The more intense the material taught, the more likely it will be retained. A sharp, clear, dramatic, or exciting learning experience teaches more than a routine or boring experience. The principle of intensity implies that a learner will learn more from the real thing than from a substitute.

Likewise, a learner is likely to gain greater understanding of tasks by performing them — rather than merely reading about them. The more immediate and dramatic the learning is to a real situation, the more impressive the learning is upon the learner. Demonstrations and role playing will do much to increase the learning experience of your audience. Examples, analogies, and personal experiences also make learning come to life. For example, a mother will learn more from demonstration of bed net utilisation which is shown to her in her own house than from teaching her just by a talk at your Health Post (Figure 6.5).

A community gather to watch a demonstration on erecting bed nets.
Figure 6.5 Although it is a good idea to show people the new bed nets, each family will need a demonstration in their own home to make the teaching more realistic and effective. (Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia/Indrias Getachew)