Updates from October, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • The Technology Guy 14:34 on October 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , love triangle, Machine, speed   

    Dr. Woods and his wailing machine 

    Some years ago I attended a specialist medical practitioner’s office in London. His speciality was identifying allergies and he did this with the most interesting item of test equipment I had ever seen.

    He evaluated my sensitivity by connecting a stainless steel tube to my big toe and another similar tube to my thumb, both connected with a wiring harness to a machine with flashing lights and a big dial. Then he placed a small quantity of the material he believed I might be sensitive to in a glass vial and dropped it into a small receptacle in the machine. Pushing buttons and turning knobs, the machine began to wail and the needle on the dial danced madly up and down the scale. I could not tell the difference in the wailing between water and whisky.


    We laughed all the way home and have dined out many times on the story of the allergy clinic. While I found out I was sensitive to an excess of alcohol, I would have paid twice the amount to see someone else’s report to compare the findings, or see if it was generic.


    I often wonder about Dr Wood’s machine ( I now know it was an early version of the Vega test machine) could be used, in today’s turbulent world, to measure other things – like performance, for instance? How great would it be to hook a delegate to some machine, place the intervention (either in note form, maybe a video or on a disk) into a machine and measure the outcome before spending any money trying to deliver it. The more the machine wails the better the result…

    Evaluation of performance has become one of those subjects that every conference discusses. Both HR and L&D people have differing views on the importance of performance and methodology of the evaluation. In many of the conferences I have attended in the last six months, the discussion ends up trying to define what performance is and how you recognise it. Some even try to assess the best way to deliver it, as if it was a commodity.

    I believe that performance is best improved through the training department, using every available technique we have in the box: coaching, mentoring, training and learning.

    The rapid development of e-learning has become one of the latest ‘fads’ to try to deliver learning (not training) in a quicker manner, where speed to the end user and price per moment of learning has pushed aside the importance of quality and instructional design.


    The age of speed has been with us for some time. We have far less patience than the generation that preceded us.  Look at the differences between generations X and Y. Look at their expectations, tolerance levels and patience towards speed of technologically delivered services and you will see how fast we expect results in everything and how much it has speeded up as the generations evolve.


    There are two guaranteed sales in the world today: the cheapest on the market, and the most expensive. Everything in the middle has to make excuses for why it is cheaper than the competition but still worth buying, or, why it is more expensive than the competition and the reasons why it is worth paying more.

    The bottom end of the market is the one that will have most long-term affect on training. To make it ‘cheap’ and ‘quick’ you have to cut out something. The old love triangle still is in play:


    You can only have two of the points of the triangle.


    ·      If you want it quick and cheap, you can’t expect high quality.

    ·      If you want it fast and in high quality, it will cost more.

    ·      If you want quality but want it cheap, don’t expect it quickly.


    Rapid Development tools are trying to break this triangle that has been accepted for so many years: offering cheap, quick e-learning and purporting to be high quality. How would these courses score on the ‘Dr Wood wail test’?

    We want to reduce the time to market and we want to maintain the high quality and efficiency of the courseware we are delivering and, of course, we claim to have no budget. 

    If you, like me, are not sure if there are answers, you could always buy one of the machines I may be offering early next year that wails when you have a good intervention – or maybe the more the delegate wails, the better the result!

    • ThaNorwegianDude 18:10 on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You are correct.”

    • ShadowwDaniel 01:06 on February 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Yup. This scope lets you measure lots of different types of things, such as mean voltage, peak to peak voltage, frequency etc. and it lets you do it on both channels at once.

  • The Technology Guy 07:35 on October 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , silly statements, thoughts   

    Here is one to make you think 

    You have a box of ‘bits and pieces’ and after using some items from the box you are left with just one item…

    Would it be a ‘bit’ or a ‘piece’

    • Julesd Dable 09:23 on October 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Bits are less importnant than pieces semantically… IMHO

  • The Technology Guy 23:28 on October 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , water   

    Water water everywhere… 

    I may have found the perfect learning tool  WATER


    Some facts about water:


    Up to 60 percent of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water.  About 83 percent of our blood is water


    To remain healthy, an adult must drink 8ozs of pure water  for every two waking hours.

    Although a person can live without food for more than a month, a person can only live without water for approximately one week.


    A 2% drop in body water can trigger short-term memory loss.

