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Posts Tagged ‘instruction’

I’ve been going back to find out where the statistics came from about the percentage breakdown between formal and informal learning.  It seems the origins go back to a 1995 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  But as I looked at that study and some of the more recent ones, I discovered that there really isn’t a uniform agreed upon definition of informal learning.  The line between formal and informal learning is blurred even more as new forms of delivery are developed.

I think it might be more useful to exchange the terms formal and informal for structured and unstructured.  You also might considered learning by design and learning by trial and error.  Take something like on-the-job training.  It can be done in a highly structured way or as informally as go work with Joe for the day.  When you go work with Joe for the day, it’s often highly unstructured and different every time.  It become informal learning.

Interestingly, when you start to add structure to informal learning such as identifying and guiding practice and experience, it’s really more like formal learning.  We think this is one of the fastest ways to accelerate learning.  We like to put all practice and experience on a learning path and then write directions on how it should happen.  This helps eliminate the waste of trail and error learning, and takes time out of the process by eliminating a number of wrong turns.

So what’s the point?  I say dump the terms formal and informal because they are too vague to be helpful and substitute structured and unstructured.  Then try to eliminate all the unstructured learning.

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The biggest challenge for most webinar leaders is that they are getting no direct feedback when they are speaking.  When you are speaking to a live group in a classroom, you at least know they are there and you get feedback from their body language.  When you’re speaking on a webinar, you always have the feeling that you’re talking to empty space.  This is magnified when you ask for questions and there’s no response even in the chat area.  You could be doing a fabulous job and people are quite because they are being entertained or  mesmerized by what you’re saying.

Anyone who has ever lead an audio conference or web conference has experienced this.  So what’s the answer?

The best answer comes from talk radio.  Radio talk show host talk into the ether for hours with a high level of intensity.  What they do is have someone else in the room with them and occasionally engage them with a question.  They might speak for 30 minutes straight but the feedback from that other person live makes it a lot more comfortable.  It also helps them pace their speech.  People on their own talking to space tend to speed up and try to fill all the dead space.  They feel like if they stop talking, the audience will disappear.  This speeding up also makes people more tense and affects their breathing.  So it’s a good idea to consciously slow down and take a deep breath.

Doing a web conference with a co-facilitator is extremely helpful even if they are in a different location.  To make the exchange from one speaker to another more natural it’s a good idea to have a signal when the other person wants to talk.  Don’t just say to the other person, “do you want to say something?”  The second person also makes it easier to handle all the technology and the audience.  It’s a lot like having an engineer in a radio studio.

Video can  help with a small group but it doesn’t give you very much feedback for a big group.  That’s why TV talk hosts have a studio audience.

So look to radio for some good tips and remember to breathe!

Photo by: Angatuba – Legionaire

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Here’s the issue a lot of people face when using a review committee. (It can be an instructional developers nightmare.) When they start to add or make changes to a word document, if you cut and paste them into your master document it can change all the styles and formatting. Here’s the solution. Word 2003 and later all have a protect document feature. It’s a little different in each version of word. But what happens is that it blocks the ability to create formatting. If some clever person figures a work around, when you import their document into yours it transforms their changes into normal style. This addresses the issue that happens when you copy and paste someone’s stuff into your document and all the numbers and bullets change

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ADDIE has been a popular instructional design model for a very, very long time. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Very logical and very training focused. However, it’s not set up well to do rapid development, insure quality and gain acceptance.

First, it treats every training issue or assignment as unique and different. When you’ve built hundreds of training program, you see lots of patterns and similarities. An experienced designer or consultant can easily recognize what’s going on. It’s not uncommon for a needs analysis to reveal the obvious.

Second, in the design stage a lot of things should be done based on pre-made decisions, templates, formats and other tools. For example, if you’re creating a design document for instructor lead training, it should be following the same set of established design principles that are used each time and follow the same format for the workshop or seminar. Instead of a blank piece of paper, most of the work should be modifying from a standard or model.

