RSS

Category Archives: Adult Learning

Feel Instructional Design

My Dear Followers of The Zen of Learning,

I invite you to go beyond knowing and using instructional design. I welcome you to Instructional Design Junction, a place where the concepts of instructional design, training, elearning, gamification, and cognitive psychology will not only be discussed from an academic viewpoint, but experienced holistically. I invite you to be the first visitors (and hopefully, inhabitants) of an exotic just-discovered planet.

Instructional Design Junction - by Shafali R. Anand and Creative Agni.
Visit the Instructional Design Junction to feel instructional design and be ready to welcome the future of learning.

Check it out, and if you like it, please click the Follow button there. If you have wordpress.com blog, you’ll be able to read the new posts in your Reader.

Thank you!

  • Shafali
Advertisement
 

Tags: ,

Creative Agni’s Free Cartooning for Trainers Primer Workshop on Aug 08, Sunday.

Dear Visitors,

I’ll be conducting a 3-hour Free Cartooning for Trainers Primer (CTP) online workshop on August 08, Sunday. The workshop timings are 2 PM to 5 PM (Indian Time, which is GMT+5:30.) If you live outside India and want to register for it then I’d request you to review whether the timings of the workshop would suit you.

If the workshop interests you, then please visit the workshop page here to read the details and register for it.

Here’s a quick visual synopsis for you.

I’ll look forward to meeting you 🙂

Have a wonderful day!

Shafali

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The AFR Types or Remaining Employed in the Future.

As new technologies spawn new jobs, and new jobs demand new competencies…will you:

  • thrive,
  • survive, or
  • strive?

In this episode of the Learning Lights Podcast, I discuss the AFR Learner Types and how self-identifying as one of the types and changing ourselves in the right direction could help us stay employable in the coming two decades.

Click the Learning Lights icon below to listen to the episode.

Click to listen to the Learning Lights Podcast.

You can download the text of this episode as the pdf of the article, “The AFR Learner Types – Learning in this Changing Evolving World.”

In the last one year, this has been the most downloaded PDF on our site, and I believe that the reason behind it is that the pandemic has hastened the pace of the change that was anyway coming. Now, it’s so close that we can feel it, hear it, smell it!

And this is also why we now feel a greater need to be prepared.

In the episode I also refer to the article “Jobs in this Changing Evolving World” that preceded the above AFR article. It will help you contextualize the AFR learners better.

Please visit the Resources page at the Creative Agni Website at: http://creativeagni.com/downloads-pdfs-whitepapers-articles/free-resources-docs.htm.

If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask, please email me. You are also welcome to leave a voice comment at http://anchor.fm/learninglights

Thank you and have a great week ahead.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Stereotype – but do it the Right Way!

“Women just can’t drive!”
“Bosses are a P-i-A!”
“Artists are careless dressers.”
“Professors are absent-minded.”
“Women don’t code.”

All of the above statements have something in common. They are generalizations of characteristics for a particular group, and they may not apply to a small or large part of the group. When we make such generalizations, we stereotype. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes often cause pain – and yet, the human mind is programmed to generalize. In fact, generalization is an important part of the learning process.

I’ll be talking about Kolb’s Cycle in my Instructional Design Podcast Learning Lights, either tomorrow or the coming week, and the third stage in Kolb’s Cycle of Experiential Learning is “Abstract Conceptualization,” which comprises making generalizations, which are tested by the learner in the fourth stage.

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to tune into the Learning Lights podcast for tomorrow’s learning module.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The AFR Learner Types – Learners of the Future – Thrive, Jive, Survive!

I wrote about the AFR Learner Types a few months ago and the article was received quite well within the learning community. I’m sharing it here because I believe that understand the three types and determining where our learners and we ourselves as learners fall, could be instrumental in our surviving, even jiving and thriving in the new post-pandemic world.

While you can download the Free PDF of the article “The AFR Learner Types – Learning in this Changing, Evolving World” here, here’s a quick synopsis.

My two-decades worth of experience with adult learners both in online courses and classroom programs taught me that based on their traits and corresponding learning behavior, learners can be classified into three groups.

