Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Power of Questions in Solving Problems - Workshop Tip #230

The Power of Questions in Solving Problems

Application: Try this idea. Ask workers or learners in your implementation of Workflow Learning. “Identify a problem at work. What series of questions would you ask to arrive at the point where you fully understand the issues?”
In Workflow Learning (WFL), one begins to recognize work issues and concerns right in the midst of work, with no time or space to get help from conventional training and consulting opportunities for expert opinions and solutions.  The worker is challenged on the spot to learn in situations of how to solve problems. How is this done in the WFL process?

Allen Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John offered ideas in their article, The Surprising Power of Questions. Just by thinking through the issues with the “power of questions,” the worker can learn to discover more vital and in-depth information.

Honing their skills in asking different types of questions such as introductory questions, mirror questions, follow-up questions, open-ended questions, and closed or direct questions could be a can opener to generating information that is relevant to the issues at hand.  

Asking the right questions is best done at the first step of the WFL model where one needs to diagnose or assess where the issue is coming from and what contributes to it.

Yes, there is “power” in using questions to learn in the workflow and solve problems with no need for external expertise to come into the picture. How would you organize your thoughts in asking divergent and convergent questions about the issue at hand?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

What I Have Learned From Puppets and Why Use Them for Learning - Workshop Tip #229

What I Have Learned from Puppets and Why Use Them for Learning

Oh boy, oh boy, I must be losing my mind. I have been caught up with a lot of puppets. In fact, I am building my own! So, where is my fascination coming from?

I have been studying puppets and contemplating how they relate to stories and how we are able to use them in our learning designs.

A few days ago, I found this funny series of YouTube videos by Awkward Puppets. Its cast consists mainly of puppets and each video features stereotypical situations and experiences of Diego, a regular American-Mexican guy. In this one particular video, it showed how he was able to earn easy money when he was mistakenly thought to be the guest performer at the Bar Mitzvah. Click here to play video.

So why do I think puppets can be highly effective tools in teaching and training? Let me share with you my insights.

1. Puppets directly represent real people and our stories - the light and the dark ones. They are often used in parody or satire because it feels “safer” to do so. Oftentimes, it is easier and more palatable for people to watch puppets discuss delicate and sensitive issues when wrapped in exaggeratedly humorous skits. The topics that puppets can get away with are those that we usually can’t when we use actual human beings because they may be too controversial or negative for some.

2. Using puppets allows you to organize and manage the learning experience.  Planning and implementing a well-thought-out script can help you to have a better control of the session flow. During the planning stage, you get to decide on a theme, what persona to use, your tone of voice, timing and delivery, and other facets of the webinar. It is a medium for enhancement. Employing puppets in your webinars helps learners learn better as it facilitates faster and easier delivery of your messaging.

3. What I have learned from building and studying puppetry is that it is a real and elegant form of art. Working with puppets and the process of facilitating learning and training are very similar. They both require methodology, technique, and skills that need to be learned and practiced.

Bringing puppets into play can help boost the entertainment value of your webinars. But personally, it is so much more than that. Puppets enable us to express our human desires, vision and passion, frailties, challenges, and crises that we go through in a safe mode. Therefore, it promotes a more open and free discussion, sharing of insights, and learning. Let us explore how puppets can be our tools in story-based design, virtual training, and in other learning platforms.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Friday, August 28, 2020

TikTok As A Collaboration Tool? Why Not? - Workshop Tip #228

TikTok As A Collaboration Tool Why Not

Collaboration is a powerful concept that has long been present in different workplaces. Unfortunately, many experts and consultants in the L&D world only talk about it in theory. There have been too many discussions on how to open more collaboration at work, but implementation always falls short.

But I'd like to have a different take on this. As I see it happening today, collaboration now comes from a series of conversations and entails a continuous bouncing off of ideas. It is the fruition of hours of working together, establishing relationships, and building trust. For us humans, collaboration is not a foreign concept. We possess this as an innate behavior.

In the L&D space, we often fall into thinking that instilling a culture of collaboration can happen overnight. In a perfect world, maybe. However, in reality, it takes work and support from management down to the rank and file. Our job in learning and development is to kickstart the initiative. We need to have activities and solutions to promote it.

Just recently, I’ve come across a Josh Bersin article about TikTok. I find it thought-provoking how he suggested that this seemingly for-entertainment-only app can actually be used for collaborative learning. Here are my impressions and takeaways from understanding TikTok and learning.

