Saturday, 11 March 2017

Making Corporate Training Easy

In the course of my career, I've had to develop and deliver a lot of training. Whether it was instructing new salespeople on how to use the till when I was in retail, teaching evaluators the ways to assess a customer contact in the world of call quality, or educating users on the software I support, I've always sought to make the training as easy to understand as possible.  The academic approaches I was taught in college focussed a lot on the need for clarity and simplicity in instructional design, and honestly it seems pretty much axiomatic that clear and easy training would facilitate the learning process.

Lately, I've begun to doubt that assumption.  Over the last few years, Derek Muller of Veritasium has posted a number of videos about his work in the area of learning and video design.  He discusses Khan Academy and, in the context of his own research, questions their effectiveness:  

You can and should watch the video.  But the key point here was that transfer of training was actually greater when the videos weren't quite as "clear, concise or easy to understand".

Now, when I saw the video, I didn't generalize it beyond the specifics of science education. But Derek's more recent videos have made me reassess that failure.  On his Veritasium channel, he recently posted "The Science of Thinking".

Again, you really should watch the video.  Here he talks about the two systems of thinking.  Having read Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow", that wasn't really news to me.  But then, on his second channel, Derek talked about some of the challenge this presents to him as a content creator.

That was when the lightbulb went off.  I've had a great deal of challenge with transfer of training.  Is part of the problem due to the clarity of my training?  Do I need to seed it with a little confusion?

This is something I'm going to need to explore.