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Posts Tagged ‘Organizational Learning’

by Reni Gorman

As learning professionals we spend so much time designing just the right kind of exciting learning intervention that we sometimes forget to think about other factors that may prevent learning. For example, no matter how great the learning experience is, if people are unmotivated to learn then the reality is that they won’t. Let’s explore some of the reasons why people might be unmotivated and figure out what we can do to combat it.

Challenge 1: How does this relate to me? Can you recall a time when you were totally uninterested and unmotivated to learn? Maybe in grade school during history class? For me it was college math. I simply was not interested. Why? I did not ever think calculus was something I would use in “real life.”We know from adult learning principles that people learn best when they can see the relevance the content has to their day-to-day jobs, and to their lives. So, one would think the answer is simple: show people how the content is relevant to them, and they will be open to learning it. As important as this concept is, it’s something designers forget to do as they get all caught up in designing the learning.

Solution 1: Point out the WIIFM. It is really important in the beginning of every learning experience to point out why it is important and relevant for the learner to absorb this new information. The “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) should be present at the start of each learning piece.

What else may prevent you from learning?

Challenge 2: I already know this. For example: “I’ve learned several sales models in the past. This sounds like the same stuff.”  If people think they already know something, their minds are shut and they won’t allow in new ways of thinking—because of course they don’t need new ways of thinking about something they know inside and out.

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by Kiersten Yocum, M.Ed.

At an organizational level, agility is the ability to grow, change, or innovate at or above the speed of one’s own market. Anything less cannot be considered agility.

   –Timothy R. Clark & Conrad Gottfredson

 We have all heard of corporate agility. We hear the term “agile” all the time related to today’s corporate environment: agile processes, agile practices, agile leadership.  In our rapidly changing world, agility is one of the most important skills an organization can have if it is to stay competitive. Agility is the ability to move quickly, change rapidly, and respond to crises, threats and opportunities at the point of need. Of course, the ability to be agile relies on the ability of the organization to quickly gain the knowledge they need to do so. Rapid access to knowledge and information drives the learning agile organization, as defined by Clark and Gottfredson  in In Search of Learning Agility. But what does it mean to have Learning Agility? What does a Learning Agile organization look like?

Imagine being able to get the knowledge you need at the moment you need it. That’s not too much of a stretch today, is it? Think Google Docs, SharePoint, the Internet and intranets. If you want information, it’s out there. You simply need to find it; Google it and you end up with millions of pieces of information to sift and search through. But Learning Agility is not just the ability to find information.

Now imagine being able to find the knowledge you need quickly and easily and then being able to actually apply that new knowledge immediately. What would that look like? Just being able to find information does not make it useful, and certainly does not make it learning. Information only becomes learning when we connect it in our cognitive structures and are able to apply it in context. Google “ADDIE” and you find all kinds of information on instructional design. But will that give you the learning you need to be able to create an instructionally sound course for your target audience?

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By Rich Mesch

Way back in April of 2010, I wrote this post about talking learning to business, where I basically posited that business doesn’t value learning, it values performance. I recently saw a wonderful presentation by ROI guru Jack Phillips at the Training 2011 conference that provided data to support that assumption. The bad news? Businesses really don’t value learning. The good news? Once we understand what business does value, we can take steps to provide it.

See, businesses don’t value learning any more than the driver of a car values gasoline. The driver of a car has a goal; he wants to get somewhere. He has a resource for getting there, the car. And in order for the car to take him where he wants to go, he puts gasoline in it. Having a full tank of gas is not a goal; getting somewhere is the goal, and the gasoline is the fuel that makes the car go, and allows the driver to get where he’s going.

So, too, do businesses want to get somewhere. And skills and knowledge are the fuel that power the people of the business and allow them to take the business where it needs to go. So it’s not too surprising that businesses don’t measure learning; they measure results.

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by Reni Gorman

What is Problem Solving?

Whenever a living creature has a goal but doesn’t know how to accomplish it, they engage in problem solving. (Holyoak & Morrison, 2005) Problem solving is considered the most complex of all intellectual functions, as a higher-order cognitive process that requires activation and control of more routine or fundamental skills in order to solve the problem at hand. (Goldstein & Levin, 1987) There are a number of methods for problem solving, including:

  1. Difference reduction, in which we keep reducing the distance between the current state and the goal step by step;
  2. Means-end analysis, where we work backwards from end goal and set sub goals; and
  3. Analogy strategy, where we find similar problems we have solved with pervious strategies and try those same strategies on the new problem.

