Friday, August 19, 2016

Designing learning for business impact

Using the Kirkpatrick model to generate design questions.
I recently ran a workshop at a conference held at Keble College Oxford.  The organization hosting this conference is the Applied Improvisation Network, a great group of people who have discovered the secret that anyone can learn and use the same skills that make a team of improvisers world class listeners, great collaborators and amazing innovators.

Many of the folks newer to the applied side have a great selection of exercises to pull from but struggle to structure a workshop to ensure it focuses on what their clients need. As a Learning Pro I've always got ideas about that and I've even written about them before in a prior blog post. So I was happy to help creating and running a full day workshop on how to create and run a workshop.

Borrowing heavily from Thiagi and his Rapid Instructional Design methods we started of with each of the 15 attendees writing the title of a workshop they would want to create.  We then used a modified version of the game Thirty-Five to pick the top 3 workshops that we would focus on. And they self selected into teams.

Then it was time for me to do a little work as Facilitator

I shared with my learners the Kirkpatrick 4 Levels model.  I suggested that they use this model not only for evaluation, but also for design.

  • As the top level is about organizational impact I suggested that they first define the organizational impacts that their clients want to see. And how the organization will measure that. 
  • Once that is clear the next questions is what behaviors do we expect will lead to those business impacts. And how will those be monitored?
  • With learning at the next level I proposed the next question that need to answer is; What skills did they need to learn or knowledge they needed to have or attitude they needed to adopt that is currently preventing the behavior that they want to see. 

The teams then split off and did fabulous work defining all those 3 areas while I sat back and had a cup of tea.

Before we broke for lunch we reviewed and refined the designs that they had built together.

One of the workshop design brainstorms

After lunch I briefly shared with them some ideas around Accelerated Learning and the AL Cycle and then each team picked one of the learning points and developed a learning activity to address it.

But that's another blog post....

Happy designing and learning

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learning Styles: The myth I'm glad I learned about.

Visual Auditory Kinesthtic

I first learned about learning styles when I first learned about learning.

It was a workshop run by a colleague who was introducing us to the concept of Accelerated Learning. A powerful methodology that he had been using to run a successful programmer training school at the company I worked for.

The ideas of Brain dominance, Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles all made perfect sense to me.

In the years that followed I built many a program and always tried to provide a balance of activities that favored people with different learning styles. I can give you many personal stories of being faced with someone who didn't get something presented one way who immediately grsped the idea or concept when I re-framed it to favor a different learning style. I'm pretty sure that anyone who has been in the workplace learning profession for a while can do the same.

But despite my personal experience I have to concede that all the research that has been done on this topic has come to the same conclusion.

Learning Styles are a Myth.

So, why on earth would I be happy to have learned a myth and implemented it.

I'm happy because the V A K model meant that I provided Variety.
I'm happy because the V A K model meant that I thought carefully about the Activities I used.
I'm happy because the V A K model meant that I engaged my learners with different Kinds of content.

So I'm going to continue using V A K  but now for me it will mean Vary Activity Kinds.

Happy Learning