Read Tread

PROLOGUE

“Academic success does not come from how smart or motivated students are. It comes from how they feel about their mistakes.” — Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien in Edutopia

READ

Ever read something, not get it, then read it again? I felt it today reading @quinnovator’s Learnlets blog: Why L&D? The part I didn’t get: service thinking. I need more tread on the idea to get traction with it.

Sketch of a worn out tire contacting a road

Reading for traction: Check the tread.

 

TREAD

I’m a big fan of design thinking, a people-centric analysis and problem solving process. Empathy for others gets it rolling. Service science and service thinking: that lack of traction again. If there’s a problem with L&D (Learning and Development) it’s too systems and tools heavy. Solutions tend to focus on tools first then people.

EPILOGUE

It’ll take a few mistakes with service thinking before experiencing that golden “Aha!” moment.

 

 

 

Gap-Toothed Training

PROLOGUE

“Do you mind if I put you on hold for a moment whilst I research that? Thank you.” Click.

 

GAP-TOOTHED

A challenge instructional designers face is when there’s a gap of some time between when a training program is rolled out and when the skills workers learned are put to use. I call this gap-toothed training. Websters’ defines gap-toothed as a space between two teeth. It’s seems an apt metaphor

Sketch of a school house and a factory separated by a gap

TRAINING

Some years ago I was brought in to help with a problem. Initial sales of a telecommunications product were initially high; sales dropped precipitously a few weeks after product launch. Root cause: gap-toothed training.

 

EPILOGUE

I got an RFP that looks gap-toothed. Facilitated blogging seems a good solution. Tell a story about a potential problem and have workers blog solutions. It should keep the training alive and vital.

 

 

 

 

 

Comic AL Blogging

PROLOGUE

He stared, glassy-eyed, at the clock willing the seconds to tick more rapidly.

Comic of a character suggestion meetings that make things

COMIC

Some days it's one meeting after another. An Intel effective meetings class introduced me to meeting types.

  • Process
  • Mission
  • One-on-one

Comic depicting a long unproductive meeting

Maybe there's another way we can do this?

AL (ALternatives)

A recent tweet from @nyff made me aware of Boyle's Law for meetings. Want one? Bring a prototype with you. Prototypes are something tangible meeting participants can relate to and tinker with.

Comic describing alternative meeting possibilities including blogs and podcasts

Podcast anyone?

There are other alternatives, too. For meetings on status of projects for example, how about meeting participants blogging or tweeting them? In a typical 60 minute meeting I'm talking maybe two or three minutes tops. That's a long tweet or short blog. Maybe even podcast your bit?

EPILOGUE

Substituting blogs or podcasts (Voxer?) offer at least one other benefit: transparency. They are accessible all and can be designed to encourage feedback.


 

 

Outlook: Cloudy

PROLOGUE

My head hurts. In a good way.

CLOUDS

Challenges in engaging learning, Clark Quinn's latest Learnlets blog post, hit me between the eyes. His post's word cloud made me think design teams need to focus on experiences where learners make and practice.

Learnlets word cloud

Learnlets word cloud: What hits you between the eyes?

Reading it deepened my understanding. Quinn's writing about growing his team's ability to produce engaging learning pragmatically. I interpreted pragmatic as meaning practical, logical, maybe even templatized.

BLUE SKIES
I'm an ideas and theories instructional designer: looking for fresh ways of engaging learners. Practical and logical processes matter but not at the expense of creativity and innovation.
 
INN OVATION
Pragmatic innovation in instructional design means looking up and out, informing our development with what others are doing. We want learners who keep coming back, who talk-up their learning experience after it ends.
 
EPILOGUE
Share your work, too?

 

Loco Motive Learning

PROLOGUE

I like trains and training. Both make the earth move for me.

Sketch of a signal lamp next to a passing train

LOCOS

I grew up near a railroad switching yard. The rumble of diesel engines highballing through the yard, green-lit: Wow! Learning felt like that sometimes: earthshaking and exciting. Sadly as I got older learning grew boring. School didn’t rumble much after 5th grade.

MOTIVES

I love taking fresh instructional strategies out for a spin. More than once a customer has flashed that look. You know the one: You loco? What were you thinking with that prototype? More often than not it leads to something amazing. My current prototypes: speed dating, things that suck, design like a pirate.

EPILOGUE
Want something different to happen? Try something different. Prototypes are a great way to learn. My best career successes have been the direct result of being a little crazy.
 
 
 

 

Hear, There Be Students

PROLOGUE

I'm thinking of retiring from my job and transitioning to some role, as yet unknown, in the K-12 space. I've been giving some thought to what being a successful educator involves.

HEAR

There's more to teaching than leading students to learning. When I think back on all the teachers I've had in my life the one or two whose names and faces I can remember had these attributes in common:

  • Passion for what they did
  • Adept at painting a mental image in my head of how I would be able to use what I was learning
  • Almost tangible storytelling ability

At some level they were able to hear the uncertainty of my youth and get me excited about possibilities.

DRAGONS

My take is that relying on leadership ability most of all, waving a flag and expecting learners to follow you, results in hoarse throats and missed opportunities.

The best teacher I ever had, CDB, had these posters on her desk. One, from Thoreau I believe, said something about listening to the beat of a different drummer.

Sketch of a sea separating land with a dragon in the middle

As I went on, and continue in, my development journey each new learning experience is a step towards the unknown. This isn't a bad thing. It's curiosity manifest.

EPILOGUE

A successful teacher creates an ecology for learning where anything is possible given the constraints we all have. Leadership ability is at best secondary.

 

 

Swap Meet PS (Performance Support)

Prologue

Panic sets in. That training a few weeks ago? Forgotten. You're hard up for how to do that thing.

Dialogue

At EdCampUCLACenterX I participated in a “Things That Suck” session. I've been thinking how I could use this in my instructional design practice. Here's an idea:

Photo of a bucket of cleaning supplies held up in the air

Peers swapping a bucket-load of performance support ideas

Towards the end of a training class on something is a Swap Meet Performance Support activity. Learners brainstorm a list of problems they foresee having later doing their job (Things That Suck part). They ideate and discuss strategies for dealing with them (performance support part).

Epilogue

Maybe they use TouchCast to produce video clips for getting past the issue to access at the moment of need. Maybe job-aids are the outcome. This swap meet activity, peers exchanging ideas, encourages ownership and a community of practice is born.

Anyway, something to try.