. If the task mixes pattern recognition and record keeping, the learning patterns should match that framework.


For good training design, a subject matter expert is essential. Chances are that you don't know enough to identify subtle shifts in patterns or critical decisions.

You will also need a test environment. Somewhere that allows repeated tries without introducing new variables. Test subjects are required, although in some cases software will suffice.

Patience during the testing phase is critical. It is rare to find the right training patterns without several rounds of trial-and-error.

Possible Frameworks

Working with the subject matter expert, list out the possible formats for organizing the information. Chances are that you'll have a few misses identifying the right pattern, and having the options visible makes it more difficult to be stubborn.

When flushing out the poker patterns, I was sure that chronological order was the correct framework. That misjudgment cost me months. Although the decision patterns had sections that followed a time line, other decision factors were dominant.

Poker frameworks, for example:

  • Chronological.
  • Maneuvers.
  • Card based.
  • Situation based.
  • Mathematical.
  • Decision points.
  • Psychological view.
  • Strategy.
  • Table based.
  • Opponent based.
  • Opportunity based.
  • Training.
  • Bonus play.
  • Preparation.
  • Hand based.
  • Response based.
  • Position based.
  • General behavior based.

  • A Walk-Through

    With a framework selected, step through the task. List each step. Be careful to include steps that seem obvious to you, but which might be unclear to a beginner.

    Adjust and retry.

    Don't be surprised if the presentation isn't as pretty as other training material. If you recall, the ideal poker training format appeared cluttered and disorganized. It was shaped to the decision sequence.

    Retry and adjust.

    The Expert's Mistake

    Don't fall into the classic expert's mistake. They are so familiar with the material that they skip over decision and observation points. Validate your sequences with novice testing.

    Be a broken record by repeating, "Let's go over this section again. What steps are we missing?" Ask the testers the same question. Repeat.

    I guess the key words are repeat, retry, and adjust. The learning patterns must fit task actions as closely as possible.

    What's next?

    Legacy learning material is more tricky than complicated. That's next.

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