Blooming Marvellous!

When I discovered Blooms Taxonomy first of all…. I was confused, then frustrated and now I absolutely love it!

The first thing that frustrated me was the word TAXONOMY – it just means classification so why use something that sounds so complicated?

 

The next thing was the names of the domains:

  • Cognitive (Knowledge)
  • Affective (Attitudes)
  • Psychomotor (Skills)

Again , why make it sound so complicated when it is so easy?

What I love about it, is the way I use it to determine the gaps in peoples knowledge, skills or attitudes and then the level to which they need to get better. Having determined that a need is down to a gap in learning and not in resources, relationships, processes etc I ask myself a question:

Is this a knowledge, skill or attitudinal gap?

I can determine the answer to this question (and whether it is a combination of 2 or 3) by thinking:

Is it something that has to be in peoples’ heads? A knowledge thing? Something you will only know if they have got if they, describe, explain, list or tell you about it?

 

Or is it a skill thing? Something that you will see them doing or that there is some visible output? It may be a physical skill (hence the ‘hands’)


Or is it the way they should be doing something? A heart thing? Their attitude?

 

Or is it a combination of all three?

Once it is clear in my mind which domain the learning falls into, then it requires some thought for the level of the learning. A simple example would be GDPR(General data Protection Principles) mandatory training. This is both a knowledge thing and also an attitudinal thing. It might even become a skill thing depending on which level you operate in the organisation.

Mandatory training for all staff can be tedious and if you make it generic it may not hit the mark with a lot of people. Let’s examine for different groups of people what they might actually need:

For colleagues you might want them:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • As a team to be able to identify possible data security risks in their own team 
  • Follow the GDPR policy and advocate its use to other team members 

For line managers:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • As a team to be able to identify possible and actual data security risks in their own team 
  • With other line managers, outline a GDPR plan for their team to ensure that their approach is regularly reviewed 
  • Follow the GDPR policy and advocate its use to other team members 
  • Be role model for GDPR

For the Data Protection Officer:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • To be able to identify data security risks within their own team and the organisation
  • With other line managers, outline a GDPR plan for their team to ensure that their approach is regularly reviewed 
  • Put together and communicates a policy which safeguards the data within the organisation according to GDPR
  • Be role model for GDPR
  • Inspires others to follow the GDPR policy 

From the above you can see that some of the learning could be used for all levels, but for some you need to take them to the next level and maybe beyond. Looking at the picture at the top of the article therefore Blooms Taxonomy can be used to determine the level of learning but also map out a path for learning for different groups of individuals. It is worth noting that you cannot just leap to the top level in any domain without spending some time at the lower levels.

If this is slowly starting to make sense or needs more clarification then watch this short video or chat to me

 

 

Blackberry picking …. and life in general

This morning I had a magical bank holiday wander around our village Bramhope, in West Yorkshire. Armed with water, a rucksack and a container with a lid, I set out for walking and blackberry picking.

As I walked and wandered, I pondered. It’s a day for pondering and new beginnings; with my youngest son moving into his new flat in Birmingham and my eldest probably going to settle in New Zealand.

As I picked the blackberries I saw many parallels to blackberry picking and life in general…….because I love metaphors I thought I would stretch this one to the limit and share ten things about seizing opportunities:

  1. The best ones are usually surrounded with nettles, be careful, tread carefully
  2. Don’t pick where everyone else picks, find your own place
  3. The biggest ones are not always the sweetest
  4. Don’t stretch too far to reach them, because you might fall in the ditch
  5. Slow down and just look and wait and as if by magic they seem to appear from nowhere
  6. Stop when you have enough to make something you enjoy
  7. The crumble tastes better when you can share it with others
  8. When you look at what you have gathered, you might have a few scratches and stings, but it’s worth it
  9. The joy can be in the picking as well as eating the crumble
  10. Remember there is always enough for everyone out there, gather what you will use

The Transformation Curve from Towards Maturity

I read this a while ago but have only just created this visual. It is hard to condense such a dense report and so I have been giving it some thought. I  think the key things to take away from this are:

  • To become more ‘mature’ as an organisation you can follow this curve
  • The starting point is a discussion between you and stakeholders about the barriers and benefits to improving your maturity index
  • The curve is actually a series of 4 steps
  • Between each step is a transition to the next step called a ‘pivot of change’
  • Each pivot point gives you some indicators as to when is a good move onto the next step, these are shown above but more detail van be gleaned from the report
  • Many of the points in stage 4 can be reached by following the steps in my book ‘How Not To Waste Your Money On Training’

 

 

LTSF19 – Finding the Story in the Data

June the 11th 2019 was the date of the Learning Technologies Summer Forum in ExCel London. I was honoured to run a session on “Finding the Story in the Data” and here are some of my notes and thoughts about the session. 

This session was a practical nitty gritty sort of event. I think people did forgive me if I was teaching my grandmother to suck eggs but I do hear from a lot of L&D people who just don’t know where to start. Data is all over the place and you can easily get swamped. So the purpose of this session was to get people started and get some confidence in looking at data in a practical way. 

I started by asking a question: “Why bother collecting or analysing data?”.

Here are some of the reasons collected from the Learning and Skills group webinar by the same name the week before. 

The chart was put together by Laura Overton and reproduced with her permission.

The two main reasons as you can see are to improve the user experience and also understand the effects or benefits. Not surprising really and in a report by Towards Maturity from 2018 they speak about 91% of the top deck saying that their learning interventions were aligned to the business goals. In order to do that, you need to be measuring what you are doing.

