Clicker Training

This Hidden Brain podcast is amazing.  The fundamental message of re-thinking how a person is trained is to essentially remove judgement from the training process.  It’s simple yet sometimes very hard to accomplish.

As the podcasts points out, some trainers have a tendency to:

  1. interject with short phrases like “good job” or “great” or “excellent”
  2. criticize if the process wasn’t done correctly
  3. be unable to breakdown the process step by step into even smaller processes
  4. become frustrated because it was natural or easy for them to pick up the steps.


Thinking back about how I was trained, the best kind of training I had was when I was learning to play a new piano composition.  There was no feedback/commentary yet I knew that I played it wrong because what I heard sounded wrong.  Sometimes, it sounded wrong yet the composition shows that’s how it was played.  Ultimately this feedback was neutral since a piano can’t judge you for playing a composition incorrectly.  When I trained others, I found that the best way for training was to have the trainee perform the task.  If they didn’t do it correctly, I’d show them how it was done again. If they couldn’t do the task correctly, I would try to break it the task down into smaller tasks.  This “breaking down the tasks into smaller tasks” was something that I had intrinsically understood and now after hearing this podcast I realized it was from when I was learning new piano compositions.

Understanding the psychology behind this behavior is extremely eye opening.  This understanding ties into quite a few insights about myself as well too.  Seriously… everyone should listen to the podcast.