Improving Learning Outcomes Using Laughter with Christee Atwood

Improving Learning Outcomes Using Laughter with Christee Atwood
September 10, 2020
4 minutes
Improving Learning Outcomes Using Laughter with Christee Atwood

It’s been said that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Could it also be said that “Laughter is the best learning”?  

Well maybe the analogy doesn’t work perfectly, but I hope you get the meaning.  Because, at the very least, if your audience is laughing, you know they’re listening.

This week Christee Atwood talked with us about using humor (or in Canada, humour) to better engage with our learners.

Christee is a long-time trainer and presenter, and had previous careers in TV, radio and even stand-up comedy. She brings all those experiences together in her approach to planning and delivering training sessions. She’s also the author of 14 books (and counting) on business and training topics as well as humorous books, and, in her own words, "occasionally the two overlap."

Some in our industry would not approve of the comparison between trainer and entertainer. However, it seems quite difficult to talk about engagement with learners and not think of the comparison.  

The emotional state of your learners has a big impact on your success as an instructor.  How you make them feel may not seem important, but it is. And I'm pretty sure there is neuroscience research to support that claim. Even if there isn't, who doesn't like to laugh and have fun while they're learning?

Christee helped us link laughter and learning.  But that's not all. We also talked about the reluctance of trainers to apply comic techniques in their online virtual training sessions. This feels like the perfect time to try everything we can when the audience is skeptical and not very motivated to participate. Or in our current state, burned out from the same old online meetings all day long.  

By the end of this IDIODC session we hope we tickled your funny bone a little and helped build your confidence and bravery to try a little humor in your next learning event or solution.

If you want to connect with Christee, check out this site.

You can check out the full episode including the always-helpful chat right here.


Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (affectionately known as IDIODC) is a weekly live videocast and podcast that helps instructional designers with pain points and provides best practices and industry insight.  

Every Wednesday morning at 10am ET hosts Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden guide us through an upbeat and candid conversation with their guests from the elearning and training world. The live cast session encourages peers to participate in the chat and share their own personal insight! After airing live, you can catch the learning podcast on all major streams such as Spotify, Apple and Google Play podcasts, as well as on YouTube.

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