We train people all the time. The topics vary from Scrum Training to learning how to prioritise. Over the last 3 years we learned that we can’t just stand in front of a bunch of people and lecture to them. Well we can, but we’re doing them a disservice if we do. We have done a lot of reading into how people learn and what techniques to use to maximise learning during a course. Most recently we have been thinking about the online education platform. It’s a booming business – but can you learn as well online as you can in person? Let me talk you though our teaching education…
Our research introduced us to Training From the Back Of The Room (TFTBOTR) by Sharon Bowman. The basics of this was that to increase retention you should try and teach something in various ways. Repetition is key, as well as getting the students to do things and talk, rather than just the trainers talking. We fully embraced this and converted all our training use a 4C template (you can download it here).
Next we started thinking about duration of the course and training. In our experience, spending 2 days on a course does not convert to 2 days of knowledge. Usually people are so tired by day 2 that we absorb very little. 1 day of training is ok, but 2-4 hours is even better. Based on this, we then converted a few of our longer training courses into smaller 2-4 hour interactive workshops.
So how do we translate highly interactive Training From The Back Of The Room to an online medium? Most online courses we have seen are simply videos. Some have talking heads, some just have voice, and some have voice with powerpoint. Exactly the opposite of our TFTBOTR learnings. We decided to look at a blended approach. What would happen if we structured each online section of the course like a 4C plan?
Our first attempt looks something like this:
- A short 5 min exercise to involve you with the topic. This involves writing and thinking. This is a Connection (C1) activity.
- A short 3-8 min video with us teaching the topic. This involves listening. This is a Content (C2) activity.
- Additional reading (mostly blog posts) and video (like a TED talk) for you to watch. This involves reading. This is also Content (C2) activity.
- A few powerful questions for you to answer in your journal. This involves applying the knowledge to your work environment and writing it down. This is a Concrete Practice (C3) activity.
- A technique or experiential game to use with your teams. This involves doing and talking. This is a Concrete Practice (C3) activity.
- A challenge. This varies between talking, doing, writing, reflecting. This is a Conclusion (C4) activity.
We feel that if you follow each of the steps you might get very close to an in-person training experience. Our first course on Leadership has been published. The section on Listening is available for free. Take a look to see how you think this compares to in person training.
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Here are some TED talks on online education and why you should care 🙂
Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education
Salman Khan: Lets use video to reinvent education