"Math lecture at TKK" by Tungsten - photo taken by Tungsten. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Math_lecture_at_TKK.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Math_lecture_at_TKK.JPG

How we learn – A comparison of theories

For the last couple of years I’ve been researching how to improve my own department’s training offer to get more result and end-performance out of our participants. In this quest for learning on learning I’ve come across a multitude of ideas and theories that sometimes contradict each other but mostly actually agree with one another. I interpret this as serendipity, i.e. that they look alike since they’re close to reality, and have now done a comparison of four of the ones with the best end-results:

  • Holistic Learning – Making sure everything you want to learn is connected, with an emphasis on creating mental models
  • The Circle model – A way of increasing reading comprehension by writing, with an emphasis on learning from each other
  • Peer Instruction – Utilizing your peers in class to increase the assimilation of new knowledge, with an emphasis on making sense of instead of transferring information as a focus in class and on lectures
  • Story Centered Curriculum – Building courses as realistic stories with all assignments and tasks building upon the previous ones, with an emphasis in letting the students do the reading and fact finding with teachers set only as facilitators.

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Eric Mazur, Abridged “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer”

If you haven’t watched the above video you’re in for a treat. An earth shaking one at that. Eric Mazur came to the conclusion that his lecturing didn’t increase the understanding of his students and thus removed lecturing and in-front-of-class-problem-solving. He transformed his classes using Peer Instruction which utilizes the class mates to help each other understand the subject. Continue reading

Chemistry Teacher with Students in Class

Using a KPI to get the managers to protect the training investment

The biggest driver of them all to get success, change and impact in your organization out of a training event is to have your participant and their manager do pre-training preparation and post-training follow-up. As described in research by Robert O. Brinkerhoff (Telling Training’s Story, 2006):

Low focus on pre and post training activities

When the focus is on the design and development of the training itself the success rate of the training is around 15%. Continue reading

Work-based performance model

A couple of months ago I published the post Work-based learning (based on work by Niklas Angmyr and Charles Jennings‘ “Re-thinking workplace learning“) and the time has now come to update the model presented and take it to the next level. In short the change can be attributed to:

Beneficial knowledge is nice to have but
beneficial behavior is what gets you results

competence-behavior

Let’s start at the top left. The classic L&D sector is the blue box of competence building activities. Here I’d suggest one would place activities described in the post Multi-Layer Learning, i.e. not only formal ones like classroom training but also informal stuff like communities, role-modeling and databases. And yes, by saying that the top blue box is the classic L&D sector I also say that L&D often doesn’t do anything else of what’s shown in the model above. This model is more applicable for a department working as a Knowledge and Performance Partner than that of a Learning and Development department.

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A school system that aims for compliance get docile pupils as an end-result

A friend of mine is married to a woman from India and the stories that he’s shared regarding the school system in India is something else really. Several of her relatives and friends tell the same story – if you are a good pupil you sit still, quietly and do not interfere. In any way at all. If you talk back at the teacher, you are beaten. If you answer questions wrong, you are beaten.

In essence, they are rendered docile, tractable and submissive. In my last post we learned that these are synonyms of the word Compliance. While I focused on docility as a result of compliance training for adult employees there, the theme of docility comes back in full effect here as well.

My friend’s been telling be about how the majority of his new family and friends from India all are bright and intelligent people but in some cases there’s something amiss when compared to his Swedish acquaintances.

They can’t think for themselves.

I’m not saying that people from India is stupid or docile. Quite the opposite! What I’m saying is that they’ve been conditioned into compliance, submission and docility and that it’s therefore a rare thing to meet a really confident and mind-strong Indian guy or girl. Someone who’s gotten their own passion, creativity and logic thinking in spite of their schooling instead of, as more often is the case in Sweden, because of their schooling. Continue reading

Compliance training leads to docility

What does the word ”compliant” mean? A quick look at Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives the following explanation:

  1. ready or disposed to comply: SUBMISSIVE <a corrupt regime aided by a compliant press>
  2. conforming to requirements <compliant software>

Submissive, huh? A look at synonyms gives the following suggestions:

  • Amenable: Answerable, capable of submission, readily brought to yield
  • Biddable: Easily led, taught, or controlled
  • Obedient: Willing to obey
  • Conformable: Consistent in form or character
  • Docile: Easily led or managed
  • Law-Abiding: Obedient to the law
  • Submissive: Submitting to others <submissive employees>
  • Tractable: Capable of being easily led, taught, or controlled: docile <a tractable horse>

Well that makes you excited to create or take some compliance training, doesn’t it? Continue reading

Never start at Level 1

Start with 1?This isn’t going to be a tirade of criticism like the last post but more of a reflection of how I think most people uses the Four Levels of Kirkpatrick, namely wrong. I’ve heard the following quite a few times:

“Yeah, we do course evaluation but we’ve only come as far as Level 1 and 2.”

So what’s wrong with this? Of course it’s very much easier to just measure what people think of the course (Level 1) and what they’ve learned (Level 2) than mess with change of behavior (Level 3) and result (Level 4). And of course people tend to do what’s easy instead of doing what they should do. Continue reading

Learned about WordPress brute force attacks, but what did i do?

So, I learned that there were these bad guys hacking away at WordPress blogs (just as this one) a couple of months ago. That’s not a good thing. Hackers corrupting nice people’s blogs just for fun or for “evil” should get a good beating for what they do. But that’s beside the point as of now because – what did I do with this new knowledge?

Nothing.

Learning doesn’t mean performance or that things get done at all. My blog has all the posts still here thankfully but there are probably some that aren’t looking right and all old comments are gone. All because I’ve had to reinstall everything.

Now, a clean install isn’t THAT bad a thing really. It takes an hour or so. However, it IS that bad if you haven’t got an updated backup to reinstall from. Which I hadn’t…

By reading this I hope you don’t learn anything in particular but instead – increase your own WordPress security! I’m just getting started myself and a good place to start is

http://codex.wordpress.org/FAQ_My_site_was_hacked.

Why this focus on learning and training mr Kirkpatrick?

I really do like the ideas in The New World Kirkpatrick Model but there are some things that are contradictory or just seem wrong. Most of us have seen the old 4 levels of yore; Level 1: Reaction, Level 2: Learning, Level 3: Behavior and Level 4: Results. What strikes me as odd is that they are not really grounded in today’s world of performance change, even though they’re called “The New World Kirkpatrick Model”.

Why? Most of Kirkpatrick’s critics look at that Level 2 heading and goes “Ah, it’s all just about training. Ignore and move on…”. I know that the method was developed with training measurement as its focus but it shouldn’t be that anymore and least of all when it’s called “New World”.

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