Archive for January, 2008

carnival3.jpgUploaded by Wylie Maercklein

 Another week and another blog carnival on learning strategies

  1. Frederic Patenaude presents The 21 Day Challenge posted at Frederic Patenaude Talks.
  2. TT-Shane presents Check out TrainingTime.com! posted at HR Forum.
  3. Kenton Newby presents 10 Ways Article Writing Can Stack the Deck in Your Favor posted at KentonNewby.com.
  4. Eric Koshinsky presents Descriptive Photos in the CALL Lab – One idea, Many Language Lessons posted at Teachers Call.

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coach.jpgUploaded by mdt1960

In business you here terms like coaching, mentoring or even a buddy program tossed around and used interchangeably.  I like to look at these as three separate things that have a unique role and value.  Here’s how I define them.  A coach is someone who works with you to improve your performance.  This is what the coach is paid for.  This is often but not always the individuals direct supervisor or boss.

A mentor is someone who guides you through different situations sharing insights.  A mentor wants you to do well but isn’t paid to help you.  What and how a mentor works with you is negotiated and not mandated.  With this definition, it’s easy to see how you could benefit from both a coach and a mentor.  A professional golfer will have a coach who is paid to work with the individual someone like a Butch Harmon.  They have specific expertise and a well defined role to play.  On the other hand they might have a mentor who has been on the tour a while and can help them with things like how to manage all the different facets of tour life. 

A buddy on the other hand is a peer who usually is going through want you’re going through.  They have a different perspective than a coach or mentor.  This is a person with whom you can share and discuss experiences. 

So instead of decided which one is best, I find it works best to find a way to have all three.  If you’re building an onboarding process, this is an important part.

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Uploaded on by bealluc

Education and training is all to often built around knowing, understanding and sometimes awareness.  As a result, the typical test is a paper and pencil test that is often nothing more than multiple choice.  This is all fine and good in an academic setting where if you add a little more sophistication you take knowledge and use it to compare, contrasts and differentiate. 

However, in a business environment these kinds of learning objectives are really irrelavant.  In that setting, you really don’t care what people know, what you care about is what people can do.  It’s how they use knowledge to perform complex tasks or even multiple tasks at the same time.  For example, salespeople don’t need to know the features and benefits of their products.  Instead they need to be able to describe products in a way that motivates the customer.  They need to be able to assess customer needs and find the best product fit.  

So the next time you write an instructional design document, cross out the words know, understand and aware of and replace them with what students can do with that knowledge.

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originally uploaded by Nathan Berry.

Stuffing the Goose is a technical education term. What it refers to is two situations. First, it means adding as much or more content as you can. You don’t want to leave anything out. When you review the design, everyone wants to add things until you have no time to actually work on anything.

Second, it happens when you bring people in for something like three days. The thinking is, “since we have you here, let’s cover everything.” How can we put two weeks of content into one week?

This is a natural tendency. It’s hard to fight. But some of the worst education and training has been stuffed. So focus on your objectives and tell others to stop stuffing the goose.

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Uploaded by :: SL Emerick

 Most of formal education is still focused on knowledge acquisition.  But there really has been a dramatic change in the last 50 to 100  years which makes this less important.  First, there’s been an explosion in knowledge.  You can know something about most things but it’s difficult to know a lot about everything.  Take the example of medicine.  There is now so much to know that a generalist has to turn patients over a specialist because they don’t know enough to treat you and often times diagnose you.

How about music.  I remember when most people knew all the popular tunes.  There just weren ‘t that many.  Now there are almost as many types of music as their were songs.  “Name that tune” is a lot harder than it used to be.  This goes on subject after subject, topic by topic. 

Take the champions on Jeopardy.  All you have to do to throw them off is give a lot of questions about popular culture or things out of their generation.  You could also take something like history and ask questions from out this country such as Nigerian leaders of the 20th century. 

Second in the past, this information wasn’t readily available so if you didn’t learn it, you were out of luck.  Now on almost any topic, you have instant access to information.  The emphasis switches from knowing to being able to find.  So what this suggests is a different paradigm in education.

I know in the corporate world this is a shift from knowing to doing.  As your boss, I really don’t care what you know, I care about what you can do.  If there isn’t an application of knowledge, it has very little value in this setting.

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Lecture is a preferred teaching method in schools and universities.  It’s the mainstay of academia.  For those who are still awake, they might get something out of it.  Here’s an interesting article about retention rates and learning styles.  It shows that lecture has about a 5% retention rate and reading is almost double at 10%.  Teaching others and immediate use is at 90%.  Beyond Bells and Whistles.

In a corporate setting, you seeing a big move away from lecture to other forms delivery.  One method that I find very effective is to have students read the material prior to class and then have them team teach it back to the others in the class.  Taking content and having to restate it in your own language is a powerful learning technique. 

Finally, I want to point out that when you do seminars you always see the same comment as number 1 on what people liked.  They say what was most important was the networking and discussion with other students.  It’s never I really like the 50 overhead presentations.

