Calibrate Learning

 Calibrate Definition: make fine adjustments for optimal measuring The expression “A map is not the territory” first appeared in print in a paper that Alfred Korzybski delivered in 1931, meaning that a map can describe a territory in a similar structure that allows us to take a route through the land, providing a useful tool, but that our perception of the map can never equal the territory, but only our version of it, our map.

This started me thinking about how we design training programmes based upon guidelines, criteria, a syllabus (A map), only to find of course, that it looks slightly different from delegates real world experience their territory.

Hence the need to calibrate making those fine adjustments to our maps to accommodate the reality of the territory.

The context in which learning takes place and the context in which the learning is applied are very different terrains.

 Exploring the Territory

When we explore new territory in the real world we look at maps, because they provide a visual representation of the terrain whether real or perceived. Learners have a key role in interpreting and transferring what is being taught in ways that create meaning in their own context. Maps help us to create context, and that understanding of the environment helps us to redefine perspectives and identify alternative routes.

For facilitator’s learners maps provide essential clues about the issues that may present barriers or inhibit application of the skill or knowledge, this understanding enables us to explore those roadblocks and suggest alternative strategies to navigate the journey.

 I am Here!

So, here are two simple techniques to help you to identify where learners are now in relation to the content and record the journey navigating all of the roadblocks until they reach where they want to be:

 Meaningful Maps

Create a mind map from the key content that you will explore during the course, to show learners where they are now and where they are going. You may also include topics such as “ways in which the facilitator can enhance my learning” and/or “How others can best support me during the training event”. Make sure the map is visible. Cover the tables with white paper table cloths (available from supermarkets) and provide a selection of coloured pens for each individual. Introduce the session by explaining your map, and invite delegates to replicate the map on the tablecloth adding their thoughts about where they are now in relation to the content, and identifying any special circumstances or potential barriers that they would like to explore. Invite feedback and encourage delegates to continue to build their maps exploring the relationship between ideas, adding ideas of their own and expanding upon these.

 Traffic Lights

Purchase some card (cut to A5 size) in the colours red, amber, and green. Stable them together with the green card on top, followed by amber and the red at the bottom of the pile. Invite learners to use the cards to reflect at the end of each module, recording on the GREEN card the ideas that they can use immediately, using the AMBER card for ideas that they are not confident to implement or wish to park for the future, finally the RED card is used to record bad practice, or things to avoid. This method is particularly useful in helping learners to consider content in their own context, it enables the facilitator to identify misunderstandings and explore hesitation. It can also provide an effective close to the workshop.

Remember learners have their own maps as they arrive; your job is to help them to navigate the territory creating new maps, acquiring skills and knowledge to enable them to complete their journey and repeat it.

 The map is not the territory The agenda is not the course The evaluation feedback is not the value

You will learn valuable techniques for increasing the effectiveness of your training on our Exceptional Trainer Course:


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