Learning Methods

Cafeteria Learning....we wrote the book on it


We wanted to share Cafeteria Learning with the world, so we decided to write a book. Let Them Choose: Cafeteria Learning Style for Adults is a labor of love that took us over a year to write all while we ran the business at Idea Learning.

Lecturing on its own is ineffective. But what’s the alternative? Combine the best of brain science and learning theory with the power of choice. Deliver meaningful learning programs that stimulate your learners, rather than bore them to sleep.

We introduced Cafeteria Learning at our local Association of Talent Development chapter conference in 2012 as a unique model for delivering workplace learning. It rolls together the best of the experiential, constructivist, and action learning approaches and bakes in an important brain-based twist: Choice.

Learners choose from a variety of learner-centered activities, just like they might choose from a variety of food in a cafeteria. Learners explore and absorb content at their own speed and direction – even when given the choice of which activity to complete, learners still reach the same learning destination.

Finally, a book that speaks the truth about the perils of corporate training. Bravo to Jillian and Shannon for addressing the action-oriented, give-it-to-me-quickly learning needs of today’s adults. Cafeteria Learning will be the next evolution of design criteria to usher instructional designers, trainers, and change strategists into the future.

Tracey L. Adams, Ph.D.

Change and Learning Strategist, Nike

Let Them Choose: Cafeteria Learning Style for Adults, is published by Association for Talent Development.

The Power of Choice in L&D. Cafeteria-style learning offers a smorgasbord of learning activities that honors the diversity of the learner.

Writing Choice-Based Learning Objectives. Even when given the choice of which activity to complete during training, learners should still reach the same learning destination.

Let Them Choose puts adult learners in the driver’s seat by elevating ownership and participation in the learning process. The element of surprise—due to the innovative approach or a moment of self-discovery—will make your learning stick! In a workplace full of distractions, Cafeteria Learning is the best way to deliver training.

Beth Allen

Director of Learning Service, Viewpoint Construction Software

Sign up for our newsletter

Receive occasional news, articles, and updates.