Monday, 3 February 2014

Learning how to learn MINDFULNESS, Disruption and Instructor-led-Training 3.0 Learning Technologies Show 2014 Day two @LT14uk

"Out of mouths of babes and sucklings"

Reflection on Day 2 of Learning Technologies Show 2014 , London

I am in a Cafe Nero writing up my blog.

Musing for today :
 Why do they place the spoon on the left side of the handle?
Across the cafe from were I am sitting with my 'flat white', the spoon is placed on the left hand side of the handle – (why do they do that?) a mother is playing with her baby. 

It turns out actually it is the little boy’s nanny.

He is eight months old and is veritable learning ‘machine’.

 The nanny is playing with a plastic blue handball catching his eye and moving it about.

She tickles him with the ball, playfully drops it, and simulates the ball bouncing on the back of the sofa above his head .He turns rounds his head to follow it.   His eyes follow the journey of the ball. When the boy grabs the ball himself he brings it to his face. 

He licks the ball and even attempts to chew it.

As the play continues he smiles, he beats his arms simultaneously up and down with excitement.

 What I do observe is that from time to time he looks away from his Nanny.  He disengages from the game. His brain needs a rest. Then when he is ready he looks back for further stimulation. The child teaches his Nanny when to teach him. ( learner centric learning)

Training Surrogacy

In our adult world we often use the word to Nanny in a pejorative sense as in Nanny State’. Yet nannies take on a responsibility for a child’s safety in subtly different way from the parental possessive responsibility and love of the child.

They also guide, care for (curate) and facilitate their learning. 

The Nanny I am observing also follows the little boy’s searchlight gazing. Sometimes she follows his eye line and looks out of the window to see what attracts his attention in the frantic outside world..
Donald Taylor of Learning Technologies introducing Brian Solis

The cafe is on the roadside opposite a huge modern hospital. His search light eyes have now have a fixed gaze on me.! 

His stare locks on me even though a deafening ambulance siren is wailing along the road with a blue flashing light. The adults are distracted but he is not distracted.

 He gaze fixes on me like a heat seeking missile. ......

As adult learners our 'blue plastic balls' are many and various. Tablet screens, smart phones, PCs, video, chat .......The inexorable waves of technological advance in business learning are having significant impact on how we all learn and how those of us who share, curate and facilitate content must now act.

"Corporate Creationists" versus "Digital Darwinists "

 We can mimic those reacting sycophants in the boardroom who assure their CEO Canute sitting on his throne ( usually a 'he')  that the tech. tsunamis will not reach the executive suite floor and won't disrupt the business.. This 'not invented here' corporate creationism vies with the Digital Darwinism that most recognise as what is going on today !

Perhaps we can wait for the tech. waves wash over us and see whether we are lucky enough to survive the onslaught and then hope natural buoyancy will keep us afloat. 

We may find the subsequent treading water can even be recorded by ROI  metrics. This may gives us a sense of being busy and the illusion of  'control'  and evaluation but is questionably productive from a true learning perspective.

Just consider how we humans adapt to tech currently. 

For example some have developed ‘seek and peck’ typing skills, others  have developed their thumbs to such an extent that their thumbs can virtually tap dance, others stroke and caress their tablets with grace of an exponent of tai chi.  

Brian Solis presentation
via satellite theatres at
Olympia 2 exhibition Halls
Keynote speaker Brian Solis at LT14uk suggested a significant change in tech introduction is that formally it was imposed / introduced from above from the C suite. 

Now with an era of BYOD of demand for mobile tech introduction is bottom up. Such democratic access the learner is in the driving seat is a game changer.

Whether this is all completely new, I am not so sure.

 Change is inevitable but we need the likes of Brian Solis to shake us out of our complacency of lethargic reaction to technological change. To relearn the lessons of disruption, innovation and their effect on  the status quo.

 My coaching experience has taught me that  you cannot really ‘teach’ adults  anything . 

If they don’t want to learn they won’t.  Learning is a voluntary process. Much of learning is driven by self motivation and expectation.

If you as a learner come with an expectation to a training interaction with a driven hope  that ‘you  will conquer mountains’  the interaction probably will do this. 

If you come to an interaction with a mindset to expect a tedious and boring waste of time it probably will turn out to be so.

 If you come with the thought that they may be one or two things that might help it will as likely as not turn out to be so.

It is Brian Solis’ belief that the next decade must be willed instead of unveiled . This proactive effort will be set alight by innovation that disrupts thinking, behaviours and markets.

Solis considers that ideas are merely a commodity these days. He reckons the next decade will be defined by those who do more than innovate. The future lies in those who disrupt markets and industries.

