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  • The Technology Guy 20:12 on November 23, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    How important is the experience? 

    I had the most interesting conversation with a psychologist the other day. Never actually thought that it would be possible without them sending me home with a bottle of pills.  “There, there, take three of these a day and the worlds financial worries will just fade away”…..  World’s financial worries? Did I miss something? Has there been a problem? Interestingly it has been almost impossible not to see a single TV broadcast or turn on the radio without hearing doom and gloom. You would never consider there is a downturn in my office, seems like everyone has decided now is the time to get highly focused learning.

    The psychologist told me a fascinating story after we had been talking for quite some time about experience and learning. She crashed trolleys in the supermarket with another shopper who was laden with a small child and lots of shopping. A child’s bag of toys fell off the bottom of the trolley and she stopped, gathered up all the debris from the accident and started to place it back under the trolley for the other shopper. The small child watched her with wide eyes, so she said, “hello, what’s your name”. The child never answered but her brother who had now just arrived on the scene said “Michelle and she is a pain”.  The boy was dressed in a Superman outfit and had been seen earlier running up and down the aisles with his arm outstretched above his head and yelling “Superman”.

    The psychologist turned to him and said, “that’s a nice outfit, what’s your name”. The response came with a snarled face and look of bewilderment, “ Superman, silly”.

    But of course, who else.

    Our conversation underlined the discussion about believing in yourself. If you believe you can do something, then you will probably achieve it. If you have the confidence to know you will succeed, you probably will. Look around yourself and tell me if any of the people who always say it is ‘too hard’ or ‘an issue’ or ‘just too much trouble’, actually succeed and move forwards. Whilst the salesman who goes out with the confidence to make a sale, often comes home with an order.

    Often I hear the four stages of learning referred to. Starting with Unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and finally unconscious competence. It is said you can only reach the final stage with experience.

    Maybe a different use of the word ‘Experience’?  In this case they are referring to having had time to use the learning over and over to perfect its use without thought? Bit like learning by rote?

    However today’s modern instructional design thinkers will tell you there are different types of experience. Examples are using experience to create a deep association for memory? Or using an alternative experience to gain an understanding of how process works without actually using the process we wish to learn.

    Alternative uses of experience to get the brain to awaken to learn something, is an alternative method of learning, one so powerful that those who actually go through this process find it hard to believe they have learned so much while doing something they did not expect.

    In the current financial turmoil it is time to focus our learning on gaining higher efficiency for our training budgets and ensure our staff, all of our staff, are working together for a single focussed goal. Maybe using experiential learning as a starting point.

    The alternative of course is to wait for Superman to come and sort it all out for us!



    • Józefa Fawcett 08:06 on December 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Love your posting and your way of writing, clearly makes the point that many of us can relate to….

      Following on from your reference to experiential learning, and in the words of the now renowned Reg Revans:

      “There is no learning without action”

      However, I would go one stage further and say:

      L = A + R

      Learning equals Action plus Reflection

      Józefa Fawcett

  • The Technology Guy 06:04 on November 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sexy massage,   

    Rolex, Shirt and Sexy Massage – Shanghai Shopping 

    Our trip to Shanghai to attend and keynote at Learning Enterprise China, contained many funny moments, to recall them all I could probably blog for the next month and we were only there for five days…

    I was surprised at the lack of begging on the street, my memories from working in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Guangdong many years ago is one of many children always pulling at your coat, begging for money. Never let one carry your bag as they always asked ‘hey mister, carry your bag, one dollar’, the stories you hear are that if you do, they will take off very fast and you will never catch them, or see your bag again.

    What I did see in Shanghai were many people on street corners that as you approached them would pull a horrible old worn out mobile phone from their pocket and try to sell it to you. Why on earth they would think a ‘Rich Westerner’ (I think that is how they see western people) would want a second hand phone that looked like a group of Chinese had played football with it, I have no idea. They were polite though and when you said ‘no thanks’ they put it back in their pocket and often gave you a toothless grin.

    I mentioned in an earlier blog some of the others who were at ‘Enterprise Learning China’, the reason for my trip, they included a very funny Roger Olsen from the USA and Tim Neill from TNA in the UK.

    Tim went shopping on our second day, all by himself down to the metro and off to the ‘old’ part of the city to taste the ‘delights’ of China.

    The story he told on his return he will dine out with for many years to come..

    Walking the streets considering his presentation to the learning community Tim was approached by a very enterprising lady. (he did omit to tell us any more about this lady, so you have to make your picture in your mind) She had grabbed him by the right arm and asked him ‘you want to buy Rolex?’

    Tim thanked her very much and politely said no, she persisted and Tim persisted in his polite manner. After the third of fourth attempt she gave up. Two minutes later she was back on his right arm. ‘ you want to buy shirt?’ Now she had a handful of shirts in many colours. No thank you declined Tim, still not losing patience. ‘Many colours and sizes?’ Tim now mildly agitated thanked her and politely said no and she went away.

    Just a moment later she was back on his right arm, ‘ you want to buy tie’. Tim now at the end of his patience said a single ‘NO’ and she went away.

