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Posts Tagged ‘Knowledge’

Ever since 1956 when Benjamin Bloom first published his hierarchy of education objectives, educators had an excellent tool for writing educational objectives.  Simply the list of action verbs provides a useful tool.  Over the years, it’s been update and revised to describe learning in action as shown in Bloom’s wheel.

The question is, does it go far enough for writing training objectives for today’s complex multitasking jobs.  Let’s take an example of preparing for winning the national spelling bee.  There are three basic things you need to be able to do.  1. Spell all words correctly.  2. Determine how to spell words from it’s etymology and language of origin. 3. Handle the pressure of performing in front of judges and a crowd.  You can work on all of these individually, but the real challenge is to do them at the same time.   So perhaps the objective should be written.  Recalls and spells correctly all words that have been memorized and figures out how to spell new words while handling the pressure of a crowd and judges.

I think there are lots of combinations on the job which should be kept together.  For example, operating a piece of machinery up to quality standards while following health and safety procedures.  Or..In a call center it’s using the phone, computer, policies and other information all at the same time.

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Uploaded on February 16, 2008 by Hyperscholar

Uploaded on February 16, 2008 by Hyperscholar

In education and training we spend a lot of time and effort testing for knowledge. Some of it is even around application of knowledge. But here’s the rub. Knowing and doing are two very different things. I think it goes with the comment, if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?

We see it all the time we’re someone does good on the test and poorly on the job and vice versa. Many people think this is all about test anxiety. In reality, it’s because of the major difference between knowing and doing.

Also knowledge tests are rarely about speed and fluency. In the classroom you have time to answer questions, on the job you need to respond quickly.

So two suggestions. If you need to do knowledge tests, put a fast time limit on it so it mirrors the pace of the job. Second, dump the knowledge tests and replace them with expert on the job observation.

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I found this statement to be very interesting:

“Behaviorists seem to believe that people learn only when it’s worth their while. Humanists seem to believe everyone wants to learn. But learning is a form of personal change, and that can be resisted as often as it is embraced.” James Atherton

Take something like learning speed reading.  It would seem that there is a big personal benefit to learning to read faster.  And if you really wanted to learn, what a great tool this would be.  Instead of reading a dozen books in the same time you could read hundreds.

So why the resistance?  It’s a big change.  It changes the way you can take in information and puts on the pressure of once you’ve read all those books, now what are you going to do?  I’ve heard that reading slowly is pleasurable.  So what am I giving up? 

 I’ve written about this several times before about how beliefs can get in the way of learning something new.  So without dealing with the change issue, teaching can be very challenging even with a good rewards system.

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Stanley Smith 'Cultivating Knowledge' Loyola University, Chicago originally uploaded by hanneorla.

It’s always easy to get some attention by calling things a crisis. But here’s what’s happening. In the next five years, the majority of the baby boomers start to retire. Those who didn’t make a fortune and retired at 50.

In the workplace that’s a tremendous amount of knowledge, existing every major corporation and a lot of small businesses. Unfortunately, a lot of that information isn’t written down. It isn’t part of some large data base.

So the questions is, does your organization have a plan to capture that knowledge? Have you considered what type of incentive is needed to get these employees to give you that knowledge?

One of the things we’ve found from doing Learning Path projects is you start to identify and capture this knowledge. Check out the Learning Path Whitepaper for more.

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