ATD 2016 Day 4

ATD 2016 Day 4

And finally, after a last taste of the great American breakfast...

Pancakes and bacon on a breakfast table

… here is a summary of the final few sessions of ATD 2016 before we jetted off back to the good ol’ UK.

We were both impressed with a product called Mindmarker while browsing the expo hall earlier in the week. It is an App designed for learning reinforcement, and so Jackie went to listen to one of the company founders Antonie Wurth present a session at the conference.

These sessions are not supposed to be used to market your wares, and the speaker therefore focused on the subject of learning reinforcement. He made a clear distinction between:

Reinforcement” which underpins the original learning with application, case studies, PDF and questions, using a Micro learning format for any new elements, and

Retraining” to combat the forgetting curve, which Antonie described as “cutting up the original training materials and feed to the learner in smaller bites”.

Whether you agree with those definitions, I think we would all agree that there is little or no return in training investment until you get behaviour change, and that usually requires practice and reinforcement over an extended period.

These are Antonie’s 7 principals of reinforcement:

  1. Close the 5 reinforcement gaps - Knowledge, skills, motivation, environment and communication.
    1. Knowledge - You have to have the knowledge to undertake task
    2. Skills - Can you do the task? If not close the skills gap
    3. Motivation- Do I want to do it? At the beginning individuals are motivated but that changes over time.
    4. Environment - Ensure that the environment is there to practice their skills
    5. Communication- Procedures or instructions need to be clear.
  1. Master the 3 phases for results

Everyone that goes through a behaviour change goes through these three stages:

  • Awareness (Why 50%),
  • knowledge and skills (How 25%)
  • behaviour change (Apply 25%)
  1. Provide a perfect push and pull

Don’t tell, show!

Write ‘real life’ case studies

Encourage social friction.

  1. Create friction and direction

Don’t give too much instruction, let them work it out and decide on the best options

  1. Follow the reinforcement flow

Don’t ask difficult questions at the outset as this can be off putting, start slowly and work up through the more technical elements. Create a balance between challenge and satisfaction, stay within the flow zone between anxiety and boredom.

  1. Create measureable behaviour change

Reinforcement objectives determine the measurement. Reinforcement is not an assessment, this is not about lots of questions, use a variation of activities and questions including survey questions, which have free form text, ‘how confident are you about xxx’

  1. Place the participant at the centre

It is all about the participant, what does it mean for the participant, how complex, timing of the messages. Think “DoDidDone” Do this? Did you do it? How was it? Are you happy with the output? What can you improve?

Not content with one talk from an expo exhibitor, Jackie also attended a talk by Mak Kishun of Gamelearn, entitled “Grow up and stop playing games – why serious games are more effective than traditional eLearning.”

This is a topic after my own heart, I do not need persuading how effective game based learning is for a wide range of management skills. We have been leveraging that with our business simulations for over 20 years.

Gamelearn have three adventure style games, which according to Mak cost $2m to create. The game is well designed, includes characters (narrative), rich content, real life case studies, body language is displayed by the characters. This puts the earner in real world situations that they have to solve. I have to say that they look remarkably early 1990’s in game style, and on the face of it, it is hard to say where that investment has gone.

Mak evoked the Millenials argument, 50% of the work place will be millennials by 2020, they are self-directed learners, we need to use collaboration, judgement and adaptability in the learning interventions that we provide. Does this really only apply to Millenials?

Attributes of effective games or learning activities include:

  • Freedom of choice
  • Rigor and relevance
  • Collaboration
  • Serious play
  • Control of pace
  • Innovative solutions

The results are learning that provides:

  • Increased motivation
  • An enjoyable experience
  • Immediate feedback
  • Is innovative and fun

Things to think about with your clients:

  • Bandwidth capabilities
  • Use selective terminology that becomes familiar to the learner
  • The level of excitement and competition, not everyone is a gamer, be prepared for them
  • Carefully think about the role out and communication process, introduce characters, situations as part of the hook to interest the learners ahead of time
  • Overcome the ‘game’ label, it is an experiential learning experience
  • Produce your metrics to support the approach

Continuing the theme of game based learning, I was looking forward to Winsor Jenkins session on “The Collaboration Game”. He has created a board based game using the metaphor of soccer. Winsor explained that soccer is the best sporting example of genuine team based collaboration. The US business mindset is highly individualistic, but research shows that collaboration is more effective. The challenge is to change mindset before skillset.

Winsor outlined his 11 operating principles for changing the mindset. You can see them in the picture below:

Picture of a pull down digital screen with writing on it

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