Tag Archives: 4MAT

Working with Subject-Matter-Experts to Define Learning Outcomes

Our team had the opportunity to work with the Aveda training team to design a curriculum to be used globally to train hairdressers in haircutting. To define the learning outcomes for this project, we interviewed stakeholders including customers, trainers and master hairdressers to define the four learning outcomes that would guide the instructional design process.

An interesting insight on how master hairdressers view the concept of hair design came out of the performance analysis process. Using the 4MAT performance model we share in our Leading Training Needs Analysis to Define Results: Focused Learning Outcomes Online Course, we began to unearth some of the surprising ways that hairdressers view their work. In response to one of the questions, one hairdresser described the process of cutting hair as being similar to carving a sculpture. He went on to compare haircutting to the process of sculpting a large slab of granite into a statue. He shared that when the sculptor approaches the granite, he has to see what needs to be removed to get to the desired result.

Haircutting is similar to the process of sculpting  in that the hairdresser must see the “weight” that needs to be removed tocreate the desired result in the client’s hair.

To help a novice gain competency, trainers must create an opportunity for them to “see” what the competent already see. By asking the right questions of a subject matter expert, an instructional designer can uncover the important concepts that must be conveyed in the training delivery.  The right questions led to the discovery of a powerful concept , “weight distribution”, which  became one of the core concepts shared to help novice hairdressers begin to see what master hairdressers already see.

Training design is focused on improving the skills and competency of a learner.  Observing and questioning masters, or subject-matter-experts, will help you identify what to include in your training design. Subject-matter-experts can help you identify what concepts must be valued, what content must be included, what skills must be practiced and what follow-up and support must be offered.

Train-the-Trainer Tips: 7 Ways to Organize Lecture

In the 4MAT model, lecture happens in the step called “Inform”. In our 4MAT Train-the-Trainer sessions, we invite trainers and instructional designers to evaluate what it takes to deliver lecture well. “Well-organized” consistently shows up as the key criteria we all tend to use to evaluate lectures. Learners often describe painful lectures as “wandering”, “disorganized” and “all over the place”. There are many ways you can organize lecture. In this post, we will explore 7 Ways to Organize Lecture. Before we explore how to organize, let’s reflect on “How much is too much (lecture)?” and “How long is too long?”

How long is too long?

We explored the issue of “How Long is Too Long” when it comes to lecture in a previous post. According to brain expert, Dr. John Medina, we tend to drift off in lecture after the first quarter hour:

“Peer-reviewed studies confirm my informal inquiry: Before the first quarter-hour is over in a typical presentation, people usually have checked out. If keeping someone’s interest in a lecture were a business, it would have an 80 percent failure rate.”

What trainers and instructional designers need to know about the limits of human attention :

-We tend to pay attention according to some “stubborn timing pattern”. In my experience, this pattern runs in 10-15 minute increments. Without some shift in delivery approach, learners tend to drift off.  Next to “organized”, the second most cited criteria by learners for evaluating lecture is “entertaining”. There are many ways to shift the delivery approach and increase the entertainment factor: stories, images, interactive processing, visual organizers, visual data presentation, and props all work to entertain and engage.

How much is too much?

 -Our working memory can only hold so much information. A good rule of thumb is 5 bits of information, plus or minus 2. When structuring your lecture, challenge yourself to identify the main topics and limit the total to 7 maximum. 5 is even better. Create an experience to reflect and process each of the main topics within your lecture.

Organizing Your Lecture

Once you focus the content, you can then think about how you will organize the delivery of the content. The most obvious way to organize delivery of content is by topics. For example, if you were teaching a product knowledge course, an obvious way to organize lecture would be by product categories.  There are many other ways that you can structure the organization of the information. Think about how the learner will use the information to help you determine the best way to structure the delivery of the content.

Here are 7 ways to organize lecture including examples of how this might look in a product knowledge course on  haircare products.

1. Topics-organize the training content by categories or subject

Example: The lecture is structured into “shampoos”, “conditioners” and “styling aids”.

2. Problem and Solution-organize the training content around common problems  learners face and how the content being explored provides a solution

Example:  The lecture is structured around the “5 most common complaints” customers have about their hair such as “My hair is flat.” or “My curl is frizzy.”

