Category Archives: learning styles

The Difference Between Creating Courses and Creating Courses That Sell Online

Are you creating and marketing courses teaching others your expertise? Are you helping your clients to design courses they will market and leverage to grow their business? The “teaching others” business has expanded into a 7 billion industry and the opportunity to apply your e-learning design skills in this market is enormous.

I have experienced courses, (some good and a lot of them not-so-good), interviewed the creators of courses generating 6-figure+ revenue, created 6- and 7-figure courses myself, and in the process identified the universal patterns of success.

What The Experts Who Generate 6- and 7-Figures in Online Course Revenue Do Differently:

  1. They solve a very specific problem.

Instead of “helping people grow their businesses online,” it’s “how to get 10,000 fans of Facebook” Instead of “how to become a better knitter” it’s “learn the best cast-on and bind-off for your lace projects.”

Brain research: Our attention decreases after 10 minutes of “learning”. You need to grab your learner’s attention every 10 minutes by connecting how what you are sharing solves their problem.

  1. They equip people for creating results.

Changing behavior isn’t easy. Telling is not training. You have to engage people, get them to stick with it and apply the behaviors consistently to get results.

Brain research: Focus your students on making 1-3 behavior changes to create results and your students’ chance of success is high. Increase that to 4-10 changes and their likelihood of success drops to less than 20%. Go beyond 10 things you want them to do and it is unlikely that they will implement anything.

  1. They provide a system (blueprint, step-by-step, game plan, framework, model).

Call it what you want – it’s about helping people go faster with a system for creating success over and over. People invest for speed, structure, solid results and synthesis. Help them go faster, show them how to do it, show them what you know how to do and bring all the things together that they need.

Brain Research: Content organized using a course structure that creates associations between the big ideas will increase retention by 40%.

  1. They recognize the people learn differently.

Successful courses provide options for students to get what they need in different ways.

Brain research: There are 4 primary learning styles. The majority of courses miss including appealing content for one or more of these styles.

A course can be the launching pad for a highly profitable online business if you provide an answer to the question your ideal audience is asking in a way that gets them tangible results.

I’ll be walking through the steps we use to design and launch successful online courses in a free webinar training (live and recorded):

7 Steps to Creating and Launching a Profitable Online Course
Today! June 10, 2014 at 12 pm Central
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All registrants will receive the recorded session.

 

Technique + Power + Speed = 4MAT Cycle

Where do most of us get stuck on our way to building mastery in a new skill?

Our 4MAT course creators often ask, “How do we help learners get unstuck?” We can get stuck on technique when the new thing we are trying doesn’t create the impact (power) we want or the results don’t show up quickly enough (speed).

If you use a new approach for coaching a client (technique) and it feels awkward (power) and you see no immediate change in the results of the person you are coaching (speed), it is tempting to abandon that technique and either go back to your old approach or shop around for a new one.

How can we focus on building technique + power + speed?

  • Put the new technique into practice.
  • Debrief your application. What worked? What could have been better?
  • Bring your insights into your next round of practice.
  • Repeat.

The key is to continue noticing what worked and what you could do better. The very act of focusing attention on amplifying the results you are getting in each round of practice will create power. As you continue wiring the new behavior through practice, you will gain speed.

Invitation for comment: How can you address this in the 4MAT courses you design for others?

What Made Einstein So Smart?

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The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein’s brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk. The research team’s findings show that Einstein had more extensive connections between certain parts of his cerebral hemispheres compared to both younger and older control groups.

The study, “The Corpus Callosum of Albert Einstein’s Brain: Another Clue to His High Intelligence,” was published in the journal Brain and contributed by lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University’s Department of Physics. (October, 2013)

What can we learn? It’s about balance. The use of the 4MAT model intentionally engages both the right and left sides of the brain.

How Leaders Can Improve Learning Impact

4MAT learning stylesWhen we use the word “learning”, we are talking about the taking in and making meaning of new information. By this definition, meetings, emails, product launches, conference calls, sales conversations and one-on-ones are all examples of learning. What can leaders do to improve learning?

Be aware of your own learning preferences. Your preferred way of taking in information and making meaning of new information is called your “learning style”. You likely emphasize the parts of the learning cycle you value the most. Overemphasizing one at the deficit of another can have serious side effects on communication, teaming and performance. The 4MAT Learning Type Measure® assessment tool is an easy-to-implement tool that identifies these preferences. Start a conversation in your organization about how these preferences impact performance.

