Three things L&D can learn from the theme park user experience

by Viv Cole on October 7, 2022

I was lucky enough to holiday with my family at Disney World and Universal in Florida this Summer. As well enjoying the adrenalin, with my background in learning design, I couldn’t help myself from noticing some change management good practice that L&D could borrow. A big feature of each theme park experience is queues and everyone hates them. That’s why theme parks are able to extort more money from their already-paying customers for fast passes. However, they have also designed the queues so that they don’t detract from the overall experience.

The queues are designed to be winding not straight, partly to fit lots of people into a given area, and it also breaks the queue into smaller steps. You feel a small sense of achievement at each corner (intrinsic motivation) and as you swelter your way through the tropical heat, having air conditioning units blasting out cool air at each corner acts as a small reward (extrinsic motivation). Take out: Break the change journey into manageable chunks and if possible provide extrinsic rewards at each milestone.

The queue for the Avatar Flight of passage ride immerses you into the jungle world of Pandora. This helps familiarise you with some of the scenery and flora that you’ll be experiencing as part of the experience. It also moves you from your world into the world of the ride. Too many other rides to namecheck use the queue as an opportunity to set the scene and give you backstory. Take out: Use the ‘beforehand’ as a way to start immersing people into the experience and give them context.

Several rides are considered risky enough to need their own specific safety briefing. Rather than wait until you’re in your seats, you get the safety messages just before then i.e. when you reach the front of the queue. As well as giving the ride a higher throughput of people, the messages come at a time when you’re feeling happy that you’re at the front of the queue, so you’re more likely to pay attention than any earlier in the queue. Take out: Deliver compliance messages at a time when people are most likely to react positively and closest to the potential point of need.

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