In today’s world we have access to more information than ever. There are blogs, books, courses, podcasts, conferences, articles, and a seemingly endless stream of research available on topics related to teaching, coaching, learning, psychology, physiology, human factors, human error, and a host of other topics related to human performance.
There are several seemingly conflicting theories related to effective teaching methodologies, which add to the confusion and overwhelm. However, as Chris Cushion PhD and several other experts have explained to me, these are all ‘theories’ and when you look closely there are more similarities than differences between the theories.
Rather than getting caught up in the dogma of any one theory or the fancy and often confusing terminology, seek instead to understand the underlying principles and concepts. Stay away from the discussions trashing any one theory and look for discussions focusing on the strengths of the various theories. Consider embracing the concept of Professional Judgement and Decision Making in Coaching (a.k.a. It Depends Coaching). This concept allows you to pick from a host of instructional options and implement the most effective one for the learner, in any given situation.
While it might be nice to be King or Queen for a day or have a magic wand you could waive to make wholesale positive changes to a training curriculum, that is not the reality for most trainers. Depending on your agency, the culture in your academy, and the restrictions imposed by governing bodies in your state or province, you have varying abilities to make change. Having said that, you can always make some changes.
So, where do you start? I would suggest starting by doing some research and determining just how much flexibility you have to make changes. You may discover that you have way more latitude than you first thought.
The next step is to ask yourself two questions:
- What the smallest change we could make, that would make the biggest difference?
- What’s Important Now?
Once you identify the answer to the first question then What’s Important Now? is to run an experiment, implement the change, assess, and iterate as necessary. Then repeat that process. Think Infinite Game and realize that this is a long-term project that starts with one small change, one small experiment.
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