Tag Archives: 4MAT

DevLearn 2010-part 2

In our 4MAT Train the Trainer courses, trainers often share that the Image step is one of the most difficult steps to nail in the 4MAT model. It is challenging to simplify content into a compelling image. At DevLearn last week, I was interested to see how Patti Shank approached visualizations in her breakout session titled “Getting the (Complex) Picture with Visualizations”.

Why Images? Patti summed up the power of images: they are concise, they reveal what is hidden, they illustrate complex relationships and they are generally more engaging than words. When choosing the appropriate visual, Shank recommends:

1-Begin by asking the question, “What question am I answering with this visual?” Articulate the question before you seek to find the right visual answer.

2-Answer the question, “What relationship am I trying to illustrate?”

Is the relationship of the data spatial? chronological? conceptual? qualitative?

Should I use a diagram? chart? map? relationship web?

Is the interface static? interactive? animated?

3-Look for examples of visualizations that might work to show the relationships.

Shank shared many examples of images in her session that could serve as inspiration. One of the most powerful was the video, “The Civil War in 4 Minutes”. The video is displayed in the Lincoln Library and quickly tells the story of the Civil War.  If you watch the entire video, you will see how the context is created using the visual cues. There is much that can be learned the simplicity of how this visual story is told.

Here are a few more examples to get the creative juices going:

The power of context when presenting data can be seen in this TED video featuring David McCandless. David’s blog is worth a tour for visualization inspiration.

“The National Debt Road Trip” uses simple graphics and a road trip metaphor to tell the story of growing national debt. The road trip metaphor illustrates context brilliantly and visually.

Live from DevLearn 2010

Live from DevLearn 2010

The ELearning Guild produces an annual conference for elearning designers, DevLearn. Our team headed out to lead a couple of learning sessions and discover what’s new on the edge of elearning.  Here’s some interesting ideas shared during Day 1:

7:15 am Discussion on ROI

I was invited to lead a session on defining and measuring ROI in e-learning. I learned that there are some passionate e-learning folks who will get up for a 7:15 session to discuss metrics. One of the big themes of this conversation was a move from the term, “ROI”, to the term, “ROE”. “ROE” being return on expectations. What do the stakeholders expect? How do you narrow those expectations and clearly define the scope of work?

Keynote with John Seeley Brown, author of Push

The twitter dialogue (#dl10) that is  going on during this entire event connects the attendees and gives everyone a good sense of what is interesting . Kind of intimidating to a speaker, you can be “tweeted” off the island. The conference app was created using  Event Pilot.

Here are some big ideas being tweeted and re-tweeted on Brown’s presentation:

-Every 2 days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003. This is the context we live in today.

-There is a huge shift away from collecting knowledge assets, referred to as “stocks” as competitive advantage. The new competitive advantage is anticipating and creating on the edge of where the information is being created. Think social spaces for collaborating and creating together.

Mark Oehlert-Social Learning Camp

Mark and I served on an ASTD speaker selection committee a few years back. He designs learning for the Department of Defense. Check out his blog. For DevLearn, Mark created an online message board on social media. The online tool he used to create it, http://www.linoit.com is free and could be a cool add-on tool to online class management or collaboration.

BJ Schoen 25 Mobile Learning Tools in 60 Minutes

BJ quickly ran us through 25 tools we should be aware of in building a mobile learning strategy. Here is a link to his slide presentation. These tools can extend the learning out in the final 4MAT step, Perform. 

Green Screen Video on a Budget

John Gillmore and Andrea Stone from the University of Oklahoma shared how to do green screen video production on a budget. Think cut-out video of a live instructor super-imposed on any background. Here’s a wiki they created with all the how-to.

Great learning community here at DevLearn. Even the conference hotel Starbucks is getting  into the power of sharing.

Lecture: How long is too long?

