When organizing the confusion of principles

I had real AHA! The principle of organization is the moment of the past week that can sometimes confuse learners. Over the years, when I have taught coaches how to create specific, observable and measurable learning objectives, I have shown them the final product first. In fact, I have shown them a few final products. And inevitably, the creative process of the participants was less than stellar.

Let me provide some context.

I teach a three-stage learning objective planning process. First, we identify the main content for a lesson plan using a template I provide, based on a need assessment and consequent learning goals. Second, we determine the desired level of learning for each core content. Third, we add an active, learning-level appropriate verb to complete each learning objective.

Over the years, I have worked with the vision to help see the final product. For this reason, I have shown several written examples for the whole learning purpose (each stage is identified). I have also worked with participants to develop learning objectives for two different training topics.

I then have the participants complete the first stage of their table groups, then complete the second stage, and finally work on the third stage inversion chart.

This process usually takes half a day from start to finish.

The last time I taught this way, it was usually confusing and I had to teach it again the next day. Something had to change.

So this time I wanted to teach one stage at a time. Once all three stages are over and we have learning objectives for all two class examples and table group examples – I will show participants additional specific, observable and measurable learning objectives for other more complex topics.

It was like magic. Twenty-nine participants from six groups of tables completed all three phases to generate learning objectives, usually in half the time required.

Throughout this time I suggested having an organizational principle — showing participants what the end result should be before they start. Here’s a case in point.

Brain research has shown that in “nonsense” teaching, it is best to teach topics 1 to 3 at a time, with no familiarity to participants. In this case, it was better to teach only 1 topic (or stages) at a time. After mastering that stage, participants were ready for the next topic (or stage). The approach to that teaching had to be repeated once again for the final topic (or stage).

It is only to show that the brain knows what it needs and we as trainers need to pay attention and respect those needs. I definitely learned my lesson!

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