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"David Gibson \(Eureka!\)" To "'Bastiaan Bernart'" <bastiaan.bernart@nashuatec.com>


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10-04-2009 23:31
Please respond to Subject Trainers Tip 125 - 5 Training Myths
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Who Date Time Subject

David Gibson \(Eureka!\) 10-04-2009 23:31 Trainers Tip 125 - 5 Training Myths

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Trainers Tip (Technique)
5 Training Myths

As an organisation, our focus is working in-house with teams of trainers helping


them ‘Look At Training Differently’. We come across many training myths. You may
recognise some of these so I’d like to use this tip to dispel some of the most
common myths and offer some practical ways to remove them from training.

Myth 1 - Some part of your body must be in contact with a chair at all times

Research
The cerebellum is a highly complex part of the brain, which for many years was only
considered essential to the control of movement, yet considering it is only one tenth
the overall brain in size, it contains over half of all brain’s neurons and more than 40
million nerve fibres. In 1993, two US researchers, Henrietta and Alan Leiner,
studied the cerebellum and noted that these millions of fibres not only fed
information about movement and motor function, but also conveyed other cognitive
(thinking) information as well and is intrinsically linked with learning.

In 1995, Peter Strick at the Veteran Affairs Medical Centre of Syracuse, discovered
another important link from the cerebellum to parts of the brain involved in memory,
attention and spatial perception ie the part of the brain that processes movement is
the same part of the brain that processes learning.

Application
Make sure learners move around at least every 20 minutes
During the learning phase of a piece of content, ask learners to work with a
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partner not in their team and share:


- one thing they didn’t know about the current content and one thing that agreed with
what they already knew.
- one question they still have about the current content.
- one way they could use the information/skill when they return to the workplace.
Set activities and ask teams to work in different parts of the room or a different
room/corridors/coffee area/outside etc.
Have some flip charts relating to content around the room. Instead of
teaching that content with learners seated in their teams, ask them to gather around
the flipchart and teach at the flip chart location.
Put blank flip chart paper around the room, form teams and ask teams to
mind-map everything they know about the content (this could be done prior to
teaching the content, or after as a way of closing that content).
Create a handout containing the content you want to transfer. Rather than
you giving learners the content, create teams and have the teams deconstruct the
content then reconstruct the content as a presentation to the other teams. State, the
only criteria is that each member of the team is involved in the presentation in some
way.

Myth 2 – Lecture format is the best format when people really have to learn the
content

Research
One brain structure known to be involved in the complex processes of forming,
sorting, and storing memories is the hippocampus. Many experiments have shown
that the hippocampus is "critical to learning and remembering”. Not only is the
hippocampus filing away memories, it is connecting them with other related
memories and giving the memories meaning. In other words, the hippocampus might
be connecting the memory of your first day at school with information about the
physical surroundings, the smells, and the sounds of that event.

Neuroscientists regard the hippocampus as a kind of ‘surge protector’ for the brain,
processing what’s important and discarding the rest. However, it’s got a very small
‘holding’ area (roughly 7 minutes worth). When there is input that exceeds this time,
the hippocampus simply discards the overload. In other words, when input lasts
longer than say 7-minutes without some form of change, then information after the
7-minutes is not even processed.

