I was able to add some audio to this presentation. Admittedly it was recorded & edited in a hurry. And naturally after listening to it for the 3rd time I think I’d cut down the text by more than 1/3.
Archive for the 'Training' Category
Tags: Corporate Culture, Creativity, Innovation, Learning, New Employee Orientation, On the Job Training, Orientation, Training, Work
Written in response for Rupa’s Work and Learning Blog Carnival :)
I recently met someone who was just starting a new job. She lamented the fact that she had to sit through an entire week of orientation training.
“Wow, they still do that?” I responded.
She said she just finished the fourth day of the training and it was brutal, boring. To her point, most of that information would just be lost or forgotten trivia shortly after the training sessions. But I suppose this approach alleviates the training organization’s responsibility. Once you expose the students to it, it’s simply up to them to learn and absorb it.
It makes sense to have some orientation as a group for newbies, but to cram everything into one session at the beginning doesn’t make any sense. What about doing the following instead:
- Hit the main/and crucial points (anti-sexual harassment, benefits information, safety, brief rah-rah about company philosophy/policy) in a one day session. Give everyone their continental breakfast with bagels, croissants and fruit.
- During the session point out or give the students a reminder of where to get training and information about the different areas both online or in actual face to face sessions.
- Set up a training plan and schedule for individuals that covers both general company/organization information and specific job related information. The latter is the responsibility of the manager and immediate parent group. It’s a pain in the ass, managers, but it is your job.
- Most importantly set each new employee up with one or two buddies and mentors. Make mentorship an job responsibility expectation for all company employees. These mentors are responsible for meeting with the employee, more frequently at first, in order to gauge their progress. The mentors should have a checklist or progress plan for the new employees to check whether or not they’ve completed training or reviewed guidelines for their area or role. I think having a mentor specific your job role would be important as well. This is someone who a new employee can shadow to learn about specific group or job role training items. My first group at my old job did an excellent job of facilitating this buddy training.
- Finally, actively cultivate a culture of social learning through networking. Younger and newer employees who haven’t be indoctrinated by a culture of competition and hoarding information seem to take to this more naturally.
The best jobs I’ve ever had actually provided the above training/mentorship in some shape or form. I think that there’s the old Protestant Work Ethic assumption that learning is not work, and that you’re not supposed to do it on company time. It’s a stupid assumption, I know, but old habits in old dogs are hard to break. I think that some forward-thinking companies are now challenging this assumption. They now see learning/training as the vehicle that allows their employees to become more productive in a shorter period of time. They also view learning and sharing as a key element to fostering creativity and innovation amongst their employees, but wherever you have management who only cares about the appearances of productivity (not a bright bunch to begin with) and short term goals, you won’t find a culture of learning an growth.
Tags: 3D, Blackboard, Learning Management System, Learning Spaces, LMS, Second Life, Virtual Learning, Virtual Learning Spaces
I found a Blackboard booth… ironic isn’t it?
If you combined Second Life with Blackboard, you’d get… anyone, anyone?
Our experiences with blackboard have been somewhat limited. Their communication and chat tools didn’t work very well. There system seems fine for people who only want to communicate via e-mail or forum, but that is so 1990’s. I found it interesting that they had a booth presence in Second Life.
Well, on the other hand, it’s good to know that Blackboard is at least aware of Second Life.
So far in my exploration of Second Life I’ve come the following conclusions about introducing or applying Second Life for educational purposes:
1. Makes sure initial participation is voluntary - the learning curve on Second Life is so high that it will frustrate even those with moderate tech savvy abilities. Draw in the people who are really curious and motivated to use it first. Grow this group of people as SL experts and mentors. Still, encourage all folks to try… just because something is ‘hard to do’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth while.
2. Teach students how to teleport to a location – give them initial instructions on how to get to the first meeting point.
3. Provide interesting orientation activities - take a field trip as a group in the “NMC Orientation” to learn the basics of moving, talking, using inventory, changing appearance, etc. As a leader you can provide a walk through tour of the orientation area (just to show students where everything is). But you should also encourage students to return and practice some of the things on their own. You can even set up a task list of things that participants need to complete by week 1, etc. Also have appointed meeting times in SL so participants can interact with each other and even share what they’ve learned or made.
4. Participate socially - attend live learning events in SL through the SLED calendar. The best part of Second Life is interacting with other SL inhabitants and even learning from them.
5. Encourage students to share their learning with each other – Second Life and the tool interface is so complex that one person can’t effectively and quickly learn all the features. If learners share what they’ve learned with each other they can ramp up quickly.
I would love to set up a social learning group in SL that focuses on how to communicate and build things. I’m thinking I can get a few people to do this. I’d even be willing to help orient some people on how to use the features and tools.
One thing, that sort of perturbs me is the land costs. From what I’ve read, land costs in SL have grown because of speculation. Crazy isn’t it? I guess virtual ain’t free.
I found this great piece on Nethack: 15 steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning
I thought that this list had some nice suggestions for keeping the passion for learning alive.