In our 4MAT train the trainer live and web classes, we facilitate an exercise where each of the four learning style groups gives examples of painful learning situations particular to their style.  There is only one painful learning situation that is common to all learning styles: boring lecture.

We all recognize that boring lectures are painful, because we’ve all experienced the pain. As trainers, we want our audience to be engaged and we are constantly looking for ways to avoid being that boring trainer. This explains why two of the most frequent questions we get asked regarding lecture are:

-How do you make lecture interesting?

-How long is too long?

On his blog (which we love) Dr. John Medina shared the following:

“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 happens at the 10-minute mark to cause such trouble? Nobody knows. The brain seems to be making choices according to some stubborn timing pattern, undoubtedly influenced by both culture and gene. This fact suggests a teaching and business imperative: Find a way to arouse and then hold somebody’s attention for a specific period of time.”

There are two points at which we naturally tune in during a presentation: the beginning and the end. Why? At the beginning, we are checking in to see if this is going to be interesting. We go to sleep in the middle and then wake up at the end to find out what we need to do and where the snacks are located.

If you want to keep attention high, you need to shift gears every 10 minutes or so. When you do this the attention remains higher throughout the entire presentation.

In the next blog post, we’ll explore some ideas for increasing attention in lecture. Stay tuned.

4MAT Image Step: Using Metaphors to Create Training Impact

Many train the trainer programs encourage the use of games that serve as metaphors for the content being learned. Why and how does this work to enhance learning? For most people, metaphors are seen as a device to creatively articulate some idea. Poets, musicians and creative storytellers are often perceived to be the masters of metaphor. On the contrary, we are all quite masterful at using metaphors.

In Metaphors We Live By, authors George Lakoff and Mark Johnson share, “…metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.”1

We think in metaphors. Lakoff and Johnson illustrate brilliantly the many ways we think in terms of metaphors:

We think of time as money2:

“How did you spend your time today?’

“There was just not enough ROI on my time on that project.”

“You need to budget your time wisely.”

We think of an argument as a container3:

“That argument has holes in it.”

“Your argument won’t hold water.”

As trainers, we need to understand that a difference in metaphor will create a difference in understanding and approach. For example, many people perceive conflict as a “battle” to be won:

“I’m prepared for battle.”

“I’m going to take him down.”

“He won’t know what hit him.”

What if that metaphor were shifted? What if conflict were viewed as a creative process? as a collaboration? as a dance with each party taking turns leading? How might that shift the way we prepare for, approach and resolve conflict? A shift in the metaphor we use to understand, shifts the way we think and they way we act.

As trainers, the metaphor is a powerful tool for understanding the concepts that guide the learner’s understanding and approach. If we want to shift behavior toward a desired outcome, we must identify what metaphor will best guide the thinking and action of the learner. In the 4MAT model, the Image step creates an opportunity for the trainer to explore and, if necessary, shift the metaphors learners use to understand and approach the learning content.

Imagine that you are leading a workshop for department managers on the strategic planning process. Which of the following visual metaphors would you use to create a shared understanding of the process you are leading the group through?

Telescoping spyglass-illlustrating how the individual, team, department and division objectives must be integrated and focused on the long-range vision

Mason jar with rocks, pebbles and sand-illustrating how we must allocate space for the big initiatives (rocks), then secondary initiatives (pebbles). Otherwise, all of our resources (the space in the jar) are consumed with low impact initiatives which generate minimal return (sand).

Pie-illustrating that there is a limited budget and limited resources (pie). Each department’s allocation of budget (slice of the pie) will be determined based on the merits of plans submitted.

What metaphors have you used in training design and delivery to shift thinking?

1Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark. 1980. Metaphors We Live By Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, p. 3.

2 Ibid, p. 7.

3Ibid, p 92.

4MAT Train the Trainer: 6 Activities for the Perform Step

In the 4MAT model for training design, there are four parts of the learning cycle that the trainer leads the learner through. In the fourth part of the cycle, Perform, the trainer is focused on building the assessment and adaptation skills of the learner.  Let’s take a look at what is happening in this step:

4MAT model: perform

Source:  McCarthy and O’Neill-Blackwell, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks, ASTD Press, p 25.

