Learning by doing, some success

I have been working on a new approach to training in our company for the past 9 months or so.  Over time, I have become more and more convinced that Roger Schank is onto something with respect to learning by

Learning to Ride a Bike

Learning to Ride a Bike

doing.  (Roger’s approach is rather simple – You don’t teach a child to ride a bike by showing them PowerPoint and giving them a quiz do you?)

In looking at the courses that I was developing, I found that most of my courses were simply glorified PowerPoints that asked the learner to click…read….click…take the quiz…Great!  You have been trained – Now go perform better!  I knew I was doing a disservice to our employees and that I could do better.

Based on reading Roger’s amazing book, Designing World-Class E-Learning : How IBM, GE, Harvard Business School, And Columbia University Are Succeeding At E-Learning, I took up the challenge of the learning by doing approach.   We started off with small steps.  Specifically, we created some branching simulations as part of our training for first time supervisors.  We have just begun piloting these new courses for our Leadership Development Program (LDP), so I only have anecdotal evidence that suggests we are on the right path.  So far so good.  All indications are that the participants enjoy the simulations and that they are internalizing the training to a greater degree.

We were certainly proud enough of our progress that we wanted to tell our story.  Luckily, Trivantis, the maker of our awesome Lectora design tool, indicated that they would be interested in hearing our success story.  So, just last week, this appeared:

Trivantis Case Study

Trivantis Case Study

Pretty cool, huh!  Sometimes it is just nice to get a feel for where you are in relation to where you were.  Initial feedback and reaction to the case study has also been very positive.  In fact, we are working with Trivantis to put together a webinar so that anyone interested can learn more about our journey.

Here is a short screencast that I put together to give people a better feel for what we are doing with Lectora and how we are creating interesting, dynamic branching simulations in our LDP Training Program. The embed code for Screecast would not work, you will have to click on the image below and then view the screencast in another window.  Enjoy!

Screencast of Simulation

Screencast of Simulation

Photo Attribution: Learning to ride the Bike by Photochiel Taken on July 3, 2005, uploaded to Flickr on July 21, 2005


4 responses to “Learning by doing, some success

  1. Very interesting article. Have you seen how Rosetta Stone approaches language learning? Your blog article reminded me of their very successful methods. Good luck!

  2. Jim,

    Thank you for the feedback. I have heard of Rosetta Stone and I have always wanted to check them out. I am not familiar with their approach and unfortunately, they pulled their contract with public libraries. Perhaps it is still available around here. If so, I will definitely check it out based on your recommendation.


  3. If you are interested in “learning by doing” you should look into experiential learning. There are some good sights out there that explain it. In addition to just doing, experiential learning theory structures learning so learners reflect on what they are doing, are facilitated so they make generalizations about those reflections, then try out those generalizations in their own context.

  4. This is a test to determine if I learned by doing – please confirm whether I was successful or need to “do over.” Thanks

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