Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Laurel Learning Tips

Tip #724:  The Science of Training: Part One

On June 4, 2018, Posted by , In curriculum design, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #724:  The Science of Training: Part One

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Mary Hoddy,  UW Academic Staff Emerita, Facilitator and Consultant, offered this information during a train the trainer program and I thought it was so perfect I should share it with you.

It is a table titled The Science of Training: A Summary. It shows what needs to happen before the training, during the training and after the training. It was published by Global Learning Partners and is a summary of research published by Eduardo Salas, Scott Tennenbaum, Kurt Kraiger and Kimberly Smith-Jentsch: The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters Read the rest

Tip #723: The Great Didactic

On May 28, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #723: The Great Didactic

“I continue to be interested in new things that seem old and old things that seem new.” Jacquelin T. Robertson

We have all probably noticed that, if one waits long enough, what was considered old becomes the shiny new thing. It is certainly true in fashion. It is also apparently true in teaching.

John Amos Comenius published his book, The Great Didactic, in Czech in 1648. According to Wikipedia, he is considered the “father of modern education.” Yet, I for one have never heard of him.

According to  Hannah S. Bowers, John Comenius was a Moravian teacher, educator, bishop, and writer in the seventeenth century.  He is considered the father of modern education because he advocated universal education … Read the rest

Tip #722: Overlooking the Obvious

On May 21, 2018, Posted by , In presentation, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #722: Overlooking the Obvious

“It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious.” Alfred North Whitehead

I’ve facilitated train the trainer and presentation skills workshops both nationally and internationally for many many years. But it was gently pointed out to me in a recent workshop that I’ve been debriefing facilitation practices backwards!

Let me explain. In my train the trainer workshops, participants learn how to create participatory lesson plans and design participatory learning activities. For the last day, they design a 10-minute learning activity at a learning level of application or above. This is on a topic relevant to the other participants in an activity they have never facilitated before.

In debriefing, I’ve always asked for the observers’ feedback regarding the strengths of the … Read the rest

Tip #721: Free Image Sites

On May 14, 2018, Posted by , In training resources, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #721: Free Image Sites

“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Walt Disney

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for great images that help to tell a story and ideally are free!

I am passing along information posted by Roger Courville in a recent SpeakerNet News.

  • is right up front about their free stock imagery being available for commercial use, which saves a ton of time.
  • also has free stock images for commercial use. They kindly request — but don’t require — that you to provide attribution. And if you’re a Chrome user, get the Instant Unsplash plugin. SO cool.
  • is great for those looking for master slide designs and
Read the rest

Tip #720:  Why Care About DOK™?

On May 7, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #720:  Why Care About DOK™?

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”  H.L. Mencken

DOK™ stands for the Depth of Knowledge framework designed by Dr. Norman Webb. According to Darin Rasmussen, the depth of knowledge “corresponds to the content complexity of a particular educational material.” Dr. Webb has summary definitions for four different subject areas: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. All of the subject areas have four DOK™ levels. See <>

Mr. Rasmussen explains and summarizes the four DOK™ levels by using the mathematics definitions: see <>

Level 1:  Recall and Reproduction

This level involves basic tasks that require recall of facts or rote reproduction of simple procedures. The tasks do not require any … Read the rest

Tip #719: When Organizing Principles Confuse

On April 30, 2018, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #719: When Organizing Principles Confuse

“Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.” Henry Miller

I had a true AHA! moment last week that an organizing principle can sometimes confuse learners. For years, when I have taught trainers how to create specific, observable and measurable learning objectives, I’ve shown them the final product first. As a matter of fact, I’ve shown them several final products. And invariably, the participants’ design process was less than stellar.

Let me provide some context.

I teach a three stage learning objective design process. First, based on a needs assessment and the resulting learning goals, we identify the key content for a lesson plan using a template I provide. Second, we determine the desired … Read the rest