Assess which parts of the cycle you are addressing and what is missing. By focusing on the four questions, you can dramatically improve learning impact in meetings, one-on-one communication and training. Lead through the four questions by asking: “Why is this important?”, “What is known?”, “How will this work?” and “If we are to be successful, what will we need to commit, to refine, to measure, to adapt?”

Focus on the learner. In our instructional certification and leadership development courses, we practice how to move through this four-part cycle in learning design, coaching, leading and managing. Consistently, one of the biggest insights gained by participants is that engagement is an internal process that begins and ends with the learner. Telling and showing aren’t enough. Learning begins with the asking and answering of a question. Questions such as “How do I solve…” or “What’s the best way to…” engage the learner in discovering the answer. Learning must be centered on the learner’s experiences and questions. Leaders and trainers must be highly skilled in eliciting these personal experiences and questions in order to engage commitment and deliver performance results.

As the former head of Shell Oil Company’s Corporate Strategy and organizational learning guru, Arie de Geus, shared, “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage”. Shifting the way learning happens in your culture may require a new set of leadership and training skills. Given the potential gain, engaging in leading the learning process should be a high priority on the agenda of every leader.

Jeanine O’Neill-Blackwell is the President/CEO of 4MAT 4Business®, a global learning and leadership development company. Her most recent book is Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley, 2012). You can experience the 4MAT Advanced Instructional Design program on June 5-6 in Bucharest, Romania. Click here to learn more.

Engage: What Leaders Should Understand About How Learning Happens

All learning includes the asking and answering of four questions. These questions form a cycle of learning. This four-part cycle applies to learning anything. You followed this cycle when you learned to ride a bike, when you learned that second language in high school and when you figured out that new software last week. Ok, maybe, you didn’t really learn that second language. However, I bet if you figured out why it would have something to do with one part of the cycle being skipped.

What happens when we learn?

Current brain research confirms that we travel a four-part cycle when we take in and make meaning of new information. We call this learning cycle 4MAT. Think of something new that you learned recently and ask yourself how you moved through this learning cycle:

Step 1Engage

Something happened and your attention is gained. You explore the question “Why?” Why should I pay attention to this? Why is it important? Meaningful? Relevant?

Step 2Share

You watch, reflect and think about this new information.  You seek out expert thinking. You explore the question, “What?” What should I know about this? What do the experts have to say? What data exists?

Step 3Practice

You move into action. You practice. You explore the question, “How?”  How is this useful? How will I apply it? How does it work?

Step 4Perform

You assess the results of your action and adjust. You do it your way. You explore the question, “If?” If I apply this, what new results will be generated? If I am to be successful in applying this, what accommodations or adaptations will I have to make for my real-world environment?

When any of the four steps of this process is skipped, learning suffers.

questions1

Jeanine O’Neill-Blackwell is the President/CEO of 4MAT 4Business®, a global learning and leadership development company. Her most recent book is Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley, 2012). You can experience the 4MAT Advanced Instructional Design program on June 5-6 in Bucharest, Romania. Click here to learn more.

4MAT Learning Styles Descriptions

Your 4MAT learning style preference refers to your preference for how you like to take in and make meaning of new information. The combination of different learning approaches shapes the behaviors of learners:

Learning Style Type One 4MAT Learning Style Type One
Prefer to take in information from a “feeling” perspective and make sense of it by “watching.” In a new learning situation, Type One learners will rely on their intuition and gut when deciding on the relevance of new information. They will take time to think things through before acting.
Learning Style Type Two 4MAT Learning Style Type Two
Prefer to take in information from a “thinking” perspective and make sense of it by “watching.” In a new learning situation, Type Two learners will rely on external data and knowledge when deciding on the relevance of information. They will make sense of new information by reflecting and thinking things through before trying out new approaches.
Learning Style Type Three 4MAT Learning Style Type Three
Prefer to take in information from a “thinking” perspective and make sense of it by “doing.” In a new learning situation, Type Three learners will rely on practicality as a guide to determining relevance. They will figure things out by playing around with new information and experimenting
Learning Style Type Four 4MAT Learning Style Type Four
Prefer to take in information from a “feeling” perspective and make sense of it by “doing.” In a new learning situation, Type Four learners will rely on intuition and own sense of what will work. They will try different approaches to determine the usefulness of the information being learned.
You can assess your learning style preferences by completing the Learning Type Measure.

Perceiving Preferences in the 4MAT Learning Styles Model: Perceiving and Processing

Two primary actions define learning: perceiving and processing. The 4MAT Learning Type Measure assesses individual learning style preferences for taking in and making meaning of new information.