Other reasons may be:

  1. Credibility
  2. To check if things are going to plan
  3. Demonstrate the value brought by L&D
  4. Transition from learning provide to performance enhancer
  5. Avoid the sheep dip approach
  6. It is expected
  7. Stakeholder buy-in

My engineering brain….. in a former life I was a chemical engineer and fuel technologist and if you think that it is all about data and analysis with no room for intuition, then let me share a little story:

As an engineer, gathering data to site wind turbines, I became very skilled at finding appropriate sites just by looking at a map. This helped me to narrow down where to look from a myriad of places, that might be suitable. I would look at the maps, gather data from a mast and correlate it to the nearest met station. It is no different in L&D. You can use your intuition to see where things might be going wrong, from the data that you are already collecting and from your stakeholders. This means you can collect limited and focussed data to confirm your suspicions, to begin to find the story in the data.

Understanding the link between data and performance is crucial, as per the diagram below.

Knowing when to collect quantitative or qualitative data is also important.

Working through a case study helped participants decide when it was appropriate to gather quantitative data and then qualitative. A crucial part of this thinking was to think broader than the case study which is a great piece of advice to anyone doing their own analysis. Look and see what is happening in your industry just in case the sudden drop in sales is industry wide and not just a blip in your own organisation. It could save you a lot of time!

I then challenged the participants to say what they saw in a number of different graphs , encouraging them to be playful to find the story in the data. Sometimes the graphs raised more questions than they answered but it certainly gave everyone an insight into how easy it is to use Excel and simple charts to uncover that story.

 

I just had to share this picture from LTSF19 – Rachael Orchard, my fabulous host for the session, kindly brought her stormtrooper so we could endlessly make Star Wars puns and then playful Don Taylor agreed to pose with us both!

 

 

 

 

Is your fear serving you well?

I began writing this on holiday, where I often get new insights with the refresh I feel physically, mentally and emotionally. We have been in Madeira, attracted by the climate, the amazing scenery and the promise of delightful walks. So why the subject of fear? Two incidents on the first two days of our holiday that had me genuinely scared.I will recount these briefly to give some context.

“Are you driving a getaway car?” I often ask hubbie, who is not known for his patience in planning our route to anywhere! This was no exception a quick tap into the sat nav, missed turns and before we knew it we were driving down the road shown in the photo below.


Thankful for his steely nerve and grippy sandals we survived to tell the tale. Note to self: if a concrete road has ridges and steps in it – DON’T DRIVE DOWN IT!!!

The following day, we decided to do a Levada walk, starting just up the road with Levada Moinho linking to Levada Nova. We didn’t even have to get in the car, which was a relief. For someone who has just written a book on needs analysis and using data, you may be shocked to hear I had not researched the route very much. If I had I may have read the warnings about steep drops and lack of handrails. By the time I reached the sections with a 500ft drop and no handrails we were well over half way around. No going back……

The picture below was on a relatively tame stretch ……..

Seeing two guys walking a dog, one with flip flops on, strangely comforted me. “ The walk must be easy from here on in” I thought to myself. I am extremely scared of heights and having walking poles helped to some extent, it helped steady me, though I could only use one as the path was not wide enough for two.

With each precipitous section I would steel myself and sing “The sun has got his hat on” (heaven knows why!) and marching tentatively to the rhythm of the song. Other times I would swear…… badly and other times pray.

I got through it, but the feeling of fear has stayed with me and got me thinking. Got me thinking about how at times I have been fearful and overcome that fear anyway. Got me thinking about times that fear has prevented me from being who I really am. Got me thinking about when others have said that I am brave.

So times I have been fearful and overcome it:

  • As a graduate engineer working on partially constructed gantries hundreds of feet up in the air. Had a job to do and just got on with it
  • Same job, getting into small, dark, enclosed spaces (another fear). Had a job to do and just got on with it.
  • Moving from engineering to IT training when I used to get panic attacks just presenting, found my love of helping people to develop. The fear melted when I felt the interaction grow and that I was conversing with individuals not a whole room of people.
  • Speaking to a large conference audience over 200, I survived by doing what I know I do well, having a clear plan, audience participation and a sense of fun
  • Selling over 2000 valentine cards to raise money for tsunami victims (I had only asked for 100!), I found resources I never knew I had.

There are many more stories I could add but all the stories have different learning points about fear and how sometimes it has a point and at other times just holds me back.

‘Feelings of fear are engendered by dangerous situations’ says Frederic Neumann. Fair enough, your fear may have a genuine reason for it. In situations where your life is threatened it’s essential so that you don’t go too far and lose your life. Other times the fear is not rational and hence can be a hinderance.

Here are some of the things I have learned so far about fear:

  • Fear can keep you alert when in dangerous situations and focus your mind on staying alive. In those situations, it has a clear purpose.
  • Overcoming a HUGE fear of public speaking led me to the most delicious career I could have chosen, it was worth it. Removing the fear allowed me to see and experience something I may not ever have thought I would enjoy.
  • I often have exceeded my own expectations, surprised myself, because a fear may have held me back even from believing I could achieve something. So, the fear does more than stop you, it limits further belief in yourself.
  • People have called me brave, for starting my own business, for writing a book, but in all honesty in those particular situations I have not been fearful, so was I brave?

Whatever your experiences of fear, at times I think it helpful to reflect on which type of fear you are experiencing. Is it ‘staying alive’ type or the ‘holding me back’ rational or irrational type? Once we have identified the root, in my experience we can then decide whether it is worth getting over it or just going with it.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be a lot more conscious of my fears, just because of this reflection and hoping that I can be wholly me, no holds barred. There are still a few little corners here and there littered with ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ so worth the effort, I think.

So I am curious……which fears are serving you well and which are holding you back I wonder…… ?

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