Monday, June 22, 2009

Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning

Last week, we brought Cal Wick, co-author of "The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning" into KLA-Tencor for a full day workshop based on the book.

I'd seen two of Cal's co-authors - Andy Jefferson and Roy Pollock - present before, and felt like we could learn a lot from the research that their company, Fort Hill, has done.
I was right. This is not a workshop for the feint of heart. The 6Ds will challenge even the most robust learning strategy. But if you want to create a repeatable learning process, you can't be afraid to shine light into the darkest corners of your plan.

We're proud of what we do as a learning organization at KLA-Tencor, but during the workshop, we found some weak points where we can push ourselves to the next level.

The 6Ds are:
  1. Define the Business Outcomes
  2. Design the Complete Experience
  3. Deliver for Application
  4. Drive Follow-Through
  5. Deploy Active Support
  6. Document Results

I feel like there's a lot more I can do with my programs to Drive Follow-Through. Fortunately, I generated a number of new approaches to do just that, with the toolkit that we received in the workshop. I have to give a shout-out to Michael Papay, who pulled this all together and was super responsive in getting a quick turn-around for us.

You can learn more about 6Ds at the Fort Hill website.
I would also recommend taking the 6Ds challenge, if you think you're up to it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Learning Every Day...

Today I received my latest shipment from Amazon.

  • Job Aids & Performance Support by Allison Rossett & Lisa Schafer - I'm on a serious Job Aid kick right now. A really good job aid eliminates the need for training, so I'm striving to become a world-class job aid designer
  • The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios by Edward S. Curtis - As I've made clear here, I'm a big fan of the photography (and dedication) of Edward S. Curtis. I got this out of print book used from Amazon.
    I love photographing people. If you do too, you need to have this book.
  • Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor - no, this isn't a comment on my audience, who are fabulous. Instead it's a tribute to the fact that I always learn something from Karen's work with animals. I didn't realize that there is now a skill known as TAGteaching (TAG = teaching with acoustical guidance). I'll be taking the online training for this soon and will let you know how it goes!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Top 5 Training/Business Books

I am often asked to recommend books.

It's tough... 
Do I tell you my favorites?
Or the ones I think are the 'best'? Whatever that means?

Instead, I'll tell you the 5 books that I have most often picked up and read - or at least referenced - in the past year.
  1. slide:ology by Nancy Duarte 
    Hands down, this is number one.
    If you want to know anything about slide design, this is the bible.
    There's a lot here I didn't understand a year ago, but as my skill has grown, so has my understanding.
  2. Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko
    Whenever I want to think 'out of the box', I turn to this outstanding reference.
    Michalko captures more innovation exercises than you can ever need. 
  3. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
    The word 'bible' can be applied to four out of these five books.
    McCloud has definitely written the bible for anyone who wants to understand comics.
    Since I've been working on a manga-workbook for one of my classes, this book has been my constant companion. 
  4. Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor 
    It may not be a popular thing to say, but we can learn a lot about training people from dog and dolphin training. Concepts like shaping, reinforcement, incompatible behavior, and successive approximation should be part of Training 101 - but aren't.
  5. Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni 
    Not much to say about this except that it's clear and effective.
    We use it with teams constantly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Visual Ethnography, Art, Obsession, and Inspiration

While in New Mexico, I renewed my fascination with the photography of Edward S. Curtis.

If you don't know his name, you certainly know at least a few of his remarkable photographs.

I just finished reading "Shadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis", an excellent overview of the man's obsessive journey to capture the Indian way of life. 
He spent 23 years (1907-1930) chasing these images and basically went broke in the process. 
It's a dramatic story, to say the least. 

But not a sad one. 
From all accounts, Curtis loved what he did and did what he loved. From this I take inspiration.
He was, without question, a remarkable man who produced remarkable images.

In regards to his work, I'll quote George Bird Grinnell, who said, "The results which Curtis gets with his camera stir one as one is stirred by a great painting. When we are thus moved by a picture, and share the thought and feeling that the artist had when he made the picture, we may recognize it as a work of art."

Amen, brother...

10 Tips for Tele-Training

Over the past few weeks, I've successfully conducted a number of Tele-training courses with clients in Asia.
I was skeptical regarding phone delivery, but the clients love it, and I have to admit that they're learning the material just as well as my classroom students do.

I want to share some of the process I've used and capture best practices for your use.

