Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Laurel Learning Tips

Tip #733:  Ask: “So What?”

On August 6, 2018, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #733:  Ask: “So What?”

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” Mark Van Doren

We know that experiential learning activities contribute to better learning and retention. We design learning programs that incorporate these activities in a purposeful manner. We don’t insert a game just for the sake of a game. Every learning activity must achieve a specified level of learning, whether it be knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation or creation.

So, there is a reason why we select certain activities to achieve certain levels of learning for key content. But do we make the learning process as rich as it could be? I don’t think so. I’m embarrassed to say that I know now that I haven’t.

Let’s take a case … Read the rest

Tip #732: Two Techniques to Change Ingrained Habits

On July 30, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #732: Two Techniques to Change Ingrained Habits

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun

Joel Constable, the Director of Talent Management at Intuit, has written a fascinating article for the Harvard Business Review on “Two Techniques for Helping Employees Change Ingrained Habits.”

He cites research by psychologists Gabrielle Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer that found that doing two things significantly increases the likelihood of goal achievement in virtually every context.

I’ve combined a number of his statements in the following two paragraphs.

“The first step is considering your ideal future state and the obstacles you expect to face on the way to achieving that state. Oettingen calls this exercise mental contrasting and has found that it increases the likelihood that … Read the rest

Tip #731:  Peer Learning Groups Develop Managers and Increase Productivity

On July 23, 2018, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #731:  Peer Learning Groups Develop Managers and Increase Productivity

If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” Lew Platt, Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Managers have a great deal of knowledge and experience that often goes unshared and unrecognized for lack of awareness that it is and can be an important organizational asset.


  1. The managers themselves may be unconscious of their implicit wisdom. Few managers have the time or inclination to reflect on what they know and how it helps their performance, so they themselves may not recognize their importance.
  2. There may not be opportunities for managers to share what they know. Organizational silos and lack of management or cross-department meetings make this difficult.
  3. If managers share what they know, it may
Read the rest

Tip #730: MUCH Better Evaluation Questions

On July 16, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #730: MUCH Better Evaluation Questions

“Information useful to training professionals typically relates to Levels 1 and 2. You want to ensure that the training resulted in learning, and ultimately, that participants are ready to perform on the job. “ James D. Kirkpatrick

For years I have asked the same questions for participants to rate Kirkpatrick’s Level One- Reaction:

Personal Significance of Workshop

  1. Of the ideas, concepts and/ or techniques covered, which do you consider to be of the most use to you?
  2. List one or two ways in which you can apply something learned during this training experience to your current situation.

Quality of Presentation

  1. Please comment on the method of facilitation (i.e. use of audio visuals; mix of lecture, group and individual work; sufficiency
Read the rest

Tip #729: Learning How to Learn in an Organization

On July 9, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #729: Learning How to Learn in an Organization

“The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

According to Willie Pietersen in his article, Learning How to Learn, “in an increasingly turbulent world, the crucial life-sustaining competency is learning how to win at learning.” He offers five precepts “proven to be powerful drivers of organizational learning.” [Note: All of the following is drawn from his article].

  1. Define What to Learn. To be strategic, organizational leaders must direct intellectual resources toward the right goals through a process of guided learning. By far the most advantageous learning is outside-in. Research done by the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever concluded that customer centricity, not operational
Read the rest

Tip #728:  Ten Fundamentals of Neuroplasticity

On July 2, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #728:  Ten Fundamentals of Neuroplasticity

“Plasticity dials back ‘ON’ in adulthood when specific conditions that enable or trigger plasticity are met.”  Dr. Sarah McKay


Neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change and grow, is a popular topic these days. According to Dr. Michael Merzenich in his book, Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life, there are ten core principles necessary for neuroplasticity. [Note: This information is drawn from a post by Debbie Hampton in The Best Brain Possible, so any quotes not ascribed to Dr. Merzenich are Ms. Hampton’s].

  1. Change is mostly limited to those situations in which the brain is in the mood for it. This is why it is so important for trainers to
Read the rest