“You gotta make’em excited”

Jeff Bliss put his finger on it, and thanks to youtube, we can all hear the voice of the fed-up learner loud and clear: Jeff's frustration is rooted in the teacher's reliance on educational "packets" that provide information and then quiz the student on how well they memorized the facts. It almost seems like a failed version of the flipped classroom (where the heavy lifting of content-delivery is managed by self-paced media so that face to face time can be used for ... Read more

Article: Advanced Design for Advanced Technology

Last year, I published a short article in the Future of Maintenance Training magazine. It advocates a design process that is focused on real-world needs, activity-centric learning experiences and that acknowledges larger context in which the training is being used. The article is available here. Read more

Get out of the way and let them learn

In the hours and days after dropping a connected computer in an Indian village, children had figured out how to record music and play games. In further experiments, newly connected students were given series of questions, challenged to work together to find answers. They did. The astonishing outcomes (see video!) where augmented by light encouragement and facilitation. Reflecting on these experiments, the researcher, Sugata Mitra has come to frame education as a self-organizing where learning is an emergent behaviour. I don't think ... Read more

The other left

According to new revelations, the Titanic may have gone down because of a wrong left turn. The performance gap-analysis is simple: though the Titanic was a steam-ship, North-Atlantic sailing was traditionally done by "tiller-orders", which means you deflect the tiller right to turn left. The new modern steam ships acted like cars; you deflect the wheel towards where you want to go. When the captain commanded a sharp turn, the man at the wheel complied, but reverted to his training and commanded ... Read more

Look and learn

When fully matured, "visual search" will allow you to point your smartphone at just about anything and instantly receive information about the thing you are looking at. Right now, it is really good at identifying businesses and buildings (using gps data and maps), books and CDs (using character recognition). So, you can get reviews, background info, lists of similar things and, of course, links to purchase. The potential applications for training and performance support seem endless. The first thing that comes to ... Read more

Can you hear me back there?

So it turns out that the kids at the back of the class may not  actually be in a coma - it could be that they simply can't hear what is being said up front. Maclean's magazine just ran an article spotlighting the growing use of classroom amplification systems to ensure that the instruction can penetrate the din of distractors and reach the learners. (more…) Read more

If happiness is contagious…

It turns out that like the common cold, happiness is contagious! The research points to several factors: being around happy people, and watching happy people interact with each-other has a positive impact on one's sense of well-being. Achoo. While this viral effect has been identified in things like clothes, fads, internet videos, and tendencies to smoke or over-eat, it is refreshing to learn that something as positive as happiness can also be catchy. Could this phenomenon apply to other fields? Could being around exemplary people ... Read more