Do Your Learners Roll Their Eyes When You State the Obvious?

When it comes to music, the world appears to be divided into two types of people:

  • People who hear the lyrics to a song
  • People who don’t hear the lyrics and instead hear only the melody, harmony, and arrangement

I’m definitely the latter type. After a first listen, I can usually pick up my guitar and play the song. But, I can listen to a song a dozen times without having a clue what it’s about. This leads to smirks around the dinner table when I say something like “did you ever notice there’s religious symbolism in Coldplay’s Viva la Vida?”

My daughters, on the other hand, have all the lyrics memorized after hearing a song a couple of times. I’m envious of their young nimble brains.

Being a strong believer in brain plasticity, the ability of our brains to adapt to new demands, I’ve decided to memorize the lyrics to one song per week. To prepare for this task, I Googled “How to memorize the lyrics to a song” to see if I could find any tips to make this easier. A WikiHow article appeared as the first hit.

The article began by proposing the following:

“1. Pick the song you want to memorize. Obviously, it cannot be an instrumental song, because it has to have lyrics. It helps if it is a song you like and listen to all the time.”

I had planned to memorize the lyrics to some Beethoven string quartets. I’m glad I read this WikiHow article first. Sheesh.

Instructions like this are like the messages legal departments place on products so that their companies don’t get sued: “Unwrap gum before chewing” or “do not place your hands on the grill of the BBQ when cooking.”

Procedural instructions such as those in this WikiHow article probably make the learner lose faith in the value of the content. I hadn’t made it to step two and already felt this page was likely a waste of time.

Have you come across cringe-inducing obvious procedures in your training materials? I’d love to read them.

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