Cut through the noise
Let’s have some fun. For each of the eight statements that follow, determine whether you believe it is a goal or an expectation:
You can't have the same training in half the time. You can’t. But you can have better training in half the time. Getting to better training in half the time will certainly include design choices. But better training also requires a communication strategy at the outset that sets you up to develop better solutions. My Five A’s model will get you there; and, this article will address the first of the A’s – Appreciate.
Shift your mindset. If you are responsible for developing teams’ skills, change the definition of your role from “creating learning events” to that of “building development continuums.” When you do, you will be able to enhance learning outcomes and regain lost training time. Building a development continuum requires designing a complete learning solution—one that prepares learners for the core course, provides multiple touchpoints to the body of content, integrates on-the-job application, provides support to learners after the core event, and taps into the frequently overlooked role played by learners’ managers.
When you receive requests for the same training in half the time, I’ll suggest that you focus on the donut—not the hole (unrealistic expectations, limited resources, misguided requests, and so on). Even small shifts count when moving the finish line on these requests. Focus less on how far the line gets moved and more on moving it. This will build momentum for bigger shifts on future projects.
Have you ever committed to do something for a friend only to have it slip your mind? Then, days or weeks later, a passing comment, commercial, or other trigger reminds you of it? And, even though you had every intention of following through, without the trigger it wouldn’t have happened?
Learners experience the same phenomenon—even in the best-case scenario, in which they appreciate the learning opportunity, arrive motivated, value the course material, and intend to use it. When they return to work, they get hit by all that transpired while they were in training and often lose sight of their implementation plans. Learning boosters can refocus them on their action plans and implementation strategies.
Be careful what you wish for! Using a virtual collaboration platform that allows for bi-directional audio and supports webcams may sound like the ideal option. Let’s call this Level Three. In a Level Three scenario, you will want to give thoughtful consideration to how you will integrate the remaining two actions – before your session begins…
Don’t be fooled into thinking the platform will magically create engagement in your virtual presentations – engagement is your responsibility. The available tools can help. But, they can also hurt when you are unfamiliar with them, unskilled at using them, or don’t leverage the advantages they provide.
This week, we look at Level Two: collaborating over a virtual platform but still using unidirectional audio.
As little as three percent of your presentation tools are available to you in a virtual delivery. How is it that virtual presentations are up against such a disadvantage? Because nonverbal communication accounts for up to 97% of your message, and your audience likely won’t be looking at you. Webcam, you say? Read on… In this three-part series, I’ll share simple, yet powerful strategies you can use the next time you collaborate virtually, regardless of how robust your platform is – or isn’t.
Level One: you have a phone, and not much else.
Which learning strategies provide the greatest return with limited training time? Which engage learners, but also enable personal reflection? Cause learners to work hard, but also play with purpose? Allow learners to fail in a safe setting, but also set learners up for success? These are not conflicting opposites. They are the mix of learning strategies that provide the greatest return in a limited amount of time—and, frankly, in any amount of time. How does an instructional designer remain true to these tenets?
It isn’t easy to create effective learning events. If it were easy, there would be little need for instructional designers—everyone would build their own learning events. So, your Word of the Day is andragogy, which was popularized by Malcolm Knowles in The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (Knowles 1984).
What do you already know of andragogy?
In Same Training, Half the Time, I invite readers to expand on this excerpt from the book – a list of challenges that are driving increased demands on learning. Please share additional reasons from your experience in the comments of this post.