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Living on the EDGE

When teaching someone a new skill, the simplest approach is often the most efficient and effective solution. Utilizing the EDGE method, almost any task or challenge can be taught. The Boy Scouts of America use the EDGE method to teach scouts how to become proficient in the skills they need to succeed in life. Businesses and organizations of all sizes require new skills as they adapt to change; thus, utilizing the simple EDGE technique is a great way to meet these changes head on and to stay sharp.


Simply stated EDGE stands for:






The first step is to EXPLAIN. The best way to effectively do this is to focus on your audience. Whether tailoring instructions to a large group or someone in a one-on-one setting, it’s important to use terms that are simple and easily understood; keeping technical jargon to a minimum. Carefully describe the task, show all the steps and keep in mind that the learner is probably seeing this for the first time. Go slowly, make your actions deliberate, and use descriptive language, but don’t stop to show the intricacies in detail yet.


After explaining, DEMONSTRATE it. Break down and detail each element, showing the step-by-step process and explaining the specifics of how each step is done and why. This is where you provide the opportunity to ask questions, but not yet where you let the learner take the reins. It’s important to always be mindful that even though what you are demonstrating/teaching is simple, it might not be to the learner. Always allow ample chances for questions to be asked to ensure a clear understanding.


Now, GUIDE the learner as they make the first few attempts at the skill. Be sure to let them be completely hands-on, and don’t worry if they make mistakes. Just tell them how to fix it, or start again from the beginning. Keep at it, and be careful not to lose patience. The key is to remember how you were when you were learning. Guiding the user through the process of what you’ve just shown them is the part that takes the most time but is often the most beneficial. Carefully watch as the learner goes through the steps that you gave them and let them perform what you taught.


Lastly, ENABLE. This is the most rewarding step. By letting someone demonstrate and use their newly acquired skill, you are empowering them and proving that they can grasp and execute. When you give over control and let the learner do it on their own, this allow them to successfully use their newly obtained knowledge.


We hope this method is useful to you and your team. We’d love to hear how you are using the EDGE method in your business.