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Organizing Principles Confuse


I experienced a true AHA! moment a week ago that an organizing principle will often confuse learners. For years, when I have taught trainers tips on how to create specific, observable and measurable learning objectives, I’ve shown them a final product first. As a matter of fact, I’ve shown them several final products. And invariably, the participants’ design process was below stellar.

Let me provide some context.

I teach a three stage learning objective design process. First, based using a needs assessment and also the resulting learning goals, we identify the real key content for any lesson plan by using a template I provide. Second, we determine the required level of learning per key content. Third, we add a lively, learning-level appropriate verb to accomplish each learning objective.

For years, I’ve operated together with the philosophy so it helps to understand the end product. For this reason, I’ve shown several written samples of completed learning objectives (with each stage identified). I’ve also worked together with the participants to produce the learning objectives for two main different training topics.

Then I’ve had the participants be employed in their table groups to finish stage one, then stage two, last but not least stage three on the flip chart.

This process has typically taken half a day from start to finish.

The last time I taught that way, it ended in general confusion and I needed to reteach it the very next day. Something was required to change.

So these times, I decided to educate one stage during a period. Once the 3 stages were completed and that we had learning objectives to the two all-class examples and for that table group examples- then I showed the participants additional specific, observable and measurable learning objectives for other more complex topics.

It was as promised. Twenty-nine participants in 6 table groups completed the three stages to build learning objectives by 50 percent the time it usually required.

All now I’ve advocated using an organizing principle- showing participants exactly what the end result ought to be before they begin. Here is an example where that approach backfired.

Brain research has revealed that, when teaching “nonsense,” something that the participants haven’t any familiarity, it is best to show 1 to 3 topics each time. In this case, it finished up better to show only 1 topic (or stage) at any given time. Once that stage was mastered, the participants were ready for your next topic (or stage). That teaching approach was required to be reiterated one more time for that last topic (or stage).

It just proves that the brain knows exactly what it needs, and since trainers, we must pay attention and respect those needs. I certainly learned my lesson!

Deborah Spring Laurel is really a co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of The Peer Learning Institute, which promotes management development with the use of peer learning groups.. The Peer Learning Group Model gives an onsite, self-directed and self-managed experience where managers: on-line massage therapy schools each other, validate their experience, build more expertise, and learn practical management techniques that they may use immediately. If you would like details, please attend a webinars: Management Development Problems That Organizations Face- and How to Avoid Them Using Peer Learning Groups.

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