3. Cause and Effect-organize the training content around how specific actions create different results

Example: The lecture is organized around the causes of common hair issues and how the products work to address these issues. One cause might be “humidity” with illustrations of how some products attract humidity to produce more curl and others decrease humidity to maintain straightness of hair.

4. Pros and Cons-organize the training content by comparing and contrasting the advantages and disadvantages of one thing over another

Example: Products can be compared and contrasted to competitive products with highlights on what makes “our” product better.

5. Acronym-create acronyms to help the learner understand the structure of the content delivery and to improve retention of the information

Example: The acronymn “ESP” might be used to organize the lecture.

E-Engage the client by asking the right questions.

S-Share the right product solution, linking the product to the client’s needs based on the client’s answers.

P-Provide the client with product usage information and tips.

6. Timelines-organize the training content in past-present-future orientation.

Example: Products can be explored based on when they were introduced.

7. Visual-organize the content using a visual organizing structure such as icons or color coding.

Example:  Visual icons are introduced at the beginning of the lecture which represent the different needs of different haircare clients. The icons are used as a coding system to identify the type of clients which would find each product appealing.

What other organizing structures would you add to the list?

25 Coaching Questions for Trainers Using the 4MAT Model

coaching questionsIn our 4MAT instructional design courses and train the trainer courses, we often hear trainers share how difficult it can be to focus and sustain learner attention. Let’s explore how you can use 25 Coaching questions to focus the attention of the learner during the 4MAT Practice step. First, let’s explore why questions are important in the coaching process.

The neurons in your brain communicate with each other through electrochemical signals. These signals are triggered by incoming sensory information. What you notice and pay attention to over time shapes the neuronal connections in your brain.  In the article, A Brain-Based Approach to Coaching, Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D., shares:

“The questions you ask of your brain significantly affect the quality of the connections it makes, and profoundly alters the patterns and timings of the connections the brain generates in a fraction of a second. Now, substitute the concept of ‘attention’ for the phrase “the question you ask,” and you get the statement “Where you focus your attention, you make connections.”1

If you want to create sustained behavioral change, you must generate focused attention on the behaviors that must be executed consistently to generate the desired training result. In the 4MAT model of instruction, the third part of the learning cycle is “Practice”. In this step, the learner applies the content and the trainer moves into the role of “Coach”.

The questions the trainer asks in this step should be aimed at focusing the learner’s attention on the quality of the practice application of the content being learned in the course.  To help you increase your inventory of coaching questions, here is a list of 25 Coaching Questions you can use to focus the learner’s attention during practice training activities:

25 Coaching Questions for Trainers Using the 4MAT Model

1. What worked?
2. What could have worked better?
3. What do you notice about your application?
4. If you were your own coach, what coaching would you give yourself on this?
5. How could you turn this around?
6. What are three things you would improve?
7. What would you do again?
8. What would you not do again?
9. If you were a customer, how would you evaluate your approach? Your results?
10. What are three actions you might take to apply this with different results next time?
11. On a scale of 1-10, where is your application?
12. What would it take to move from a 5 to a 9?
13. Where are you comfortable? least comfortable?  Why?
14. What can you learn from this?
15. How else might you approach this?
16. What do you notice?
17. What could you pay more attention to?
18. What themes do you see showing up in the work of the group?
19. What differences do you notice in your application and others?
20. What one behavior (or thought) if executed consistently would make the biggest difference in your application?
21. What insights have you gained through this practice?
22. What do you think you should do first? next?
23. What would you do if it was entirely up to you?
24. If you saw someone else in this situation, what would you suggest that they do?
25. If you weren’t holding anything back, how might this look differently?

What other questions would  you add to the list?

1David Rock and Jeffrey M, Schwartz, M.D. Journal of Coaching in Organizations,  2006, 4(2), pp 32-43.

How the 4MAT Model Improves Performance

As a result of some interesting dialogue in one of our 4MAT train the trainer courses, Karen Hann, Senior Education Manager, and Denise Johnson, Performance Improvement Consultant, of Tupperware came up with a visual concept of how the 4MAT model improves performance internally and externally in an organization.

