The science of learning is a recent hot topic in the education world and the research tells us that a “stand and deliver” approach to teaching simply isn’t effective in most instances.
This week’s guest on the Leading Learning podcast was perhaps ahead of his time, writing about this issue well over a decade ago in the best selling, award winning book, Telling Ain’t Training. This education classic has been referred to over and over again by countless educators and can benefit anyone looking to improve and grow their education business.
Telling Ain’t Training co-author Harold Stolovitch chats with Jeff to share his perspective on learning and he offers practical advice for how to design effective learning experiences.
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Read the Show Notes
[00:18] –A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA. The event is designed specifically to help professionals in the business of continuing education and professional development find new and better ways to engage learners and create lasting impact through the effective use of technology.
[01:36] – A preview of what will be covered in this episode where Jeff Cobb interviews Harold Stolovitch, co-author, along with Erica Keeps, of the training and education classic Telling Ain’t Training. Jeff notes that he interviewed Harold several years back as he was writing Leading the Learning Revolution.
[04:33] – What made it clear to you and Erica (over a decade ago) that the book was necessary? Harold shares how the idea for the book got started and that there was a need for something easy-to-read that explains what science tells us about learning and best practices.
[06:24] – In the past few years there seems to be a lot more interest in how the brain works, the science of learning, etc. You’ve also, been doing workshops for years, so you are constantly interacting with people on the front lines. Have the issues and questions changed much? Have you seen a change in actual practice of what people are doing? Harold compares measuring change in this area to trying to do the same with nutrition saying there are a lot of factors and it’s always changing, making it difficult to measure. He adds that he has seen pockets of change but that often the decision-makers don’t have a clue about how people learn, which makes it very hit or miss.
[09:37] – Most of the people listening to this podcast are in the market for lifelong learning but they aren’t usually the subject mater expert themselves. What advice do you have for someone who has to work with subject matter experts/presenters to try to help them be as effective as possible? What are some of the key approaches you would advise that person to take? Harold explains that most of the time subject matter experts pass on what they know by telling, or transmitting knowledge. He talks about the role automaticity plays and that as we gain in fluency, we often forget all the intermediate steps that went into learning something.
[15:25] – A further discussion about the problem with subject matter experts. Harold talks about declarative vs. procedural knowledge and shares an example to highlight each. He says to start with the end of the story, or the end goal, and then look at what’s happening now and ask how you can fill that gap.
[17:03] – Harold shares about his overall negative experience while attending a recent training.
[19:53] – A discussion about how there needs to be more intentionality on the part of people who are leading programs and working with subject matter experts.
[20:57] – Harold talks about the simplicity of the five-step model referenced in Telling Ain’t Training and says that if followed, helps learners be more engaged and learn more effectively. He also mentions the importance of allowing for repeated practice with feedback.
[23:10] – What’s the learner’s responsibility in approaching a learning experience and how can the average learner better prepare herself? How can an education director help encourage or motivate learners to take more responsibility for their own learning? Harold explains that over time learners become very skeptical about training and that they perceive most as irrelevant. He shares that preparing the learner prior to going to a class is the number one influence of how people will act and react within a class.
[27:54] – Harold offers additional tips to ensure an effective learning experience, including the importance of focusing specifically on what people are expected to do (with lots of opportunities for practice and feedback) and reinforcement about how the information can be used. He also advises that the supervisor follow up after the training in order to discuss how the knowledge can be applied. He says that you can’t expect people to learn without all of these ‘control’ mechanisms in place.
[29:48] – What are your own lifelong learning practices? Harold reveals that he listens really carefully when he attends sessions and takes detailed, personalized notes. He also shares that he chats with fellow participants to see what they got out of a session and that he actively engages in order to figure out ways he will apply his knowledge.
[33:28] – How to connect with Harold:
*Note that all books are translated in other languages.
Email: info @ hsa-lps.com
[37:27] – Wrap-Up
A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA.
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[39:15] – Sign off