    Relieved, Tim continued down the street a few paces until all of a sudden she was now on his left arm, no bags, no product, sidled up very close and asked Tim, ‘you want sexy massage?’

    For those of you who know Tim Neill from TNA, you can only imagine his face. I for one would like to have had a camera and been a fly on the wall.

    This was China, very enterprising with many products in stock!

  • The Technology Guy 04:57 on November 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Laughing all the way from China 

    I have spent the last week in the company of Roger Olsen, Tim Neill (TNA) , Sally-Anne Moore and other well known faces from around the world of learning at ‘Learning Enterprise China’ in Shanghai.

    I have had a week of non stop fun, belly laughing most of the time and meeting some very interesting people in the learning world in China.

    Roger and myself were ‘International Keynote’ speakers.  Very grandiose. With Tim the ‘big’ speaker on day two. (Although we were worried from his shopping trip, see Rolex, Shirt and Sexy Massage, that he may not make day two)

    A number of other well know UK and European ‘players’ in the e-learning market were on the bill to attend but sadly never appeared, cancelling at the last minute, blaming the economy, which made the expo part of the conference slightly light on International Experts.

    For those of us who were there I can certainly tell you it was a trip worth making, even of the flight lasts forever.  One of those trips that you get on the plane, have a drink, have a meal (if you can call it a meal), watch a film, have a nap…  Then wake up and find you are only just half way there.

    The conference was of very high quality, the delegates from the top Chinese International companies and many with huge staff numbers. It is going to take a lot of following up but the Chinese are serious about learning and making change. If you had considered making the trip and never did so, don’t miss this one next year.

    The fun started from the moment Tim and I  landed at a new, super huge airport at Pudong. The limo driver was nowhere to be found but thousands of others milling around hoping to earn a quick buck. After our first interesting phone call in very broken Chinese with the driver, whose total English could be written on the side of a postage stamp, with our collated Chinese written on the other side, we found he was at the wrong terminal. I am not sure if it was downhill or actually uphill from there….

    Great hotel, great service, magnificent food and a wonderful time in Shanghai with full marks to GL Events for putting on the first Shanghai Learning event. 

    See my two other blogs on Shanghai, ‘Rolex, Shirt and Sexy Massage’ and ‘ A night in Shanghai’.

  • The Technology Guy 17:05 on November 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Does money change your life? 

    Arnold Schwarzenegger was heard to say that money does not change your life.

    He can feel no difference now it is claimed he has $50m from when it was claimed he only had $48m

    Wishful thinking!

    • michal 19:17 on November 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

  • The Technology Guy 17:02 on November 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: forgetting, , memory   

    What did you have for lunch? On Jan 5th 2004? 

    As a specialist in Instructional Design, every so often something happens in the learning world that makes me sit up and think about the process of learning I have employed.

    My thanks are due to Jessica Marshall, a science writer based in Saint Paul Minnesota, who in a recently published article highlighted me to some research into a fairly new condition known as ‘hyperthymestic syndrome’.  This syndrome is where people have an affliction of remembering everything.

    Yes: an affliction? Trainers would love everyone to remember everything they say, but these poor people remember every detail of their life in extraordinary detail.

    The most well know case is of a woman who is only known as AJ, mention any date back to the 1980’s and she can picture where she was, what she was doing, and what was in the news on that day. The problem she has, is one we never really consider, she does not know how to forget.

    Research is being carried out on a number of subjects in California all suffering from the same issues. Initial tests have found that she was able to correctly identify the days and dates of every Easter for the last 24 years and exactly what she was doing on those dates. Results were verified against diaries she keeps.  Even worse for her she can also identify the day of the week for any date since 1980 and the correct dates for most unforgettable events such as the date of the ‘Who shot JR?’ episode of the TV soap Dallas.

    The root of the issue appears to be in the way people with hyperthymestic syndrome encode the data they see and hear carrying out the tasks of encoding memory at a much higher level and in much more detail than most of us.

    There are many items most of us just forget as we do not need them any longer, such as the phone number of the house you lived in 10 years ago, what you had for breakfast last Thursday etc.

    What is interesting is the lifestyle and other comparisons these sufferers have, a number of the test group also have some form of obsessive disorder. More than one has a collection of TV guides going back many years and they also keep extraordinarily detailed diaries going back 30+years. So the questions being asked now is not if these people know how to encode the data more effectively than most but if they are just much better at recalling information.

    Michael Anderson at the University of St Andrews has the opinion that AJ may actually have some disorder in unconscious control mechanisms that normally block the recovery of memory. This is a fascinating study that when they know more may open up so many channels for us to understand how people can control what they will or will not commit to long term memory…  or is everything is in long term memory and we just don’t know how to control the non-exclusion of this information.

    We have spent much time working to improve our minds, the invention recently of the ‘Brain Game’ to keep our minds active is playing a big part in helping many improve performance and speed of using the brain.

    Just remember that next time you can’t remember where you are supposed to be today, or what time your next appointment is, your brain may actually doing you a favour.

    In the meantime for this group undergoing research it’s not learning how to remember, but learning how to forget.

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