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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

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The Beauty of Youth


We all have them don't we - our very own recurring nightmare that sends out heart rate soaring & leaves us in a cold sweat as we recall the fear.

Maybe it is running for the bus and, try as you might, you just can't seem to move? Maybe instead, you are able to stride freely but upon looking down their is the dawning realisation that in your haste you forget to get dressed? Or maybe it is the dream where one by one your teeth tumble from your gums?

Whatever the fear, there is always the relief upon waking that this particular event was confined to your unconscious mind.

My own recurring nightmare dates back to an exam I took in my 2nd year at university. The paper was in a subject I had never enjoyed & always struggled to understand. My over-riding memory is of the bafflement I felt by the enthusiasm our professor demonstrated about a subject that left me feeling so perplexed?

Yet, despite the fact that I actually passed the exam over 20 years ago, every so often it comes back to haunt me.

In my nightmare the clock is ticking, the minutes speeding ever closer to the moment I must open the exam paper; I am panicking, time is slipping away & still I can't quite remember what on earth I am meant to be able to recall. The fear is very real, if I can't even remember what the subject is meant to be about, how on earth can I even start to revise?.....

I was reminded of that cold fear this week as I watched both my daughters hard at work with their friends revising for their upcoming exams. Because, unlike my own experience of school, where studying for exams was a solo activity, their teachers have actively encouraged them to revise with others.

I will be honest, when this was first suggested my instinctive reaction was that not a lot of work was going to get done, but they have proved me wrong.

Their wise teachers know that often the best way to truly understand new information is to talk it through with someone else who is on the same journey as us; to ask each other questions, to delve deeper or to explain our understanding and work it out together.

When we learn that way, stronger connections are being made in our minds and knowledge is created that lasts long after those tiny snippets of information we often try and cram in at the last minute for exams.

With the exam season in full swing it is a timely reminder for those of us in the world of L&D that we need to give our learners the chance to convert what they hear in the training room with what they understand in their own mind. Because when we get to think for ourselves that knowledge becomes our own to keep.

There are many, many ways we can create the opportunity for this to happen in a way that captures our learner’s enthusiasm and sees them engaged in a lively debate with their partner; effort made here at the design stage is always rewarded well back in the workplace.

So spare a thought for anyone studying for exams whilst the sun is finally shining and take the opportunity to ask yourself "What did I learn from my revision experiences that can help my learners create their own lasting knowledge today?"

Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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