Since the 4MAT model was developed in 1979 by Dr. Bernice McCarthy, over 1 million people have discovered their learning style strengths using the 4MAT® Learning Type Measure. This is one of the most common ways that individuals are introduced to the 4MAT model-by identifying their individual learning style strengths. In the illustration below, you will see that this increased self-awareness is the launch pad for a common language that can be used  to improve teaming, communication, engagement, training, execution, leadership and coaching.

  • 4MAT creates a foundation for leadership and coaching skill development—4MAT is a simple framework for leading, managing, coaching and performance improvement.
  • 4MAT provides a model for execution—The 4MAT four-step model is a framework for getting things done. Project teams can utilize this framework to build a plan and identify potential barriers for successful execution.
  • 4MAT dramatically improves the impact of training—4MAT dramatically increases the measurable impact of instructional design and delivery by organizing the essential content around four critical learning outcomes that deliver on expected training ROI.
  • 4MAT provides a framework for engaging others—The 4-step model directly applies to planning meetings, sales presentations, coaching and marketing.
  • 4MAT builds complementary teams—Team members and leaders can use the awareness of individual strengths to assemble teams with complementary skill sets.
  • 4MAT increases self-awareness—The Learning Type Measure provides individuals with an awareness of their natural learning strengths along with concrete strategies for effectively interacting with learning styles of fellow team members. 

4MAT Train the Trainer: How to Reach Every Learning Style

In our 4MAT Train the Trainer workshops, the question is often raised of whether we should simply match the training style of the trainer to the learning style of the learners in every class. Imagine training breakout sessions formed with an invitation that sounds like, “If you are a Type Three learner, please report to Doug’s session which will focus on how you will actually apply this information with minimal dialogue and interaction. If you are a Type One learner, go to Susan’s session where we will explore personal stories related to the content and spend a good portion of our time in partner exercises. ”  While this seems like an efficient solution that would allow both trainers and learners to operate from their learning style preferences, there are two reasons that this does not work:

1-Every learner, regardless of learning style, moves through a four-step cycle when learning new information. To learn something, we must move through the complete learning cycle that engages us at a personal level, shares the necessary information, allows for practice and equips us to assess and adapt the information in the real world.

2-Our research confirms that organizations, as a whole, represent a composite of learning styles. In other words, when you look at the whole of an organization, you will find a balanced mix of  learning style preferences and hemispheric mode preferences (right- and left-brain) . Equally, if not more importantly, you will also find a balanced distribution of least preferred learning style preferences.

These two factors are critical to consider when designing learning experiences. To effectively reach every learning style, we must design with intention.

In any well-designed training program, there should be a finite number of learning outcomes with supporting learning content that delivers on each outcome.  To reach every learning style, the outcomes must be directly linked to activity choice. The activities should be chosen to allow the learners to process the necessary learning topics in multiple ways that appeal to different learning styles.  

If you were delivering a course to leaders and managers on how to effectively address performance issues, how might you vary the activities so that they appeal to all learning styles while also reinforcing the desired learning outcome? Below are some examples of training activities that appeal to all learning styles that collectively address the desired outcome of equipping managers to lead performance conversations. The number indicates the 4MAT learning style that would most prefer this type of activity.

Personal Reflections-Participants are asked to individually reflect on a recent performance issue they have dealt  with then share their stories with a partner(1)

Group Exercise-Participants collectively define what works and doesn’t work in performance conversations, based on their previous experiences (1)

Advance Organizers-A visual organizer of the content to be covered is sent out, prior to the session, which illustrates how the content and topics to be covered fit together (2)

Video of Effective and Ineffective Performance conversations-Participants view demonstrations of real-world conversations (2)

Scripting Your Conversation-Participants take a real-world conversation they need to have and develop a script, using the model shared by the trainer (3)

Practice Conversations-Participants apply the model shared by the trainer to lead a converstion using real-world scenarios (3)

Self-Assessment of Practice- Participants assess the effectiveness of their role-play using criteria provided and adapt, as needed.

Follow-Up Plan-Participants develop a 30-day plan for application (4)

Notice how each activity reinforces the desired outcome. The key to reaching every learning style lies in intentionally choosing activities and placing them in the right sequence to move learners through the complete learning cycle.