In Perform, the trainer invites the learner to assess the practice application which occurred in the previous step, Practice. The learner is assessing and adjusting and the trainer is guiding this process. Activities that encourage the learner to assess, refine and adapt the content being learned are appropriate for this part of the training design.

Here are some examples of activities that fit well in Practice:

1. 10-10-10
Objective: Planning activity focused on implementation of the learning in the next 10 days, 10 weeks and 10 months.

2. “Co”+ “Labor”=Collaboration
Objective: Learners will devise an action plan for implementation of learning. This activity focuses on personal and team accountability around the learning.

3. Exit Interview
Objective: As a final “exam”, participants will interview each other in a reflective manner about the learning that has occurred.

4. Super Hero
Objective: Using a Super Hero as a metaphor, participants will reflect on tools and skills needed to implement the knowledge.

5. Reunion Web Call
Objective: Learners participate in a post-session call to review implementation or learning commitments.

6. Elearning: Branched Scenario Simulations
Objective: Learners assess the effectiveness of alternative applications of the content being learned.

Download the facilitator guide with complete instructions:

What’s the Concept?

We have talked about the concept of your 4MAT training design before in the blog. Recently in a train the trainer workshop, I was having a chat with a new-to-4MAT trainer who had some questions about how to get started in defining your concept. Here’s a quick video I created on defining your concept:

Remember, effective training concepts are:

  • Core, essential ideas.
  • Form bridges that link the learner’s experiences to the content.
  • Have immediate relevance for the learners.
  • Establish relationships between topics.
  • Act as a thread that weaves all the content together

The 4MAT online train the trainer course is an easy way to learn how to apply our 8 step design model. We invest a great deal of time on this critical part of the design process. As one of our recent training participants shared, “When you nail the concept, you immediately create a “wow” factor.”

By the way, if you haven’t already discovered Screenr, you should check it out. You can create short videos in no time. http://www.screenr.com/

4MAT Train the Trainer: The balance between Watching and Doing

In the Mastering Training Design program, we explore the differences in how learners process information. When we “watch”, we make sense of new information through reflection. We ponder the meaning and listen to our inner voice. When we “do”, we make sense of new information through action. We take action and move out into the real world.  Some of us prefer to linger in watching and some of us prefer to move quickly to doing.

The trainer’s role is to guide the learner through this movement from inner reflection to outward action.  The 4MAT model outlines specific steps that address what the trainer does and what the learner does to create this movement.

Here’s a quick 4MAT video I created in response to questions our last group of trainers posed about how to address watching and doing in training design:

 

Training Design from an Experiential vs Thinking Place

Last week, I facilitated our Mastering Training Design course. In this 4MAT train the trainer workshop, one of the things we explore is the difference between sharing information from an experiential (feeling) place versus a thinking (intellectual) place.

By the second day of this course, participants are digging in and developing their own training designs using the 4Mat 8-step model. Before we work on the real-world course content that participants bring with them, we ask the trainers in our workshop to create a training design on one of two community awareness topic: “be physically active” or “quit smoking”. I am amazed at how quickly trainers can move into designing truly experiential learning. Designing experiential learning involves much more than adding activities. It is the art of eliciting and, sometimes creating, powerful personal experiences in the learner.

I discovered a video created by the Sussex Safer Roads Project on Nancy Duarte’s blog. The commercial is a powerful example of how an experience can be created in seconds. When I watched the video on my living room couch, my 6-year old asked “What’s wrong, Mommy?” You should know that I can be moved by a good dog food commercial. Emotional reaction is not uncommon in my living room. Even knowing this, I was surprised by the universal reaction of the trainers in the room. 

