Mythbusting: it’s time to forget about learning styles

April 30, 2017

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, Garry Platt gives the ubiquitous learning styles theory (or theories) a jolly good kicking and talks through research that calls into question their validity and usefulness (to put it politely).

I stopped using learning styles to structure learning workshops some years ago, mainly because I continually tweaked things and replaced things that worked less well with things that worked better, and this meant, quite unintentionally, learning styles fell by the wayside. This was a pragmatic approach that accidentally stumbled into the same place as Garry discusses in this podcast.

This is a Trainer Tools Essential Podcast

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How to champion best practice L&D when the culture is content with chalk and talk

March 31, 2017

Quite a while ago, I received a mail from a listener asking the following questions:

I guess many of your audience are freelance so it would be an interesting topic to discuss how they learn from or get community feeling when working alone.

How do you trust your own internal feedback when all your clients think you're great (but you only have a happy sheet).

In an organisation how do you champion best practice when the culture is content with chalk and talk?

We recorded something that touches on the first part of this with Claire Simmons (called "Training can be a tough and lonely business, so look after yourself") but I thought we could dig deeper and so I asked Paul Tizzard, someone who has worked as both an internal and external consultant, to have a crack at providing some sage advice.

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The five secrets of accelerated learning: be a facilitator not a trainer

February 28, 2017

A few months ago we chatted with Krystyna Gadd about her Five Secrets of Accelerated Learning, and then we talked about the first of those secrets in What's your objective. In this latest podcast we drill down into the second secret: be a facilitator and not a trainer.

This is about moving away from being the font of all knowledge, the sage on the stage, to being a guide on the side who is in charge of creating an environment and ensuring an engaging process so that learning happens.

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How to build an organisational learning ecosystem

January 31, 2017

As I get older, wiser, more knowledgeable, more skilled ... and more impatient, ... OK, and more stroppy, I am increasingly dissatisfied with the idea of rocking up and banging out a few training courses and calling it a learning and development strategy.

It doesn't matter how good the workshop is, how dedicated and talented the facilitator is, if the learner goes back to an environment that doesn't support learning.

This means that I am increasingly interested in, increasingly fascinated by ... and OK, increasingly going on and on about, the important of creating an environment that is conducive to learning. This doesn't just mean pre-work and follow-up activities surrounding a learning event, it means support from leaders, managers, colleagues and the organisational culture that will allow for learning, sharing, growth, opportunities and all that good stuff.

In this podcast, I talk to Robin Petterd who calls it a "learning ecosystem" ... I hope you find it useful!

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Excuses, excuses …

January 15, 2017

This isn't a podcast, it's just me making excuses for not having finished editing this month's cast ... plus, a short explanation as to why I am maybe thinking about changing the name of the podcast

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The before and after: how to deliver a training programme where everyone wins

November 15, 2016

Despite our best efforts, our thorough preparation, and our fantastic facilitation, sometimes training programmes don't go as well as we hope. Sometimes people turn up with quite different expectations of what the event is all about, or they feel like political prisoners who have been coerced into attending by managerial pressure, or perhaps they are seeking to spend a day playing with their phone instead of working!

In this podcast Sunita Sehmi talks about her approach of engaging before, during and after the programme to ensure that the event is as successful as possible for the organisation and for the individuals who attend.

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If you’re not aware of your unconscious bias, you’re holding yourself back

October 15, 2016

Hi I'm John, and I'm biased.

I am not the only one. You are too.

In fact all human beings are born with a set of biases and mental shortcuts that help us survive and deal with the world around us.

In the past such biases were vital to survival. We didn't need to worry about being fair and inclusive when we were living in caves; we were more concerned with finding the next woolly mammoth and avoiding being eaten by lions. Issues such as creating a diverse community were way down our priority list.

Times have changed. Now we live and work in a multicultural global environment and need to broaden our vision beyond our own narrow bias-filled perspectives. This isn't easy, and in fact a lot of biases will persist even if you are aware of them and intellectually believe they are wrong ... but we can only manage what we're aware of, and in this podcast we discuss what unconscious bias is and how as learning and development professionals we can improve our understanding of our own biases in order to improve our performance.

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SDI in learning and development: what it means and how to use it

September 15, 2016

I have found SDI (Strengths Deployment Inventory) to be a really valuable tool in leadership development, despite my being a skeptical curmudgeon about most of these workplace psychometric tools.

What convinced me was partly personal - I felt it offered valuable insight into my own self (not a pretty sight) - but also because of the impact I've seen it have within the training room. I've used it mainly for leadership development, so that's my main experience, and I've seen many people (not everyone) find it really useful in not only raising self-awareness, but more importantly giving them a roadmap for strengths development that remains true to their authentic self.

In the podcast Simon Gallon talks through the basic theory and its wider application within L&D, in particular in teambuilding and leadership development activities.

It's another long one, but it's good stuff.

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Who’s afraid of SMART objectives? You don’t need to be

August 31, 2016

I've never been a big fan of SMART objectives. I accept there is wisdom in the acronym, but I think the process tends to eclipse the most important things about performance objectives: they should provide clarity, challenge and motivation, and when delivered they should add value to the organisation.

I made this point in a previous podcast (The secrets of accelerated learning: what's your objective? with Krystyna Gadd) and was contacted by Garry Platt who disagreed with some of what I said and wanted to mount a defence of SMART.

So that's what this is ... an extra podcast challenging some of the content of the previous one, with a screeching parrot in the background.

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The secrets of accelerated learning: what’s your objective?

August 16, 2016

A few months ago we chatted with Krystyna Gadd about her Five Secrets of Accelerated Learning, and in this podcast we drill down into the first and most important of those: writing learning objectives that link to the business strategy and the objectives of the learners.

Apologies that it's a bit long, but when you get talking about this sort of thing it can be hard to stop!

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