Maya Angelou, author and poet said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is very interesting, because last week I was flying the flag for a great UK company, Pearlcatchers, in the States, delivering a “Blended Learning Facilitator” programme – they even got to play a little of the Learning Loop too! I cannot tell you the name of the company, but they are a heavy engineering company and this was a programme to help bring blended learning to their facilitators (technical experts) for their salesforce. They are the only company amongst their competitors who are choosing to do things so differently and Pearlcatchers always do things differently, which is why I love working with them.
The workshop this week, was the first of three I will be delivering in different regions. We covered the “7 Deadly sins of Training” and counteracted them with the “7 Pearls of Wisdom” as well as the basics of Fusion Learning – a holistic approach to delivering learning. We discussed and experienced the 4 phases of the learning cycle – analysis, design, delivery and evaluation was well as exploring the “5 secrets of Accelerated learning”. One of these “secrets” is about creating the right environment for learning (if you want to hear more, then a podcast on the Trainer Tools website might help). This is something that has been fascinating me for a while – how setting up the right environment (physical, emotional and social) can make a huge difference to the learning experience.
As they walked into the classroom, set up with bright posters, review activities (from the learning they had in the webinars), they were encouraged to introduce themselves to each other, to explore the resources and check out the posters (some of the answers in the game were in these posters!) Some people seemed genuinely excited, some seemed curious (I always love that!) and some admitted (later) that they were uncomfortable and skeptical!
The “proof of the pudding is in the eating” is a great saying and as the days unfolded and they “experienced” how different learning could feel, I could feel a shift and a growing excitement. When reflecting on what they had learned most of the comments were around how different things felt, how engaging it was and how they had not been bored for one minute. All great things….. but would the skeptics be won over?
The smiles grew more frequent, the “aha” moments flowed and one by one as they delivered their sessions, I could see the impact of what they had learnt in what they were now facilitating. They were thinking about the needs of their learners, what stage and state they might be in and the sessions were more about making learning easy than “telling”. What of the skeptics – well these were originally the “Snipers” from the Stakeholder Analysis grid and now they are the “Evangelists“. I have two great testimonials from them speaking of how they felt originally and how they feel now…. what struck me most, was that they learnt most from what we did and they experienced. The environment that was set up and experiencing how learning can be more natural impacted them immensely. They laughed when I asked them if anyone had been taught to walk by their mothers using PowerPoint and then saw the irony in what is so common in the way organisations train in their training rooms.
I am an evangelist for accelerated learning and anything else which helps to make learning faster, more efficient and more sticky, but many objections to using some of the techniques, start with “it’s ok for soft skills …. but not for technical or content heavy training…” I would strongly disagree and you cannot get more technical or heavy than the learning these guys have to deliver. The creativity, excitement and inspirational sessions I witnessed last week have warmed the cockles of my heart and as I am packing my bag and reminiscing about how these people felt ….. I feel it is a job well done….. thanks Pearlcatchers for trusting me with your client….. I loved every minute of it!!! Lets keep making people feel differently about learning.