Technological waves disrupt the current Business world status quo  to clamour for :-

  • ·         An upgrade
  • ·         Reboot
  • ·         Complete refresh

"To every season turn, turn turn...."

Solis sees 'our Now' - A time when anything and everything can be re-imagined.

"The way things are , doesn't necessarily reflect the way things ought to be."

"We have an opportunity to change the world and it starts with the way we see it for what it is and what we can make of it."

Innovative , disruptive companies  are more than great ideas. They solve problems that fundamentally change behaviour. They introduce a deviation in our current path to lead us in a new direction .

The Why difference ? Apple as a Disruptive Innovator par excellence

In everything they do they believe in challenging the status quo. The believe in thinking differently. The way they challenge the status quo is by making their products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.

They just happen to make great computers.

All they have done is reverse the order of what and how Apple sells to start with why.

Brian Solis' video presentation was
cut off 16.50 hrs on the Thursday Day 2
By starting with why , before the how and what  of your product or service Brian Solis argues  the you can build something bigger  than what you may originally  set out to create or discover something altogether new to pursue.

Unfortunately the video to Brian Solis’ presentation overran the period allotted for the satellite theatres in the hall so I and the many watching in the various satellite theatres did not see the conclusion of Brian’s presentation.

Earlier in the afternoon I attended two talks on human centred learning rather than tech driven learning.

Mindfulness is being taken up by more and more folk. For example at the 2014 World Economic Forum at Davos  this January, there were daily morning mindfulness sessions and even a presentation to conference by actress Goldie Hawn on the subject.
Michelle McArthur-Morgan Jigsaw@work

At LT14uk I attended a session on Mindfulness Based Emotional Intelligence by Michelle McArthur-Morgan of Jigsaw@work  Jigsaw@work . Contrary to what we may believe our brains generate 10,000 new brain cells each day.

With 1 in 4 people likely to suffer mental illness looking after our mental health  becoming increasingly important with the desperate attempts to keep on message.

Michelle asked if we wake up and immediately check facebook, emails etc. and last thing at night do we just check facebook , emails etc. once again.
Yet our bodies need to take breaks.

We need to take time out. Michelle took her audience through a few simple but effective exercises to focus on the moment not worry about the past or fret about the future.
She quoted data from Health and Safety executive

Apparently our brains need a break every ninety minutes or so.

One provocative challenge Michelle posited that Multitasking is actually less productive . she supported this from findings from Prof  Meyer of Michigan University .

Michelle gave us much to think about.It proved useful counter to Digital Darwinism in the short term we must centre ourselves more and focus on the present. Good advice to all in Sales about to meet with clients.

I thought you might like to her 5 simple ways to remain calm and have clarity of thinking when all around are losing it ( echoes of Rudyard Kipling's If ?)

  1. Pause and Breath   STOP what you are doing. Become aware of your breathing and do nothing intentionally
  2. FOCUS - DO NOT Multitask, focus on one task at a time
  3. BE PRESENT in the moment - Take notice of your internal early warning system, experience sensations as they arise in your body.
  4. BE AWARE of ASSUMPTIONS - check what assumptions and judgements you are making and challenge their helpfulness.
  5. BE KIND and COMPASSIONATE - remember to be kind to yourself and others. Do not have unrealistic expectations of self or others.

Jon Knight , Collaboration Specialist of Smarter Interactive
The second seminar I attended on Day Two of LT14uk was entitled " How do you delivery high quality instructor led training in a global recession and a competitive market?"

Jon talked us through a large scale project with IT Training Company Global Knowledge

Jon describing the features of the
master broadcast classroom

Having developed a successful system of satellite classrooms with interactive whiteboard connectivity for real time connection with the master classroom. 

The second stage of the project  enabled people to connect from home / office via a headphone pc kit live to the classroom. 

The next stage is make the system work on a mobile solution.

My 'flat white is consumed' it's time to publish thuis post.

Now that the Neuro Scientists tell us of the plasticity of the brain even in adults perhaps we could learn to learn again form the best of learners - babes and their skilled learning facilitators Nannies.

For now it’s time to leave the coffee shop.  

The boy needs to be helped to put on his coat, be strapped into his  Maclaren buggy  with the hood up for the challenges in the outside world beyond the warmth of the Cafe Nero  and  its safe training environment.

 It is raining outside in the street.

Why not observe a Nanny or Mum at work next time you are in a coffee house as see the parallels of how to guide our delegates  or lead colleagues  as we facilitate, lead and learn from them.

We all need to learn how to learn again 'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings'......

Time to let go of the  spoon puzzle for today after the new age of digital learning is not about 'spoon feeding' !!!

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