1. Collaboration happens whenever it is practical for people to get results. Whether it is by sharing or uploading a video and people begin to relate to it and spark an exchange of comments or by rating someone else’s video, that's collaboration. It doesn’t need to have all the elements of collaboration. The important thing is that it serves the instant need to work with others to achieve a specific goal or result.

2. When technology is micro-sized, it becomes spontaneous. When technology enables multiplicity of tasks, and yet in a very simple form like in TikTok, we are more able to get the results quickly. It is mimicking or allowing us to behave in the way we wanted to in the real world. This is really how technology prevails upon us.

3. It is now shaping our relationships, language, communication, and thinking. I remember a book talking about which came first: is it our thoughts or language? Now it could be either or both. But in the case of TikTok,  what I see going on is that it’s reconstructing our language and it helps develop our thinking. Some people might disagree and find TikTok to be terrible, synaptic, and too cryptic for learning. However, the key point to emphasize here is that we're communicating, although in a very different form. This language  developed by TikTok is something that we need to consider in what we do in L&D.

4. Lastly, as L&D specialists, I think that we can benefit a lot by looking at this technology to see what kind of enhancement, endowment, and functionality we can encourage our learners and our workers to investigate and test.  Because only then will we see how this impacts the way they do work.

So, watch out for TikTok. It may just be in your learning before you know it.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How Visualizing Sounds Can Make You a Better Virtual Trainer - Workshop Tip #227

How Visualizing Sounds Can Make You a Better Virtual Trainer

One of the things I enjoy so much in the morning is listening to the chirping sounds of birds. I am always looking forward to seeing them perched on the branches of the trees outside our home. I’m happy that it has been a nesting place for some of them. So, despite my wife’s countless requests to trim the trees, I refuse to do so. I’m worried that if I do, I wouldn’t be able to hear them singing early in the day and even during sunset.

I was very intrigued when I read the Work+Life=Reward article about how Andy Thomas, an Australian visual sound artist, has found a creative way to capture various bird calls and sounds and showcase them in video with vivid colors and form. It tickled my curiosity and made me think. If we can see sound, how do you envision it to be? Also, what motivated Thomas to create a phenomenal visualization of bird sounds?

In the article, Thomas mentioned that he wanted to spread awareness of his environmental advocacy. His work of art is like allowing the birds to be the ones to spread the word for him.

Visualizing Sounds

Image source: Work+Life=Reward article

The article reminds me so much of when doing our virtual training and webinars. One of our most significant assets is having a good sound quality of voice. We heavily rely on our voices to communicate with our learners. We need a steady and friendly voice to establish rapport, trust, and connection. Here are some techniques that we need to remember when we are delivering virtual training, online workshops, or webinars to optimize our voice.

1. Listen to your voice. Do an honest self-assessment and ask yourself these questions. Is your voice clear? Is it friendly? Is it a voice that can be trusted? Is it a voice that is believable? Now, these are tough questions. But answering them as truthfully as you can is the best way to evaluate your voice’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. Suppose you noticed that there are areas that you need to improve based on vulnerability, confidence level, tone, or sincerity. In that case, you need to pay attention to it and try to write your script, try to pick a language, or try to select the words that can communicate sincerity, friendliness, helpfulness, and alike.

3. Our tone of voice, just like the birds in Thomas’ video, depicts motion. Motion represents different layers of emotion. It can express loneliness, dissatisfaction, or agitation. It can also articulate excitement, joy, and empathy. Therefore, we must always be aware of the tone quality of our voice. If you’re not too confident of your ability to control your tone and to communicate the needed emotions, it helps to reflect on the words you will use.

For example, instead of saying, “These are the learning objectives.” You can say, "This is what you will get from today’s session" or “These are what you stand to gain from the webinar.” The term learning objectives sounds cold and impersonal. In contrast, the other two statements are benefits-driven and motivating. Another good example is, instead of merely asking, “Did you get it?” Try to rephrase the question to "Did I make myself clear enough?" or "Do you want me to repeat it so that you may interpret it differently?" By carefully choosing our words, we are setting the right tone that can encourage our learners to engage.

4. The final thing I'd like to share with you is when examining your voice, try to remember the birds of Thomas. Their calls and sounds are representations of a living being. It’s as if they’re saying “We are here.” The final questions you would have to ask yourself are these: Are you present? Are you confident? Are you connecting with your audience? Are you able to promote an environment that fosters open communication, congeniality, and mutual respect?

