Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to…….LEARN!

When I was a kid I absolutely loved Halloween. Maybe it was because my birthday was 4 days before and my best friend’s mom would always bake me a Halloween themed cake. Maybe it was the thrill of seeing how much candy I could stuff into a pillowcase, or maybe I just loved the idea of dressing up and being somebody different for one night. Whatever the real reason was, I don’t really care, I just know I loved it. Nowadays, I get a thrill out of seeing my kids getting as excited as I did and coming up with creative ways to transform themselves into a favorite character and compete against each other on who can get the most candy in a race across the neighborhood. Although my son typically likes to dress up as one of his favorite video game characters,

sub-zero, halloween, boy as ninja, halloween costume

Tommy as Sub-Zero

my daughter is usually the real creative one and likes to dress up as something unconventional and scary. Since she was about 9 or 10 years old, she has come up with some really weird, but cool costumes – and she always wants to make them herself.

creative halloween costume, walking dead


So what does all this have to do with learning?

Well, last year when she dressed up as an undead cheerleader, looking like something straight out of the Walking Dead, I asked her how she knew how to apply all the makeup and look so real. Naturally, her answer was “Where I learn everything daddy, YouTube.” Notwithstanding my frustrations around why my kids think they learn everything from the Internet instead of school, let me attempt to draw a connection from a story about my kids, to corporate learning.

Recently I attended a learning industry event at Dunkin’ Brands Headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. If you’re not familiar with Dunkin’ Brands, they are one of the world’s leading franchisors of quick service restaurants serving hot and cold coffee and baked goods, as well as hard-serve ice cream. They have approximately 11,500 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants and more than 7,600 Baskin-Robbins restaurants worldwide. I had an opportunity to meet their learning team and see the training they offer their franchisees up close, and it was very impressive. Throughout the year their restaurants offer LTOs or Limited Time Offers. This means that every employee needs to learn how to create, market and sell products that are outside of their day-today offerings. This time of year they offer an extensive array of Halloween themed donuts and baked goods – all of which have to be specially prepared. Additionally, all employees need to get up to speed on the additions to the menu in short order (no pun intended). The Dunkin’ Brands learning team did not miss a beat when building their training, they took full advantage of the Halloween season and built their eLearning as such.

elearning, dunkin donuts training

elearning, dunkin donuts training

Additionally, they embedded videos of how to build the LTO menu items with step-by-step instructions so the employees could watch and practice.

elearning, dunkin donuts training

As you can probably imagine, this combination of creative instructional design and high definition “how-to” videos have proven to be wildly effective for Dunkin’ Brands. To fully appreciate how Dunkin’ Brands is committed to creating highly effective online learning click here to watch a video of this course.

If you’re thinking that this approach is very expensive and time consuming, you’re only half right. This type of instructional design illustrates best practices and most certainly requires the right tools and talent, but I would suggest you could replicate this strategy, regardless of budget limitations as long as you plan it out and dedicate the time. For example, if you don’t have the resources to utilize a tool like Articulate Storyline 360, try using PowerPoint. As far as the videos are concerned, I’ve said this in many of my blog posts, almost anyone with a mobile device can create effective training videos, even on a shoestring budget. If you need help getting started, check out these related blogs or reach out to me at and I will steer you in the right direction.

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