If you haven’t experienced 4MAT, you may enjoy one of our free train the trainer web classes which explain the 4MAT 8 Steps of Design.

4MAT: Interpreting the Learning Type Measure, Leadership Behavior Inventory and other assessments

The 4MAT model is a framework for understanding how people take in and make meaning of new information. The model can be applied to learning, training design, training delivery, coaching and leading. Most people discover the 4MAT model by taking one of the 4MAT assessment tools.

Each 4MAT assessment tool delivers a top-line, easy-to-digest description of the user’s style strengths. When you look deeper at the assessment profile, you will find that most users have a primary preference for one approach and a secondary preference in another. For example, a leader may have a strong preference for the 4MAT Type Four leadership approach with a secondary preference for the 4MAT Type Three leadership approach.

The primary and secondary approach descriptions combine to give a clearer picture of the individual’s approach. The illustration above shows how the combination of preferences described by the 4MAT Leadership Behavior Inventory illustrates leadership approach. Equally important to preference for a particular approach is the avoidance of another approach. 

To gain the most benefit from the assessment of style strengths, you should pay attention to the degree of focus on all four approaches. The 4MAT assessment tools are designed to foster understanding of personal strengths and deliver strategies for maximizing those strengths. A significant part of the process of maximizing strengths involves addressing potential weak areas to the extent that they may diminish the potential impact and contribution of the individual’s strengths. We refer to this as gaining a “threshold” level of skill.

The corporate 4MAT assessment tools available include the:

Learning Type Measure or LTM assesses preferences in taking in and making meaning of new information. At an individual level, this tool is helpful for understanding how you process information and how to identify your natural thinking strengths. On a team level, this tool enhances communication and productivity.

Hemispheric Mode Indicator or HMI assesses preferences for right-brain or left-brain processing. On an individual level, this is an excellent tool for understanding your preference for the two dimensions of creativity: abstract and concrete. thinking For trainers, this tool enhances awareness of what might be missing in your training design and delivery.  For teams, this tool is excellent for analyzing the creative process within the group and a great kick-off to a creative strategy session.

Leadership Behavior Inventory or LBI assesses preferences in four critical leadership approaches. On an individual level, this tool will help you understand your leadership approach’s strengths and the impact of that approach on all four learning styles present in your team.  At an organizational level, this tool creates awareness of the diversity (or predominance) of the four essential leadership approaches.

Training Style Inventory or TRSI  assesses preferences in four critical training roles: facilitator, presenter, coach and evaluator. At an individual level, this tool will help you understand your natural strengths when training others. It will also illustrate what might be missing in your training design and/or delivery. On a team level, this tool helps identify the composite training strengths of a team offering new possibilities for team teaching and colleague coaching.

How you are using the 4MAT assessment tools? Hiring? Coaching? Teambuilding? Leadership development?

4MAT Leadership Behavior Inventory (LBI): Understanding Leadership Approach

In a recent 4MAT train the trainer session, the question of “How do we convince managers that understanding how the brain works is important to everyone in the organization, not just to training and development?” To answer this question, let’s explore the value leaders will generate by understanding how learning happens and how the 4MAT Leadership Behavior Inventory assesses leadership approach.

If you are familiar with the 4MAT learning styles model, you know that there are four primary preferences related to the process of taking in and making meaning of information. Most individuals have a dominant preference in one of the four learning approaches while others have a secondary approach that is also frequently used. This means that a manager has a preferred approach and every individual on their team has a preferred approach. At times, these preferences differ greatly.

A manager’s learning style influences their approach to communicating, planning, coaching, project management, prioritizing and more. If managers and leaders are using one or two dominant information sharing and processing approaches to manage people, programs and processes, it is likely that productivity and overall effectivess of the team and the organization suffers.  For example, a senior leadership team that relies heavily on the 4MAT Type 3 and Type Four approach when communicating  will miss half of the organization with their message. The value of understanding learning preferences lies in understanding that your 4MAT learning style refers to the part of the learning process that you prefer and tend to linger in the longest. To produce optimal results, we must move through the entire learning process in our planning, communicating and learning.

