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Learning Directions

June 4, 2012

This past Thursday, a group of trainers, learning developers and application specialists from Traveling Coaches attended an Elliott Masie seminar on Learning Directions. It was a full-day discussion on what is changing and not changing in the world of organization learning. This morning, our group had a virtual discussion about what’s trending and what may impact the future of learning. Here is what we are most excited about:

Flip Learning   Some education pioneers are literally flipping the way subjects are being taught in school. In most schools today, this is a how a typical class is conducted: the teacher is at the front of the classroom droning on about a subject while students try to capture the information and retain it. The students are then required to do homework assignments and attempt to apply what they heard in the classroom – often on their own.

Now flip it. At home, the students watch recorded lectures from the teacher on their own time. Since the lectures are recorded, they can re-watch for better understanding or in preparation for a test. The classroom then becomes the learning lab where students do exercises and experiments (what was homework) together (collaboratively) with the teacher acting as coach to facilitate better learning.

Video There is more video content available for consumption than ever before. And this will only increase. When I want to learn how to do something, I search on-line for content. If the content is available in video format, I start there. Video can be used both in and out of classrooms. In classrooms, you can bring in video clips of SMEs to help your learners better understand concepts.  Video is a great way to put context around your content. Think about the power that a testimonial from a law firm partner will have when he or she talks about the why behind a software change.

Checklists and Job Aids Learners have been telling us for a long time that we give them too much information in the classroom. Much of that information will be forgotten long before they will need to use it. And some of the information only needs to be done once, so why teach it at all?  If it is a one-time setup, provide a checklist. If it is a process that may be needed at a later time, provide a job aid or quick reference card that will walk them through it. Teach learners where to find information so that they can help themselves.

Sequencing In a typical instructor-led class, the instructor decides what is taught, when it is taught and how it is taught. Learners want more control over the where, when and how of learning. Instead of the typical “in the class you will learn” approach, play with a variety of ways that learning can be consumed and allow the learner to pick in which order to learn them.

Tablets It is predicted that by the end of this year, 25% of all internet users will own a tablet (mostly iPads). Over 70% of us that do own tablets, use them when watching TV. Tablets can give your learners a deeper engagement into content or even provide better context for the content.

Bottom line. The trend in learning is not blending, but mixing up the learning choices. Give learners more control over when, where and how they learn. Provide content ahead of classroom activities so that they can listen or read on their own and then experiment and practice in a controlled environment with trainers on hand to help them out. Bring experts into your classroom by way of videos to add relevancy or context. Engage your learners with additional content or back channels for discussion through use of tablets. What direction will you go?

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