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Category Archives: Training/Instruction-Related Humor

Announcing the birth of the Creative Agni Instructional Design and eLearning eZine

I’d like to invite the readers of this blog to the Creative Agni eZine site. It was designed in my after-work hours. Those extra hours took their toll on my neck and shoulders, but when I was done, I felt that  it was all worthwhile 🙂

The Creative Agni eZine has the following five sections.

  • ID Fiction
  • The IDEAL
  • ELearning
  • The Creative Lounge
  • Sloth & Froth

Do visit the eZine site here. If you like what you see there, subscribe to the Creative Agni eLearning eZine 🙂

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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!

 

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Social Influence – Part 1 – Definition, Explanation, Factors/Forces!

This is a 3-post series on the nature of Social Influence and its impact in a Classroom.

As classroom trainers, we could make our training programs more effective if we could find the answers to questions such as the ones listed below:

  • Why some people become leaders and other followers?
  • Why a bully might be capable of disrupting a classroom full of adult learners?
  • Why it’s difficult to regain lost learner engagement?

There’s a long list of whys that can be answered only if we understand the concept of Social Influence.

So,

What is Social Influence?

Before I fall into the trap of defining it in a crisp and concise way and lose your attention in the process, let me take you on a trip into your past.

  • As a teenaged girl, you wouldn’t step out of your house in something that went out of fashion two years ago.
  • As a teenaged boy, you had to be part of the cool-dude group in your college.
  • As a daughter, you had to comply with your mother’s rules about the time you got home.

These or similar experiences happened because we were “socially influenced” – by the group of girls in the college, by those uber-cool dudes you were friends with, and by your own mother!

Social influence – The Definition:

Thus Social Influence can be understood as the influence that society (social groups, friends, family, and others) exerts either deliberately or unintentionally, and which brings about changes in someone’s behavior.

Social Influence – Factors / Forces:

As it’s clear from the above definition, Social Influence has many dimensions and it factors in different forces.

Some of these forces are:

When we as individuals come across such forces, we change our behavior.  Let us take some examples:

Charisma as a Factor:

A charismatic person (the religious guru, the motivational speaker) might be able to influence our thought process by saying those very things that we’ve been hearing all our lives but never paid heed to.

Authority as a Factor:

Similarly a person who has some kind of authority recognized by the society (a policeman, a teacher, a doctor) can make us do things that we would probably never do if we didn’t know of their authority.

Groupthink as a Factor:

Members of group often begin to accept the majority view (despite their own views being different) because they don’t want a conflict.

Reflect upon the other three factors – it isn’t difficult to see how they influence the behavior of people, all the time:)

I’ll discuss more about these forces and how they manifest themselves in a classroom in my next post. Until then, keep an eye on what’s happening around you. I am confident that you’ll find many examples of social influence strewn around you as you navigate your way through your day.

 

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While I am away…Reflect on these!

Dear visitors,

I’ll be back to blogging next week (this week I am conducting an Instructional Design Training Program). If you happen to stop by, reflect on the following learning quotes and wonder how intuitive Instructional Design can be:)

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. – C.S. Lewis

Relevant Instructional Design Principle / Concept:
Dale’s Cone

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Much learning does not teach understanding. – Heraclitus

Relevant Instructional Design Principle / Concept:
Bloom’s Taxonomy – Levels 1 and 2

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That one is learned who has reduced his learning to practice. – A Proverb

Relevant Instructional Design Principle / Concept:
Bloom’s Taxonomy / Knowles’ Andragogy

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I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. – Abraham Lincoln

Relevant Instructional Design Principle / Concept:
Schema Theory

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Source for the Quotes:

http://www.inspirationalquotes4u.com

See you soon:)

– Shafali.

 

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The 5 Types of Dual-Tasking Audience – What Lurks Beneath?

A Study that Strayer & Johnson conducted in 2001 confirmed that the probability of missing a red light is about 7% when you are driving while talking on a cell-phone. Replace “missing a red-light” with “meeting an accident” and you know that if you dual task in this specific manner, you are taking a huge risk!

But when your audience dual-tasks in your classroom, it’s an entirely different matter.

