A More Effective Approach to Learning
There was a point in time where I too as a trainer relied mainly on lecture to deliver the material I was supposed to teach to others. I simply did not realize that it made that much difference!
I had two eye opening events occur during the 1990s that really shifted my own paradigms about how training needed to be delivered if a company even expected to have a chance of it being understood, retained, and applied. The first experience involved teaching a two-day statistical process control (SPC) class to my food plant supervisors. The training seemed to go well enough. Later, I learned that part of the trainees’ cooperation had to do with the fact that many of them had only a third grade level of math literacy. In turn, they didn’t know what was going on with all of those decimal points!
Why did I do this? Because that is the main way that others had taught me since I entered the world of formal education at the age of five. From the short term perspective, it is much less painful to teach in a manner we are personally familiar with than it is to learn to teach differently. Who cares if anyone remembers or uses anything or not, right?
The second event occurred when I went to my first National Baldrige Examiner training session. As this was being put on by a group associated with the Federal government, I assumed that it was going to be two plus days of boring lecture. Instead, I ended up being part of a highly interactive set of exercises that really did encourage learning. That experience really shifted my paradigms about training effectiveness.
The first experience taught to never assume anything when preparing to deliver a training class. The second event showed me how there are highly effective alternatives to lecture out there if one truly wants effective learning to occur. Since that point in time, I have modified all of my training packages to be exercise focused. Try building at least 50% practice time into your learning event lesson plans. You’ll like the effective task performance results you’ll see!!
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