It’s easy to go overboard in order to make a point, but there is a danger of playing to stereotypes. Take, for example, sexual harassment training; rarely do these cases involve clear, black-and-white situations. That’s part of the problem with these scenarios: they’re nuanced and complex.

We’ve all seen bad training and although the cheesiness may provide some unintentional entertainment, the point rarely sticks with learners. The exaggerated behaviors do not simulate situations they would reasonably be presented with, and thus neglect any practical application of the skills you would want your employees to develop. Furthermore, these poor trainings will often rely heavily on stereotypical personas that do not reflect genuine human traits, and can even run the risk of offending because they are insensitively designed.

Audiences are far more likely to stay engaged with a fictional training scenario when it plays to their intelligence and pushes them to draw their own conclusions. Also, having a simulation that is more akin to what employees will actually see in the workplace further enforces the positive behavior you want them to take.

What are some examples of how you have learned to play to your audience’s intelligence? What are some areas in which you would like your training to improve?