UNESCO characterizes 21st Century education as being education geared to developing lifelong learners. It’s no secret that these types of learners are usually the best innovators, problem solvers, etc. I suspect an indirect consequence of being a lifelong learner is that you are able to solve not only professional issues but personal ones as well. Well, at least we can only hope.
I started putting together a list of characteristics of lifelong learners. It’s not complete, but it’s a start.
Lifelong Learner Characteristics
- Are insatiable knowledge seekers - they continually seek learning experiences or opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills
- Are social learners – Lifelong learners learn both from and with others. The will take classes or look for social groups. They usually seek out acquaintances who are better or more knowledgeable in fields than they are
- Don’t simply just take in information - they analyze, synthesize and or apply what they’ve learned
- Are teachers themselves – lifelong learners usually openly share what they know because they understand that having open networks actually gives them more access to the information from others.
- Never think of themselves as the ultimate expert in anything
Tech Learning Blog Rant: He makes a good point… Digital Native/Immigrant distinction may just give some teachers an excuse not the cross the bridge. If you read to the comments on this post a responder notes that some teachers fear pushing newer technologies because they fear loosing their jobs. Is this the case? Why so? Isn’t fear a kicker?
Training Teachers Who are Terrorized by Technology: This is a really helpful article about dealing with common questions or protests about using technology in the classroom. One of the questions was “how can I manage computers in the classroom?” The tech teacher notes that they actually train teachers to use applications along with the students. This way the teacher can feel comfortable about using the technology as their students use it.
Fear of Technology in Schools: Dave Chakrabarti chocks up parents (and teachers) fears of technology to the fact that parents fear the lack of control as children are more facile at using technology than they are. I don’t know about other families, but in our family, my father put our lack of fear of technology to his advantage and allowed us to set up any of the new tech gadgets we got like the VCR, the Remote Controls, etc. That way he didn’t have to read the manual and he could just have us explain how the gadgets worked. Maybe this is what parents should do with their children and new technologies… but then again that requires a great deal of trust. In Dave’s posting, dave notes that a teacher who set up a blog was blocked by the school because they though the blog’s presence on the web compromised the students’ safety. The teacher’s response was to shift her focus on to teaching safety on the internet. Smart Teacher; talk about making lemons into lemonade. That’s cool!
Technology: To Use or Infuse: This article discussed some to the common trends in tech integration into the schools and how these may have led us down wrong paths to true integration of technology for educational purposes. It’s true that computers provide us with greater opportunities to learn how to solve “open-ended” problems. Students can be presented a problem, brainstorm solutions then use the internet to gain knowledge and perhaps even contact experts to help them solve the problem.
As I read these articles I became acutely aware of my own tendencies to over-explain things when it comes to technology. Also, I think I’ve developed this automatic response to any audience – I assume that they’re going to resist the technology I propose. I feel like I’ve allowed this assumption to cloud my decision making and choices. I always opt for first teaching those who are fearful and afraid rather than also address the needs and desires of those who are already willing to learn.
Why we still need teachers despite the internet
As I was sitting and listening to lectures at the SALT conference I heard a comment that most of the younger generations don’t have the patience to sit through lectures when they can look up answers and information so quickly on the internet. First, let’s note that not all lectures or lecturers are as painful to sit through as listening to someone conjugate Latin verbs in all tenses. You can still get valuable information from a lecture; however, it’s nice to be able to learn via different media or methods. Second, I’m a little wary of the idea of just expecting students of any age or discipline be able to search for information via the net without little or no guidance. If you read any of the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories or comics from the Tarzan series, you’ll remember that there was this assumption that Tarzan learned how to read on his own by reading through the books without the help or guidance from a teacher. Can we assume that students can learn everything they need to know by just having the almost all the information placed in front of them via the internet? Of course, after many trial and error attempts they might be able to function or apply the information they absorbed correctly. Even with all the information and resources in front of you, you still need a teacher or instructor as a guide to help you determine what’s good information and what is not.
Even within the university setting, this type of learning and validation from an expert must occur. Pre-Net we had libraries. Students would often use the libraries to compile information in the form of papers or studies thus augmenting what they learned in class. Now this will probably date me, but I used the index card method of gathering information from my sources. The professor, instructor or teacher would verify if we got things ‘right’ by giving us a grade on the paper. Though, that’s not always the case if you have a professor who is incompetent or even one who dislikes you and gives you a bad grade as a result.
I still believe that teachers are absolutely necessary to perform this function of validator and guide. However, the traditional model of teacher lecturing and students verifying that they got the information via a paper needs to be augmented. Note, I did not say get rid of writing papers. We all need to learn to form our thoughts and apply critical thinking in writing. It helps integrate what we’ve learned as well as learn to articulate our thoughts in a structured format. I do think that the written paper assignment tends to be overused in learning situations because it’s easy for the instructor to assign, and not so bad to grade as long as you have a teacher’s assistant.