Before you watch the video, take a look at the slide presentation below that I found on www.slideshare.net. This is a typical way that any trainer might approach this subject from a “thinking” place. Then, watch the video and experience what information sharing feels like from a experiential/feeling place. 

Sharing information from a “thinking” place:

Sharing information from a “feeling” place:

4MAT Train the Trainer: 3 Activities for Practice

In the 4MAT model for training design, there are four parts of the learning cycle that the trainer leads the learner through. In the third part, Practice, the trainer is focused on building learner skills that directly link to the desired business impact of the training course.  Let’s take a look at what is happening in this step:

4MAT model: practice

Source: McCarthy and O’Neill-Blackwell, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks, ASTD Press, p 25.

In Practice, the trainer invites the learner to move into application of the information presented in Share. The learner is doing and the trainer is observing and coaching. Activities that encourage the learner to apply, adapt, practice and/or problem-solve work in this part of the learning cycle.

Here are some examples of activities that fit well in Practice:

  1. Craft a Story vs Report a Story
    Objective: Reprocessing activity which requires learners to develop a story around the information being shared. Learners are divided into two reporting groups: creative story-telling and “just the facts” reporting.
  2. At Your Finger Tips Resource Guide
    Objective: Participants will build a personal, reference guide of the content using index cards and a ring binder.
  3. The Law of Three
    Objective: Action planning activity which encourages learners to identify 3 key learning focuses and plan specific actions around these ideas.

Download the facilitator guide with complete instructions:

4MAT Train the Trainer: 6 Interactive Training Activities for Engage

What does a great opener to a learning experience look like? The 4MAT design model defines four critical parts of the learning cycle:  Engage, Share, Practice and Perform. What does success look like in Engage? First, let’s look at what it is happening in this critical step of the training experience:

Part of the 4MAT Cycle Goal Learning Climate Learning Method You know  it’s effective when: Trainer’s Role
EngageThe question is “Why?” Learners connect personally to the content being delivered. Easy, open and inviting; focused on listening Dialogue, discussion and reflection Learners are sharing personal and meaningful insights related to the content. The learners are engaged and ready to learn. Facilitator

Source:  McCarthy and O’Neill-Blackwell, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks, ASTD Press, p 25.

How do we, as trainers, create the desired climate? What kind of activities should we use to generate insights and create meaningful dialogue. Here are 6 activities that work with any content.

1.       Expectations (or Big Questions) Exercise

Ask learners to reflect on their expectations for the course. In small groups, have teams share their expectations. Prepare  a large flip chart on a visible wall. Record all responses. Link responses to the agenda for the day.

2.       Expectations Exercise (Elearning)

You can lead an expectations exercise in an online course. Using a whiteboard with a numbered grid, assign participants to write expectations in an assigned grid section.

3.       Timelines

Using a visual timeline, learners plot experiences that have shaped their perception or current understanding of the content being shared.

“Think about the people, events and experiences that have shaped your definition of effective leadership. On the timeline, make note of these events and be prepared to share in your table group.”

 4.       The One Thing

Show “The One Thing” clip from the movie, City Slickers. Encourage participants to reflect on:
-The one thing which, if accomplished, would generate the biggest results.

-The one thing we should be talking about today.

-The one question which,  if answered, would make the biggest impact.

5.       Partner Interviews (Elearning)

In the chat, participants interview an assigned partner with the task of discovering key areas of interests and past experiences around this topic. On the whiteboard, partners write down what they discovered about their partner’s interests in the course topic. 

6.         Visual Metaphors Ask the participants to create a visual metaphor which relates to the concept using an item in the room. For example, if you are teaching a course on leadership development, you might choose the concept of “empowerment”. Learners will reflect on “empowerment” and pick an item in the room that illustrates the concept of “empowerment” to them. A learner might choose a light bulb in the room (“illuminating the way”) or a cup of coffee (“energizing others”) to share their understanding of the concept.

You can download the facilitator guide here: