How do you in L&D respond faster to business demands?

There is more and more pressure on L&D to do more with less. So do you struggle to keep up with the demands of the business? Do you wonder how to prioritise all the things you have been tasked to do and wonder how you will actually design things that are more than just fit for purpose?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions you will probably be feeling pressured right now, so here are a few things you can do to help:

 

We don’t do train-the–trainer (not in the traditional sense)

It’s not an intentional thing, more accidental, that we have called ourselves “Trainers of trainers”. It is something that people understand, but I feel now it is no longer appropriate due to:

The changing role of L&D and professionals
• The emerging “New Learning Organisation**” as defined by Jane Daly and Laura Overton from Towards Maturity
• We actually don’t just train trainers in how to train! (It is so much more!)

 

So what do we do? We help organisations, line managers, teams and individuals to:

Have a strategic outlook when considering how people will learn to improve performance
• Learn how to engage with stakeholders and leverage them when looking for support and resources
• Be curious and dig deeper to find out underlying issues to find out what is needed
• To choose a complimentary blend of opportunities to help people improve their performance (#100ways2learn)
• Use accelerated learning principles so that the learning is sticky
• Be agile and fast
• Use a facilitative approach when doing any learning interventions rather than traditional trainer-led methods
• Build a cohesive learning community that benefits the whole organisation
• Open up to new ways of doing things
• Be motivated and inspired enough to have a go

Our open and in-house workshops do much more than “train” in the skills and knowledge required to become a new learning leader, for the new learning organisation. Through unique and innovative practices we have seen teams:

  • Have a mind-set shift in their thinking about how they approach learning
  • Become more cohesive a team in their approach to improving performance
  • Be inspired to make a real and measurable difference to the organisation by helping people learn how to improve their performance

**To compliment the “New Learning Organisation” we have developed our first draft on the “New Learning Leader”:

The visual is above but the detail is below:

  1. Has clarity of purpose
    1. Business focused but also learner centred
    2. Strategically focused to deliver what the organisation needs
    3. Curious and analytical
    4. Able to engage stakeholders in order to leverage essential resources and achieve the ROI required
    5. In tune with what the organisation needs
  2. Helps create a holistic people experience
    1. Helps to nurture and encourage an environment where people are developed consistently and with heart
    2. Clearly defined and easy to apply models and frameworks
  3. Supports and nurtures a thriving ecosystem
    1. Knows how to encourage a learning culture
    2. Inspires a culture of feedback and healthy challenge
    3. Empowers people to learn for themselves
    4. In learning interventions inspires others to learn more and share
    5. Promotes accountability at all levels
  4. Agile, digitally enabled
    1. Digitally courageous, not scared to experiment
    2. Able to choose the appropriate method/media for the outcomes required
  5. Helps support continual engagement
    1. Provides appropriate learning support when it is needed
    2. Understands the way the brain works to help learning be engaging and focused
  6. Helps people make intelligent decisions
    1. Makes decisions informed by the organisations’ purpose
    2. Develops others capability in decision making by providing the appropriate tools
    3. Applies the latest neuroscience to help make wise decisions
  7. Emotionally Intelligent self-starter
    1. Has awareness of their own behaviours on others
    2. In touch with their own emotions
    3. Good networker
    4. Loves to learn

What have we missed or what could we add and to which category?

Microlearning?

John Bersin in his article “The Growing Role of Microlearning”, published in the Chief Learning Officer (Oct 2016) says that:

“The way people want to learn today can be described in one word: fast”. 

So you might think that an advocate for accelerated learning would be excited by this, but we, at How to Accelerate Learning, do consider this with an air of caution……..

Accelerated learning helps to imbed learning better and deeper because of 5 key principles:

  • Business focussed and learner centred objectives
  • Using a facilitative approach rather than “training”
  • Using variety in design to engage the learners
  • Having an environment that is conducive to learning
  • Using what we know about the brain to maximise retention

Microlearning can be learning as short as 30-40 seconds, so forgive me for being a skeptic but can that work? My approach is always a pragmatic one and so as I write this I am also considering a challenge that I have been set, which could also serve as an experiment. On May 11th 2017, the Learning and Performance Institute launched a series of short videos created by me, Krystyna Gadd, Founder of How to Accelerate Learning.