When a manager or leader understands how to form and lead groups that will generate balanced thinking, results increase exponentially. Here are some of the ways that managers and leaders who understand learning styles and understand how learning happens use this information to create higher performance:

Role design-When analyzing a project or team function, a manager that has awareness of the different learning style approaches of each individual on their team will organize the work to align with the thinking strengths of each individual. This enables each individual to contribute at the highest level.

Job Placement-When hiring for a position, a manager with a strong understanding of thinking preferences will look to see if the functions required in the role align with the natural strengths of the individual. They will ask themselves, “Will this person be operating from their natural strengths the majority of the time in this role?” For example, the 4MAT research team has identified that 44% of public hospital health nurses are strongest in the Type One learning approach. This indicates a feeling and reflective approach to interacting with others with a strong disposition towards listening that would serve well in the role of caretaker.

Team Structure-Differences in style create tension. This tension is healthy when it is acknowledged and celebrated as a valuable element of the team’s diversity. For example, a strong Type 4 team member will focus on possibilities while a team member with a strong Type 2 preference will focus on probabilities. Partnering these two thinkers on a new product development project will deliver well-thought-out solutions that are innovative and likely to be successful, based on past performance.

Organizational design-The extensive research on 4MAT learning style preferences in different functional roles confirms that different thinking styles gravitate to different functional roles. For example, our research shows that the majority of entrepreneurs and strategic planners have a preference for the 4MAT Type Four learning style while the majority of bookkeepers and operations managers have a preference for the 4MAT Type 2 learning style. The differences between these functions in an organization create healthy tension and balance between possibilities and probabilities.

There are many benefits to understanding learning styles and the way that learning happens. If you want to invite leaders in your organization into this conversation, one of the most effective ways to do this is to assess their leadership approach through then lens of the 4MAT Leadership Behavior Indicator (LBI). Here is an overview of the four approaches:

The Type One leadership approach is highly collaborative, team-oriented and focused on  people.

The Type Two leadership approach is highly structured, fact-based and focused on process.

The Type Three leadership approach is highly practical, action-oriented and focused on performance.

The Type Four leadership approach is highly intuitive, adaptation-oriented and focused on possibility.

4MAT at ASTD Techknowledge: Cool e-learning tools

While many of our 4MAT friends were experiencing a storm of “historic” proportions, some of us were lucky enough to head to San Jose for the ASTD Techknowledge 2011 conference. Techknowledge is ASTD’s elearning-focused train the trainer event. On Tuesday, I led a session on designing outcome-based 4MAT elearning training designs and had a chance to connect with a great group of instructional designers, training managers and corporate university directors.

As part of the session, participants shared tools and resources being used to create elearning. Here are some highlights from the sharing session:

How to create screencasts the easy way: The 4MAT team frequently uses Screenr-it’s a no-brainer for quick screen capture. Screenr allows you to record screen movement and sync automatically audio. Great for quick, how-to videos or short web demos.

How to create avatar dialogue in minutes: One of our workshop participants, Carl, shared that he recently created a movie using Xtranormal.com. Xtranormal allows you to convert text into dialogue using pre-designed avatars and settings.  I created this  using Xtranormal in 10 minutes, using the free version of the tool:

How to stay up-to-date on rapid elearning design tools: Subscribe to the Rapid E-learning blog by Tom Kuhlmann. We love Tom-he will be joining us on our 4MATion web education calendar delivering examples of how to use Articulate to design powerful 4MAT opening activitities. Here’s a recent post by Tom with 75 Free Rapid Elearning Tools

For more elearning tools, you can visit our post from our visit to the Elearning Guild’s DevLearn.

4MAT Train the Trainer: Games and Simulations

The 4MAT model focuses on leading all learning styles through a complete learning experience. We know that each learning style may prefer to linger in one of the four parts of the 4MAT learning cycle. The Type One learning style particularly enjoys dialogue and reflection. We focus on this in the first part  few examples of Engage strategies that are effective in generating dialogue.

Below you will find a few examples of training activities that work in Engage.  The last one, “Simulations”, is often missed as powerful tool for creating shared experience. If you are thinking about incorporating games and simulations into your training more frequently, you’ll enjoy the TED video below.

