Writing Learning Objectives

Here is a useful article on Learning Objectives.  It will help those who have to write them as well as those who wonder why training takes so long to develop. The authors use a 5 concentric-circles view with the outter ring being the organizational objectives,...

Read More

The Limits of Working Memory and Training Effectiveness

In this fascinating blog post from Patti Shank on the ATD site, she discusses the reasons we can't have a one-size-fits-all approach to training. Aside from the typical learning styles excuse, Patti explores an interesting point related to neuroscience: knowledge and experience dictates the way we can present the content and further impacts the way the learner is able to work with it. The crux of the difference is working memory vs. long term memory. 
Read More

Is it a Knowledge Check or a Quiz?

a-plusIn the midst of designing a facilitator-led curriculum for a client, we were met with a conundrum: according to our SME(s), one particular class just had to have  a quiz at the end. There were many problems with this idea, including the fact that  none of the other 6 courses in the curriculum ended with a quiz and that the audience was new-hires - so how intimidating would a quiz be? We finally compromised on a Knowledge Check - that way our SME felt fulfilled (and  we fulfilled compliance requirements) but the learners wouldn't be too intimidated  (we hoped). What's the difference? you ask
Read More

Stop Teaching So Much! Learn to Chunk.

frustrated-with-computerWe recently reviewed a day-long course on coaching which was actually an excellent class, the only thing it suffered from was the typical: Too much content! The course taught 4-different coaching techniques and their best-use given a particular type of workplace situation or a particular type of worker, and then participants were given some time to choose one of their own workers with whom they thought the technique might work, and finally they were divided in to trios to practice the technique. This learn-and-practice process was repeated four times for each of the four techniques.  The problem with this course was that the learning outcomes were just not going  to be that great. It is impossible to learn four different techniques, and remember  when they apply, and the nuances of usage, when you get back on the job when you've been taught them all in one-fell-swoop.
Read More

Teaching Thinking through Changing Perspective

etsy-diy-kaleidoscope-how-tuesday-clare-mcgibbon-finalOne of the ways you can help people to improve their thinking skills is to ask them  to change their perspective on a topic. To think about it from another point of  view.  This is very easy to do in a training situation - since we have folks captive  and can ask them to try an activity in a way they are not naturally inclined to. Unfortunately, we often miss this opportunity in training and instead ask our participants  to answer a question based on their own perspective or opinion. For example, how often does your training program ask something along the lines  of: Now that you have read the case study, what are the three main factors affecting  the situation? Since people respond with their own opinion, we never tell them that they are wrong, of course (nor are they wrong), but do we ever conduct "round 2" of the questioning / debrief and ask the learners, What if you were the banker, contractor, pilot in the situation? THEN what would you say are the three most important factors? Here are two techniques for getting people to change their perspective on a topic:
Read More