Telling Ain’t Training Book Review

Why You Should Read This Book

Telling Ain't TrainingIs the purpose of your training to change the behavior of your trainees and to improve workplace performance?  If so, this is the book for you. 

Is your mantra “learner-centered” and “performance-based”?  If not, it should be!  After reading this book I guarantee it will be! 

This learner-centered book is a must-read for anyone designing and delivering training whether a novice or experienced trainer or developer.  I plan to reread it over and over again as a refresher and will definitely use it as a reference. 

The authors, Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps, practice what they preach.  Telling Ain’t Training is fun, engaging, easy to read, and written in plain English.  All terminology and concepts are explained very well.  The book is interactive and keeps the reader engaged by interspersing activities throughout the book.  In addition, there are charts, illustrations, quizzes, worksheets, checklists, planning sheets, scripting sheets, and summaries.

What it Contains

Telling Ain’t Training contains practical information on adult learning principles based on current research in order to improve workplace performance.   This book doesn’t just explain how to train.  It tells what works and why.  Included in the book:

  • Training and learning terminology
  • Adult Learning Principles
  • Types of knowledge
  • How to motivate learners
  • How to improve learner retention
  • How to develop effective training activities
  • How to retrofit current training sessions using the Five-Step Model
  • Brain research
  • Types of Training
  • 25 effective training activities
  • How to assess learners

Where to Order

Order from or the ASTD store.

Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 200 pages
Publication Date: 2002
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1-56286-328-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-56286-328-9
SKU: 110211


Instructional Technology Recipe for Learning Stew

My own personal definition of instructional technology:

Instructional Technology is a modern approach to teaching and learning that utilizes technology to facilitate learning and improve performance. This is done by analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating technological processes and resources for learning.

Instructional Technology Learning Stew

(makes one serving per student)

In order to prepare a large pot of Learning Stew for your learners, follow the recipe I have created.  If you follow it correctly you WILL produce learning results! 

Caution: Before you even think of adding extra tasty ingredients of technology or a teaspoonful of any other spicy learning tool or manipulative, always take into consideration the outcome of your learning recipe: the learning goals and objectives.


Step 1
Toss in five large cups of learning medley to enable learners to take responsibility for their learning, to become actively involved and participating, and to think critically and creatively.  Feel free to add other ingredients to the pot to increase the learning flavor.  Choose questions, activities, and tools wisely.

Step 2
Sprinkle in a dash of reading, writing, creativity, researching, communication and collaboration. 

Step 3
Evaluate all ingredients (tools and techniques) to foster learning in the manner listed above. 

Step 4
Simmer on low for two hours or until Learning Stew is thoroughly cooked.

Step 5
Serve Instructional Technology Recipe to learners.  Yum!

Step 6
End result: a hearty bowl full of learning!

Note: If you have “cooked up” technological tools that will help you achieve your goals and objectives and that will enable learners to become active learners and critical thinkers, then you have successfully prepared your Instructional Technology recipe for Learning Stew.

Put on Your Learning GLOVES!

magic gloveWhen true learning occurs, a change in behavior takes place.  As instructors, we should strive to create a change in learners’ behavior in the real world.  With effective instruction, learners should be able to reproduce the learned behavior without mistakes beyond what was taught.  So how can we make instruction more effective?  Make learning meaningful!  How do we make learning meaningful?  Whip out the pixie dust and put on your magic learning GLOVES

Getting learners actively involved – When you are teaching, employ active learning techniques.  Instruction is most effect when it is learner-centered and interactive.  Remember, the more learners are involved and the more they participate in the learning process, the more effective it will be.  Be a facilitator rather than a lecturer.  Excessive lecturing and Power Point presentations are not only boring which causes learners to tune out but they also are not involved in the learning process therefore making it unproductive.  Wouldn’t you agree that we want learners to be able to perform rather than just talk about the subject matter?  So please, by all means, avoid death by Power Point! 

Learning must have a purpose – Be sure to create a sense of purpose.  Ensure learners understand the purpose of the instruction and why they need to learn and know the material.  If they know why they are learning it, they will be more likely to embrace the learning experience.

Organizing content – Know that content is king.  Incorporate content based on learners’ needs and interests.  Content should be meaningful, transferable to real life, and organized in a logical manner so that it flows.

Viewing content as relevant – Incorporate real world application.  Include information and situations that learners view as relevant and that helps them perform a task or solve a real-world problem.  Encourage learners to relate the material to their own experiences and to real world applications that apply to them and allow them to share their experiences.

Evaluating learners – When you evaluate learners, offer constructive feedback so they will know what they are doing right and what areas need improvement.  Constructive feedback will help learners to continue to learn and grow.

Surviving the learning environment – Create a safe learning environment.  Treat learners with respect, understanding, and concern.  Be understanding of their needs and fears.  If learners are afraid they will be ridiculed or embarrassed their affective filter will be high and they will be less likely to learn.

light bulbOne final tip:  Be a reflective practitioner, strive for excellence, and always make improvements.  If something is not working well, determine why and fix it.

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