This week i’m exploring my Methodology for learning in more detail: today, it’s the second stage, Demonstration.
Whenever we are designing training, it’s important that, at some point, we demonstrate what we mean. This may appear obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s missed out altogether! We spend time setting a context, we tell people there is an imperative for change, we explain why it’s important and even tell them the areas that change needs to occur, but we fail to get down to the words, the behaviours, a clear demonstration of what ‘good‘ actually looks like.
At the demonstration stage, we are illustrating the formal organisational view of what this looks like. We are doing this so that there is clarity about what behaviours and skills are required, and so that we can start to address the question of individual vocabulary.
You see, learning is more than parroting what i say back to me: learning is about developing a conceptual understanding and then building personal vocabulary on top of that. When we are trying to train particular ways of doing things, we have to define and illustrate what we mean, and if we find it hard to script and demonstrate what this is, we are probably not yet ready to actually build the actual solution.
It’s important that, at the demonstration stage, we are explicit: the point is to create some disturbance, to get people thinking. If there really is a gap between what they are doing now and what we want them to do, we have to make that clear. This can be particularly challenging in some areas, particularly things like sales training or some types of compliance, where people are likely to think they are already doing things right. Indeed, they may be doing them well, but we are aiming for excellence.
There is also a question of what makes something excellent: if you are training people how to use a system, it’s obvious, it’s their ability to use it effectively, but often we are in muddier waters than this. Often we are looking at behaviours and skills like ‘mentoring‘, ‘coaching‘ or ‘sales‘, where there are a wide range of variables and it may not be enough to just show great examples.
There is often value in using a Guide character within e-learning to mirror the input of the facilitator used in the room: the role of the Guide is to help make the learning specific and to encourage you to think about how to apply it. Bridging the gap between the abstract, intellectual understanding that we build in the room and actually make changes within our everyday reality, within the workplace, is hard, and it’s an area we will explore in more detail when we get to ‘Reflection‘.
Building personal vocabulary is about putting the learning into your own words, about developing your own flavour around it. Just copying someone else’s words is not going to be enough as it won’t sound authentic.
Take ‘Leadership‘, just showing a great leadership speech won’t make me a great leader, but it may form the foundation of my ability to write great speeches, but that falls into ‘Exploration‘, which we’ll be covering next.
1. Have you shown how to do it, or just talked about it?
2. Have demonstrated the end result or the steps to get there?
3. Is what you’ve shown specific to a role, or generic?
YES: it’s explicit
NO: it’s not something to parrot – it’s the foundation to build individual vocabulary