Well Designed Learning – Part 2

Well Designed Learning - Part 2

You take your kid out for a party and at the dinner table, a lady guides your kid how to fold a napkin, something you haven’t taught yet. You just watch how she tutors; and how the kid learns and practice. What will you do next time your kid’s at the dining-table – tick as many:

1 remind about the session with that lady?
2 most likely, you would’ve forgotten about that session?
3 make fun or ignore if the kid’s trying to replicate that session’s learning?
4 appreciate if the kid’s trying to replicate that session’s learning?

You see, it’s about the nourishment you provide to get the desired behavior from an individual. Just enrolling them (not only kids but also adults) to a learning event is not enough. It has to be supported with some chain-reactions aka follow-ups and reminders as you not only save the efforts made earlier but you also discover more.

PS: options 2 & 3 above are bad choices.

Some ways to embed the learning are:

1 Ask the learner to share the lessons in a forum – can be documented too.
2 Give project based assignments – encourage creativity here.
3 Design assessments – spread these over a period of time.
4 Ask the learner to share more ideas – to upgrade existing content or for next steps.

And most importantly, initiate competency based learning designs, otherwise like Cheshire Cat said to Alice, “if you don’t have a destination to reach to, all the roads are the same”!


Well Designed Learning – Part 1

Image Courtesy - dexigner.com

Image Courtesy – dexigner.com

As promised in my previous post – Cheerless Hands at Work – here’s some bits of thoughts to ‘designing a learning intervention’.

One of the most prevailing practices as part of Learning Needs Analysis is asking the employees about the kind of learning workshop they wish to attend. This exercise is mostly done annually, administered till senior middle management and could be for behavioral or skill development purposes.

Typically a list of most celebrated workshops is circulated and employees are requested to select the most appealing options; a standard list contains:

1 Work-life Balance
2 Time Management
3 Interpersonal Communication
4 Performance Management
5 Change Management
6 Decision Making
7 Language Skills
8 Others

The list could be longer and the workshop-names may vary.

Of course, this exercise seems like a fair one because the employees are getting a chance to select what they wish to learn.
But this exercise is like buying a book without reading the preface or the table of contents!

I.e., this exercise is flawed because there’s no indication that:

1 – why a workshop has been selected
2 – what challenges the employee is facing
3 – which aspects will be part of the workshop-content

To summarize, there’s no clue that why a workshop should be done and how; and the result is a potpourri of whatever!

If an exercise such as this should be conducted at all then it should be supported by more features such as:

1 the employees can express the challenges they are facing – best done face to face and an appropriate batch-wise workshop should be designed.

2 an effectiveness evaluation to be executed – could be a pre/post evaluation for learning and behavioral changes or a project based assessment for the batch-mates.

3 to further notch it up, you may regularly conduct case-study based assignments for the workshop(s) they attend – this is just to keep the momentum flowing.

When the employees go through such a condensed and focused workshop; the learning is lasting and the environment fun!

Look forward to Part 2 of Well Designed Learning!

Cheerless Hands at Work!

Cheerless Hands at Work!

The deadline has been met, the follow-ups are being done, the file has been submitted but still you, the boss, senses that the work is sloppy. There’s lack of energy, improper/age-old updates, not enough insights to name a few; no cheer in the work done.

What do you do now?
A – Ignore
B – Reprimand
C – Wait for the next review
D – Are you looking for an option that says, ‘it depends’?
(I have rarely seen a well-constructed mentorship program, so skipping that here!)

These four options are primarily damaging behaviors at work.
Let’s consider an example – India is cricket crazy and more so about Sachin Tendulkar (if only he could continue) but there was a time in his career when he had sloppy hands at cricket. This was the time when he was the captain of the Indian cricket team. It took a few matches to realize this and to put him back to his original role of individual contributor.

We all realize deep down that not everybody can do everything, we can’t do everything, at least not flawlessly. Just that, if we still need to (and we still may fail), we must go through a well designed learning intervention. An intervention that converts cheerless hands to cheerful ones in this new financial year.

What’s a well designed learning intervention now?

More on this in up-coming posts; meanwhile, suggest reading – Beware the Busy Manager by Harvard Business Review.