Quotes

Quotes are powerful because they express an idea or concept from a personal point of view. Encouraging learners to reflect on a well-chosen quote invites deep thinking around the concepts being shared.

Example:

Share 4-5 quotes related to your course content from different authors. Invite learners to reflect on their own experience around the course content and to choose a quote that best aligns with their experience. Ask learners to share their experience and chosen quote with a partner.

Intriguing Statement

Open with a compelling statement that grabs the attention of the learner. Invite them to reflect on the statement and their reaction to the statement. Invite learners to share in small groups.

Example:

You might share a surprising statistic such as “Despite potentially fatal consequences, 7 out of 10 heart attack survivors do not maintain their commitment to lifestyle changes.”  Connect the statistic to the content and invite learners to reflect. “Change can be difficult, even when the stakes are high. Reflect on a change you have struggled to make. What factors make change difficult?”

Individual Reflection

Inviting learners to reflect on a personal experience that relates to the content being shared allows the learner an opportunity to explore what they already know about the content.

Example:

Invite learners to reflect on a recent experience related to the content. In a conflict resolution workshop, you might share something like, “Reflect on a high point in your career when you were particularly engaged in the work you were creating. What was present that contributed to this state of engagement?”

Personal Storytelling

Sharing personal stories related to the content is an excellent way to explore the knowledge the learner brings to the learning experience. Invite learners to reflect on a previous experience, related to the content.

Example:

Reflect on an experience you had on “above and beyond” customer service. Share your story with a partner.  What commonalities do you notice in your experiences?

Provocative Questions

Learning begins by seeking the answer to a question. A well-chosen question can invite reflection and draw out learner perceptions and previous experiences. Begin the session by posing a question or series of questions.

Example:

In a first-time manager workshop, you might begin with a question such as, “What inspired you to want to become a leader in our organization? What do you most hope to contribute? How has your experiences working with different types of leaders influenced your answers?”

Simulations

Games or simulated experiences are a powerful way to create a shared experience amongst learners. When you begin with a simulation, you create a point of reference for the remainder of the course content delivery.

Example:

In a workshop on accountability, a game or simulation that involves groups of 4-5 learners working to accomplish a task under challenging circumstances would illustrate the need for individual and team accountability. The remainder of the workshop could be focused on debriefing the simulation insights.

Check out the Tom Chatfield on the “7 Ways Games Reward the Brain” on TED.

 

4MAT Perform Step: Getting “Pushy” in Training

The final part of a 4MAT learning intervention is called “Perform.” This is where learner performance is demonstrated and the resulting behavior shift impact the business drivers. In the classroom or formal learning situation, this is the step in which the learner refines their practice application and prepares to go out in the real world and apply the information learned. This is also one of the most difficult steps to manage because there are so many factors that influence how the information gets implemented.

Last month, I had the opportunity to facilitate two sessions, both focused on how learning professionals define the desired ROI (return on investment) and link learning outcomes to the design and delivery process. Some of the many barriers to post-training implementation raised by the training professionals that joined me in these sessions were:

  • Buy-in of the front line manager in coaching the learning
  • Skill level of front line managers in coaching
  • Buy-in of the learner
  • Conflicting learner priorities: the learning just isn’t as important as more pressing business issues
  • Lack of trainer access to learners post-training
  • Lack of trainer’s time to follow up with learners, post-learning
  • Unclear measure of success

Much of the excitement around social and mobile learning is based in how this technology can reinforce learning and enhance implementation. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that technology can support post-learning impact:

QR Reader Job Aids

A QR Code is a two-dimensional code that is readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones. The code looks like black marks arranged in a square pattern on white background. Imagine adding QR codes to machinery parts, enabling service technicians to scan and pull up web pages with job aids on diagnosing and repairing issues. These codes could also be embedded in job aids with direct links to web pages.

Online Manager Coaching Toolkits

We have worked with clients in creating private learning portals  or “online toolkits” for managers and learners. These portals provide all the “how to” on setting up the learner for success pre- and post-learning. Imagine taking this further and pushing out daily coaching tips to front line managers through mobile learning, as a post-event follow-up.

Technology enables the possibility to push out content to learners. As learners are faced with more information, the need to push the content to them, rather than asking them to seek it out is critical.

Think push versus pull.