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‘The Learning/Induction/Appraisal Organiser’ series from Gower


The Learning Organiser.
Mike Tilling. Gower, 1999. A4 ringbinder, 339 pages, £150. ISBN 0 566 08156 3

The Induction Organiser.
Mike Tilling. Gower, 1999. A4 ringbinder, 276 pages, £140. ISBN 0 566 08229 2

The Appraisal Organiser.
Mike Tilling and Mary Birch. Gower, 1999. A4 ringbinder of 305 pages and two A4 softback wirebound binders of 73 pages and 108 pages.

Three book set £215 (each volume is also available individually – ringbinder at £155 and the wirebound volumes at £45 each). ISBN 0 566 08184 9.

These are the first three publications in Gower’s new series of ‘Organisers’ designed for the stakeholders of processes in organizations. Each publication includes materials for those stakeholders who are designing the processes and those that are using (training practitioners) or experiencing (individual learners) them. The materials allow the trainers, line managers and learners that are using them to learn at their own pace and in their own way. They focus on achieving outcomes: recognizing and exploiting learning opportunities; improving the experience and the results of an appraisal; making induction a two-way process.

The titles clearly describe the basic reasons for each publication – Learning, Induction and Appraisal. When I looked at the first one I received ‘Learning’ it was for me an exciting and potentially very valuable change from the traditional run of collections of activities or session guides. It developed from a TEC-sponsored programme in which it was apparent that trainees in some organizations were learning for effectively than in others.

The contents are divided into units, each unit with a consistent format of Unit Concept – what the unit is all about,; Unit Context – a detailed description of the material that can be used in this topic; and Using the Materials – guidance to the provider when working with a group or an individual. A number of ‘Trainee Pages’ follow this introductory guidance, the pages including questionnaires, checklists, activities, case studies, etc. So the material is comprehensive for learning events and can be built into a learning skills training programme, a support for key skills implementation, part of an induction programme, or as a coaching aid.

An example of the units is Unit 2 in ‘The Learning Organiser’ – Focusing on the future. The Unit Concept is concerned with creating a vision and describes the unit as an exploration of how trainers can help trainees formulate this vision. The Unit Context considers the ways in which the unit will offer methods of developing a vision; barriers to forming a vision; supporting change in developing a vision; a trainer activity in the change/envisioning cycle; and a trainer activity involving Johari. The Trainee Pages in this Unit contain seven activities: self-assessment of things the learner really likes doing and those they dislike – these are used in assessing future action by removing/developing some of the items; envisioning the future checklist; a personal vision; representing their vision as a picture; making the vision real by considering successful people and how their actions would influence the learner’s behaviour; assessing aims and objectives by critically reviewing aims and objectives to which the learner has access; my aims and objectives – a final assessment and summary of the learner’s aims and objectives for the future.

‘The Induction Organiser’ is very similar to ‘Learning’ concentrating, however, on improving the quality of induction programmes. Three suggested induction programmes are given: one is for a 19 year old raw recruit who is starting a Modern apprenticeship; a mature returner to employment after a number of years of bringing up her children; and an internal promotee who is to take charge of a team. The programmes are related to the 24 Units that are included and divided into these three categories.

‘The Appraisal Organiser’ is rather different in approach, although it still has a division into Units that include training material, activities, handouts, etc. Volume 1, one of the wirebound softbacks, is sub-titled ‘Strategies, Techniques and Tool’ and, based on the principles of open learning, provides both theory and analysis, including activities to stimulate thinking about the process, and checklists and sample forms. Volume 2 is sub-titled ‘Training Sessions’ and includes 10 outline training sessions for developing appraisers. Each session includes a suggested training style, aims and objectives, timing, a ‘degree of difficulty’ indicator and full guidelines on organizing and running the session. Volume 3, the A4 ringbinder, sub-titled ‘Self-Development Units’ follows more closely the format of ‘Learning’, with a greater emphasis on activities for learning and sets out to emphasise creativity and personal learning and to help individuals answer the question ’How can I contribute more?’ to the appraisal process.

The packs contain a wealth of activity for trainers themselves, for trainers involved in producing and running training programmes, and for a wide range of individuals engaged in self-development. The authors are to be congratulated on producing such interesting, exciting and valuable resources which bode well for future similar collections. Well recommended.

Leslie Rae
September 1999


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