Placing training activities in the TIIS-Matrix

In the previous post I showed the TIIS-Matrix in its construction, but in this post I’d like to go a bit more in to the details of examples of each of the quadrant activities. I’ll leave out thoughts on analysis and implications of the model until the next post though so you’ll get to think a bit before me telling you what to…

Let’s take the quadrants one by one and see what training activities we could fit into them. And I am aware that this is an approximation and that someone else might say “I wouldn’t place Lectures there!” or “When I’m doing workshops they sure are…” etc. This is my personal view of things and if nothing else, the TIIS-Matrix could be used as a discussion exercise as to how your team looks at things. In the illustrations below I’ve put the activities as I view them being performed most commonly.

In all of the quadrant’s I’ve got suggestions of a corner activity. This doesn’t mean that it’s particularly good or bad. Only that I’ve located it at the extreme position the furthest away from the matrix’s center. Also, some of the activities are displayed with grey text, which is to symbolize that they’re in fact not one activity but more a blend of many others, but their design make them reside in one particular quadrant.

The IT-quadrant


IT-quadrant of the TIIS-Matrix
Click to enlarge picture

IT-quadrant corner activity: Lectures

When I think of my days at my local university I think of long boring lectures where the teacher wrote a huge amount of text, numbers and equations on a whiteboard for us to copy down. It has been said about lectures that they are “a transfer from the teacher’s notes to the students’ notebooks without passing through the brain of neither”. It’s just a bunch of telling and the teacher doesn’t really listen to the students.

More IT-quadrant activities

  • Click-through e-Learning – “Blah blah blah… Click Next!”
  • PPT classroom training – The instructor reading from the slides creating nothing but a snore fest
  • Bad blended learning – “Hey, let’s mix some lectures with some prerequisite e-learning!”

Specially noted IT-quadrant activities

  • Seminars (Not really in this quadrant but on the border of the IT and II-quadrants) – “Here’s an assignment you’ll have to discuss next time and I’ll be there to listen in”

The II-quadrant


This is the II-quadrant of the TIIS-Matrix
Click to enlarge picture

II-quadrant corner activity: Apprenticeship

An opposite of the IT-quadrant’s lectures is an activity where there really isn’t any telling but more of the learner actually experiencing things for themselves. It’s done under the observation of an instructor – the master or a senior person of the same work role. This is how things got done in the old days before mass production of any kind came to existence, and by mass production I of course mean both stuff like making thousands of cars, computers and smartphones as well as pushing students through public schools by yearly batches while downgrading those who cannot conform to a said standard, i.e. “Hey, let’s mass produce workers for our industries that aren’t creative enough to be a hassle!”

More II-quadrant activities

  • Workshops – “Hey, what kind of problems do you have today and what do you think we should do to solve them?”
  • Lab and experimenting – “Hey, what do you think will happen if you’d throw a couple of grams of sodium in a bowl of water, and why would anyone do that?”

Specially noted II-quadrant activities

  • Discussions and conversations (needs a partnership, thus on the border of the II and SI-quadrants) – “This is what I think, what do you think?”
  • Mentoring (needs a partnership, thus on the border of the II and SI-quadrants) – “Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? This is what I’ve learned during my years…”

The ST-quadrant

This is the ST-quadrant of the TIIS-matrix
Click to enlarge picture

ST-quadrant corner activity: Manuals and documentation

What is a manual or some other kind of technical documentation other than a dead telling lecture in printed form? One thing that differs is that the reader easily can skim a table of content or a page to find what’s useful for him/her. After deciding what’s suitable for their need a reader can digest that and then put the book back on its shelf. There’s no one forcing you through page after page of uninteresting stuff and you’re in total control as a reader/student/learner. However, there’s really no point of arguing with the material either since it won’t give you any feedback on your thoughts…

More ST-quadrant activities

  • Written instructions – “Read all this and do this and this… but all at your own pace!”
  • Brochures – “We’ve condensed all of a small library into this bite size chunk of textual fun”
  • Classic e-Learning – “You’re going to read things on-screen but things will be interactive and you can actually skip directly to the final assessment!”

The SI-quadrant

This is the SI-quadrant of the TIIS-matrix
Click to enlarge

SI-quadrant corner activity: Informal on-the-job training

There’s heaps of research indicating that most of the knowledge you need to do your job is actually gained while working. In the 70-20-10 hypothesis you learn 20% of what you need from others, 70% by pushing the limits of what you can do, and only 10% from formal education. Let’s start including a bit more of these 90%, shan’t we?

More SI-quadrant activities

  • Scenario based e-Learning – “Here you’ll learn how to act while operating an Airbus 380 as to not risk the life of 800 people or destroying €300 million worth of property”
  • Role playing – “In this situation you’ll be the one who denies a customer the care that he or she hasn’t paid for”
  • Self-study training programs – “Here’s a suggestion of activities you ought to find useful and instructive. Do them in any order you want but the following order has proven successful…”
  • Good blended learning – “This is a preparatory activity for you to try out on your next sales call before attending the to the next workshop in this training program” (as an opposite to “bad blended learning” as stated earlier)

Concluding thoughts to think about

Full version of the TIIS-matrix with activities placed.

What activities do you see in each of the quadrants? Are there some missing? Have I placed any of them wrong?

If one of the activities were to be performed much better or much worse, where would they be placed in that case? Imagine, for example, the best possible workshop – where would you place that in the matrix? The worst possible workshop?