To understand the essence of this post, you first need to understand the simple concept called the Attention Hypothesis of Learning, which states that in order to learn the mind needs to “attend” to the learning. When a person does two tasks (dual-tasking) or many tasks (multi-tasking), the mind prioritizes among the tasks. The tasks that don’t require a high degree of cognitive processing are usually done “automatically” and the chances of mistakes are few. On the other hand, tasks that require the active involvement of the brain are “attended” to, consciously.

Five Types of Dual-Tasking Audience

When I look at a non-ideal, completely practical classroom through the lens of the dual-tasking concept, I see five kinds of learners. (Note that the dual-tasking concept lens filters out the single-minded, single-task-oriented, ideal learner.)

  • The Doodlers
  • The Movers & Shakers
  • The Chompers
  • The Dreamers
  • The Texters

Let us understand each of these magnificent learner types in more depth.

The Doodlers:

Not all doodlers are duds – and I speak from experience, but for the traditional teacher who demands a genuflecting audience, doodlers are the worst in the attention department. Remember, it’s never to late to correct your error. Starting today, realize that these doodlers doodle because of two reasons. 1. They are kinesthetic learners (of course you know – any learning professional worthy or even unworthy of his salt can rattle off the learner types.) 2. They have a deep regard for you and they don’t want to insult you by falling asleep. So, if you find a doodler in your class, get your act together, instead of baring your teeth and growling at the noble doodler.

The icing on the instructional cake is that doodling is a psychomotor skill and it doesn’t tax the learner’s cognitive resources. The learner can still choose to “attend” your lecture and learn from it.

The Movers & Shakers:

Though not very common, this learner-type will shortly invade your classroom. I say so with conviction because I’ve been following each novel idea that’s being implemented in the new education policy. If those ideas could be implemented, sitting in a classroom with headphones on isn’t an unachievable dream and who knows it may become a fundamental right soon! The point that I was trying to make however is, listening to music doesn’t require a lot of cognitive processing. Your auditory audience may still condescend to send some attention your way!

(PS: Remember that you ask them to keep the headphone tacked to one ear only.)

The Chompers:

Chomp, chomp, squeak!
Familiar sounds?
We are speaking of those who dual-task to combine their oral fitness routine with attending your class. Technically speaking, despite their apparently disrespectful attitude, they could be really learning. Chewing is a menial task that the mind has delegated to the front-line executives, the teeth; and they begin their mastication routine without even worrying about what they chew! Obviously then, the chompers are your ideal audience. Their entire cognitive faculty is engaged in but one job, listening to you!

The Dreamers:

Aha! They look smitten by the training, and they readily nod whenever you make that much touted eye contact with them. Don’t assume that they are digesting all that you’ve been telling them. They might be hearing, they might also seem to be listening, but they probably are busy “attending” not to you lecture, but to their dreams. While you give them encouraging smiles and while you strain your vocal cords to explain those arcane concepts; they are busy with their dreams – they are building them, changing them, transforming them – but they aren’t there with you. They are the ones you should be careful about! Daydreams require a lot of cognitive power.

The Texters:

Beware! Those smart texters with that stuck-with-a permanent-glue smile and with busy little fingers; they are the most dangerous audience of all. Texting is a purely cognitive activity, which is done in two complex steps. 1. Thinking up the message. 2. Shortening the message. Typing and sending may have become automated for most of the accomplished texters, but the message has to be thought up and it has to be shortened – tough job, if you ask the practicing content writers.

Thus, texting siphons away the said learner’s attention while you grapple with their weird gestures and funny smiles that make the gentlemen trainers check their fly-zippers and the lady trainers wonder whether they made up only one of their eyes!

Though the dual-tasking audience in your classroom may not kill a pedestrian, but their diverted-attention could be fatal for your lectures. So, starting today – become partial to the Doodlers, the Movers & Shakers, and the Chompers! The Dreamers and the Texters are no friends of yours! Dual task to remember these tips when you deliver your next training program or lecture:-) Do unto them what they do unto you!

You may also be interested in the following link:
Why are cell phones so dangerous for driving?

 

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