If educators of the future are to follow a model I’d say let’s follow tradition way back and return to Socratic Methods of teaching your role must evolve from the guy or lady who likes to talk a lot at the front of the classroom to the mentor who watches the students progress, prompts them with though-provoking questions that would help them learn to apply the information that they’re learning successfully. But this is hard work isn’t it? And in a normal classroom environment of any age level it’s logistically impossible to get to all students and personally monitor their activity and ask them these questions.
I believe the answer to this lies in harnessing collaborative learning with student peers. At SALT I attended an excellent talk where the professor/instructor actually had students work together to post their learnings (and subsequently discussions) on topics via a wiki. The result was that students were able to quickly share what they learned and provide examples via links (if the information was available via the net) to each other. Using this method of collaborative/peer learning is powerful, especially if you couple it with assignments of well though-out questions that get students to think about applying what they’ve learn as well as looking at it with a critical eye.
Social and collaborative learning is the key, but the instructor need to trust the students and let them drive their learning for a change.
Digital Natives want electronics….
Kaybee, FAO Schwartz and Toys R US have all declared bankrupcy (NL: That’s sad…having manipulative toys is a key part of childhood, not to mention developing hand-eye coordination and motorskills)
Information and knowledge are the thermonuclear weapons of our time.
Era of Baby Boomers and their technology
- Color Television….
- Disney’s wild world of color… technology that drove things… 1 way broadcasting
- Passive ways of absorbing tech
Need for War Stories in the Workplace (Knowledge Management)
- Lockheed Martin hiring 14,000 in a year
- US Defense department will loose 500,000 people
- Average age of retirement is going down (59)
- Characteristics of Baby Boomers… formal learners
- Gamer Generation… informal learners
Games, games, games
- Casual games à Example you don’t know jack
- Girls play games
- 43% of gamers are female.
- Play PC games a lot more.
- Women over 40 fastest growing segment
- 70% use of Sims users are women under 25 (I am)
- Grounding kids - don’t send them to the room… Say…No Screens.
Multitasking and Absorbing all that information
- They like to think that they can multi-task… we don’t think so but they can…
- Kids can wipe out background distraction? Is this true?
- They have to deal with massive amounts of information. They’ve always had a lot of information.
Net-gen communication preferences
- Kids go to instant messaging from e-mail.
- E-mail is too SLOW. Again… e-mail is for old people
- Generation wants to share all the time and be virtual. Example: Twittr
- 85% of the kids have a media device
- 44% have two.
- 15% of 2-5 year olds have a cell phone.
- This kids are linked in…
- Internet has been around for 14 years
- Problem solver à can solve problems in game… some cases can apply outside of game
- Social à Online social via games and electronica
- World of Warcraft make Clans of people
- Informal Learners
- Don’t want to sit through 45 minutes of class when they can google to get the answer.
- 3D world where you get your own stuff.
My thoughts….There’s a diy movement right now I think that there’s no coincidence that this is happening as technology is moving us more into a virtual world.
People want to make physical things.
More games examples
- Laundering money in Second Life… Hey, vinny don’t forget the virtual cannoli…..
Protosphere… 3D business environment.
- Kids are getting into these games earlier.
- Disney.com… kids get involved in games where they build their own business.
- Nobelprize.org… learn about history via games
What the teacher should be today…
- More of a guide rather than a lecturer
- Not my best friend
- Socrates was a really great example of a guide
- We should Teach young people to be observant.
Mobile Learning Examples:
- Example settting up a display in a store
- Taking SOP’s and putting them in a video with audio that can be viewed on a hand-held device
- Note some things translate better to video than others
- Flight simulator game…
- Demonstration mode
- Sales rep game
- Teach a doctor how to sell pharmaceuticals
- Choose your strategy
The official abstract… of my presentation with Celeste Spencer.
Podcasting and wikis provide a vehicle for corporations to explore social and collaborative learning in a non-traditional manner, while including the major principles of adult learning theories. Wikis make an excellent collaborative tool for project communication allowing a team to conduct real-time content development with subject matter experts. Some of the benefits of using wikis this way include asynchronous collaboration between global teams and an easily accessible way for training developers and subject matter experts to work on content together. As a living project knowledge base, wikis provide a way for teams to collect and track collaboration from project inception to deployment and beyond. Podcasting is a convenient, easy, on-demand media tool that allows learners to find solutions or learn from the experience of others across the global divide. With minimal time and financial investment, podcasting allows for a rapid training deployment, experiential learning and the passing on of tribal knowledge.
This presentation will discuss examples of how a training team designed and applied wiki usage to collaborate and communicate during a project. Emphasis will be on how to leverage the features and the ‘informal’ nature of wikis to both the training team and subject matter expert’s advantage. This presentation will also recount how an instructional designer utilized podcasting to leverage U.S. based management and technical leadership expertise. Experiences and key learnings of senior leaders were captured and provided in a ‘pull’ format to employees in 2 international sites. Emphasis will be on the benefits of collecting leadership expertise and broadcasting it to a wider audience allowing the listeners an opportunity to learn from leaders regardless of their physical location.
(Ideally I’d like to post and .swf with audio of this presentation- considering my time and project constraints, I won’t be able to do this for a little bit)