Monday, July 18, 2011

Think Different?

          "As you get older, you look at things differently."
             -   Brett Favre

One of the most difficult things to do in life is admit there's a better way to do something.  After all, you may have spent years or even decades perfecting something.  You have probably had a good deal of success with your methods.  They are comfortable and they work.  Change can only have a downside, right?!

I thought about this today as I was listening to a country band cover one of my rock and roll favorites.  It definitely wasn't the same experience, but it wasn't better or worse either.  It was different and I enjoyed the fact that in the alternative arrangement I heard things in the song I had never noticed before.  It gave me a better appreciation of the song.  And I realized that most people don't even bother to listen to a cover because they're comfortable with what they know.

Few people like to change, but it's the only way we truly improve things.  I look at the way we did training years ago - throw some PowerPoint slides together and rent a room.  Or spending 40 hours of development time for every hour of classroom training.

But Thiagi has shown us we don't have to make that investment to be effective.  And people like Tufte have shown us that presenting is not learning.  Changing the way we think of, design, and deliver learning isn't always easy.  In fact, most times it's so hard you wonder if it's worth the effort at all.But you have to change. 
Because if you're not improving you're falling behind.

Friday, July 01, 2011

I once was lost, how did I get found?

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
        - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I had a discussion the other day with a course designer, and we were both complaining about having to show every feature before we demonstrated it and let the learners try it.  And then it struck us - Why?  Won't the learners get lost without a clear vision of what they need to do?

Why do we have to hand hold learners through every single feature?  Because that's what everyone does?  Because that's what we're done since first grade?  because that's the way we've always done it?

Just Because?!?

Whenever I hear an answer start with "because we ..." I always know there's something stupid coming.  So we started asking each other questions.

"What if we gave them a couple of clues and let them discover how to use each feature? 

"What if we let them get together in groups and try to guide each other through the menus in a game to see how many of them could get as many features on the page?

"What if we made it a friendly competition!"

This is where real change is made.  We will try this on a test group in the coming months.   I'll keep you posted.