So much can be learned from knowing how to listen to our voice. Listen intently and reflect.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Microsoft Teams and Workflow Learning - Workshop Tip #226

Microsoft Teams and Workflow Learning

Just a few weeks ago, my good friend Jonathan Workman of COG Industries shared with me a video link about Microsoft Teams. Click here to watch the video.

It is fascinating, and in fact, exciting to see that Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) has now incorporated some of the critical principles of workflow learning and microlearning.

I am so enthralled and completely captivated by these two methods of learning that I wrote books about them: Workflow Learning (2019) and 3-Minute E-Learning (2006). I strongly find these methods as the modern-day representation of the much-needed refinements, adjustments, and fine-tuning in learning design.

My impressions

Having used these methods for quite awhile, I have listed down my impressions of MS Teams adopting workflow learning and microlearning in its design. Let’s discuss them in detail.
  1. MS Teams recognizes and supports the thought process that learning and work are intertwined. When problems and issues confront workers at work, a workflow learning-based design helps facilitate more straightforward access and usage of needed information. They can quickly refer to resources or they can simply go and check with managers and leaders.

  2. It found a way to separate the process of learning from the world of instructions, which makes for a smooth and coherent design. Instructions are integrated to reference learning tools through Microsoft Learn and LinkedIn Learning (the next generation of Lynda).

  3. MS Teams referred to the fluidness of workflow learning and the simplicity of microlearning. Learners need not be interrupted on what they do, while they learn every bit of information and apply them to solving work issues.

  4. When technologies like Microsoft initially started to commoditize, the process and design were arduous and hard to navigate. There were very high-level hurdles for learners when they used the old concepts of learning management systems or other heavy learning platforms. But today, Microsoft has succeeded in making it seamless, lightweight, and natural through MS Teams.
Culture of Collaboration

It is noteworthy to add that a new culture of learning is evolving. Workers are collaborating, exchanging ideas, communicating, and learning at the same time in the right places. We have finally brought the importance of collaboration to the forefront.

The bottom line for me is this: it is easier to commoditize the process when technologies are beginning to keep up with new ideas in learning. Likewise, when they try to mimic and implement some of the significant innovations of thinking (i.e., using workflow learning and microlearning in their software). For me, the most potent implication is, we are learning. We are developing a learning behavior that is focused on work and away from just instruction. Even without being formally taught, people learn through the principles of workflow learning and microlearning.

Doing it, is far more important than being educated on what workflow learning or microlearning is. When you come across Microsoft Teams or any other learning app that allows you to do more, take advantage of it. The journey has been long BUT but we finally made it.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, August 17, 2020

Make Your Learners Happy - Workshop Tip #225

Make Your Learners Happy

During webinars, we listen in and learn with a closed group of people, yet establishing a connection is difficult. Moreso, for virtual trainers. When I say connection, I refer to engaging conversations, building rapport and trust, and expressing empathy. How do you think the ability to truly connect with others affects one’s learning process?

I have 800 friends but

Technology has paved the way for people to “connect” with each other, regardless of distance. It opened a lot of easy, fast, and cost-saving opportunities to communicate, build networks, learn, and do work. But it is not without a downside. In her book, Alone Together, Sherry Turkle describes how technology has dramatically changed how we do and define social interaction. We seem to have fallen prey to the illusion of quantity instead of quality relationships and connections.

Man is a social animal

We are naturally built to interact with other people and benefit from these social interactions. David Brooks in his book Social Animals believed that most of our skills are learned from each other. Knowledge is handed down from one generation to the next through socialization. Understanding the importance of socialization and learning how to incorporate it into our webinars can immensely benefit trainers. It positively impacts the way they conduct webinars and ultimately the learners. But with the very limited time that we have, are we really able to socialize and build trust?

Why is socialization important?

In all my years of experience in doing webinars or virtual training, I realized that utilizing the usual tools in webinars like chat, annotation, polls, video, and others can engage learners. However, there is so much value in adding learning moments through pre- and post-webinar activities. I want to excite learners! I want to make it a fun and memorable learning experience not just for them but for me as well. I discovered that these learning moments are great ways to stimulate and prepare their minds for the key topics (pre-webinar activity) and to boost engagement during the webinar. Likewise, it encourages them to reflect and focus on the application of ideas learned (post-webinar activity). In between these activities is the perfect opportunity to “loosen” up the learning and work on socializing, building trust, rapport, and expressing empathy and encouragement.

