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Links 1 through 8 of 8 by Jay Cross tagged clojay+Learning

In the old days, corporate training departments focused solely on workers on the payroll. Most of the effort went into getting novices up to speed and grooming fast-trackers as future leaders. Training departments largely overlooked improving the skills of seasoned employees, despite the fact that these were the people whose efforts were paying the bills.

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Is it not nutty for a learning strategist to ask “Why blend?” The more appropriate question is, “Why not blend?” Imagine an episode of This Old House asking, “Why should we use power tools? Hand tools can get the job done.” For both carpenters and learning professionals, the default behaviour is using the right tools for the job.

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Admission and travel to conferences claim a significant amount of many corporations' investment in learning. That's why CLOs need to be aware of a fresh alternative that costs less and works better.

Professionals attend conferences to learn things, yet conference participants often say they learn more in the hallway than in formal sessions. Unconferences bring the hallway conversations back into the main tent by handing control to participants instead of experts on stage.

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Most people arrive at adulthood having built the foundational skills, mental models and working knowledge they need to get along in the world. Adults learn when they need to solve pressing problems. They don't have patience for superfluous material or rehashing what they already know. Curriculum is for kids-exploration is for adults.

Veteran workers who are savvy in the way things work are most organizations' top performers. In the factory, the best worker was perhaps twice as productive as the worst. In the knowledge economy, the best worker is hundreds of times more productive than a mediocre peer. Top performers justify special handling.

What portion of your workforce is made up of green recruits What fraction already knows the ropes How many are top performers If you're like most organizations, your old hands outnumber the new recruits 10 to one. The western world's workforce is aging. Yet all too often, trainers treat learners as if they were all the same.

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Cliff Atkinson's book "Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate and Inspire" shows how to use Hollywood's script-writing techniques to focus your ideas, how to use storyboards to establish clarity and how to properly produce the script so that it best engages the audience.

Atkinson recently told me the story of a presentation that made a $250 million difference. Attorney Mark Lanier pled the case against Merck in the first Vioxx-related death trial, brought by the widow of a man who died of a heart attack that she believed was caused by the painkiller. Before preparing his presentation, he read "Beyond Bullet Points," and invited Atkinson to Houston to lend a hand in putting his presentation together.

"We used the three-step approach from the book," Atkinson said.

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Walk into the sales department, the warehouse, the call center or the executive suite, talk with the people there, and you know what you'll discover The members of the organization are known as "workers." They are blue-collar workers, knowledge workers, hourly workers, commission-only workers and contractors doing work-for-hire. Nobody calls them "learners."

The rhetoric about learners lulled us into thinking that the job was to prepare individual learners. In the real world, superior performance more often results from the efforts of coordinated teams of workers who work well with customers. As Abraham Maslow famously said, "Give a kid a hammer, and every problem looks like a nail." In our case, it's, "Call them learners instead of workers, and every solution looks like blended learning."

Executives don't see it this way at all. Have you ever read a proposal for a major project that didn't list executive support as a prerequisite to success?

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Hans Monderman is a Dutch traffic engineer who is gaining fame for what he doesn’t do.

He’s also famous for what he doesn’t like: traffic signs. His reasoning is that over-engineering drains things of context, civic responsibility fades, reckless driving ensues and people get hurt.

Being told to take a training course is like driving on a road with signs, stripes and bumps. If workers take a training course but don’t learn, what’s their reaction “The training wasn’t any good.”

Instead of training, tell workers what they need to know to accomplish the job. Offer a variety of ways to get up to speed, from treasure hunts to finding information on the company intranet. This makes learners take responsibility, and there’s no longer an excuse for not learning.

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