Table of Contents

Instructional Designers Should Take A Cue From Pittsburgh Steelers’ LB James Harrison

Over the weekend, I read this article about American football player James Harrison, and how he returned two trophies that his sons had received because they had not really done anything to earn those trophies.

It made me think of the certificates that are given after people attend a training workshop or a conference or completing an elearning module. What do those certificates even mean?  


Several years ago I attended a webinar in which the presenter suggested that instructional designers hold certificates until the learners have demonstrated proficiency in the topic at hand. This could mean that instead of simply designing a 1-day workshop, a learning experience could be marketed as a 1-month experience. Maybe there’s a webinar or a short elearning module or some other pre-work to start. Then the learning is reinforced and practiced during the 1-day workshop. Then the learners are challenged to apply the learning to their jobs and submit some sort of evidence of mastery within a month. Then, and only then, should a certificate be awarded to learners.

Announcing  a learning experience as a 1-month (or 3-month or 6-month) learning experience as opposed to a 1-day or 3-day workshop immediately shifts the mental model with which a learner will approach the situation. By spacing the learning over the course of  a month (or longer) and insisting learners do something upon their return to their office, it can also lead to better retention, not to mention the possibility for level 3 (transfer) and level 4 (impact) evaluation.

Instructional designers can indeed take a lesson from James Harrison and insist that their learners earn their certificates.

Have you found a way to make certificates more meaningful? Let’s hear about it in the comment section.

Articles Similar to Instructional Designers Should Take A Cue From Pittsburgh Steelers’ LB James Harrison

Nate Martin on Escape Room designs for training
Instructional Design
Brian Washburn

Instructional Design & Escape Room Design

If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you can observe what a group of highly engaged people look like for 60 straight minutes. Is there a way to harness escape room design elements and bring them into the world of corporate training?

How to create a training plan in under 10 minutes

Using a lesson plan template (which is the most downloaded resource from this blog) can help give you structure. Using Soapbox can save you all sorts of time (and still give your presentation some structure)!

Does training actually change behavior?

Does training actually change behavior? It’s a question we should be able to answer honestly. (And the answer is: No, not 100%… and yes, but seriously, not 100%)

Hybrid Learning: When to use it

Recently I had an opportunity to talk with the folks at Mimeo about hybrid learning and when to use it. In today’s post, I share a link to that podcast, which is one in a series of podcasts they did with industry leaders on hybrid learning strategies.

L&D Lessons Learned from Being a Parent (Part 5 of 5)

Once we get into a comfortable routine, how easy is it to want to try something new? Erin Clarke shares a few ah-ha’s about what she discovered and how she became better when she decided to leave her comfort zone and try something new.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

Grow your L&D Career Today!

The Foundations of L&D course through the L&D Pro Academy provides the concepts and practical experience you need to grow your confidence and abilities as a well-rounded L&D professional.

Enter your email below and we’ll be in touch with an info sheet!

L&D Pro Academy

Find Your L&D Career Path

Explore the range of careers to understand what role might be a good fit for your L&D career.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.