We learn better

In a study done by Prof. Matthew Lieberman from UCLA, he discovered that when we learn with the purpose of sharing the knowledge with others, we learn better than when we try to learn just for ourselves. According to his research, being more social is the secret to becoming smarter, more productive, and happier. Notice how team collaboration and brainstorming especially in small groups often produce better ideas and solutions. It’s the same thing when we blend in group discovery challenges or break out Zoom sessions for a smaller group of 3-5 participants. You’ll discover more opportunities for socialization. Ideas are more focused. The discussion is more open.

We build relationships

Socialization, whether it’s in-person or virtually, helps in building our own trusted networks. It also strengthens our existing relationship with family, friends, peers, bosses, and others. Consequently, built relationships enjoy more meaningful conversations and context is easily understood. It is only through close encounters and conversations that we develop empathy, rapport, and trust. Socialization helps us to reach a certain level of comfort where shared ideas and knowledge are easily transferred and understood. Mentoring sessions for projects is another method that I use in my virtual training/workshop sessions. Everyone is assigned a mentor to check on their submitted projects and to guide them by providing feedback. They also motivate and challenge learners to try other approaches to applying ideas. This process of mentoring or apprenticeship, exchanging of inputs and experiences, challenges participants to finish their own projects. It is so engaging and powerful because it creates a natural bond between mentor and mentee.

Smaller groups, deeper connection
Socialization in Webinars and Virtual Training

The illustration above sums up the gist of this article. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Break down the number of learners in smaller groups while inserting the most appropriate learning moments to open up more opportunities for deeper connection and socialization. Work on establishing their trust and your relatability through sharing of experiences and engaging learning activities, then you become more credible as a trainer/facilitator. It makes it easier for learners to relate to the lessons and ideas. For them, the information you share is considered reliable. Therefore, knowledge learned is no longer superficial but rather deeply embedded to their minds that when the need arises, they could easily refer back to it and use it. Excite their minds and reinforce learning by adding these learning moments to your next webinars.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Overcoming Pre-Work Avoidance Syndrome - Workshop Tip #224

Overcoming Pre-Work Avoidance Syndrome Sardines

Have you ever been on an airline flight where you are crammed in between other people? Do you feel like you’re sardines in a can, just waiting for the plane to land so you can get out?

Likewise, when we cram loads of content into our learning sessions, it leaves no room for our learners to mentally “stretch their legs” and reflect on what they’re learning. This “sardine can effect” restricts a full learning experience.

Pre-Work Avoidance Causes

Learners typically avoid doing any sort of pre-work. Why is that? One reason is that we have created a culture of events-based learning. These learning events are conducted outside of the workflow with a start and stop time. Training classes and webinars are examples. Events-based learning creates an expectation that learning takes place only during the learning event.

The Cure

Michael Allen and others assert that learning extends beyond formal training events. There is a need to support spaced learning to allow time for reflection, application, contextualization, and reinforcement. Moving beyond the events-based approach gives learners time to consider:
  • What am I going to learn?
  • What problem, opportunity, or improvement does it address?
  • Where/how can I apply what I learn?
As trainers/designers, we need to shift our mindset from only focusing on the learning event to creating ways to provide learning moments that highlight learner expectations. This includes:
  • Understanding our role in helping learners solve problems
  • Ensuring we give them the answers and solutions they need
  • Reinforcing ideas so learners can apply them successfully at work
Shift our mindset

How to Structure Your Webinar

Structure your webinar into three phases in order to add activities for maximizing learning.

Phase 1: Pre-Webinar: Identify the problem

Phase 2: During Webinar: Discuss and focus on how to figure out the solutions

Phase 3: Post-Webinar: Ensure they are able to apply the ideas

Make your activities intentional, relevant, and fun. Name your activities pre-webinar and post-webinar. Pre-webinar activities help learners identify the problem and reflect on potential solutions by drawing on their own insights and experiences. Post-webinar activities allow learners to find ways to apply what they’ve learned.
How to Structure Your Webinar Sardines
Tips for your next webinar:
  • A short burst of provocative knowledge prior to the webinar includes a two to three-minute video or short reading. During the webinar, connect their insights to the key ideas of the lesson.
  • Immersive learning asks learners to delve down into more in-depth activities that take 30 minutes or less.
- Self-Assessments
- Games
- Critical thinking
- Small projects
  • Incentivize learners by recognizing small efforts for completing the pre- and post-webinar activities. Applying the “nudge theory” helps foster a culture that is open to learning and feedback.
- Award certificates or badges
- Announce completion of tasks during the webinar
- Use their insights to illustrate a learning point
  • Alerts work best when doing a series of webinars. Alerts are triggered when a learner comments on an activity. The alert is sent to all participants. Alerts stimulate conversations and provide recognition for the learners.
In summary, pre-and post-webinar activities allow learners the freedom to learn independent of the event. The activities must be structured so learners can reflect on and apply what they’re learning. In doing so, we avoid the “sardine can effect” of content cramming and apply a practical cure for “Pre-Work Avoidance Syndrome.”