This is just a basic list; there are many other problem-solving methodolgies. So, how can we set up our learners to succeed?

Conditions under which Learners might Demonstrate Good Problem Solving

Gestalt psychologists have outlined a number of features that make problem solving more difficult, they are as follows: (Holyoak & Morrison, 2005) (more…)

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by Reni Gorman

I have been designing and delivering learning interventions for nearly 20 years (dare I say), and I always tell my clients that the learning intervention is just the start of creating change in behavior. There are many other components and models but I boil it down to the most necessary:

1. Goal setting—people need to know what is expected of them. Sounds simple? Too simple? I agree and yet many people do not even consider it. I have seen this assumption so many times. We as learning professionals know better than to make assumptions. Help your clients check their assumptions! All you have to do is randomly ask a couple of learners. If goals are not clear then depending on the level of behavior change needed you can address it multiple ways:

  • The easiest and the simplest is a communication strategy and plan, however that is only for simple changes, like learning to use new software.
  • If, on the other hand, you are changing your sales model, a pretty important and difficult change, you need a change management strategy and plan.
  • Finally if you are totally reengineering the way people work because of, for example, a merger (not uncommon these days) then you need a new or adjusted performance management strategy and plan in addition to a change management strategy and plan.

 

2.  Learning intervention—I think we all have this one down!

3. Reinforcement and feedback—As we all know, learning is a process, not an event. Therefore, there always has to be some reinforcement and feedback to truly affect performance. This could manifest in: (more…)

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by Rich Mesch

(Links to other articles in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6)

[This is the first of several entries in a series-within-a series where we’ll explore the impact that IBM has had on the use of VIEs in business. Today’s entry is the first of at least two that are based on an interview I did with Chuck Hamilton, one of the key visionaries responsible for IBM’s commitment to VIE. Chuck gave me so much food for thought, it wouldn’t all fit in one post! I’ll also share an interview with Kerry McGuire, an IBM instructional designer involved in creating content for VIEs.]

When you talk about the use of Virtual Immersive Environments (VIEs) in the corporate world, you can’t help but talk about IBM. IBM has been one of the earliest and most fervent adopters of VIEs for various business uses. While other corporations are dipping their collective toe in the water, what made IBM dive into the deep end? To answer that question, I was fortunate enough to get some time with Chuck Hamilton, the head of Virtual Learning Strategy at IBM’s Center for Advanced Learning in Vancouver, BC.

Chuck works with a diverse and talented group at IBM. He shares, “We’re sort of the go-to people for learning delivery across IBM. We are very seasoned people with expertise in 100 different angles around the intersection of learning and technology. So we help the people with design, we help the people with delivery, we help the people come up with a new way of getting it done—whatever it takes. My particular expertise has always been where new media learning and technology starts to cross.”

With that sort of background, you might expect that Chuck would become interested in VIEs; what you might not expect is that it’s his architecture background that first got him interested: “If my first degree hadn’t been around design and architecture, I probably wouldn’t have been so fascinated about putting spaces together that I could put people in.”

But that interest quickly turned to the application of VIEs for learning: “IBM spends millions of dollars on learning globally, so it is something that is important to us, and Learning has became very important to me.  I always find myself saying, ‘How can I take XYZ technology and make it work for people in a learning context?’”

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by Reni Gorman

(Links to other articles in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6)

Tip #1: Highlight the underlying core concepts. Explain what each concept is and why it is important (the meaning behind it).

Cognitive learning theory focuses on learning with understanding (as opposed to memorizing fact) by teaching the underlying concepts and meanings–and thereby increasing the depth of processing.

Learning with understanding means we understand the underlying core concepts, the meaning behind the facts. Not just knowing the “what” but also understanding the “why.” Once we have a deep understanding of what we are learning, we can relate it to or transfer it to something else. (Bransford et al., 2000) Learning with understanding is critical because: “…‘usable knowledge’ is not the same as a mere list of disconnected facts. Experts’ knowledge is connected and organized around important concepts; it is ‘conditionalized’ to specify the contexts in which it is applicable; it supports understanding and transfer (to other contexts) rather than only the ability to remember.” (p. 9)

Learning with understanding necessitates paying attention to the meaning. The depth of processing theory states that information processed at a deeper level of analysis improves memory for that information. This contradicts earlier ideas that meaningless memorization and rehearsal improves memory. (Anderson, 2000) (more…)

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