    75% of the earth is covered with water. There are 326 million cubic miles of water on earth.

    The average person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water each day. During medieval times a person used only 5 gallons per day. It takes 2 gallons to brush your teeth, up to 7 gallons to flush a toilet, and about 25 gallons to take a shower.


    Dr. Masaru Emoto has opened up an exciting scientific frontier about the effect our words can have on our life. His latest explores how the vibration and resonance of our words can change our life by transmitting the positive energy where it is needed inside us. Dr. Emoto’s latest book filled with trademark water crystal photographs, The Miracle of Water,  looks at how sensitive and receptive water can be in the presence of positive and negative thoughts. During his research, he noticed that the most beautiful and symmetric crystals formed when the water was exposed to the words love and gratitude while deformed or lopsided patterns appeared following the phrases you idiot and you can’t do it.


    Receptive water? 


    As  60% of the fat free mass of the human body is made of water, could we prepare this water before we drink it to contain not just positive thoughts but actual knowledge?


    At this stage I would not blame for thinking I have already had too much to drink or gone completely mad.  I write this well before Christmas. Actually I am typing this at 8am on a Sunday morning, so no drink at all, not even the morning coffee yet!


    Have a look at the website http://www.h2omwater.com


    Om?  Om is a sacred syllable that is considered to be the greatest of all the mantras, or sacred formulas. Used in meditation the syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m.

    H2Om water with intention’ is the world’s first interactive natural spring water. Infused with the power of positive energy through words, music, colours, symbols and you.


    What is Water with Intention?


    Designed to inspire you, they claim each bottle of H2Om promotes positive thinking, and positive energy for people and the planet. 


    Their  trademark slogan “Think it while you Drink it”® is designed to inspire us to use the positive words on the label as the driving force in creating our intention.


    Their vision for H2Om is to spread positive energy, inspire people to visualise amazing possibilities in their lives, and carry those vibrations throughout the world. Of course while drinking their water!

    But that’s not all, they don’t just print positive words on the label, they play music and positive speech to the water while they bottle it. They call it VIBRATION HYDRATION™.


    They claim, “The final energetic frequency is the power of thought. Your ability to connect to the water, create your own intention, and literally, Drink the vibration inspired and supported by the words on the label. As you drink, take a moment to use the words, colours, music, and vibrations as the driving force behind your own intention! Set your world in motion, then watch as the law of attraction goes to work for you.


    There is obviously much research needed in this area, if as they claim we can hear and feel the vibrations added to the receptive water, while it was bottled, as we drink it. If we could charge the receptive water with the correct words and information, all we would need to do to learn would be to drink. Simple technology of the future. Could you imagine the bottle of Microsoft Word water, drink and know how to type a letter.

      My thoughts did turn to whether this may be long or short term memory and if the size of your bladder had any bearing on how much memory retention of what was contained in the water. I decided not to go there.

    Although water with VIBRATION HYDRATION™ is not free, (About US$1.50 a bottle) it may be a very cheap source of high tech learning for the future.  


    Maybe the Holy Grail of finding something for free should turn its efforts to finding something relatively cheap instead. Maybe we stop looking for the Goblet, but rather what goes in it.

    By the way, it comes with free shipping in California! Where else?


    For the totally sceptical amongst  you, you can sleep without worry tonight as vendors like myself still remain in the marketplace willing to offer you other technological solutions that come in either a download or on a disc, also with free shipping from £20.

  • The Technology Guy 13:26 on October 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dancing, , ,   

    Dancing in the moment 

    I always remember meeting a man named Doug Malouf. It was at an ASTD conference back in the ’90s. At that time, I thought I was a great trainer and presenter. He changed my life by opening my eyes to what I was really doing as a trainer, instead of what I wanted to be – a training facilitator.

    From the moment he walked on stage he had my attention. When he left I was satisfied, but wanted more. He was funny, he was entertaining he had my full attention. I sat after he finished and asked myself one simple question.. “How did he do that?” I had a head full of new ideas and a book full of writing I had scrawled so fast, I had trouble reading it.

    Ask yourself a question before you begin every course: If this group of students go home today and say they had a bloody great time, what would have happened and how will you have achieved this?