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, July 13, 2020

Demystifying the Trainer’s Myth - Workshop Tip #223

Demystifying the Trainer’s Myth

I recall a story where a trainer said to her participants,

trainers are able to evaluate the effectiveness through feedback and results

Although this is a statement of fact, in my mind I thought that the trainer seemed to have missed a golden opportunity to make the learning stick to her learners’ minds.

Consider training and work situations as two islands. Trainers, instructional designers and developers build the bridge that interconnects the two. We need to provide the workers an avenue where skills and knowledge learned in training can meet the demands, issues, and situations at work “as they happen.”

We’re Not Atlas

For some, the trainer’s myth that it is our job to follow up on how good the workers are at doing their jobs and applying ideas beyond training is unfair and unrealistic. It is like Atlas carrying all the weight of the world on his shoulders. It’s not that learning professionals are trying to avoid responsibility but this is hinged on what actually happens on the ground. However, just because it’s hardly possible to check on everyone, it does not mean that there’s no way around it.

Follow-up Works!

The importance of follow-up in the training process cannot be underestimated. It is during follow-up that workers are given time to reflect on their learning. Also, trainers are able to evaluate the effectiveness through feedback and results. It also is an opportunity to reinforce key learning points to the workers. It works! No doubt. However, follow-up requires time and resources from both trainers and workers. It can also be difficult when trainers and workers are unable to connect regularly.

Three areas to explore to make follow-ups effective:
  1. Self-learning - Encourage your learners to drive their own learning. Provide opportunities in your design and training that follow-up work and study are relevant and useful to learners.
  2. Easy to access references while at work - publish your references and learn-on-need materials so your learners can easily access them when the need arises. The references become so handy that it feels “it is always there.”
  3. Build in your design work applications - focus your design with the intent of work applications. If your sessions are on point for work usefulness, learners will apply the ideas by themselves, instead of the need for follow-ups.
Learning is supposed to be an ongoing process. But we also have to realize that formal training alone will never be sufficient. More learning happens in the workflow, albeit informally. Study how people learn while doing work, involve their ideas, and try to embed follow-up methods or activities for a seamless, more efficient, and relevant learning process. The argument of whether follow-up is a trainer’s sole responsibility may be debatable but it doesn’t take away the fact that it is essential and highly beneficial to improving the workers’ learning and performance at work.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Monday, July 6, 2020

How to Shift the Learning Culture From Dependency to Workflow Learning - Workshop Tip #222

How to Shift the Learning Culture From Dependency to Workflow Learning

Too often I hear instructional designers, developers, and L&D specialists resort to saying “we can’t share the culture of learning, it is up to our leaders.” Specifically, “we can’t introduce new ways to help learners to self-learn because leaders and SMEs won’t allow them.”

There are some truths to these concerns. However, we look at it from a view of what we do in instructional design, where there are opportunities to be more proactive and positive…”move the needle,” as the saying goes.

To change the culture from dependency to workflow learning

The practice of traditional instruction learning is to organize and present ideas and knowledge to help workers improve results at work. Traditionally, instructional learning primarily focuses on transferring content and knowledge. Consequently, the application of knowledge is often left to chance – we “hope they use it.” The cost to produce this type of learning content is high, the speed of delivery is slow, and the added value is difficult to establish with any certainty.

But the rapid advancements in technology have led to dramatic changes to L&D and how people “want” to learn in the workplace. We see the shift from delivering information dump and static LMS towards facilitating stimulating learning experiences leading to self-discovery. Support from the organizations and its leaders to push for integrated and results-oriented workflow learning is steadily gaining ground.

Where are the opportunities to change the culture?

To change the culture from one that is about “instructing” to the culture that will “let them learn,” one that does not take a mandatory order from top to bottom to make the change.  Instructional designers, developers, SMEs, and project leaders can make small yet significant milestones.

