Tip #639: Ensure Relevance

On September 19, 2016, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #639: Ensure Relevance

“Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.” Rita Mae Brown

For many years, I have used the same case study in a seminar to teach managers how to coach their employees to improve performance. Luckily, it has resonated with participants in the past, so I had no idea that it needed to be revised.

Recently, I had a rude awakening when the class (composed of participants with similar roles and responsibilities to previous participants) pointed out that the case study needed improvement to be meaningful for them.

Here are the changes that they requested:

  1. Current Language: The employee in question is identified by name but not by title.

Recommended Revision: Include the employee’s title, … Read the rest

Tip #631: How Loyalty and Freedom of Choice Can Curb Learning

On July 25, 2016, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #631: How Loyalty and Freedom of Choice Can Curb Learning

“Your thinking depends on your perception, just as your perception depends on the way you think.”   Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

Andrea May has identified ten cognitive biases and we have considered the first six: Confirmation, Anchoring, Curse of Knowledge, the Dunning-Kruger effect, Functional Fixedness and Mere Exposure Effect in previous Tips.

Now we’ll look at the next two cognitive biases and discuss how we can counter their effect through our training design and delivery. The titles and descriptions of the biases are Ms. May’s. The commentary continues to be mine.

  1. Not Invented Here bias: The tendency to discount information, ideas, standards, or products developed outside of a certain group.

I have encountered this bias in regard to case studies. It … Read the rest

Tip #556: Everyone Appreciates It When Learning is Fun

On February 16, 2015, Posted by , In travel, By ,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #556: Everyone Appreciates It When Learning is Fun

“Is ditchwater dull? Naturalists with microscopes have told me that it teems with quiet fun. ” G. K. Chesterton

Even after all of these years of setting up training rooms to engage as many senses as possible, I still get nervous about how well it will be received by certain audiences.

A case in point: I recently facilitated a two-day Technical Trainers’ Toolbox in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. My client was the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA, pronounced IKBA) and the participants were from many different countries: Pakistan, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Great Britain are those that I can remember.

This is a serious and well-respected organization. Let me tell you what I learned about … Read the rest

Tip #509: Directions for Writing a Narrative Case Study

On March 17, 2014, Posted by , In learning activities, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #509: Directions for Writing a Narrative Case Study

“If written directions alone would suffice, libraries wouldn’t need to have the rest of the universities attached.” Judith Martin

I created these instructions for writing a narrative case study, for the benefit of three health professionals in Kenya who were contracted to create case studies for a US Agency for Industrial Development training program. Please see what you think:

A narrative case study is a story of a real life problem or situation that provides sufficient background data so that the problem can be analyzed and solved.

  • A good case study is written in the form of a story.
  • It has a problem for the readers to solve.
  • It has characters who have names and use authentic dialogue.
  • It is
Read the rest

Tip #393: Save Valuable Training Time With Informal In-Class Needs Assessments

On September 26, 2011, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #393: Save Valuable Training Time With Informal In-Class Needs Assessments

“You can’t know too much, but you can say too much.” Calvin Coolidge

There is no reason why a trainer should bore trainees and waste valuable training time by rehashing information that the trainees already possess. A number of individual and group participatory activities can serve as informal needs assessments at the very beginning of a class. Here are seven possibilities to consider.

At the beginning of the program, the trainer can have the trainees:

1. Complete and submit a pre-test. This pre-test should cover key content areas. It can take the form of a simple checklist, a true/false questionnaire, a multiple- choice questionnaire, or even short essay questions. For example, in an assertive communication class, the pre-test could ask … Read the rest

Tip #368: How to Make a Boring Topic Interesting

On March 28, 2011, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #368: How to Make a Boring Topic Interesting

“Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody.”
Helen Gurley Brown

“Any subject can be made interesting, and therefore any subject can be made boring.”
Hilaire Belloc

There are no boring topics, there are only boring training methods. Topics that are highly technical and very dry are typically considered boring. However, the topic is really not the problem. The problem is the training method, which is almost always a lecture. There are many ways to enliven a highly technical or dry topic:

1. Approach the topic from a different perspective.

Instead of citing rules and regulations, put the participants in the role of individuals who need to work within or apply those … Read the rest