How Wine Tasting and Instructional Design Are Related

This may sound like a stretch of the imagination, but wine tasting and instructional design are now related in my mind.  How you ask?  Just read my wine tasting story below:

I attended a wine tasting class recently with one of my longtime friends and fellow instructional designers. (Along with another longtime non-ID friend)  We began the session with a glass of wine waiting for us.  There was no information provided about this glass of wine, apparently it was just for sipping while the classroom filled up.

Next, the Sommelier came out and started speaking.  (Look it up if you don’t recognize the title.) He proceeded to walk us through a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted many different types of wines, where the grapes are grown, what to pair them with, how they taste, etc…  While he was going through this presentation, the staff in the restaurant continued to refill our wine glasses with the same wine.

This PowerPoint presentation lasted for one and a half hours.  Seriously – we sat and listened to someone speak for 90 minutes. And we were being encouraged to drink wine without food during this session.  Once the PowerPoint and the 90 minute talk were completed we were then rushed through tasting a sampling of white wines and then red wines. Finally they brought out dessert wines and paired them with some desserts. The wine tasting portion of the class was about 20 minutes.

I have to admit that during the 90 minute talk I realized that I’m a very poor student with a low attention span. I found myself checking Facebook, surfing the internet, and at one point playing hangman with my friend.

It was completely clear to me and my instructional design friend that a quick 30 minute once-over of this class using Gagne’s nine events of instruction would likely have improved the experience for every student dramatically.  I should probably go and offer my design skills to the Sommelier gratis as a public service.

Leigh Anne Lankford is an instructional designer with more than 22 years’ experience in the field of HRD. She is a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros in Atlanta, working closely with training and development departments of large organizations to identify, attract, and on-board contract employees for very specific and specialized training and development needs. You can reach Leigh Anne at 

3 Responses to “How Wine Tasting and Instructional Design Are Related”
  1. Justin McDonough says:

    Perhaps their summative assessment revealed that learners need 90 minutes of wine to make it through a boring 90 minute PowerPoint presentation (:

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