Application
Variety is key
If you have to lecture content, rather than lecture for say 21 minutes of
content, offer 7-minutes of content then ask learners to spend one minute and:
-work with someone not in their team and summarise the previous 7-minutes of
content for each other.
-work with the partner next to them and generate one idea they could use from the
previous content.
-work with a partner not in their team and share what might be difficult to implement.
If you have to lecture content, ask learners to mind-map (or capture) as much
of the content as possible. Let them know that they will work in teams and create a
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quiz to challenge another team based on this content – and of course another team
will challenge them. Offer your content (up to 7 minutes) then allow time for teams
to generate a short quiz – say 5 questions. Facilitate the quiz.
Use a game or simulation to illustrate the learning and then use the debrief as
a way of consolidating the transfer of learning.
Create a handout with a list of questions based upon the content you are
about to offer. Distribute this and ask learners to read the questions. Ask learners
to answer the questions as you offer the content. You might want to keep pausing
and suggest to learners that they now work in pairs to answer the questions they
can from the given content. Continue offering content and pausing until all of the
questions have been answered.
Make sure that with each piece of content learners:
- Physically do something eg act out a process, build a model that represents the
key learning points etc
-Talk about the learning eg after a short piece of content, ask learners to jot down
what they think they’ll be able to use, then partner up with another learner and
discuss what they wrote and more importantly, how or where they’ll apply that back
in the workplace.
- Are visually stimulated. Ensure you use vivid graphics rather than text if you use
PowerPoint, ask learners to create a colourful poster to represent the learning so
far, include metaphors and similes etc.
- Allow learners to reflect and find the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) – include
problem solving, analysis of their experience, action planning (which can be done as
a rolling action plan allowing time at lunch and end of day to note practical ideas
they will be able to implement), forward planning etc.

Myth 3 – A quiet training room means learners are really learning

Research
Research suggests that to learn we need to move, play with content, practice skills,
apply knowledge in a real life type situation, discuss the learning etc. To do this the
training room needs to ‘buzz’ with anticipation and application. Therefore, a quite
training room would suggest that learners have switched-off and have disengaged
themselves from the learning.

Application
Never do for learners what they can do for themselves or each other:
Ask learners to bring (or give them) a project for them to work on directly
applying the new learning.
Offer research materials and ask learners to work in small teams and
research a topic and then either:
- Present their finding to other teams.
- Produce a ‘dummies’ guide to the content.
- Produce a newspaper article.
- Produce a colourful poster that incorporates all the key ideas.
Facilitate a press conference where learners ask a subject matter expert
questions about the topic and then put that together as an in-house newsletter
article.
Teach it – Ask learners to form pairs. One learner becomes the teacher and
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teaches their partner the new skill then they reverse roles.
When you want to generate ideas or produce a specific list eg “What are
some practical ways we can offer great customer service?”, ask learners to form
pairs, take a 10 minute walk (ideally outside) while generating a list of great
customer service ideas (minimum 6 ideas) on an index card. When learners return,
ask them to evaluate their ideas and remove those that are least useful until only 6
remain on their card. Ask pairs to work with another pair. Pair 1 explains each of
the ideas on the card. After listening to all ideas, pair 2 selects the idea they like
least and ask pair 1 to put a line through (remove) the idea from their list. It’s then
the turn of pair 2 to explain their ideas and pair 1 to remove the idea they feel to be
the least useful. Pairs keep meeting other pairs until they are left with only 1 idea
per pair. These are then captured on flip-chart to form the main list.

Myth 4 – When the trainer is talking learners are learning

Research
Any stimuli introduced into our immediate environment, which is either new (novel)
or of sufficiently strong emotional intensity (high contrast), will immediately gain our
attention. When we are talking or offering ‘Death by Powerpoint’, we are not
offering anything novel or with high contrast. Therefore, learners very quickly
‘switch off’. Attention is maximised by learning design elements such as practice.
One of the best ways for learners to learn new information is to manipulate it in such
a way as to make it their own (Robert Bjork 1994).

Application
If you want them to hear it, you talk. If you want them to learn it, they talk (and
actually do it).
Practice – Include learners actually performing the tasks you want them to
apply in the workplace, role play, analyse, case studies (better still, create teams
that generate a case study for another team to complete).
Include novelty – Do things learners aren’t expecting eg use training props
that illustrate a point, use a magic trick to get a point across, change the location of
the learning, include a ‘field trip’ etc.
Form 2 teams – ‘for’ and ‘against’, give each team a handout that contains the
content you want to offer. Allow 10-15 minutes for them to put together a case for
the ‘for’ and ‘against’. Facilitate a debate between the teams.
Include colourful visual posters around the room that link to the learning.
Get learners involved in the learning process immediately with a powerful,
learner centred opening.

