I tell my 6 year old daughter to get in the car, what would you expect her reaction to be? 

She would get in the car. 

You tell a bunch of adults how to extract data from an existing database, what would you expect their reaction to be?

“Why are we extracting data from that database?” 

Often times, I find myself sitting in presentations wondering why am I listening to this? Usually I am asking myself that question because no one has bothered to tell me why I am there?  Is it going to help me do my job?  Is this a corporate policy?  Are all of the cool kids doing it? 

Adult learners are far more likely to engage in training if they know why this stuff applies to them.  Now, hopefully, the reason is more reaching than “its required”.  And sometimes it comes down to that.  But without understanding why this material is important, the message tends to get lost very quickly. 

Not only do we have a responsibility to deliver content, but we need to assume some responsibility for creating an environment for learning.  We know how to do this thing that we are talking about, otherwise we wouldn’t be the one talking.  But we also know why its good stuff, the learner doesnt know either. 

Without setting the stage and explaining why this stuff is important to them, we are asking the learner to get into the car and not telling them where they are going, and who wants to do that?  Well, unless you are six.