Why Testing is Detrimental to Thinking

We all know that just because you've passed a test you haven't really learned anything (when I passed the test to get my motorcycle permit, I had never even ridden a motorcycle!) but did you know that testing processes can actually INHIBIT your thinking and...

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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. 
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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:
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You’re Probably Wondering Why I Invited You To This Training

As our newsletter subscribers well know, one of the services The Training Doctor 
provides is "Training Triage," that is, helping companies to redesign training they
already have in place, but which doesn't hit the mark, for some reason. 

One of our mortraininge recent projects highlighted one 
of the more typical situations we encounter: 
there was not much point for the trainees to be 
there. It was a three-hour class - delivered 
online - which was strictly lecture. This 
approach violated a  number of learning 
principles - both general, classroom principles, 
and more specifically, online learning principles.
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Reading Teaches Thinking Skills

There is no argument that technology has done 
wondrous things for us over the years. My car 
lasts longer, my food cooks quicker and I can 
call anywhere in the world for pennies if not 
for free.

One argument that some will make is that 
technology (the web) has also made us smarter 
due to our ability to find vast quantities of 
information - far more than one could find in their local library or - horrors - confined 
to one tome.  And isn't more always better?
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The Next “Generation” of Learning

Generation means that people need to make their own meaning, literally generating their own links while learning, not just passively listening to ideas. We need our brains to create rich webs of links to any new concept, linking ideas to many parts of the brain....

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