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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

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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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Uploaded Ms. Kathleen

This is my salute to presidents on presidents day posting.  I remember people talking about history when I was growing up.  They said it was much harder to know history to day because there was so much more to remember.  In fact, when my father was in grade school, he only needed to know the presidents up to Hoover. 

I think it’s really hard to compare an education today with an education from 30, 40 or 70 years ago.  It’s a different world and in a lot of cases all the facts have changed.  The worlds of medicine and science are completely different.  A  lot of what people thought was right turned out to be wrong and there’s also a lot of stuff that noone every dreamed of that has become common place.  Here’s to quick examples.  If you studied Einstein in physics, you would have heard that the universe is curved.  Turns out that last year they proved that the universe is perfactly flat in all directions.

If you graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D., in communications in 1960, you would have no idea on how to text message or do a simple Google search.  You won’t find it in any curriculum for another 30 years or more.

How about geography, try comparing a map from 1980 and 2007?  You’re straight As in 1980, become an F today.  You even have to change your 2007 map to make Kosovo an independent country.

Are you keeping up with your reading?  In 1900, only a few thousand books got published.  Today, it’s over 100,000.  And your vocabulary?  In 1960, there were about 200,000 words in the English Dictionary.  Now there are over a million.  Can you define “woot” and use it in a sentence?  Most 10 year olds can. 

 As with many things, the good old days often aren’t as good as people’s memories.  It’s tough to measure new world oranges against old world apples.

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I’ve written a lot about the downsides of sink or swim learning.  However, I came across this video and I found it mesmerizing.  Enjoy!

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Uploaded by Dean-Melbourne

The reason for this post is to see if we can get a little discussion going about the best approaches for a economic slowdown.  For our discussion, let’s just assume the economy is slowing.  Whether it is or isn’t, is irrelevant for this discussion.  We can also stipulate that both government and business have a range of reactions that will vary from time to time. 

My experience is that there is not only a different reaction but also a different belief system.  Businesses first reaction is usually to tighten the belt and look for ways to be more productive.  Businesses also tend to streamline and focus more on their core business.  Some businesses will see this as an opportunity to grab marketshare or expand into new markets.

This  year we’ve seen the U.S. governments reaction is to borrow money and give it to tax payers so they will spend and stimulate the economy.  I haven’t yet seen a list of programs or agencies that they can cut back or cut all together. 

I think both government and business will try a lot of accounting tricks to move money around and make things look better. 

So this is just a very broad brush on the difference.  I hope what I’ve done is set the stage for a discussion.  As they say, there are no rules in a knife fight (Butch Cassidy).  I will however, edit anything out where one person calls another an idiot. 

 Ready..set..go.

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Uploaded on by ..jmd..

 There’s always talk about how to get a seat at the big table where decisions are made.  Training usually doesn’t get a seat unless a company has decided to have a Chief Learning Officer or the Senior HR person is also the training person. 

My experience is that the only way you get a seat at the table is if you have something to offer at a strategic level.  Here’s what I propose for your entry ticket.  First, you have to know what your current workforce currently knows.  This allows you to answer the question do we have people trained to accomodate a strategic change.

If you are going to need greater numbers of people, you need to be able to answer the question, how long does it take us to get new people up-to-speed?  Then you can answer the question about whether the timing of a new strategy is realistic.  If it takes six months to get people up to speed, you won’t be ready to go in two weeks no matter what the C.E.O. wants to do.

If you’re going to need completely new skills, you can also the answer the question how long does it take to retool the workforce.  With good historical data, you can show that this is often much longer than top management really thinks it is.

It’s always easy for a president to say, just get it done you have two week.  But that doesn’t get it done.  It just sets up failure for two weeks from now.  Good data will help you make a business case about what’s realistic.  Over time, they might even start coming to  you earlier in the process.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen executives take 9 to 12 months to make a decision and then want everything to happen in just weeks.  If they’d even made up their mind a month earlier, they might have all the time in the world for success.  I guess if you’re not the one doing the work you don’t appreciate how long things take.

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Uploaded by Kevin Steele

If you ever do strategy or planning sessions, here’s something you always run into.  If I ask something like, “on average, how long does it take new salespeople to get up to speed?”  Some people will think through their experience, maybe even look at some data and give it their best shot.

Others will answer, “it depends.”  They will come up with all sorts of variables that make it impossible to even take an educated guess.  In fact, they will refuse to take a wild guess. 

When this happens, I’m always reminded by the joke they told during the Clinton/Dole election.  Clinton had been asked by MTV about whether he wore boxers or briefs.  The joke was they asked Bob Dole if he wore boxes or brief…he replied…Depends.

Anyway, the depends answer is what I call in the box thinking.  In some way, people are either resistant to answering with their best guess or they are simply paralyzed by all the possible answers. 

I hear a lot in the education world about how every student is unique and different and every teacher is unique and different so you really can’t do anything that tries to reduce that variability or learn from best practices.  In many cases, this resistance is a resistance to change…so the status quo continues. 

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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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