Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learnings from LEARNX 2011

LearnX 2011

We were very excited to attend the LEARNX conference in Brisbane last week – well, firstly we were there to collect our 3 prizes for best Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program and also for our women in management Diploma program. We also were so proud of Kerri Blackstone who received a Gold award for best learning leader. And a huge congratulations to our client Michael Sebastian at Fleet Partners for his great award as best Training Manager.

We were also keen to hear what the key themes of the conference were and what people are talking about when it comes to achieving great learning outcomes.

Here are some of the insights that we gained from the day:

1. When comparing elearning to face to face learning, it is worthwhile remembering that you can also have some very bad classroom training delivery! To achieve strong outcomes, you still need great instructional design and solid delivery. Elearning works well when you let it work well.

2. It is worthwhile remembering just how much training is done without involvement of the learning and development team. This is training that happens on the job, through brief coaching sessions by subject matter experts or through casual conversations and in meetings. We don’t track this type of learning and yet it accounts for 70 – 80% of all learning (depending on whose statistics you listen to).

3. The key to positive learning outcomes is to have a look at what is known as ‘scrap learning’. This is the learning that does not relate directly to job performance and is discarded once participants are no longer in the session itself. It is scary to think that this could in some cases account for up to 80% of what has occurred in the training room. Not a great statistic when you want a good return on investment on your training delivery.

4. In a superb session by Dr Helena Popovic, there were some further strong learnings on how to take advantage of the way in which the brain functions when it comes to training.

Besides warnings about alcohol consumption – “the more you drink, the more the brain shrinks” – she also spoke about how movement is so important in training sessions. The more we exercise, the more our brains are brains function at their peak. So by introducing movement in to our sessions for at least 12 minutes, we enable students to function at optimal levels.

She also spoke about how important it is to laugh in training sessions. All those feel-good chemicals that are released help us to learn more effectively.

She reminded us that we need to start learners out with a challenge that is manageable. In this way they remain in flow and they start adopting a can-do attitude. The brain also likes change and so it is up to trainers to ensure that things change in the room at least every 9 – 10 minutes. Make the effort to focus clearly on one thing at a time. If we are focused it induces our learners to be focused.

Finally, Dr Popovic reminded us that stilling the mind is as powerful as energizing the mind.

Mind chatter is always there. Be aware of that voice and what we need to do to switch off the mind chatter. Every hour - do a 30 second exercise to sharpen up the room.

Do mindfulness exercise - Look at palm of hand.. Look, listen, feel. Don't chatter in your mind. Press the pause button on your thinking and there is place to take in what we learn. Ask learners to listen and feel with their eyes closed.

5. Some final words of wisdom from different presenters:

“Don’t call our participants ‘learners’. No one holds such a job title.”

“Work from right to left. Understand the business problem from a business perspective first and foremost and design according to those challenges.”

When we talk about a blended learning solution, it is more than simply face to face training mixed with some on-line work and a few webinars thrown in for good measure. It includes the use of every possible tool – Blogging, Apps, Portals, Demos, Webinars, Face to face sessions, Hands on practice, virtual coaching, Evaluations, Job aids and Reality games.

No comments: