How Video Can Help Us Learn: A Fun Example

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Every so often, when we see some effective training material during our daily lives outside the office, or when we see something that explains things nicely, we like to share it here.

Some years ago, we found the video below from a story on the National Public Radio (NPR) website about an informational video that explained a physical process. The video was created by a college student named Dan Quinn. Mr. Quinn has a YouTube channel where he publishes videos he creates, and one is a really interesting piece on why wine “cries” in a glass.

We decided to write more about that video for our “things from everyday life that related to job training” series below.

For more articles in this series, check out this article on visual design and airline tickets and this article on humor in pre-flight safety videos.

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Benjamin Bloom’s Learning Objectives Taxonomy: Cognitive (Knowledge), Psychomotor (Skills), and Affective (Attitudes)

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[This is the fifth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

If you search the Internet for “learning objectives,” you’ll run into the name Benjamin Bloom quickly enough.

That’s because Bloom gave us a handy way to think of different kinds of learning and the learning objectives to write for each. It’s not the only way, and it’s been revised by his followers since he developed it originally, but it’s a help when you’re writing your objectives.

Before we begin explaining his theories to you (over the next four blog posts), take a moment and think of learning. Is all learning alike, or do we sometimes learn different “kinds” of things? For example, consider learning how materials flow through a machine, learning how to weld a metal seam, and learning why it’s important to follow safety rules. Are these the same kinds of learning, or are they different?

If you agree that we learn different types of things, you’re halfway to understanding Bloom’s three “domains” of learning and learning objectives.

Once you’ve read all this stuff on Bloom’s learning objectives for different types of learning, you may also find our Different Types of Training for Different Types of Learning article interesting.

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Creating Visuals for Training Materials: Connie Malamed’s Book “Visual Language for Designers”

Not that long ago, we recommended the book “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen. Now we’ve got another book recommendation for you—Connie Malamed’s “Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand.”

First, an admission. We’re HUGE Connie Malamed fans. She’s got a great instructional design blog and a second blog for visual design. She’s got a neat instructional design app. She’s pleasant, sociable, and informative in social media circles. And yes, she’s got a really great book, too.

This article is a general overview/review of Malamed’s book. To see the ideas in her book “put into action,” check out this article: 25 Graphic Design Tips for e-Learning.

Which brings us back to the book recommendation.

Convergence Training provides learning management systems and e-learning courses, primarily for industrial and manufacture ring companies. Contact us if you have questions.

And feel free to download any of the free guides below while you’re here:

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What Is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

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Many people in learning and development are quite familiar with learning management systems (LMSs). Maybe you use one now, or maybe you’ve used one for years.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who aren’t familiar with an LMS, haven’t used one, or don’t know what an LMS is. Maybe you’re new to training. Maybe your role in training has never involved using an LMS. Or maybe your company still hasn’t adopted an LMS, and you’re still administering your training through an excruciating series of databases, network folders, SharePoint, Excel spreadsheets, and paper-based training records in manila envelopes stored in metal filing cabinets in various rooms though out the office. 🙁

If the paragraph above describes your situation, here’s a 100-level primer explaining what an LMS is. We’ve also included some additional links to other LMS-related articles. Hope this helps get you up to speed quickly.

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When a Job Aid Is Better than Job Training

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Have you ever read an article that discusses job aids, workforce training, mobile training, parenting, and pumping gas into a car? If not, grab a seat, because you’re about to.

By way of background, companies sometimes create training that their employees don’t need, that won’t fix the problem, or that isn’t worth the cost. For example, you can spend a lot of time and money trying to train your employees to memorize 50 codes—which your employees probably won’t successfully memorize despite your best efforts—or you can create a document that lists all the codes, put that document where your employees need it at work, and give them a very short training session about how to use that list.

That document with the codes on it is an example of a job aid. Have you got a Post-It note by your computer telling you how to do something? That’s a job aid too. And with the ease of recording short, instructional videos at work, and the fact that so many people have mobile devices and smart phones they can use to watch those videos as needed at work as well, you can easily imagine using videos as job aids as well.

Sometimes, a job aid is all a person needs. And they can be much more effective than training. Let’s look at an example from my real life outside the office.
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OJT and the Training Needs Analysis

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Before you begin any OJT program, you should perform a training needs analysis. Actually, that’s true no matter what kind of training you’re considering. But what is a training needs analysis, and why should you do one? Glad you asked, because that’s what we’re about to explain.

Before we begin, let’s cover some basics. First, you’ll sometimes hear this called a training needs analysis, and other times you’ll hear this called a training needs assessment. They’re basically the same thing, or at least have similar steps intended to lead to the same result.

