Real-World Problems

Real-world problems are authentic issues that affect people outside of the classroom environment. Participants learn best when a topic is of immediate value to them. You can instill a sense of purpose if you introduce a real-world problem at the start of the course. During the course, ask participants to consider or investigate potential solutions to the problem.

Example 1

To begin his NHI “Instructor Development Course” presentation on “Local Road Safety,” Marvin Ta cited this statistic and considered its impact on a family:

  • “In 2014, there were 511 passenger car deaths. But think of how many devasted family and friends. What if this was your child? Your world’s gone just like that? Witnessing a mother lose a child. Attending your child’s funeral is something you hope to never experience.”
  • “Is it preventable? Certainly.”
  • “On March 28, 2014, I lost a good friend, Adiv Lift, in a car crash.”

Figure 42 displays the slide Ta showed during his presentation to personalize the problem.

Slide from Local Road Safety presentation. Title: Local Road Safety. Photo of young man. Caption: East Pennsboro Area student killed in car crash 'did things with style.' Photo of memorial site on sidewalk with candles. Caption: Adiv Lift, teen killed in car crash, described as charismatic, loyal friend.

Source: Ta (2019).

Figure 42: Real-world problem slide from “Local Road Safety”

Example 2

To being his NHI “Instructor Development Course” training presentation on “Drilled Shaft Volume,” Don Dwyer displayed a photo of exposed reinforcement bars to illustrate the negative impact of miscalculating the volume of a drilled shaft. Figure 43 displays the slide that graphically demonstrates the impact of poor monitoring during concrete pours.

Slide from Drilled Shaft Volume presentation. Title: Do you want this supporting your bridge? Photo of exposed reinforcement bars protruding from unfinished bridge supports. Caption: Less concrete than expected!

Source: Dwyer (2018).

Figure 43: Real-world problem slide from “Drilled Shaft Volume”

Instructor-Led Training

Go beyond industry statistics and display the headline and photos from an accident, incident, or scandal. Ask participants if something similar has happened or could happen in their community. Participants can share their responses in a small group discussion or chat before discussing as a whole group what could be done to prevent it.

Web Conference Training

As a pre-course assignment, ask participants to share an example of a real-world experience or problem that relates to the course content. Create an interactive list of topics using a collaborative document platform. When getting ready to introduce a topic, ask participants who selected that topic to briefly share their story or issue.