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Archive for the ‘Instructional Design’ Category

dance.jpg

Uploaded by jac.opo

There are lots of ways to speed up the learning process…and what I mean by speed up the process is that you get the same or better result in less time.  Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Eliminate the Waste – Waste in education and training is anything that is taught one day and forgotten the next.  If it’s still something that’s really important, than you have to find a different way to teach it.
  2. Focus on Speed – This may seem odd as a suggestion but the longer it takes to learn something the harder it is to keep the learner motivated.  Looking for ways to increase speed actually will increase speed.
  3. Blend Hard and Soft Skills – the slow way is to teach hard skills and then soft skills and then try to meld them together.  It’s really hard to make good connections this way.  Instead teach how to do different tasks and skills that require using both hard and soft skills.
  4. Teach in short segments – People tend to remember the first and last parts of any lesson.  With short segments, you have more firsts and lasts.
  5. Don’t Talk so Much – Often the more your talk the less learning is happening.  Others often have to say the words to learn something and they can’t do that when you’re talking.

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keyboard.jpg

Uploaded by cdevroe

I just read a fascinating article where Bill Gates predicts the end of the keyboard.  He says with the advancements in things like touch screens and voice recognition, keyboards will become less and less important.

 So what does this mean for teaching kids how to write?  Do you teach them with paper and pencil?  Do you teach them how to enter with a keyboard? Or, do you teach them how to talk into their computer?

I think some of the best and easiest to understand writing is when someone write the way the speak.  That is if they can articulate their thoughts.  I know that some people are still holding on to their old Royal typewriters and some like the feel of pen and paper.  I’m sure future generations will feel the same about their first computer they could talk to.

I think the world is going to get a lot noisier.

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monkey1.jpg

Uploaded by sctag1015

I seem to get new submissions every week.  Thanks to those who contribute.

  1. Tiffany Colter presents Writing Career Coach: How I got here: Part 3 posted at Writing Career Coach.
    Enjoy!
  2. James D. Brausch presents Failure? The Doorway to Success posted at Internet Business Blog.
  3. Wayne Buckhanan presents How to “Win” in Life posted at Life, Love, & Learning.
  4. James D. Brausch presents Cruise For Success? posted at Internet Business Blog.

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clown.jpg 

Uploaded by JucaFii

Here’s yet one more blog carnival.  Take a look and see what you like.

  1. Adrian presents Becoming a More Creative Individual posted at Path to Your Destiny.
  2. James presents The Organize IT Habits: Always Ask Why And How posted at Organize IT.
  3. Bhupendra Khanal presents Why are you a failure? posted at Business Analytics.
  4. Colleen Palat presents How Tutoring Can Be Your Solution To Overcrowded Classes | posted at Shari Nielsen.
  5. Todd presents Top 31 Motivation Hacks posted at We The Change.
  6. Mike King presents Preparing for your own performance review. posted at Learn This.
  7. Lenka presents All online dictionaries in one. posted at Learn English with “Sex and the City”.
  8. FruitfulTime presents What feelings do you instil in your audience? posted at Productivity Blog.
  9. Mark Fleming presents Respect Your Decisions posted at improvefast.net.
  10. Louise Manning presents Individual centred training posted at The Human Imprint.
  11. Eric Koshinsky presents Computer Mediated Communication & Teaching Grammar posted at Teachers Call.
  12. Tiffany Colter presents Lesson Learned and How I got here posted at Writing Career Coach.
  13. Raymond presents Take Advantage Of Gift Card Discounts At Supermarkets posted at Money Blue Book.

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cheets.jpg

Uploaded by 2africa.nl

I’ve been blogging about accelerated learning for months now.  I’m surprised by all the resistance to speeding up the learning process.  I’ve yet to see the value of slow learning but there are a lot of people adamant about it.  Remember the story about the tortise and the hare, well I’ve put another animal in the mix.  That’s the cheetah.  Not only did the cheetah win the race, he also ate the tortise and the hare.

The first thing that has to happen in this discussion is to assume that the results are different but one method is faster than the other.  For example, if you can read a book with 100% comprehension is it better to read it in one hour or six.  The value of going faster is significant.  This means I can read 6 books in the time it takes you to read one..or I could read the same book 6 times.  I know you’ll say that you’ll pick up more of the nuance if you read slower.  I’d say that’s more a function of your reading ability that your speed.  But again, we start with the assumption that the results are the same.