The series is called “100 ways to Learn” and can be found in a number of ways:

  • YouTube – watching the first video will automatically run all the videos that have now been released
  • Twitter – search for the #100ways2Learn hashtag
  • LinkedIn – check out the Learning and Performance Institute for the daily release around midday (GMT) every day

Sharon Bowman in her book “Brain science to make training stick” sites one of her trumps to be “Shorter trumps longer” implying that a shorter bit of learning is better than something longer. So I would love to know what impact these 30-40 second videos have had on you?

Make it real – use your senses….. Guest Blog by Stella Collins

 

search.jpgI am very pleased to introduce to you, (drum roll…..) Stella Collins, author of “Neuroscience for L&D” and Creative Director of Stellar Learning. Stella knows lots of great practical stuff about the brain that can help people to learn better, with more retention and in this blog will be discussing the use of your senses! Stella’s brain friendly approach fits in perfectly with our approach using the 5 secrets of accelerated learning, where the 5th secret is about the brain and how it learns the best. So here are Stella’s thoughts……

Make it real – use your senses!

The Learning Loop - 18Do you ever read or hear something which makes you almost feel you’d been there yourself?  Then there are other times when you hear or read something and whilst you know all the words make sense and  the language is clear, somehow you just don’t quite ‘get it’- it seems a bit abstract, flat, hard to get a handle on?

Perhaps it’s because the abstract information isn’t rich enough for you to get a concrete, textural, sonorous, colourful, vibrant vision of the information.  Perhas there just isn’t quite enough going on in your brain to make it real and you’re relying on using your energy hungry pre-frontal cortex to analyse it.

When information comes to us directly through our senses we have a rich, complex mixture of information spreading throughout our brains.  I once heard we receive over 2 billion bits of information a second.  You have a visual cortex, auditory cortex, motor cortex,  an olfactory bulb for a sense of smell and part of your parietal lobe to process taste allowing a rich body of information to be processed throughout  your brain.  But when information is like this – just words – there is no direct sense  associated with them (just like in this sentence).  Which makes it harder for you or your audience to comprehend because there’s nothing very tangible to process.

There’s now research to back up what great speakers and writers have always known – using language that paints a picture, rings true or feels solid is making your brain work almost as if the sensory information is really there; which literally makes it easier to make sense of.

Researchers tested  what happened in subjects’ brains when they were touching rough textures like sandpaper.  They saw that specific parts of the brain were stimulated  when people feel texture in the real world.  Next they asked subjects to listen to short sentences containing textural metaphors such as ‘a rough day’ or ‘a slimy person’ and found that the same brain areas were activated.

So if you’re  training or sharing information use metaphors, stories, sensory based language because it’s really creating extraordinary sensations  in your audience’s head.  They will grasp your meaning, see your point or hear you out more easily – and remember it for longer too.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3318916/

Is accelerated learning applicable to online learning?

the-learning-loop-3So David Wallace, asked me this question, as he is familiar with my work and was wondering how the “5 Secrets of Accelerated Learning” apply to the online arena. My immediate response was “of course it does” and thought I should address this quickly while it is fresh in my mind.

So here is how the 5 secrets apply to the online arena:

  • Business focused and learner centred objectives – essential for ANY learning – if you know what the business needs then the webinar, live classroom or e-learning will meet those needs and be utilised. The objectives therefore always need to be explicit and what the learners can expect to be able to know or do by the end. This will give the learning credibility and also determine whether people invest the time to use it or they recommend it to others.
  • Be a facilitator not a trainer – Webinars can be an excuse for a trainer to talk into the ether, especially if it is a large group you are broadcasting to. (David told me that BT have run webinars with 1000’s of participants!). They may well think that interaction is difficult with such large numbers. However I believe that all it takes it  a shift in mindset to move from trainer to facilitator. Ask yourself “How could I stimulate thinking?” – an easy answer is to ask questions and to get people to use their imaginations. Use the chat boxes to capture any answers (you will need  host that can do that for you for large numbers). Send people worksheets where they can interact with the learning and put it into their own words. That way it will be stickier!
  • Look at all the various ways in which learners can learn – there is a temptation in online learning to use a small number of methods of delivery: presentation, video, audio, poll. Try to think beyond that small range and think of which methods from the “100 ways to learn” you could use.
  • Make the environment safe but visually appealing – feed our natural childlike curiosity  and entice the learners to learn together. Make your visuals quirky, curious and interesting. People are becoming immune to the “slickness” that PowerPoint provides and yearn for something different. Mix it up a little by using Prezi perhaps and some hand drawn images. You don’t have to be an artist to be able to draw some stick men or simple faces.