Second, know that this “analysis” or “assessment” comes before you begin creating training materials (perhaps by using the traditional ADDIE instructional design model or a similar method for creating training materials).

And finally, note that there are entire books written about performing a training needs analysis. We’ve given only a quick-and-dirty, brief overview below. This should get you headed in the right direction and in many cases may be all you need. But watch our blog for further posts with more details, and check the links at the bottom of this post for even more helpful information.

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Improving Employee Productivity With More Informed Management: Dan Ariely’s “The Upside of Irrationality”

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Dan Ariely has one PhD in cognitive psychology and another in business administration. He’s the James. B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He’s also got appointments at the Fuqua School for Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine. In short, if you’re interested in improving the performance at your work place, he’s a good guy to listen to.

And that’s why we’re interested in Ariely and other writers like him (such as Daniel Kahneman). We’re a training company, but we’re the first to admit that training isn’t the solution for every issue at the workforce, and that you can get workers to improve their performance in ways other than providing training. Ariely’s insights into how people think and how those thoughts affect their choices and behaviors can be applied directly to workforce performance improvement.

If that sounds intriguing to you, we’ve got a little summary for you below, and then we encourage you to buy the book and check out Dan Ariely’s website. We also have some articles dealing with behavioral economics related to Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow and thoughts on innovation from the folks behind Freakonomics.

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Human Information Processing System: Sensory Memory to Working Memory

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In a recent blog post titled “The Human Information Processing System: How People Learn (or Don’t),” we went over five key steps in which people learn and later apply information. In this post, we’ll look at the transition from Step 1, “We experience information through our senses and sensory memory,” to Step 2, “Some of that information is processed by our working memory.”

As we learned earlier, in Step 1 sensory information (sights, sounds, etc.) is perceived by our sense organs (eyes, ears, etc.) and is briefly processed by our sensory memory. The information stays in our sensory information for a very short time—in many cases, only a fraction of a second, though in some cases, it may last for a few seconds.

Some of that information goes on to be processed by our working memory; this is when we become aware of the information. The rest of that information is essentially lost. This is why people sometimes say that the working memory is a “bottleneck” within the learning process. And it’s why if you’re trying to help employees learn, you want to try to draw their attention to the right stuff to get past that bottleneck.

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How People Learn and Why They Forget

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In a recent blog post titled “Why People Don’t Remember Their Training: Five Steps of Learning and Applying Information,” we introduced a few basic ideas about how people think and learn (that process, by the way, is known as cognition).

In that post, we briefly mentioned a five-step process of learning, and noted that when people forget what they learned in training, it’s often because the training was designed without keeping these five steps in mind.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at each of those five steps.

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Mandatory Safety Training and a Bit of Humor

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In this article, we’ll take a look at safety training and humor. And we’ll do it by talking about flying to Hawaii. Not bad, huh?

In an earlier part of my life, I flew to Hawaii a lot.

I had a friend who was the Artistic Director for the Honolulu Theater for Youth in Honolulu, and because he had to travel to stage plays, I often was “saddled” with dog- and house-sitting responsibilities. Rough life, huh? Living in Hawaii was great, and I even got to surf the famous Pipeline surf break on the legendary North Shore. Never got to surf Waimea Bay on a big day, though.

On one flight from Oahu to San Francisco, several hours after the plane took off, the captain announced that there was a mechanical problem and we were returning to Honolulu. When I heard that, I was a little alarmed, and so I did four things:

  • First, I looked at the map to figure out how far from land we were. We were basically in the middle of the ocean.
  • Next, I grabbed the safety information card in my seat pocket and read it: where are the emergency exits, how do the doors open, and just exactly how does that seat cushion double as a flotation device?
  • Then, I tucked my little bag of peanuts into my shirt pocket. I figured if the plane crashed, I’d eat them on the way down before we went into the drink, giving me a little energy to use while I was wading thousands of miles from land.
  • And finally, I took a nap, on the assumption that if I was going to be paddling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for hours, I might as well rest up first.

My point is that before I pulled the safety information card out, I didn’t know the critical safety information I would need if the plane went down. Why’s that? Because I didn’t listen to the safety information talk or watch the safety video before the flight took off. I blew it off, maybe reading a book or staring vacantly out the window. Odds are you’ve done it too; we all have. Right?

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Six Tips for Better On-the-Job Training (OJT)

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On-the-job training programs, also known as OJT, have a long history in manufacturing. And many times, they’re quite effective. However, if they’re not well-designed, the results can be less impressive.

What’s the story at your workplace? Are you struggling to get better results from your on-the-job training (OJT) programs?

If so, here are some quick tips to keep in mind. Use the Comments section below to add your own or ask some questions, too.

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