Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Big Brother, Rodman and informal learning

In local paper today (Brighton Argus) - I was interviewed at the Dennis Rodman (Big Brother) basketball game (season ticket holder at Brighton Bears). "It's a big bonus to see him here...I think Dennis is a Brighton kind of person with all his cross-dressing etc." I love basketball and one of the most exciting learning presentations I‘ve ever seen was at TechLearn 2002. Dave Hopla, a top US basketball coach, put 110 out of 111 shots through the hoop, astonishing, as he was also giving his talk to a couple of thousand people. He even shot backwards and over his head from 6 yards and still scored! 'What's this got to do with e-learning?' His message was pure - learning is about memory so practice matters. Ebbinghaus did the groundbreaking work and people like Roger Schank keep reminding us that the 'sheep-dip' experience is wildly unproductive, without follow-through and practice. This is why informal learning is so powerful, one learns through repeated practice.

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Anonymous cliveonlearning said...

I agree with wholeheartedly with the view that far too little emphasis is placed in training on repeated practice. A typical interviewing course is 75% theory, 25% role-play (mostly watching others). One practical exercise is only good enough to show how poor you are (the old conscious incompetence idea). Most skills need lots of practice, with some mechanism for correcting errors before they become habitual.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Nogbad said...

I can't argue that practice isn't the best way of learning but I wonder whether that's only available in informal learning? I wonder rather whether we spend too long training/teaching people that are too far from what they really need to learn? I'm think of the local council here - they put all their staff through ECDL because it looked good on their "Investors in People" paperwork but it was of little practical application to what most of these people need. this, of course, also imapcts on their motivation - invite me to learn about something I need or that interests me and I'm at the front of the queue, invite me to a session about fire extinguishers and however important it is you might not gain my full engagement.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous John Rogers said...

I don't think we are disruptive enough in our approaches to either formal or informal learning. It's all a bit nicey, nicey; safe and undemanding. High profile, high impact events are much more sexy to design and attend than the graft of practice, trial & error, feedback, practice..... Our world is driven by the exigency of short term demands and supply side controls, especially budgets which I think makes us - that is us that should know better - somewhat risk averse. I've talked at a couple of conferences recently about developing content-free corporate universities. This makes sense in the context that it's not more content that we need but better ways of encouraging learners to have a go. There is loads of content out there already which is good enough and often free, e.g. via Google. Our focus needs to be on finding creative ways of supporting and encouraging learning in whatever way works best for the learner, not the teacher. A genuine and sustained focus on the learner is what will change things. Should we close L&D functions as a first step?

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant post I'm a huge bb fan from Canada

My page - Nieves

11:33 AM  

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