Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Multi Generational Learning in the Workplace

My notes may be spotty here...eating and twittering.

Brandon Hall: Multi-Generational Learning in the Workplace webinar with Janet Clarey.

[Update: Janet's own post with her summary is surely more worthwhile reading than my notes.]

Janet's Bias:

Went to K-12 in US (New York) in the 1970s. Teacher with chalkboard, film strips. College in the 80s = profs, textbook, some hands on (Comm major). Corporate learning = instructor led training, then in 2000 got into eLearning (1.0). After out of school for 20 years, did Masters program with Capella U. 100% online U. Worked at Brandon Hall. Now intro training in virtual worlds, etc. Personal Bias -- mother of 3 school age children. Have ideas about that generation and their learning.

Recognize your own bias. What's your history? Where do you come from?

What is a generation?

Howe & Strauss: "a common age location in history and a collective peer personality." (pioneers in the field of gen studies).

Debard (2004) Values of various generations from multiple sources that has implications from learning). Looks at potentional clashpoints in the workplace setting (Boomers vs. Gen Xers vs. Milennials).

Born Prior to 1946 = "Matures"

  • Nearing retirement. Fear of war, atom bond.
  • "Tell me what to do."
  • Don't like waste.
  • Command and control.
  • Dedicated to job. Place duty before pleasure.
  • Compliant.
  • Not inclined to change ways.
  • Disengaging and preparing for retirement.
  • Learning -- like structure, risk free environment, lack tech skills but open to learning on computer...

1946-1964 Baby Boomers

  • "Show me what to do."
  • Two groups: 1946-1955 and 1956-1964
  • Tom Werner: Change was theme of childhood (moon landing, civil rights) but also structure.
  • Classes in school were big. Lots of rules and procedures (straight lines, be quiet, follow instructions).
  • Like agendas, best practices, missions statements, etc. Seek comfort in these things.
  • Make a boomer uncomfortable -- "do this, there are no guidelines"
  • Looking at research/lit: workaholics, can do, optimistic, strongly influence policy, high tech can intimidate older members.

1965-1980 Generation X

Richard Nantel born 1959 on the cusp of Boomer and Gen X. School was structured (similar to Tom saying) -- teacher at front, not working in groups. After school was all about socialization. After school roaming street like packs of coyote. (This is more true of daughter's generation -- she's 10 -- in school is in groups, after school is more isolated although keep in touch with tech). Today's kids are sad at end of school year; Richard was delighted ("School's out for summer!)

Research says:

  • Enjoy self-study and on-the-job training
  • clear and consistent expectations
  • work to live: work/life balance
  • natural multi-taskers
  • techn not a big deal

Generation Y & Millenials

  • Like experiential hands on learning
  • Social groups = intentional and chosen
  • work in teams
  • active in social network
  • tech is just a part of life, not tech
  • like structured f2f learning
  • like lots of feedback (but don't take crit well)
  • learning should be fun
  • achievement oriented
  • like stories
  • may struggle with higher-order thinking stills

"None of us at Brandon Hall are millenials -- but we have some the tech characteristics. We're sort of like millenials with wrinkles."

Gary Woodill has Gen X son (35) and Gen Y (grand?)daughter (7). Son started programming at 5. Daughter started using computer at 4 playing games. Son (3) started computers at 2 1/2 -- can navigate YouTube, etc. Tech = a world these kids take for granted. [Note: not sure if these are Gary's kids or grandkids. Sorry!]

For these kids, everything is do-it-yourself. You can do anything you want. Shift is not to do what you're supposed to do. Do it when you want. This will have real implications for instruction.

The Connected Worker

21st century knowledge worker/learner

"I'm only as good as my network."

We're changing the way we create, retrieve, interact -- with each other and across generations. (FB < Twitter < LinkedIn)

Similarities among generations

  • Not everyone wants to learn on computers
  • Everyone wants to learn
  • Heavy tech users tend to have similar characteristics

Other Variables

  • Workplace culture (you might have more in common with a 24 year old tech worker than a teacher of the same age as you).
  • People change as they get older
  • Exposure to tech
  • socio-cultural diff

Predictions about the next gen range from next greatest gen to the most miserable

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants (Mark Prensky) -- The Great Debate

Your learners are looking to you -- the leader -- at how to proceed.

Misleading to apply differences solely on basis of generation.

Kids use tools like MySpace, FB etc. use these tools for social -- they don't have these in their learning toolkit.

