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Everyday’s a school day


"Everyday's a school day" is a phrase we all know - and probably use when we've just learnt something new - and a phrase that is so true. We never actually stop learning. But do we ever stop to wonder how we learn?

Not long ago I found myself speaking to a group of managers who were complaining about a system they'd just installed, but that no-one actually felt comfortable using.

My first instinct (because of the nature of my job) was to ask abou the training they'd received.

"No, Barbara. We know what you're thinking...we all went through the same training. We sat in a room and watched as someone showed us how to use the system."

And there in lay the problem. Everyone had gone through exactly the same training, and no-one had taken the time to tailor the training to suit the people on the course, or embed their learning. They'd all 'sat with Nelly' and no-one had asked whether they understood, or even asked questions to guage understanding.

It was then that I challenged the group to get to know how their teams liked to learn.

A sea of blank faces lay before me. "How do we do that?"

"How do they tackle flat packed furniture? Do they look at the guide or dive straight in?"

"What do they do when they buy a new gadget? Do they read the instructions or start to play immediately with all of the buttons?"

"What do they do to relax? Read a book? Watch a dvd? Socialise? Extreme sports?"

You don't need to complete expensive profiling questionnaires to start to understand how people learn. Just ask the right questions about what they would do naturally.

Training is so much more than imparting information. It is about having a learning partnership with someone. It is about allowing them to learn in a way that comes naturally and easily to them and then allowing them to continue to practice to embed their new skills.

Getting to know the people you're training is vitally important to maximise your results. It'll really pay off as one size definately does not fit all.

Barbara Nixon

Management Development

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