For Khalid Al – Shammeri and the dream team in Kuwait
Three challenges confront designers of learning materials and those who deliver training. Challenge one is linked to interest, how to turn on the learning machine and ensure that the learner is motivated to rehearse or apply the techniques. The second challenge is related to creating memories: and processes that prompt learners to identify appropriate things and to respond in appropriate ways. The third is to ensure retention to ensure the learning is the cause of the organization and fixation in long term memory.
I recently designed and delivered a course entitled “enhancing personal productivity” for an organisation in Kuwait and of course, during the design stage I encountered all of the challenges related to learning end retention mentioned above. Once a training course is designed it is a responsibility of the trainer who through delivery creates a memorable experience for the learners but the trainer does not have sole responsibility – the interaction, humour, sharing, challenge and honesty of the learners plays a huge part in ensuring that learning event is successful.
So, memorable training events are fuelled not only by the trainer but by the extent of learner curiosity, commitment, and engagement. I recently had the pleasure of facilitating an event in Kuwait that has imprinted such a positive powerful memory on my brain, to the extent I wish I could capture it and bottle it but then I guess it wouldn’t be a special memory any more.
As you might expect from a course entitled enhancing personal productivity, there was a focus on goals and the behaviours, habits and personal disciplines that support the achievement of those goals. There was a recurring theme throughout where we used birds as a metaphor to analyse behaviour.
This theme was deliberately chosen when I was designing and was repeated in different ways over the three days. Why was it a success?…..
Imprinting – Learning From Birds
Events in a bird’s life can trigger what can be called insight or recognition that leads to the bird’s further learning. When a bird learns something very fast because a certain event occurring at the right time manages to trigger the learning process, it’s called imprinting. An example of this:
Soon after hatching, if baby ducklings see a cardboard box pulled by a string passing by, they’ll follow the box as if it were their mother, as the ducklings grow up, they’ll continue following the box. They just do not catch on… These ducklings have been born with the instinct to follow the first thing that passed by. The moving cardboard box appeared and triggered the response of following the box. The ducklings consequently imprinted on the box. Strange how Mother Nature found it easier to program the ducklings to “follow the first moving thing passing by” than to “be smart enough when you’re born to be able to recognize your mother.”
When presenting content during training we are interested in the creation of memories, of different kinds for different purposes, we want to make some memories durable, able to last for a long time, for a goal setting training course we want to make some memories transient or open to change. We are also interested in making some memories readily accessible so that they are available for repeated use in the course of the day. For a course focused on GOALS – we want to avoid duckling behaviour by imprinting memories that encourage our learners to follow the first thing that passes by.
Thanks for the Memory
A trainer’s reward comes from seeing the group support each other until as individuals spread their wings and fly towards their goals. The individuals involved in this course fully embraced that responsibility and I was presented with a parting gift, a poem, created by a motivated learner……and providing me with a magical memory…thanks Guys!
We had so much of fun,
Three days of shining sun,
It’s nice to tell the truth,
The course was going smooth.
You touched all our hearts inside,
Being the guide we don’t mind,
We came across so many things,
Made us grow feathers and wings.
I like the way she puts things together,
This makes you remember it forever.
Her teaching style is one of a kind,
We really don’t know where to find,
Such a person like Joy.
Her teaching is fun to enjoy,
We wish you the best of luck,
While travelling you don’t get stuck!
Khalid Al – Shammeri