Marc Prensky has updated his article. Distinction btween digital natives and immigrants will become less relevant. Instead we should think in terms of "digital wisdom."

As instructional designers -- use ed tech to gain wisdom from it, to use it in

No solid research to show that we should design differently for diff generations.

[lost some stuff here. The perils of multitasking]

Action Plan

  • Learn the theories of your craft -- it's incredibally important now to learn theories
  • Use new tools in order to apply them. Can't just read about them. Can't just say "let's collaborate and get a wiki."
  • Apply research. Avoid the hype.

For more reading on millenials (see her slides, cuz I can't see them).

Slides will be emailed. Session will be repeated in a few weeks.

Trying to teach to different generations is not necessary -- more about teaching to capabilities.


Millenials may have trouble with higher-order thinking. We now have an abundance of information. How we synthesize that info.

Gender differences? Most research has common flaws/consistency -- fail to take into account gender diff and socio-cultural and economic differences. A lot of broad brushstrokes about this generation.

Understand that the new learners are more kinisthetic. How can we teach these skills online?

Next topic will be on Second Life/virtual worlds. Next month.

The End

Friday, February 13, 2009

Currently Working On...

A momentary pause in the madness.  This is the kind of work pace I like.  Plenty to do, but not in a frantic way.  Right on. 

RightOnHere's a taste of what's on my plate right now:

Lots of Software Trai ning

Finishing up a big project update for a large financial institution.  Updating 19 courses (which I wrote last year).  Little design work.  Much juggling.

Wrapping up software training for another client.  Built six courses.  Many lessons learned.  Courses way too big, but some cool features that I really like.

Starting a new project for another company.  Small scale, help demos.  More just-in-time performance support tools; "hey, how do I do that?"

Most Awesome Project Ever

This project kicks ass, if I do say so myself.  It's fun to work on AND the client really likes our work.  We're creating an orientation program for a national sorority.  Multi-generational learning experience.   Game-like program.  You take a tour of the house to learn about the organization.  Click on objects to learn more.  Mini-games (sometimes a multiple choice question disguised as a game through clever graphics) embedded throughout.   Earn charms for a charm bracelet by successfully completing a little quiz in each room of the house.  My graphic designer is completely outdoing herself. 


Professional Development

Reading The Adult Learner by Malcolm Knowles, et al.  Boning up on Behaviorism and Cognitivism, etc.  It's a definitive classic, so why not.  Unfortunately, it's slow reading.  My brain has a hard time these days parsing dense theory.

Twitter.  I'm a convert.  @cammybean

Pleasure Reading

Easter Parade by Richard Yates.  I've been told it's not as devastating as Revolutionary Road.  Thankfully.  Don't think I could handle that right now.

[Sidebar:  This, Tony Karrer, is why schools still need to teach good writing.  Kids shouldn't be taught to skim read, until they can really read.  Likewise with writing.  Bulleted lists have their place, but please, give us more Shakespeare and Yates or the world will be a sadder place. 

(Yes, I'm an English major who writes mostly text bullets instead of novels.  But still. )]

What are you working on?  Care to share?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Blog's Personality Type

Well, it isn't very glamorous or creative sounding. But I suppose this is an appropriate description of my blog's personality?

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work in their own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

I don't think, however, that this is indicative of my personality. Well, maybe the responsible and hardworking part. ;)

(It's been a long time since I've taken a Myers-Brigg sort of test. I usually come out somewhere on the E scale.)

Check out your own blog's writing style at Typealyzer.

And please, don't leave my blog alone. It likes company. And comments. And conversation.

Update: Ken Allan (Blogger in Middle-earth) has written up Typealyzer in great detail and got some comments from the tool's founder, Mattias Östmar, who writes:

Typealyzer is a way for us to test our hypotheses that it is possible to analyze the persona of a person by teaching a classifier to identify word usage among different personality types. An individual can (and normally DO) make use of different personas, i.e. social roles in different situations.

Be sure to read Ken's posts on Typealyzer and watch the video of Mattias.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Building Measurement into Our Training-Development Process

Another lunchtime webinosh with Dr. Will Thalheimer. The topic today: Building Measurement into Our Training-Development Process.

Guest speaker today is Roy Pollock, CLO of Fort Hill Company. Roy wrote Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning. Roy has a new book: Getting Your Money's Worth From Training & Development. A Guide to Breakthrough Learning for Managers/Participants. (A manager can make or break a training investments; must get managers involved in a training initiative to get the maximum return.)

