Learning by PowerPoint?

Think about the last time you really learned something and specifically, how did you learn it? Was it via PowerPoint? No? Maybe you Googled it, read about it in a book/online or asked someone and got a good explanation? Maybe you even did the dance of trial/fail until you trial/succeeded?

If you don’t learn via PowerPoint – why do you think we often choose PowerPoint as our number one instrument to teach? Even though this question was rhetorical there actually is an answer:

Because we want to make everything clear, concise and easy to understand.

Example of a bad PowerPoint slide

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How to get your direction in the TIIS-Matrix

This is the third post in the TIIS-Matrix series. The first is found here and the second one here.

We’ve looked at the TIIS-Matrix’s main ideas regarding Telling/Involving and Instructor driven vs Student driven learning (training) activities as well as gone and placed these activities in the matrix to get a feeling of the differences between the four quadrants.

What’s next to do is to look at each and every of these activities and think about what would happen if this particular activity were to improve. Where would it go inside the matrix? And the opposite, if an activity was as bad as it could get. Where would that activity go? Which new location in the matrix would it be placed at?

Let’s take a look at the activity of Workshops. I placed it in the II-quadrant (Instructor-driven / Involving) since it’s usually run by an instructor or manager and the activity is highly involving if done properly. Now imagine the ultimate workshop. What would that look like? I’m envisioning a workshop which is even more controlled by the students/participants. It might’ve even been initialized by them. With more influence we might cross the threshold to the SI-quadrant (Student-driven / Involving) and at the same time increase the amount of involvement felt by the participants.

If we imagine the opposite for our workshop activity. The instructor/manager takes control over what’s being discussed and the participants feels like they’re being told what to think/say/do. In the picture below I didn’t let the red line cross into the IT-quadrant (Instructor-driven / Telling) since if it was to go that far it wouldn’t even be a workshop anymore, would it?

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Annoyed with my own post – why this focus on training?

Yesterday I posted the second post in the TIIS-Matrix series – my own model where you place activities in four different quadrants based on if their focus is Telling or Involving as well as if they’re Instructor-driven or Student-driven. What I’m annoyed about is that I actually fell in the common learning is training is teaching trap. I even did this in the title itself! “Placing Training activities in the TIIS-Matrix”. Jeez! I’m somewhat of a missionary at work always stating they obvious that teaching ≠ training ≠ learning.

You don’t have to train people for them to learn and teaching is absolutely not the only way to train someone!

I know this but I fell in the same trap as most people do. It’s a fallacy of simplicity in a way since people have just gotten used to the idea of always having someone telling them what to do in school and not thinking about all those times where you actually learned something by yourself. Did you use a PowerPoint presentation the last time you really learned something? Why should you read from a PPT all the while you are standing in front of a room full of people trying to teach them this same thing then?

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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

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Get rid of the Telling – Start Involving!

Tell me and I’ll forget

Show me and I may remember

Involve me and I’ll understand

Do you recognize this old Chinese proverb? I think this could symbolize three different levels of training and learning. The first line here is a classic boring lecture, powerpoint or click-through e-learning. This is all strictly Telling the learner what’s right and what’s wrong. The second line is a bit better since we get a context with real-life examples and similar. The third line is what we always should aim at. That the learner is Involved and thereby uses what is learned in the course/conversation/book etc.

I see Telling and Involving as two opposites when you look at a training. Either someone or something is leaving you out of affecting what’s being taught or they/it invite you in or maybe leaves you in charge of it. This is where the TIIS-Matrix comes in!

The TIIS-Matrix

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Going from training to coaching

I attended a webinar with Tim Hagen from Sales Progress and Training Reinforcement Partners on the subject of why coaching is such a powerful tool to get your employees really change and meet results. Why? Because coaching in principle means asking questions that starts the inner dialogue. By making people trying to answer questions themselves, instead of telling them what to do, it really takes hold much more. One is more prone to do as one self suggests than if it comes from the outside – often just leading to a defensive stance where people actually tries to disprove whatever the suggestion was.

Scott H Young says the following in a post on his blog:

When you are learning something, you can make associations simply by asking yourself questions. How does this information relate to what we’ve been studying? How does this information relate to other things I’ve already learned? How does it relate to other subjects, stories or observations? Continue reading

The Cynefin Framework

In the continuing venture to share my findings in the treasure trove that is the internet, I’ve today come to the Cynefin Framework. Cynefin isn’t an abbreviation but a Welsh word meaning “habitat” or “place”, signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand.

Its creator, Dave Snowden, explains and introduces the Cynefin Framework in the following video with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function. Details of Dave’s regular one-day seminars entitled “The Cynefin Seminar” can be found here http://cognitive-edge.com/cynefin-seminar.php .

Any thoughts on the implications of this model? I’ve got some of course but I’ll save that for a later post.

Sir Ken Robinson – a friend of yours?

If you don’t know who sir Ken Robinson is, you’re in for a treat! He’s a creativity expert that has made such an impact on education that he has been knighted for his servies. He has written many books on the subject of transforming education and has given several lauded speaches at TED. I’ve embedded his most popular speach below and, just to point out, as of today it’s the most viewed TED talk ever with over 12 milion views as of today.

If you enjoyed this clip you should definitively check out his website (http://www.sirkenrobinson.com/) and, of course, just google “sir ken robinson” to find all other great presentations and speaches he’s held over the years. Greatly inspiring and hilariously funny at the same time. Can’t beat that!

Consequences of the concept of Minimum amount of transferred knowledge

This is part 2 of the post “A project metaphor – The Mine field” and continues on the various concepts explained there.

The concept of minimum amount of transferred knowledge can be equated with the parameter experience from previous voyages. The difference between them is their tenses. Where the former describes something that should be documented, the latter describes what is available. If the project manager, along with the project specifications, got a reconnaissance of the terrain he will soon bring his project across, he would be able to plan and adapt to the already known parameters.

  • The direction of passage across the minefield might be possible to affect so that the known mines/obstacles in the terrain are avoided
  • The size of the minefield might be constrained or used in a different way if knowledge from previous voyages across the minefield is taken into account
  • Group composition may be adapted to fit the known terrain
  • The time pressure of the project might be possible to affect by changing the project specifications due to previous experiences, especially given the increased awareness about the amount of time-consuming mines in the minefield

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A project metaphor – The Minefield – Part 1

There are many different ways to describe a project and the project manager’s role. Very few of these descriptions, however, takes into account the project’s retrieval of knowledge. These next couple of blog posts will show the project metaphor The Minefield that is based on the concept of minimum amount of transferred knowledge and the metaphor aims to provide a new perspective on the fruits of a project and the approach on harvesting these.

A project is a minefield over which the project manager is inexorably pressed by time. As if it weren’t enough to force the manager to find their way on their own, he must also keep track of all project members. Neither he nor any of the others in the project may take a misstep because it would then crosscut/prime the mine and, in the worst case, set it off.

No minefield is quite like another. Maybe it shares some of the terrain as the last one travelled but it may still differ in size, amount of mines, the direction of passage, and the team members along on the journey. Even the time pressure on the project manager’s back varies from case to case.

We’ll wait a bit with the most important parameter of the minefield…

The projects path over the minefield

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