Take the example of learning algebra.  Let’s set the results at being able to solve any algebra problem.  You know the ones about the trains leaving different stations.  Would you prefer to get to this level in 6 weeks or 6 months.  Same result, only the time is different.

So who might have something to lose if students learn faster?  Well some might think it’s a threat to job security for teachers.  Indeed if students learn faster, it reduces teacher time as well.  If K-12 became k-8 with identical results, that’s a big reduction in teachers.  The upside is that people who know more and learn faster want to learn more.  So teachers could expand their offerings.

Interestingly in a business setting, learning faster is at a premium.  Executives understand the costs of not having employees up-to-speed.  In fact, if the training was only an hour that would be okay.  It’s the resutls that matter.

So in the argument about slow versus fast, if the results are the same I can’t think of any situation where fast doesn’t win. 

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hall.jpg

Uploaded on by Image Zen

I was once told that there are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.  Anyway, I’ve heard the discussion a lot about the different between education, training and learning.  Some see sharp distinctions and other see them as the same. 

I remember someone recoiling at the idea of being a training department.  “You train dogs not people.”  To that I always say, “Do you want your surgeon to be well trained or well educated?”

It’s seems like the academic world is more focused on education and the corporate world is more focused on training.  You are statements like, “the purpose of an education is to become a critical thinker and well rounded.”  “The purpose of training is change what participants will be able to do after the training is over.”  Maybe it’s the difference between knowledge acquisition and skill development.  

In schools, paper and pencil tests are mainstays.  Standardized tests which are mostly about knowledge acquisition and comprehension seem to be the level of measurement.  In a corporate environment, those tests are usually meaningless.  It’s more the rule than the norm that doing well on a test indicates results on the job.

So to sort all this out, you often see the word Learning substituted for both education and training.  Think about the advent of the Chief Learning Officer or Elearning, etc.  I look at learning as something that a student or participant does.  It’s not what the instructor does.  It’s good in a sense that it doesn’t suggest a particular approach or methodology. 

What do I use or prefer?  I tend to use them all and use them interchangeably.  I actually don’t think is a very productive argument.  When people argue about terms, I often say let’s just pick something or mayble make something up.  How about calling it “Bob?” 

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surf.jpg

Uploaded by mikebaird

So what’s a guy on a surfboard have to do with measuring learning?  I mean other than surf pictures are already great.  Well first I’d say he’s proficient.  I might even say he’s a high performer. 

What makes him so is not all the individual competencies like balance, physcial condition, position on the board, knowledge of the waves, etc.  It’s his ability to put all these elements together without having to think about each part.  In education and training it’s easy to get into the trap of breaking everything down into it’s pieces and parts and forget that they have to fit together in unique and different ways.  You can test all the competencies and still find someone that doesn’t perform well.  You’ve probably seen people who are good at tests and bad in real life.

What I recommend in measuring learning, education or training (I’ll do a post soon on the difference), is to look at creating a proficiency statement.  This is a statement that combines three elements.  First, you look at results.  You can do it in terms of how much, how good and how fast.  A proficiency for our surfer might be the number and variation of the wave’s he can handle or it might be the different tricks he can do.

Second, you look at independence.  Is this something you can handle on your own without asking lots of questions.  Sometimes it shows up in terms of being able to take initiative.  For our surfer it might be something on wave selection or decided when to surf. 

Third, there’s a level of confidence.  This appears in a fluidity of motion, a fluency of language and an ability to focus.  Confidence is usually directly observable.  I think our surfer looks confident.

Sometimes you can get to proficiences by listing out all the competencies and then regrouping them by how they are actually used.

Now you have a set of measures that are directly observable or produce measurable results.  In some cases like reading it goes from a test where you get a short reading assignment and then answer questions to see what you got out of it with a test of, here read this to me…know tell me what it was about.  I guarantee you that the second test is more effective.

Once you have a clear measure of proficiency, then you’ll find it rather easy to determine and measure time to proficiency.  One thing that time to proficiency will tell you is which teaching or training method actually works the best.  If two teachers, teach the same thing to a group of 30 but use different methods, the one that got to proficiency faster has a best practice that others should copy.

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