Remember that great work place tool called the telephone? You know, that thing with the the handle and buttons you speak into? Email is a wonderful tool and Instant Messaging (IM) is also a nice way to communicate, yet there is something about actually speaking directly to another person that is often superior.
Yes, IM can be a great way to “multi-task” when you are on an endless conference call. Email is wonderful for documenting expectations and commitments as well as sharing data.
Still, how many times have you found yourself responding to a question via Email or IM that you could have answered over the phone in a fraction of the time you spent typing, waiting for a reply, typing, waiting, etc?
Never forget the speed and clarity of personal voice.
These six words can invite chaos into the classroom. Whether you’re teaching online or in a more traditional setting, getting adults back to class after a five or ten minute break can be a challenge.
A few years ago I came up with a simple remedy. When it’s time to take a break I start a simple PowerPoint timer I created that counts down from five minutes to zero, accompanied by a song that is just under five minutes. Everyone can see how much time is remaining and when the music stops, people tend to find their seats.
You’re welcome to use, share, or modify them, just don’t try and sell them. They are free for everyone. To start the timer open the presentation and click on the first slide. It’s that simple. If you want to add more slides for a longer break, remember that only the first slide is set to begin with a click.
Humans are storytellers. Stories have been used throughout history to entertain, to inform, to provide a sense of inclusiveness in the narrative of mankind. Stories work at a very different level than pure information-sharing because they deal not just with rational thought, but also with how we feel about what we have heard. Stories are able to move beyond the barriers people create, to touch not just our minds, but our hearts.
Trying to change another person’s behavior permanently (one of the primary objectives of safety training) without obtaining their buy-in is impossible. It is true that people will change their behaviors to generally comply with mandated rules when they must (when the supervisor or the inspector is watching, for example), but when nobody is around to monitor their behavior, they often revert to how things have always been done and how their occupational culture expects them to behave, particularly if those mandates are in conflict with culturally expected behaviors. To openly go up against a traditional norm, people have to be convinced that the new behavior is a better choice and that the choice to follow it is their choice.
The key for a safety trainer, then, is to find the internal control switch in each trainee that responds to the “why should I care about this information?” question and provides the answer “because it makes sense for me to care. It may save my life some day.” Stories have the ability to do this.
Are you finding the “internal control switch” for your target audience? Are you giving them what they need to convince themselves that your message is relevant? I never tire of this subject.
E-learning is not new. It’s been around for a hundred years, only for the first 90 years we called it “radio.” Now we’ve added slides, lost the bumper music, put it online and it’s become a mystery. Suddenly everyone seems to have forgotten the power of story telling and few have been successful at making driveway moments into desktop moments. Driveway moments; those moments when stories on the radio are so compelling you stay in your car and listen.Moments when the learner really does ignore incoming e-mail, instant messaging, and the temptation to surf the web.
So leave the bullet points behind and focus on capturing what been right in e-learning for a 100 years. Focus on true connectivity.
Their dreams are more beautiful than yours. You’ll never be able to create an image of something your audience knows well, better than they can. If you ask them to imagine a wonderful dinner, you can describe the setting, the food, the drinks, but the minute you show them a picture of that dinner you’ve ruined their image, and perhaps their appetite.
So pick your images wisely and let the audience dream and imagine in those realms they know best. That’s what often makes the book, better than the movie.