Third, both the implementation phase and evaluation start too late in the process. For example, doing a stakeholder analysis to determine how to implement a program should be done right at the start. There are a lot of steps in the design and development of training that is specially targeted at getting stakeholder buy in. In addition, most people have trouble measuring training because they build the training first and then try to measure it. It works better to start with building the measures and then designing the training to fit those measures. Having a business case at the start of training is the key.

I find that the more experienced you are, the more you can find ways to do things faster and better than the ADDIE model.

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Just continuing to look at the different ways people measure training.  Measuring behavioral change isn’t a bad one.  If you really know what to do look for, you should start to see changes being made after training.  Often creating  behavioral checklists and doing direct observation is a popular way of measuring at level 3. 

Here are the pitfalls.  First, when you divide things into behaviors you can loose how they work together.  You can do all the new behaviors but miss all the connections.  More than likely, participants begin to get better at these behaviors but haven’t yet reached a level of proficiency or mastery.  That takes a lot of time, practice and feedback.

Look at the example of learning to do great presentations.  You can train to a set of new behaviors in front of others during a presentation.  You can then look to see if those behaviors are starting to appear.  You should see some change.  This is a good thing.  However, to continue on to a higher level of proficiency won’t happen immediately.  In fact, the new behaviors can quickly dissappear under the pressure of doing things for real.

The solution is to look at how you can continue to build those behaviors and work on all the subtleties that may not be on the checklist.

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Here’s a new book.  I’m actually a contributor the book.  I’ve only read the section I wrote but the rest of it looks good.  I got a sample copy and it’s really a big..big .. book.

Here’s the write up from Pfieffer.

The Trainer’ Portable Mentor is an easy to use, comprehensive highly accessible resource that offers shares the passions and most valuable key lessons learned from an all-star cast of some of the most respected training professionals in the field. The book covers a range of training topics including designing training, writing training, delivering training, measuring training, managing training, and developing business acumen. is divided into five sections (Designing Training, Delivering Training, Workforce Performance and Learning, Measurement and Evaluation, and Professional Development) and includes over 60 articles and additional resources found on a special website. In addition to wisdom gleaned from top trainers, the guide is filled with helpful checklists, case studies, assessments, and an easily customizable CD. The Trainer’s Portable Mentor is ideal for anyone new to the field of training and development or a veteran who is looking to be vitalized by quick, succinct practical nuggets that can be put to use right away.

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21.     Focus on 100%80%, 90% and certainly 95% are good test scores.  However, that’s a lot of errors and mistakes on the job.  For example, you wouldn’t stay in business long if you got 80% of your orders right.  Also, that’s only one test.  In addition what you don’t get right on one test accumulates test after test.  Just image the sheer number of question a student got wrong from K-12 if they missed 10% on every test.  Instead, it’s important to focus on a 100% and to keep working toward mastery.  It’s also good to make sure the tests are accurate and students are simply missing the trick questions or ones the instructor got wrong.22.     Practice SpeedAn important part of being fully up-to-speed is being fluent and confident.  It’s one thing to be able to answer questions on a sale call if given enough time and another thing to be able to provide answers quickly because you really know them.  One of the best ways to develop this level of competency is to practice with the clock ticking.  See how many answers you can get in 60 seconds.  As you practice, you will get better and better, and any test will seem easy.  23.     Try Speed ReadingSpeed reading is one of many fast learning tools that make everything easier.  Most people learn to read by sounding out words either out loud or in their head.  As they get better at reading, they recognize whole words or even phrases.  Speed reading on the other hand uses visual learning to see whole sentences and paragraphs without sounding out the words.  Since you can see much faster than you can speak, speed reading can easily double or triple reading speeds.  This helps you read more information faster or to reread something in the time you could read it once.  Speed reading in many cases can also improve comprehension.  Speed reading requires a lot of practice which is something few people work at in the traditional way of reading.

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