Roy and Will have been teaching a one-day workshop on measurement. Roy takes business line; Will takes the professional learning side.

Learning News

  • Microsoft just released Semblio, a new authoring tool
  • Skype 4.0 (much better video)

Question of the Week -- Economy

How has economy affected your Learning Unit?

  • Hit Us Hard 31%
  • Hurt A Little 33%
  • Not Much Effect 33%
  • Helped Us 3%
  • (Is "it hasn't hurt us yet, but I'm nervous" an answer?)

Measuring Learning

3 Reasons to Measure Learning

  1. Prove Benefits
  2. Support Learning (testing is a useful learning strategy that helps people retain info)
  3. Improve Design

Outcomes Planning Wheel (Roy's model)

  1. What business need(s) will be met?
  2. What will participants do different and better?
  3. How can we confirm these changes?
  4. What are the measures of success?

Will's Learning Landscape

  1. Learning Intervention (Learner Learns)
  2. Performance Situation (Learner Retrieves/Learner Responds/Learner Applies
  3. Learning Outcomes (Learner Fulfillment, Learning Results)

Usually do Level 1 eval as during Learning Intervention

During Performance Situation -- Learner Applies -- could delay the L1 smile sheet. could do a Level 3 support at that point.

Level 4 Eval traditionally done during Learning Outcomes

(there were a lot more things on his chart, but I'm not that fast and it was somewhat complicated...)

Most of us are doing Level 1 completion and smile sheets. Some are doing Level 2 recall or decision making. Fewer doing Level 3 and 4.

Roy: "If I'm a business leader, I really need to know if training is working in order to invest $$."

The Job Aid: Building Measurement Into Your Training-Development Plan

1. Identifying training opportunities (drive performance by improving knowledge/skills). This can be done by learning and/or business leaders. L&D can be proactive and add real value.

2. Underlying business needs are clearly articulated. Let's get clear about business needs. Training is an investments, it must serve business needs.

3. What will participants do better and differently?

4. Is training the right solution? Often training is the hammer to every nail. Not every business challenge can be solved through training.

5. Besides training, what else is required to produce the desired behavior? Training is rarely the whole solution. What other support mechanisms, systems, etc. need to be put in place? Business managers need to be part of solution in order to ensure that training sticks and that performance does improve.

6. What are the relevant metrics? Match to business and learning imperatives. Take time to define the measurement and define the outcome -- must be done up front. If you define success up front, it makes it easier to be successful in your design. Business leaders want to be changing performance on the job.

7. Get sign-off from all stakeholders on behavior change goals, resourcing responsibilities, metrics. Talk with stakeholders every time. Don't just do a cookie cutter design.

8. Design and develop the training and follow-through. Unless learning is taken back on the job and practiced, then it won't produce results. It's all about learning transfer which requires follow-through.

9. Make measurement part of design and development. Must be built in.

10. Pilot test training prototype and improve it.

11. Pilot test measurement instruments and improve them.

12. Deploy training; support on-the-job application.

13. Deploy measurement. Collect data.

14. Analyze data. Report results. Take action. How can we use this data to sell our story (the story of L&D) to assure continued funding.

15. Make improvements. Plan future improvements. In a six sigma cycle.

A philosophy of measurement in one page.

You can download this job aid and others on Will's site.


Question asked about measuring results social media and wikis. Roy talked about getting examples from learners and anecdotes.

When training a new system (IT, software) how do you separate the benefits of the system with the benefits of the training? Understand what the training is supposed to measure...What can training itself produce as part of the process?

Using a blog to self-report application of something new. What's better - the learner's report or the manager's report? It depends. Sometimes the manager has no idea what the learner is doing. Sometimes the manager does know. Don't just limit to asking managers. If program is about improving customer service -- then ask customers. Who would observe this? Who would be in the best position to observe a change? Could be people. Could be a system.

You could go all out and separate the effects of training by using control groups. Give some people training and others no training. etc. But the level of measurement has gotta be proportional to the strategic value of the course and its benefits.

How do you quantify self-reports when there's no business metric? Always the danger with self-reports that the learner exaggerates. Use Brinkerhoff's Success Case Measure: If you got a result, describe it.

What are the simplest, most effective tool to measure learning? The # 1 tool was Captivate (in eLearning Guild Report on Measurement). Will says the #1 tool we should be using is our brains. It's not about the tools.