  • The Agile Learner
  • The Flexible Learner
  • The Rigid Learner

While most of us (almost 80%) fall into the Flexible Learner category, some of us are Agile Learners and a smaller fraction comprises Rigid learners – and as you can see in the following image, I’ve seen Flexible Learners turn agile, but the rigid learners, due to their inherent dislike for change, often stay rooted to their learning beliefs. However, through counseling they can be motivated to move left toward becoming flexible learners.

At this juncture, it’s important to review our capabilities and determine how we can evolve into the learning professional of tomorrow – and if we feel tied down by our expectations, self-image, and/or current beliefs, it’s time to take a hard look at ourselves and weed out anything that stops us from learning, changing, and growing.

If you like my articles and would like to hear my thoughts, I invite you to my Learning Lights Podcast.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Splashing about in the Tub of Self-learning and emerging Enlightened.

Going Wrong is the First Step in Doing Right.

And I re-learned this lesson for the umpteenth time when I posted my first article on LinkedIn. Here’s the link to it.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tub-self-learning-hold-your-breath-shafali-r-anand/

The Self-Learning Tub Discovered during my learning LinkedIn article publishing.

Click the image to read how learning to publish my article on LinkedIn resulted in my descent into the Self-Learning Tub.

If you enjoy the article, do any or both of the following 🙂

  • Follow my feed on LinkedIn because I intend to write there quite regularly.
  • Subscribe to the Creative Agni eZine.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Experiment – Stanford Prison, Milgram, and The Threshold.

It happens because we have the ability to absolve ourselves by shifting the responsibility of our actions to another entity, which may be a person or an organization. We are not responsible for the atrocities that we committed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, said the German soldiers who tortured and killed their captives. We were just doing our jobs. We were just following orders.

The Milgram Obedience Experiment

Stanley Milgram conducted what came to be known as the Milgram Obedience Experiment. In this experiment, perfectly normal people like you and me were assigned the roles of the teacher or the learner. They were separated with an opaque wall, but they could speak to each other. The teacher was given the task to teach the learner some words by asking him/her questions. If the learner responded incorrectly, the teacher would give the learner and electric shock that increased by 15 volts with every incorrect answer. Actually, the learner was replaced by an actor, and he’d not receive the shock but scream nevertheless. To make a long story short, the shocking outcome of the experiment was that there were people who continued giving electrical shocks of upto “450 volts” to their “learner” even after the learner begged for mercy. Why? Because they were asked to do so!

The Stanford Prison Experiment

I was prompted to make this post, after I watched the Adrien Brody – Forest Whitakar movie, “The experiment” yesterday. This movie is based upon another, yet more gruesome experiment called the Stanford Prison Experiment. In this experiment, Philip Zimbardo a psychologist with the Stanford University got together 2 dozen students who had absolutely no criminal record/tendencies for violence, and assigned them either the role of a prisoner or of a guard. They were to stay within the prison walls for 14 days (the initial plan) but the experiment lasted only 6 days. Reason: only after a day, the role-players began to take their roles for real. The “guards” began misusing their authority while the “prisoners” either revolted or turned completely passive. The “guards” ended up torturing the prisoners – and a riot broke out.

It’s obvious that an experiment of this nature was considered immoral and unethical, and never repeated. Yet, it underlined the conclusion of the Milgram Experiment, which was that authority does make people do things that they otherwise won’t do.

The Training Connection – Authority & Obedience

More often than not, I can predict the conversation that would take place, if I were to meet an HOD or a CEO of a company, and discuss instructional design with them. I won’t take you through the entire conversation, but at some point the gentleman or the lady is bound to tell me that his/her training programs have always been such grand successes, despite knowing nothing about this mythological critter called Instructional Design.

Obviously they do. Because they are the authoritarian figure. Nobody’d dare question what they say in their training programs. We the humans are more evolved than our brethren of other species yet we haven’t completely flushed out our pack mentality. We succumb to authority all the time.

On a positive note:

Classroom trainers can use their authority to really reach their audience. They know that their authority allows them to steer the discussions and the lectures; and that their trainees don’t have an option but to accept your authority. Now you can either misuse the authority the way those “guards” in the Standford prison experiment did, or you can use it productively. The trainees are your sheep and you are the shepherd.