  • Perceiving refers to the act of taking in information through our senses
  • Processing refers to how we make meaning of that information

By this definition, when we read an email, sit in a meeting, or talk to colleague, you are learning.

How do you prefer to take in information?
Some of us prefer to take in information experientially. “Feelers” enjoy being immersed in an experience. Feelers take in information from an “inside” place. They rely heavily on their own experience and intuition. They prefer to be personally involved in a learning experience. You will see these preferences in action in a classroom situation. Feelers like to hear and share stories. They enjoy dialogue and group activities. Are you a feeler?


Other learners prefer to take in information intellectually. “Thinkers” prefer to read, research, or learn from an expert source. Thinkers prefer to take in information from an “outside” place. They enjoy structured, well-organized presentation of information. You will see these preferences in action in a classroom learning situation. Thinkers prefer well-researched data, concepts and organized lecture. Are you a thinker?

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

From Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles: Handling “Negative” Dialogue

ENGAGE, THE TRAINER'S GUIDE TO LEARNING STYLES

Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles
Purchase your copy

Trainers often share that one of the greatest fears of encouraging dialogue is maintaining focus on the content being explored. Trainers often ask, “What if it goes off-track? What if they start to complain about things I can’t do anything about?”

The only way we can tap into the learner’s commitment to the content is to welcome the dialogue. The dialogue will tell you what the learners are committed to. In Seven Languages for Transformation: How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, authors Kegan and Lahey share, “… people only complain about something because they are committed to the value or importance of something else.” (Kegan and Lahey, 2001, p. 30). When a learners says he is upset about one thing, what he is really telling you is that he is committed to something else. It’s your job to figure out what that is. Rather than thinking about how you address the complaint, focus on the bigger message being delivered. The opposite of what we complain about is what we want. With each complaint, the learner is giving up the key to engagement—what it is he truly wants to create.

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

Perceiving Preferences in the 4MAT Learning Styles Model

The 4MAT Learning Type Measure assesses learning style preferences in how we take in and make meaning of new information.

Once we take in information, we process the information. We make sense of it. Some of us linger in reflection. “Watchers” prefer to reflect before moving into action. Watchers like to understand the information. They want to make sense of what they are experiencing before deciding how to act upon this new information. You will see these preferences in a learning situation. The watchers will hang back and observe. The will ask clarifying questions. They will be more reflective as they approach learning activities. They like to see things unfold before jumping in. Are you a watcher?

4MAT Learning Styles Model

Others prefer to jump into action. “Doers” are imagining how they will use the information you are sharing. They will be quick to move into activity, sometimes disregarding the directions. They will finish quickly. And, they will have little interest in content that doesn’t seem to be practical. Are you a doer?

In any learning experience, you will find watchers and doers. The key is to balance the needs of both simultaneously.

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

Cool People Doing Great Things with 4MAT: Dennis Kagimba Mugimba of Compassion International

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry focused on supporting the needs of children throughout the world. The Compassion International learning team began using 4MAT online courses to certify their global instructor team in 2009. Dennis Kagimba Mugimba, Child Survival Program Specialist based in Uganda, recently completed certification in the 4MAT Instructional Design Fundamentals online course.

What are you working on? How are you using 4MAT in this work?

This 4MAT training came in handy at a time when our work-team was in the preparations for rolling out the Human Performance Improvement (HPI) model to the Field staff we support in the five East African countries of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. We had drawn up some training plans for this rollout training prior to the 4MAT training. However, following the 4MAT training, we felt compelled by the knowledge we had acquired to completely overhaul our earlier plans and return to the drawing board. Everyone on our work-team as well as Management is quite pleased with the new look of Instructional Design that we have come up with – so, well done 4MAT for equipping us.

What have you discovered lately that has positively impacted the results you are creating through the learning experiences you design?

The greatest discovery during this training was the realization that even though we all learn differently because we are wired uniquely, with proper training and skill, the trainer can facilitate learning in a way that addresses the various learning styles/preferences of the learners. By the end of the training, I felt more empowered and equipped to be a better facilitator of learning. From the home-front, through this training, I also became more intentional in trying to understand how my children learn. I have realized Elizabeth likes to be given instructions, Grace-Joy prefers to be shown how to do something before she can go it alone, whereas Christina has no patience for instructions; she simply jumps into the fray!

What’s your favorite quote? Why?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Bernice McCarthy’s quote “The tension between these two ways of perceiving, feeling and thinking, is the central dynamic in learning. So the real issue in learning is how to balance being subject to our feelings with relating to our feelings as object.” is my favorite quote during the class.

The next session of 4MAT Instructional Design Fundamentals begins on October 5, 2012.