Introducing – Introductions

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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

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The introduction to a lesson or module is essential for gaining the attention of the learner and creating a state of readiness to learn. An introduction helps to create a mindset for learners to receive new information and experiences. It taps relevant background knowledge and motivates the adult learner.

From Edward Thorndike's "Law of Readiness" to David Ausbel's concept of "Advanced Organizers" to M. David Merrill's "First Principles of Instruction," some sort of introduction to lessons/modules is explained as a fundamental to learning for adult learners. You can, of course, use them in various combinations.

Below are five types of introductions you might consider when writing any lesson or module. You can click here to also see an example of each along with its description. Comment: we will need this material to link too.

Five Types Of Introductions You Can Use


Questions alert learners to look for the answers. Use questions with adult learners to arouse interest and focus attention.


A rationale explains how the learner benefits from reaching the instructional objectives. It helps the learners answer the question, "What's in it for me?"


An overview explains what the module will be about. It tells (or shows) learners which topics will be covered. It can also describe the activities that the learner will be doing. Use an overview when one of the following is true:

  • Content is complicated.
  • The module takes over four hours to complete.
  • Learners would benefit from seeing a road map of the content or activities.

Interest Grabber

An interest grabber is a relevant story or anecdote that illustrates a problem that will be addressed in the instruction and makes a teaching point


An analogy compares the new information that will be learned to something similar and familiar to the learners. Use an analogy with adult learners to take advantage of their wealth of experience.

Don't forget that you can use these in combination. For example, you could pose a couple questions to peak interest and the give an overview of the lesson or a strong rationale for why the lesson is important. It is my experience that by thinking of these five types of introductions, this can speed the writing process.

See you next time,