I am a big fan of innovation and creativity. I am a huge proponent of Thinking Differently about training.
I am not a fan of the philosophy of “Thinking Outside the Box” for trainers.
Why? Because you live in a box world. Policy is a box. The law is a box. Budgets are a box. Syllabi’s are a box. You get handed the syllabus and told you have a set amount of time (a box), to teach specific material (a box), to a set number of students (a box), with a specified set of resources (another box).
You can argue for more time, more money and more resources but, you will likely be told no. You can argue that the blocks of training you are given are not conducive to learning and long term retention according to the research. You will likely be told, that is the way it is, the syllabus is set, if you don’t like it we can find someone else to teach the material.
You can get frustrated, scream, yell and pout and you will still have the boxes in which you have to function. Or, you may have a new assignment, not in training.
Or, you can step back and ask yourself, “How do I employ the principles of interleaving, spaced practice, desirable difficulties, reflection and active / effortful retrieval within the boxes I am given?” Start small and find ways to weave the elements that help make learning sticky and increase learning and retention into the boxes you are given. You can work with fellow instructors to help everyone to think of the academy as one big box, filled with all your smaller boxes. Work to find small ways in every box to reinforce what the learners have been taught in other boxes help them make the link between all the boxes.
At the same time you can slowly and steadily work to have the syllabus changed to reflect the research on learning and start to chip away at the existing boxes and help everyone start to think differently about training.
Use you imagination, creativity, and commitment to excellence to think and thrive within the box world you live in.
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