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Learn/Play/Prove: Don't Waste Learner Time!

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

The “cookie cutter” mentality to learning design means that often, learners waste time on courses with knowledge and skills that they already have. Nothing is more frustrating to learners and more costly to employers.

To assume that all the learners in a group come with the same learning needs is a huge oversight, when in truth, their backgrounds, experience and knowledge can be vastly different - meaning that their learning gaps are actually quite diverse, even though they may share the same job, role, or position.

We often forget that learners have to process the information in order for the learning to have an impact on their job performance. We know that individual learners consume information in different ways (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, read/written); but we neglect to think about how each learner processes that information for use on the job.

We have successfully implemented a strategy called “Learn, Play, Prove” to make sure each learner is provided with a personalized pathway to success. This strategy allows learners the opportunity to absorb and process information in a way that is most agreeable to their learning style and ensures that they spend time learning new information and skill and bridging their learning gaps. When partnered with a whole task strategy, the learner demonstrates the ability to master complex concepts quicker and spends less time learning what they may already know.

Learn/Play/Prove provides options and flexibility.
Learn/Play/Prove allows learners to pick their experience based on their needs.

The Learn/Play/Prove strategy leverages three common learning styles. However, unlike traditional learning that requires all learners to proceed through the chosen content in the same way, each learner may pick their preferred path, dependent on their needs.

Each path provides learning on the same concepts; however, the method by which the learning is conveyed is different. Learners have the freedom to select how they want to consume the information and may pick one or multiple options for each concept.

Let's look at the three key domains of Learn, Play, Prove.


The Learn domain is familiar to most learners. In this domain, the learner is provided with detailed information about the concept. This may be through written, auditory, or visual content.

The Learn domain is popular with learners that prefer a written, auditory, or visual learning style.


The Play domain is less common in traditional learning, but more and more learners are beginning to demonstrate a desire to learn by doing. As a result, the Play domain begins to have a more prominent role in learning delivery.

The Play domain is most effective for learners that prefer a more kinesthetic or hands-on learning approach. These include activities such as role-playing, case studies, simulations with help, and guided practice.


The Prove domain is popular with learners that already have expertise in an area or prefer to learn through success and failure. In many instances, this may give a learner the opportunity to “test out” of learning that they already have.

You can also think of the Prove domain as an evaluation of a learner’s competence in a concept. Successful completion of a Prove segment indicates that they learner has a satisfactory understanding of the concept and the ability to apply that understanding to their job. Prove activities may include situational exams, shadowed practice, real time demonstration, on-the-job practice, and unaided simulations.

What are you doing to help learners avoid wasting time in courses with where they already have SOME of the knowledge and skills?

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