Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

I think it’s great to live in a world where you can see just about any newspaper, anywhere in the world 24-7.  You do get a very different view about what’s important to people.  Here’s one of my favorites the Scotsman, which is describes itself as Scotland’s National Newspaper.  You can signup for daily news alerts. 

 How about a little different look at the middle east, try the Jerusalem Post.   Maybe something from the other side of the world.  Try the Sydney Morning Herald.  Not satisfied yet.  How about the North Korean News.  How about breakfast with the Mmegi Reporter from Botswana. 

Well, why not pick your own.  Here’s a list of English speaking newspapers.

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transbust.gif  I’m looking for training, talent management, HR and learning professionals both working in companies or as consultants who would like to be contributors to this blog. 

Also if you have a great blog on learning or education that you’d like to see in my blog roll give me a shout.  Let’s keep this international so if you’re anywhere on the plant I’d like to hear from you.

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200px-shakespeare.jpg  I’ve been reading lots of blogs in the last few months.  Some are very well written and easy to follow.  Others are simply writing nightmares.  The most difficult blogs to read will have single paragraph posts of anywhere from 300 to 1000 words.  You really, really have to want to read these posts to get through them. 

The way most people read any article is that they look at the first paragraph and then the last paragraph.  If they, want to know more they will go back and start reading from the top again.  This means that the essense of a post should be in the first and last paragraph.  They need to be clear and well written.

I also favor shorter posts with frequent breaks every four or five lines even if they violate basic style rules.  It’s just easier on the eye.  I also think the best style, tone and person for a post is to write the way you would speak directly to the reader.  This means using a mixture of first and second person. 

Try a quick experiment.  Go to the tag surfer or click on a category and look at the full posts.  Look at the ones you decide not to read because their style and format isn’t very inviting.  When you’re done.  Go and write a nice short three paragraph post on your experience. 

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So what’s a picture of Mike Tyson have to do with education anyway?

 Mike Tyson is a great philosopher.  He said, “Everyone’s got a plan…until they get hit!”

All the practice and role plays in a classroom setting try to prepare you for real life but it’s simply not the same.  The first time you try out your new customer service skills on an angry customer is just like being hit for the first time.  That’s when the real learning starts or people say, “that classroom stuff just doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else.”

Even as simulations get better, you don’t have the same level of pressure that comes with first hand experience.  What I recommend is that whatever you do in the classroom needs to extend to live practice.  This live practice also needs good coaching to help push through the potential loss of confidence with the first problem or crisis.

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True and false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching and even essay tests for the most part evaluate knowledge and comprehension.  They’re easy to write.  Easy to score and easy to compare one student to another.

However, knowing and doing are two very different things.  That’s why there is often very little correlation between how employees do on classroom tests and how they perform on the job.  Unless you’re training academics, there needs to be a more meaningful way to do testing.

It’s actually fairly easy.  You ask an expert to watch the student work or perform a required task.  That expert will be able to tell you a lot about what that student knows and doesn’t know.  Most experts tell me they’d know in less than five minutes. 

You can then ask the expert what he or she is looking at.  What are the key inidicators?  Now you have a good evaluation checklist that you can use to train others on this type of evaluation.

This type of evaluation doesn’t favor those who are “good test takers.”  It also tests the links between a range of tasks and knowledge.

Unfortunately, this type of test isn’t very easy with elearning unless you can do some very sophisticated simulations.

Here’s a reading test that any school system can use that is guaranteed to be better than what they use today.  Give a student a book.  Say, okay read it to me.  After five minutes, ask, “what did you just read?”  Any good teacher will know where this student is on their reading ability.  You also won’t get anyone through high school who fakes their way through without learning to read. 

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I think there is a significant difference between the way people actually learn and the way they are taught.  It’s actually an interesting way to start a session to ask participants to:  Think of something you’re good at.  How did you really learn to become good at that?

There’s a lot of practice, experience, coaching and even a few breakthrough moments where something unique happens.  So the idea would then be to build training that matches these descriptions.  However, the traditional way is to start by thinking about everything you need to know and do and then line up a series of courses starting with building blocks and finally ending with application.  The two paths end up being very different.

 In the design of training, people are pretty good at identifying the “what”, but are less good at determining the “when” and “how.”  The “how” tends to be more around what delivery mechanism to use rather than “how” you actually learn that skill. 

I’m very interested in stories about how people actually learned to do what they do well.  Please add yours to the comments.

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I’ve had the opportunity and challenge of working with companies in about 6 countries.  In some cases, I’m able to do consulting without ever leaving the house.  I did work with people in India for 2 years and it was all emails and phone calls.

 I’ve found that it’s a must to have a service like SKYPE that allows you to have unlimited free phone calls.  I’ve hooked up a good head set to my computer and I forward my calls to my cell phone when I’m out.  I also will use a webcam.  It’s probably more fun than practical.  I’ve also been playing around with different live meeting type providers.  That last couple of sessions were on Yugma which is free for under 10 people.

 So if you imagine doing business with a company in Sinagore, you can run interactive meetings and patch in your associates in the UK and Canada for free.  It’s all worked very smoothly so I can’t tell you have to deal with any bugs.

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