Do read about the two experiments. The Wikipedia links that I gave above are portals to more details on these experiments, so please explore them.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Walking the Tightrope between Structure & Flexibility – from Design to Implementation

In my previous post, I raised a question that was inspired by an IDCWC Online Course Participant. The question was, “Is Design an Inhibitor?

I received a detailed thought-provoking response to that question from Tricia Pottratz. You can visit her new but promising blog “Tricia’s Teacher Toolbox” here. Thank you, Tricia.

Here are Tricia’s thoughts.

Having designed many classes myself, I understand where you are coming from.  Curriculum seems to take on a life of its own.  Once written, it becomes what the instructor deems it to be.  I think a big part of that comes from two sources: who you are designing for and what your objectives are.  I work for a multi-million dollar for-profit corporation with campuses all across the United States.  Before our small campus was purchased, instructors had the academic freedom to modify curriculum to meet their needs while still teaching to the objectives. The key was in keeping the objectives simple and few.

Since the buyout, the curriculum has evolved.  The first revision was similar to the original, but the coming revision is vastly different.  Sadly, the objectives are many and room for changes is few.  The idea is to create uniformity across the company; however the result is that the company’s curriculum does not leave much room for interpretation or regional flavor.

The solution depends on the parameters.  If you have any flexibility or say in the curriculum, I would suggest creating simple objectives, which leave the instructor the room for interpretation.  A really good article at http://itdl.org/journal/sep_05/article03.htm suggests that to be effective at brain-based learning, instructors should incorporate 4 basic things: memory and retrieval, learning styles, attention, and emotion (Clemons, 2005).  I find that in order to accomplish those goals it is important to offer a variety of media and classroom activities that vary in size and scope.

The other two-edged sword in education is the rubric.  As an instructor and as a student, I love the fact that it sets specific parameters.  The dilemma is still the same: the more specific the objectives, the less creative the project.  I have found that the only way to overcome this is to allow for students to develop the rubrics themselves.  After all, if you give a template, they will only follow the template.  This line of thinking also works in the classroom: if the students design the projects (based on the learning objectives) they become more emotionally involved and willing to go further with the project than I would have ever expected.

A friend of mine also suggested going with a tiered learning system. Her argument is that it gives options for the students while still ensuring the quality of the project is within the set parameters.  My problem with tiered learning systems is that it is not always feasible and can create conflict in the classroom.  I am more for offering options with a similar difficulty level instead of varying the levels.  In that way the “slower” student does not feel like they are being singled out and the “quick learner” is not feeling like it is unfair in the classroom.

Have you ever had any luck with tiered learning in the classroom?  If so, I would love to hear about it.

Sincerely,

Tricia Pottratz, BS, LMP

I attempted to address Tricia’s question by sketching a paradigm with two basic assumptions. 1. The learners are all adult learners. 2. The learners constitute a heterogeneous group, especially in terms of their existing skills and/or their ability to learn.

I believe that the answer has to be chiseled out from the goal of a training program. What is it that you want to achieve for your group? Notice that I don’t speak of what the learners want to achieve, but what “you, a representative of the learning provider” wish to achieve.

Let me illustrate through three simple examples:

1. You wish to orient the learners towards a new corporate policy.
—————————————————————————————-
This is a lower level goal of awareness generation. You might want to use a tiered system here. You can create your learning groups on the basis of individual motivation and learning ability. At least everyone would take away something. As you won’t be grading their performance in this sort of program, you will possibly see a lot of happy faces at the end of your training.

2. You wish to train the learners on a specific role-based skill so that they can do their job proficiently.
—————————————————————————————-
I don’t think that a tiered system will help you achieve you goal in this case. You need everyone to reach approximately the same level in the new skill. Eventually everyone might not reach the desired level, but then you’d like to see the distribution of marks and ensure that only those who reach the required level of competency are certified to do the job.

However if your program is flexible enough to accommodate the slow learners by allowing them additional practice/time, tiered learning may work. (We should also review the impact of this on learner motivation and individual egos.)