If you would like to find out more then please do:

If you are mainly involved in the online arena, I would love to hear your thoughts about the 5 secrets!

 

Guest blogger Lucy Hayward – Are looks really that important?

FlipLucy1When it comes to the presentation of your workshops and the flip charts you design, then my answer is a
big fat YES!!!

I love being creative and designing flip charts is one of my favourite bits of putting together the finishing touches of a new training event; so as I set about designing my visuals for my new “Coaching for Leaders” workshop I thought I’d take the time to share some of them with you and a few hints and tips I’ve picked up (borrowed/stolen) along the way.

Keen Follower of Accelerated Learning

As a keen follower of accelerated learning principles I understand the impact the environment can have on the learners. The last thing I want to do is freak people out with a boring, grey, blank walled classroom that evokes memories of school and for some people it can act as a barrier for getting to know each other, for feeling welcome and for engaging with the workshop.

In the preparation phase of The Accelerated Learning Handbook, Dave Meier talks about creating a positive physical, social and emotional environment and how decorating the learning environment with colourful peripherals relevant to the topic can stimulate the learners interest and encourage engagement and curiosity. So I like to pre-prepare all my flip charts (see pics below) and put them up around the room; as delegates enter the workshop they are greeted with a “Welcome” sign and have plenty of opportunity to move around looking at the visuals and discussing them with others. This way they get a feel for the interactive and social tone of the workshop, a glimpse at some of the topics we’re going to cover to put them at ease and even a sneaky peek at some of the answers!

Hints and tips

So if you’re curious to see the impact this can have on your learners in future workshops and fancy ditching the projector and spicing up your flip charts here’s a few hints and tips to get you started:

  • Borders – simple, very effective and you don’t have to be an artist to get it right! There’s so many you can choose from, squiggly lines, arrows, picture frame, note book, double/single lines, computer screens…. and the best bit about borders is they only takes 2 minutes!
  • Icons and shapes– are a great way of making bullet points more exciting, they can also be added into the borders to outline the title or emphasise a key point. If you want to be really clever you could try using icons that match your subject; so if you are facilitating a time management workshop you could draw mini clocks in the corner of each flip chart!
  • Colours – I love using colour! The Big Book of Flip Charts by Robert William Lucas talks about
    enhancing your visual messages with colour and how the appropriate use of colour can connect key subjects and guide learners through a page of information. It does warn you not to use more than 3 at any time otherwise the flip chart can appear too busy and cause confusion. (Look out for the scented pens to double up on sensory stimulation, the fruit ones are lush!)
  • The 6 to 8 rule* – Research into neuroscience tells us that the brain can only retain 7 (+ or – 2) pieces of information in the short term memory. So don’t overload your flip charts with text, try and keep to a maximum of 6-8 lines with plenty of space. It looks much better, is clearer and easier to read and also ensures the learners are listening and not just reading.
  • Correcting mistakes – I picked up a wonderful tip from recently; she said when you make a mistake rather than throwing away your flip chart and starting again or scribbling out mistakes, just cut out a small section of paper from another sheet and stick it over the top! Magic! Another one to try is covering up the mistake with sticky address labels, though they’re not exactly the same colour so you may prefer not to. (Can you spot my cover up job in the pics below??)

Here’s a few examples of my latest flip-charts, showing you a variety of borders, icons and colours. Feel free to copy/steal/borrow mine or have fun designing your own…

FlipLucy2 FlipLucy3

Lucy is a valued team member at How to Accelerate Learning but also runs her own consultancy in West Yorkshire. She specialises in delivering focussed programmes, designed using accelerated learning principles and using the Learning Loop Approach. Her areas of expertise are: leadership, emotional intelligence, time management and coaching.

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