I’m interested in other research studies on this topic.  Let me know if you have any good ones.

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Uploaded by Idle Type

Well here are all the people that were kind enough to make submissions to this weeks Blog Carnival.

  1. Rose Walbrugh presents The inflexible brain posted at FreeMyMind.Net.
  2. FitBuff presents Power of the Mind – Much Stronger Than Your Biceps! posted at FitBuff.com’s Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog.
  3. Dave Origano presents How To Plan For a Great 2008 posted at Online Marketing & Exponential Business Growth Blog.
  4. Kingsley Tagbo presents How To Take Your Business Analyst Career To The Next Level posted at HOW TO LEARN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FAST OR GET A JOB EASILY.
  5. Shaun Connell presents Content posted at Make Website Money.
  6. Joe Caterisano presents How to get organized posted at Self Help and Personal Development.
  7. Kingsley Tagbo presents How To Take Your Business Analyst Career To The Next Level posted at HOW TO LEARN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FAST OR GET A JOB EASILY.
  8. TT-Shane presents Check out TrainingTime.com! posted at HR Forum.
  9. CMOE presents Teamwork: Not Just Working With Each Other, But Working Together posted at Leadership In Action.

If I missed anyone, let me know.  It’s just that I’m new at this.  Look for another Carnival next week.

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Uploaded by premiardiego

Sales training often seems to be different versions of the same thing.  So what’s really new?  I think when you’re teaching prospecting or finding new business, you really should be talking about social networking.  This is especially true if your customers are under 30.  The picture above shows many of the sites that provide lots of free opportunities to network with people around the world.

I started searching for articles that would show the best strategy and what I found were a lot of promos for marketing help and offers to buy sales training.  Not as helpful as I’d like.  So I’m going to give it a shot.  Here’s what I’d do.

  • First, I’d set up a blog.  Write articles and invite others to comment on you are of interest that relates to what you’re selling or what you’re company does.  If, you’re in health care write about health care.  If you sell cars, write about cars.  Use this blog as your home base and as a way to establish you’re expertise.  Forget about selling at this point, you’re building your network of contacts. 
  • Second, put your blog address on your business card and emails.  As you do this keep in mind that what you write might be read by potential customers so keep it professional. 
  • Third, start by search for and commenting on similar blogs and see if you can do a link exchange in your blogroll.
  • Fourth, use lots of tags that will help others with your interests can find your blog.
  • Fifth, start to explore the related concepts and other free services.  Try a blog carnival.  Try a blog talk radio show.  Post your site on all the blog catalogs. 
  • Sixth, check your traffic.  What are people searching on and how do they find you?  Can you cater to those interests?  See if it leads you to other sites that you can model after.

I’m going to stop here and ask for your ideas.  What’s worked well and what should be guidelines to follow.  There are so many options and services it’s hard to choose.  Could this be a the new rotary club or chamber of commerce.  Give your thoughts.

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Recently I had an opportunity to lead a number of process improvement sessions.  One of the things that’s challenging is that it’s really a divergent/convergent process.  By divergent I’m mean that early on the discussion is expansive with a lot of options.  Later on as decisions are made the process is convergent leading to closure. 

As a facilitator, it’s important to allow the early chaos to happen because that’s part of the creative process.  I continuously remind everyone that this is a normal part of the process and everything will come into focus as we go along.  A lot of people are uncomfortable with this messy state of affairs and try too soon to organize things or cut off discussion.  You just have to push back and tell people to be patient.  I use parking lots to help record all those ideas that we won’t be dealing with in order to keep some focus to the discussion.

I also let people know when we are shifting gears and going into the decison making phase.  That’s the point were judgements are appropriate and necessary.  I find that when I train others on this type of faciliation that they have to see this happen at least once to fully appreciate what really happens.

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Photo by: Scott Beale laughingsquid.com

Here’s a quick tool that I often use to make all the informal meetings and activities more formal.  Here’s the example.  A new employee goes from department to department as part of an orientation.  It’s often different every new employee are there are few standards for what to do.  This is also the case when deparment heads appear in a classroom with their PowerPoints. 

 So what I ask everyone do to is fill out this short template.  It not only forces others to think through what they are doing but it’s a start of standardizing and improving the quality of training.  Here it is:

Activity Description

Type of Activity: _(Job Shadowing,Self-Study, Presentation, etc.)

Location: _(Department, Off-Site Visit, etc) 


(Provide a brief description of the purpose, process and payoff of this activity.  Usually one short paragraph.)


(Describe what you expect the producer to get out of this activity.  Usually 2 or 3 short bullets.  Make them the answer to the statement that follows.)

As a result of this activity producers will be able to:


(Describe how you intend to conduct this activity, is it a short presentation, will they watch someone work, will they read product literature, will they role play, etc.)


(List any materials such as handouts, video, websites, etc. that you plan to use.)


(Describe any evaluation or testing your plan to do.)

Next Steps

(Is there any follow-up to this activity.)

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