See how this works for you.

1. Add to your lesson exercises

In your lessons, you can add an application-focused exercise and activity. This exercise or activity encourages workers to take on a work-related issue and find ways to solve and improve it. This should be linked to the subject you want them to learn. The usual exercise is to simulate an experience for the learners about the content of the lessons. We need to move towards the culture that lessons are used only to support what we do at work. Lessons are not the end-all or be-all of learning. It simply reinforces it.

2. Delete, replace or reposition knowledge tests to application and impacts

Totally delete or reposition your “testing” for memorization to “how do you apply the ideas at work?”. This helps learners to think beyond test completion and focus on applying ideas learned. Tests have their own place, however, they tend to be the end of it all in lessons. This is how a culture where learning is all about testing begins. We should foster a new culture that is centered around learning and applying impacts at work.

3. Disrupt lessons from “you must learn” to “find the problem and fix it.”

Determining impact areas and ROI is such a difficult process in an instruction-driven learning. One reason is that we start with the lesson and content, and along the way, we spend our energies on drilling down what they “ought” to learn. Reversing this would improve impacts. Start lessons with asking learners to identify an area where they can apply a general area around your lesson topic. Then allow them to use their situations to use the lesson to discover and apply impact areas.

Shifting the culture of learning is everyone’s responsibility - top to bottom, sideways and from bottom to the top. I have seen long lasting and even immediate learning culture changes when L&D professionals in the frontline make experimental lessons and beta programs.

We can influence the learning culture change.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Improvisation Method: A New Way to Reinvent Compliance Training - Workshop Tip #221

The Improvisation Method: A New Way to Reinvent Compliance Training

Mention the words “Attend the compliance training” to your workers and you can literally see the feeling of dread in their faces. Most employees, if not all, do not care about it. Compliance training has earned itself a reputation from people at work for being dull, boring, and time-wasters. It is an all-too-familiar reality for trainers, instructional designers, and leaders. Organizations invest time, effort, and resources for compliance not just because it is a legal and mandatory requirement. Moreso, it is a safety net from issues like safety, risks, liabilities, etc. Despite the invested effort, effectiveness and positive results are not always guaranteed. Work impacts simply cannot come from unengaged employees. There has to be a way to bring engagement and results from compliance training.

Moving towards worker empowerment

How do you create compliance training that goes beyond lecturing workers about standard procedures, rules, and regulations? That instead of telling them what to do, you provide them with the tools and latitude that allow them to discover and think through work issues and problems on their own?

I have been a training consultant for a long time. I know how hard it is to veer away from learning strategies and methods we have developed over the years. It is especially hard to let go of our tried and tested methods. But the problem begins when it limits our views and ways of doing things. We need to keep up with providing training that meets the evolving demands and trends of today’s workers and organizations.

Reinventing by improvisation

In actual work scenarios, how much of your training do you think workers rely on to help them resolve and figure out answers? I’m guessing that most of them would seek their co-workers’ inputs, or they do workarounds or improvise. People find looking at their own and others’ previous experiences, as well as collaborating with them to resolve an issue as a quicker and more reliable problem-solving approach than standard policies and regulations.

So when reinventing compliance training, we do not limit it to materials and content. We essentially change the way compliance training works. We shift our roles as trainers from sole providers of knowledge to facilitators of the workers’ learning discoveries and thinking processes. When we are able to successfully lay the groundwork for them, working their way through compliance issues is going to be faster, easier, and will yield better results and impacts.

Improvisation Method

The improvisation method utilizes exercises based on the Thinking Tools. One of these tools is referred to as Risk Analysis. It is used to help workers take careful steps in planning and managing risks and reducing costs and negative impacts.
Situation Expert Risk Analysis

Here are some of the other improvisation tools you can use as well.

The What-Ifs Scenario
Situation Expert What Ifs

The Troubleshooting Tool
Situation Expert Troubleshooting

Keep in mind these key considerations for a successful implementation of reinventing your compliance training:
  • Careful analysis of your compliance courses to find the best ROI areas to reinvent.
  • Selecting the most suitable work-application strategy and method.
  • Application of the improvisation method for virtual delivery, social and collaborative learning, coaching, eLearning, and workflow learning.
Rethink. Improvise. Reinvent. If changing things up can help boost your workers’ engagement and scale their thinking capacities to achieve positive impacts for themselves and the organizations they work for, that wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"