What happens when we hold on to old beliefs (even when they’re not true)?

The answer is: we look foolish.

A few weeks ago at the Online Learning Conference, I sat in a room and I was amused by a question the keynote speaker posed to the audience. She asked: what color is a yield sign? I turned to the person sitting next to me and said: yellow! She smiled and nodded. Such an easy question!

The problem was: we were wrong.

Not such an easy question. And when the answer was revealed, there was a collective palm-slapping-forehead sound that rang out across the ballroom.

In case you were wondering, a yield sign you’d see on the road today (and every day since 1971) actually looks like this:   Continue reading

When the trainer becomes the trainee

trainer-as-trainee

I’m coaching my son’s first grade CYO soccer team this fall and earlier this week I attended four and a half hours of mandatory meetings and training. The morning after the training, my wife asked what I learned.

I paused, then said: “You can’t bring your vuvuzela to games this year.” In fact, you can’t bring cow bells or whistles either.

She asked if I learned anything else during these four and a half hours. I paused again, then began to panic. Continue reading

Is it really a train the “trainer” session? Or is it a train the “SME” session?

sme-vs-trainer

Last week I was talking with a colleague who made a distinction between what she perceives her team as doing compared to what some other teams do. She said: “We really view our team as educators, while there are other teams that get out into the field and don’t even care about who the audience is, they simply have a slide deck and they’re going to walk the audience through the slide deck. We call them presenters, as opposed to educators.”

I normally don’t get too caught up in language and vocabulary and semantics, but this was an important point. Perhaps more importantly, this was coming from an operational manager, not someone in the L&D department. This wasn’t just “inside baseball” talk among training geeks. Continue reading

“Mr. Lecturer, tear down this wall!”

Berlin Wall

When Communism ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall (yes, I know that the Soviet Union didn’t break up until 1991 and technically China still considers itself “Communist”, but really, everything seemed to end when the Wall fell), it seemed like the last great struggle left in the world was going to be the battle against bad, boring, wasteful learning experiences.

Of course, the Berlin Wall didn’t just come tumbling down one fall day in 1989. People may have wanted it to just go away, but it was a long process that included a series of events – some big, some small, and some so subtle they barely registered.

In our struggle against bad, boring, wasteful learning experiences, we’d do well to keep this in mind. Continue reading