Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Laurel Learning Tips

Tip #739: Only three hours

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Imagine that you are asked to convert die-hard lecturers into facilitative trainers. Imagine that you only have three hours to do this. What content and activities would you use to introduce and model the facilitation of interactive learner-centered training?

That was a challenge I recently had to meet. I’ll tell you what I did, then you can tell me if you would have handled it differently.

The room was set for accelerated learning, with colorful kites on the walls, glitter wands and koosh balls on the table, and bowls of candy.

I began by asking common ground questions, which had them … Read the rest

Tip #738: Keep It Moving

On September 10, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By , , With No Comments

“A peer learning group is a wonderful testing ground for new behaviors.” Deborah Spring Laurel

The public library in Waupaca, Wisconsin is going to have a Civil Discussion Series. The purpose is to ‘strengthen community through relationship and understanding.’ It will begin by teaching civil communication techniques. This will prepare the participants to use civil discourse as they discuss the “Hard Topics” that have polarized our country, such as immigration.

This program got me thinking about all of the different types of personality profiles that help people learn how to better communicate with others and to value their differences. DiSC, Meyers-Briggs, Kiersey Temperament Sorter, INSIGHT inventory, Neuro-linguistic Programming, True Colors, The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, and The Big Five … Read the rest

Tip #737: Let’s Get Real!

On September 4, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #737: Let’s Get Real!

“Authentic learning is the essential setting that education requires to move towards sustainable, meaningful, relevant learning in the 21st century.”  Steve Revington

Authentic learning means real world, learner-centered learning. Audrey Rule of the State University of New York at Oswego considers it learning through applying knowledge in real-life contexts and situations.

Although applied to children in the educational system, as described by F. Newmann, H. Marks and A. Gamoran, I think its precepts are applicable to adults: authentic learning

“Teachers provide opportunities for students to construct their own knowledge through engaging in self-directed inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking, and reflections in real-world contexts. This knowledge construction is heavily influenced by the student’s prior knowledge and experiences, as well as Read the rest

Tip #736: The Pomodoro Technique

On August 27, 2018, Posted by , In Uncategorized, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #736: The Pomodoro Technique

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” Paul J. Meyer

This will be an extremely brief Tip.

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It is used for time management and was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980’s, but I had never heard of it before. I think it’s a great idea if you can arrange to have no interruptions for an hour.

It uses a timer to break work down into intervals of 25 minutes, separated by 5 minute breaks.

The idea is to focus for 25 minutes on a task, then take a 5 minute break away from your computer. Do this … Read the rest

Tip #735:  Prompt Learners to Think

On August 20, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #735:  Prompt Learners to Think

“Efforts to develop critical thinking falter in practice because too many professors still lecture to passive audiences instead of challenging students to apply what they have learned to new questions.” Derek Bok

I just participated in a webinar with Ray Jimenez titled: Seven Key Questions to Bridge the Gap Between Learning and Application. His basic premise is that work is never static; it is situational. For this reason, he believes that teaching participants how to follow the steps to a process, for example, will not be helpful if there are barriers in the way. Participants need to work through real situations using trial and error, or what he terms “successive approximation,” to find solutions.

Jimenez offers four steps in the … Read the rest

Tip #734:  How to Avoid Burnout

On August 13, 2018, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #734:  How to Avoid Burnout


“The land of burnout is not a place I ever want to go back to.” Arianna Huffington

There was a time when I suffered from burnout. I worked in a high stress job. There was constant pressure to fulfill unreasonable expectations. This would have been bearable if I had received any recognition for my efforts (which included being on call 24 hours a day, and this was not an IT position)!

Unfortunately, positive feedback was nonexistent. What made things even worse was the perception that I held a favored status with the CEO, which made me a pariah among my peers.

My body finally betrayed me (or saved me). All of those sleepless nights and stressful days took a … Read the rest