3. You wish to train the learners for a skill that demands accuracy and precision (for instance: a career in medicine?)
—————————————————————————————-
Attempt to take all the learners to the same level, and use the rubrics wisely to grade the post-training skills. Sometimes the assessments have to be done against very specific objectives. I think that creativity is related more to the content-type than to the specificity of the objectives – especially when you create the learning and reinforcement activities.

I should also mention that I completely agree with Tricia’s belief that allowing the learners to participate in the creation of the assessment rubrics is a double-edged sword. I think it could work well with a group of mature and motivated participants, but not otherwise.

I know that heterogeneous groups are a reality and this reality contradicts the dream that every trainer and instructional designer has, which is 100% learning effectiveness.

A Note for the regular readers, who might’ve been wondering why my previous two posts have been replete with ATDs:  I guess my excuses are the same as the ones given by everyone else – I was too tired and a little ill, and then I was busy trying to meet the deadlines for my deliverables and delivering on my promises – but then, excuses don’t help, do they? So, I spent some time going through whatever I had written and removed the ATDs …thanks to a cup of coffee and the zoom-in capability of my new laptop. I prefer not to get my stuff edited (for better or for worse, this is how I write,) so bear with me…and ignore the bad to focus on the good 🙂

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Question – Is Design an Inhibitor?

In one of the discussion groups of IDCWC Online (Wavelength’s Instructional Design and Content Writing Certificate – Online Course), a participant raised an interesting point.

She said that when a teacher or a trainer is required to follow pre-designed content, the opportunity for creating something that will enhance the effectiveness of the program for the learner, disappears.

I think she’s made a valid point. When we begin to roll-out a program, we are extremely sensitive to every little signal that we receive from the audience, and we don’t let go of our own instructional knowledge while implementing it; but with each pass, the content begins to harden. We start believing that there could be nothing better than to just follow the content. Thus, we stop directing the learning experience, and allow the content to become the director.

Having spent more than a dozen years developing eLearning content, and about 7 years implementing the content that I was instrumental in designing; I think that with every phase of ADDIE, some degree of rigidity is introduced in the content; and by the time it actually reaches the Audience, it acquires a sort of permanency…and nobody then wants to question the design at all.

Still wondering…is there a way out?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Re-introducing Sloth and Froth!

I am not sure if I’ve ever formally introduced you to Sloth and Froth. They appear in my posts off and on. In other words, they’ve been freelancing – but now I intend to offer them a permanent position here. Thus, it becomes all the more necessary that they are introduced to you, their real audience.

Meet Sloth.

He (yes, HE) is a personification of his name. He is lazy. He is someone who’d love to have a droid doing his work for him. Sloth hates to get up in the mornings, he abhors the idea of taking a bath (even of  brushing his teeth, but he won’t tell you that,) and his daily To-do list begins with the task of finding an unsuspecting mule who’d do his work for him.

Fortunately, Sloth is very intelligent. His huge body houses an equally huge IQ…and so he’s not a complete loser, but he is absolutely NOT charismatic…and he doesn’t care. He loves to complain, and he is of the opinion that the entire world has been paid to conspire against him.

Now meet Froth.

She (yes, SHE – what did you think?) is bubbly, quite like her name. She’s full of energy. She resembles a freshly uncorked bottle of Soda. She’s extremely energetic and you’d think that she’d never tire out – but she does, because she’s also a perfectionist. She is an extreme hardworker – to the extent that she burns every extra ounce of fat off her perfect body. Froth’s charismatic; she’s attractive, and she’s very lively.

Froth is a career woman. She wants  to do well in her career and she doesn’t want to do it by cutting corners (if you know what I mean.) She is always politically correct but at the same time  she’s also quite emotional. This makes her feel stressed at times.

Following are the posts in which Sloth and Froth have featured so far. I hope you like them, because you’ll be seeing a lot more of them on this blog:)

PS: Does this post smack of Reverse-Gender-Bias?

Froth says: This isn’t gender-bias, this is how things are. Women are blah…blah…and men are blaher…bhaher!
Sloth says: Who cares? Pass me the mustard!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,