In a scene from the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” the main character, Ted, enters a large university lecture hall full of students. It is his first day as an architecture professor. He begins timidly but exuberantly warms up throughout the lecture. The camera cuts to confused faces in the audience and then to another figure walking down the lecture hall stairs chiming, “Sorry, I am late class. This is Economics 101.”
Like any lecturer or speaker, trainers and webinar moderators must know their audience. Poor Ted’s knowledge ultimately left himself lost and the students disinterested, not because the content wasn’t valuable but because it simply wasn’t presented to the correct audience. Although elearning and training webinars attract certain specialists, the industries and positions represented in one session can vary greatly.
Determine Between Must-Know Knowledge and Critical Incidents
The driver's education does not highlight what to do immediately after an accident or how to file an insurance claim. Until recently, I had never gotten into a motor accident. There were no irreversible damages, but what if there had been?
Within company training materials, must-know knowledge involving critical incidents should be presented first because they have the most immediate consequences, positive or negative. It seems common sense to first teach daily procedures. However these everyday skills and knowledge can be learned experientially and through routine.
Training courses are meant to provide the right skills to effectively solve problems and prevent damaging consequences to individuals or the company as a whole.
The traditional education system stifles creativity through rigidity and an expectation to only memorize and recall. This expectation begins at a young age. As illustrated by Lennon’s anecdote, the teacher’s role has become an enforcer of the expectation instead of a cultivator of alternative ones.
The creativity that was stifled throughout the education system is the same one that is called upon in job descriptions like “critical thinking and problem solving.” But memorization and a cultivation of specific skills do not have to be mutually exclusive from personal insights and creativity. The value of individuals' insights in learning environments is as important as their differences in learning styles. Insights are more than fact and opinion; they synthesize both content and narrative.
Francesca Jimenez is a recent college graduate who specialized in psychology and music. Her research interests include the application of behavioral sciences within industrial operations such as training, learning, and technology.
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Ray Jimenez, PhD
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"