What is Tele-training?

Tele-training is training that occurs over the telephone.
There are no other technologies in usage during Tele-training (no live video, no web browsers, no computers, no transmitted slides).
Slides or documents are used/driven at the receiving end of the training, if needed.

Why Tele-training? Because it:

  • Eliminates travel costs
  • Accelerates delivery cycle-time (no waiting for an instructor to fly)
  • Makes training available to all (working at home, from an airport, or a remote office, for example)
  • Enables economies of scale across offices or regions
  • Attracts more diverse training audiences across offices or regions
  • Reduces or eliminates technical barriers (such as slow video connections, software incompatibilities, passwords, etc)
  • Can reduce classroom time, as homework is assigned for offline completion
  • Is less expensive for the client
  • Simulates the actual work environment, since much of global work today is done by telephone

What Tele-training has been conducted?

I've used Tele-training for a number of audiences and courses, such as:

  • Coaching skills for Service Managers across the US.
  • DiSC Behavior Profiling for Korean Sales and Service Managers.
  • Global Culture Training for a engineering group in Singapore
  • Employee Development Training for HR Business Partners in Asia.

Is Tele-training just Instructor-led training over the phone?

For Tele-training to be successful, the course must undergo some level of redesign.
This redesign may be minor, or it may be extreme.
One of the above courses, for example, was redesigned from an 8-hour instructor-led course, to a 4-hour Tele-training.
The tele-training is now conducted as two 2-hour sessions, with pre-work and home-work between the two sessions.
This allows the content to be delivered in half the classroom time.
Additionally, the materials were redesigned as an interactive, visual workbook.

This new workbook is easier to read and far more engaging.
It also eliminates the need for a PowerPoint slide deck, as the visuals are integrated into the workbook.

What are the Best-Known Methods for Tele-training

I'm continuing to learn, as I conduct more sessions, but here are the lessons thus far.

  1. The course must be reviewed and redesigned for Tele-training. Do not attempt to deliver an instructor-led course by phone without customization.
  2. The learning and performance objectives must be very, very clear.
  3. The course should be exercise-based. Tele-training is not a format for lectures.
  4. Pre-work and homework must be completed. If not, the objectives will not be met.
  5. Sessions should be limited to 2 hours, unless there is significant co-facilitation on the receiving end.
  6. For a two-session course, there should be 48 hours between sessions (example: Tues & Thursday). Shorter periods will not allow time for homework. Longer periods limit retention.
  7. In most cases, classroom sizes should be limited to 8, to provide adequate participation.
  8. A champion/facilitator should be on the receiving end of the course. In each successful session to date, there has been a champion on the receiving end of the training who has helped facilitate materials and discussion.In all cases, the facilitator has been familiar with the me and my methodologies. This makes the process seamless for the participants.
  9. Materials should be engaging and clear. The instructor is not be in a position to entertain learners nor to explain ambiguous materials. Tele-training will test the clarity of your materials.
  10. I keep a list of all attendees and specifically call on individuals for Q&A. This ensures involvement, engagement, and evaluation.

My goal for next year is to conduct at least 3 workshops a month by tele-training.
I'm currently reviewing all of my courses to see how I can adapt them for this mode of delivery. Planning the participants pre-work and homework assignements is key making the program work.

What are you experiences (as a facilitator or student) with tele-training?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Restroom Iconography XI: Taos Inn

I'm always on the lookout for unique Restroom Iconography. 

Given the number of petroglyphs in New Mexico, I suspected that I'd find a lot of different icons in the hotels.
I was wrong.

Still, here's one I did find.

This icon marked the restroom at the Historic Taos Inn.
It's clearly patterned after the petroglyphs that dot the countryside.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Butterfly or Moth...

I don't only catch snakes and lizards.
Today, at Alum Rock Park, I caught a butterfly. Or a moth. 
I wasn't sure.
Either way, Angie was pretty impressed that I caught one with my bare hands.

Mrs. Remington was my High School English teacher.
She always said, "It's a sad day when you don't learn something new".
It's probably the best advide I've ever received... 
So I decided to learn something new.

I googled "Butterfly or Moth" and found out that this is probably a butterfly, because:
  1. It has knobs on its antennae
  2. It sits with it's wings upright and closed

I had no idea those were the discerning characteristics of a butterfly... but now I do!
How cool is that?