Myth 5 – Trainers are responsible for transfer into the workplace

Research
An interesting study was carried out and written about in 'Transfer of Training' by
Mary Broad and John Newstrom.
It looked at 3 key learning influencers
the learner
the trainer
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the learners manager


at 3 key time intervals
before training
during training
after training
and found that the key factors in making learning stick are as follows:
(1 being highest, 9 being lowest factor)
Before During After
Learner 7 5 6
Trainer 3 4 9
Manager 1 8 2

ie the top 3 ingredients for making learning 'sticks' are:


1 the manager prior to the training
2 the manager after training
3 the trainer prior to training

In other words, we might offer the best possible workshop for learning content, but
unless the learners Manager is actively involved and holds their learners
accountable for implementation in the workplace, transfer is unlikely to take place.

Application

Strategies to use prior to training


Include managers and learners during the needs assessment and workshop
development.
Talk through the objectives and course content with managers and outline the
learners' managers' role in supporting the transfer of learning in their
everyday work.
Have key, credible executives show their support and commitment to the
training by sending eMail messages to each learner and their manager.
Ask managers to record and communicate what they expect of the learner
upon their return to the workplace.
Set and communicate clear workshop objectives and expected outcomes.
Strategies to use during training
Tie the workshop content directly to learners' jobs and the bigger picture.
Make the relevance and applicability of new discoveries explicit.
Work more on the application and 'how-to's' instead of theory.
Allow time for action planning throughout the workshop and have learners
share their action plans (including what, where and how it will be
implemented) with a partner.
Change the format of the workshop to ensure at least 80% of it is learners
practicing with new ideas and receiving immediate feedback on their new
skills.
Ask learners to share their 'hoped for' and their managers expected outcomes
with team members at the beginning of the workshop.
Teach more by covering less ie concentrate on learners mastering a few key
skills rather than hearing about lots of concepts and skills.
Strategies to use after training
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Observe learners back in the workplace. Offer managers suggestions on


what and how to observe behaviour changes.
Ask managers to hold a post workshop briefing on what was learned and
learners outlining what they will implement, what additional resources they
need and asking for any additional support.
Make a project assignment part of the workshop. This to be completed
between the end of the training and a set follow-up meeting with their
manager and training facilitator.
Help managers calculate the return on investment (ROI) they should realise if
the learner(s) implement their new learning.
Evaluate and publicise the names of learners that are successfully
implementing their new learning and the difference they are making for
themselves and the organisation.
Help managers ensure that all necessary equipment and resources are
available for learners to implement new training and that any potential
barriers to transfer are removed.
Call to Action
Review your workshops. Are there any myths present. If there are, why not try out
one of the suggestions above which are all designed to maximise learning potential
based on sound neurological research.

Having read this far, I'm guessing that you match one of the following:
You try to involve your learners in all learning but sometimes struggle due to
the content you facilitate or the learners you train; in which case, I hope these
simple ideas shows you how easy it can be when you have the right
techniques. But maybe you still have some questions about how best to build
on this with other tools and techniques to add to your repertoire.
You’ve tried techniques like this one but they didn't work the way you were
hoping for. It's true that without knowing the underlying principles of why you
should utilise techniques like this, things can go wrong. Typically this is
because you weren't comfortable with the idea, or you used inappropriate
techniques for your environment. Fortunately, all of these outcomes can be
corrected.
You use techniques similar to this but you are always on the look-out for new
ways of developing your facilitation and training skills to ensure your
workshops run smoothly with learners engaged and learning throughout.
Whichever best describes you, why not join us in Central London on 14-16 October
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Creating openings that ignite a room.


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Creating memorable closes.

Presenting with Impact.

Turn difficult learners into raving fans.

Reviewing without your learners even knowing you're reviewing.

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Bringing dry material alive.


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