There were a number of reasons for this pointless post:
1. My interest in it derives from G&S'sIt is that last point to which THIS post is addressed!
The Pirates of Penzance.The Major-General's song:2. It's simply fun!"... and tell you every detail of Caractacus's uniform."(More on which - if you're truly bored - to be found here.)
3. It illustrates a principle of effective training:"Engage as many senses as possible!"
Once upon a time I was an industrial statistician (as in, "a statistician working in industry"... not "a tough, resilient statistician"). Among my duties? Training engineers to do statistics relevant to their jobs.
I was also required to TAKE classes - continuing-education for industrial statisticians & others. One of the very few classes that had an impact on my behavior as a practicing industrial statistician? "Accelerated Learning": designing effective training classes. The basic idea? Make classes activity-based.
Tonight, in a completely different context, I had occasion - for the first time in a long while - to think about this again. Here are a few reflections on the topic:
A book was included with the class:My experience re-designing stat classes to be 'experiential' and focused on DOING is that...
Creative Training Techniques Handbook.
- Note the title word: "training" - this is focused on 'training' NOT on 'education'. One of the things it took me way too long to realize as a trainer in industry was that there's a difference between 'education' and 'training'. 'Education' is aimed at 'understanding'; 'training' is aimed at 'changing behavior'.
Random thoughts (things I remember) from the class:Provide crayons & scrap paper to all participants - encourage doodlingSome chord-striking quotations from the first few chapters of the book:pedagogical value: doodling really can promote memory/learningProvide a cartoonish 'course map' to further encourage doodling & using the crayonspedagogical value: helps students figure out where we are, where we're going, and what the objective is... + doodling/coloring promotes memory/learningCheating is good.When I re-designed my stat classes, I almost always started out with a 'final exam' - 10-20 questions to be answered in teams of 2-3If you want students to leave the class knowing how to DO something, build the class around 'em DOING those things!Students were told explicitly: "If you can't find the answer in the student workbook, ask another team for help!"(note: I typically had a LOT of activites designed to drive home this point: "Everything you need to know is in the book, AND YOU CAN FIND IT!")pedagogical value: ALL the stuff you need to know is in the student workbook... AND YOU CAN FIND IT! (... Oh, and, by the way: how do you do things at work? - if you don't know, you ask a colleague!)
(Recall: leaving the class knowing how to DO something is what distinguishes 'training' from 'education'!)"Adults are babies with big bodies."More chord-striking quotations:
(Babies learn by playing - so do adults)
"Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you have."
"Learning has not taken place until behavior has changed."
(Recall - we're talking about 'training')"You cannot motivate other people."Finally:
"All people are motivated."
"People do things for their reasons, not your reasons."When designing 'activity-based' classes, it's important (critical) to remember that the activities aren't simply tacked on to the material, the activities ARE the material!
1. it takes a LOT MORE up-front work to design the class effectivelyNow you know.
2. it takes a LOT LESS work to teach the class once it's designed (with all materials in place, activities designed, etc.)