    “Listen up,” I shouted at a conference. The room fell silent as I began a presentation five minutes early and whilst still backstage using a microphone. People were still trying to take their seats and choose the best view. I said “Don’t sit down, stay standing, and if you are sitting comfortably then please stand up for a moment.” It was a room of professional e-learning developers. I asked two questions: “If you have never facilitated a classroom-based training course using a controlled set of pre-designed interventions, or have no idea what I am talking about please sit down.” And then…”If you have never sat and completed any e-learning course that you or your company has not designed, please sit down.”

    At that point, of the 175 people in the room all bar a handful were sitting down. I was astonished and have repeated this around the world with the same result.

    Being a trainer in today’s world is being a facilitator, able to move with the crowd and change the material on the fly to meet the need. The training psychotherapist in my family (my wife) calls it “dancing in the moment.” The rules of the chalk-and-talk educator of the past have changed. The more we move to new media the more we have to change our training ways and views.

    To dance in the moment is to know your subject so well that you can design your course not as training but as explorative learning. Imagine this: You stand up and begin to present your session. Everyone looks eager and awake, eyes are shining. Everyone is ready for your very first word. You start to talk, all seems great. You like the sound of your own voice, so why shouldn’t everyone attending? Five minutes in and a few eyes are glazed, the light fixtures and the sweets in the dish on the table have become more interesting than you. You’re in trouble, but you have not noticed yet. So on you go, talk…talk…talk…

    At seven minutes there is a change in the group. The “manager type” in the front row is smiling at you politely. The blonde lady in the business suit has a twinkle in her eye, and the techie in the second row is completely relaxed and fully consumed in pleasure. You think, “Hey I’m getting through.
    They love me, no?” No! In fact after seven minutes, it is well documented your audience will be thinking of something else, something that is fun or is more easily palatable. What you have is not the positive feedback you so desire. It’s a message to stop talking and move on.

    Dancing in the moment?

    Dancing in the moment?

    To dance in the moment is to present for only a few minutes, and present something so thought provoking in relevant subject matter that the group are filled with questions and the need for more. Then offer the group the opportunity to use your expertise, to ask questions and explore the areas they wish to know rather than your normal, pre-designed route for teaching. Delivery in e-learning using this process is still achievable. Design a library of small scenarios and allow the user to get involved in as many as they wish.

    Dancing in the moment, requires not much new, just a change in how you do it…. If they had a bloody good time, then you were dancing…..

    As for Doug Malouf, he was one of those “ah ha” moments for me all those years ago, something that stuck and that I will always consider. If I saw him on the bill at any conference, I would be at the front of the queue.

    • John Malcom 14:48 on October 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I also saw Doug some years ago. He was from Austrailia if I remember. Has a couple of books published by ASTD, really worth the read.

      Nice to see you finally blogging Neil, been pushing you for ages…..

    • Sarah 11:30 on October 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      This is really cool! (sorry, sounding a bit unprofessional here!!).

    • Józefa Fawcett 07:48 on December 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Just discovered you on Global HRD Congress website and having read your blog post above can only say, great, fantastic and yes, yes yes to all of your comments about ‘dancing in the moment’ (thank your wife for the lovely term).

      So many conference speakers and trainers fall into the trap of loving the sound of their own voice – your comments are spot-on.


    • Sriram Subramanian 13:15 on June 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Neil –

      Just came across this post, and can totally relate to ‘dancing in the moment’. If I had a dollar / pound / rupee for everytime I wished I was so on top of my subject and material, that I could do that….

      I wanted to share with you one aspect of training that I’ve constantly obsessed over – the balance b/w PPT / slides / the trainer’s own ‘voice’, and interaction, cases, games and discussions amongst participants. When I started many years back, my own voice would predominate – now I find that I only need to say a few things, and say them right and let the class take over.

      One of the aspects of PPT slides that I’ve consciously worked on, apart from the # of such slides, is the visual appeal of slides. About 3 years back, we stopped using stock photos and started using custom drawn illustrations in our training presentations and course material. Got an immediate connect with the audience – I think it may be because stock photos are “too perfect” and somewhere, we all like a bit of imperfection – somehow seems more real. Also with illustrations, you can juxtapose objects, people, concepts in a way you can’t with photographs – eg. early man inventing the wheel, to symbolise innovation.

      Anyway, we’ve launched a stock illustrations site called http://www.doodleco.com, which has been specifically created by a training firm and takes into account the needs of the L&D community, while catering to a larger and wider design audience.

      I’d love your feedback on the same, and your support as we are still at a nascent stage.


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