Stealth Learning

There tends to be two types of candidates on any training course:  Those who want be there and those who don't.

For most courses where the candidates are there because of employment obligations; they do not want to be there - They are there because they have been told to be there.

They have no intrinsic motivation to be there.

This is classically demonstrated on the faces of every candidate at 9:00am, Monday morning on the first day of almost every First Aid at Work course.

They may once have been interested in learning some basic first aid skills but as soon as you are told to do something, you don't want to do it.

They are there because they have to.  They are extrinsically motivated by the threat of disciplinary action if they do not attend by their employer or an obligation to comply with legislation.

Some people choose to come on courses.  They are there because they want to be there, they have some intrinsic motivation, and this is especially true of candidates on courses such as the Remote First Aid or First Responder courses.

Nevertheless, personal motivation can occasionally be fuelled by external motivators; gaining a first aid certificate in order to maintain a coaching or instructing qualification or the potential of better employment by investing in additional training.


Why is this so important?

The importance of understanding what motivates individuals to learn (1-3) enable us to deliver something unique; training where individuals are acutely aware of their skills, knowledge and understanding developing rapidly, yet without feeling as though they are 'learning' in the classic sense.

Stealth learning, if you like.


For Individuals:

Imagine leaving a training venue at the end of the day, wholly satisfied you not only learned more than you anticipated but actually understood everything.  Effortlessly.

You now know what to do, why things are done in a certain way, the consequences of what would happen if something else was applied and why.

And you didn't have to write anything down.   

Furthermore you enjoyed the experience meaning you:

  1. were more receptive to learning

  2. will be more confident in applying those new skill, knowledge and understanding

  3. will retain the knowledge and skills for longer

This is particularly important given that most first aid certificates are valid for 3 years yet there is substantial evidence of CPR skills degradation, for example, within 6 weeks.  (4-6)


For Employers:

First Aid training is an obligation in the workplace.  It is little surprise then that First Aid training is not seen as a reward for those who have to attend.

It does not have to be that way.

First Aid is historically seen as boring, stale and tedious.   The quality of the training you provide to your staff reflect on your business.

Low quality training sends several messages:

  1. You are not willing to invest in your staff

  2. You are not interested or do not 'buy into' the training.

  3. The training is a box-ticking exercise

First Aid is the classic example of this; it is done because it has to be done.   Training has a purpose and over the years this purpose has been lost.

We have clients whose staff ask to attend our First Aid courses.   We have clients who rank First Aid as their best received training courses from the suite of training courses they offer.

Imagine how that would reflect on your business?

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our First Aid and safety training please contact us to discuss your needs.



  1. Baker P.  (1998)  ‘Interactivity as an Extrinsic Motivating Force in Learning’.  in Brown, S.,  Armstrong, S. and Thompson, G. (eds)  Motivating Students.  Kogan Page.  London.

  2. Pintrich PR  (1998)  ‘A Procedure-Orientated View of Student Motivation and Cognition’.  in Sar, J. and Mets, L. (eds) (1997)  Improving Teaching and Learning Through Research.  New  Directions for Institutional Research. Vol. 57.  pp. 55-70, Jossey-Bass.  New York. 

  3. Fazey D. Fazey J.  (1998)  ‘Perspectives on Motivation:  The Implications for Effective Teaching in Higher Education’. in Brown, S.  Armstrong, S. and Thompson, G. (eds)  Motivating Students.  Kogan Page.  London.

  4. Weil MH, Fries M (2005): In-hospital cardiac arrest. Critical Care Medicine, 33:2825-30. 

  5. Hamilton R (2005): Nurses' knowledge and skill retention following cardiopulmonary resuscitation training: a review of the literature.  Journal of Advanced Nursing, 51:288-97. 

  6. Smith KK, Gilcreast D, Pierce K (2008): Evaluation of staff's retention of ACLS and BLS skills. Resuscitation, 78:59-65.