Yesterday a colleague was discussing one of my posts (thanks for reading Bob) and I told him that part of my reason for posting what I did was to clear shortcuts off my desktop.  Like most people I get email digests on articles that might be interesting to me.  As a way to manage my inbox I skim articles that may be interesting/useful and create a shortcut on my desktop for the ones I want to read later.  In other words, I am taking clutter out of my inbox and moving it to my desktop.  It ain’t perfect but it works.

My colleague, Bob, tried to explain a way I could use functionality in Google Chrome (or was it Firefox?) to manage these shortcuts without clogging my desktop.  I don’t think it was bookmarks but honestly I can’t remember (sorry Bob).

This brings me to my point.  The best advice, recommendation, insight, tip, etc is worthless if the person is not in the right frame of mind to process it and incorporate it into their routine, skill set, knowledge base, etc.  This is one of my chief complaints about event-based training.  If the only opportunity a person has to learn something is during a live, face-to-face event it is likely the learner will miss out on some valuable information.

Why does this happen?  Here are some reasons that come to mind quickly.

  • People are overwhelmed with all the new information
  • People don’t have the experience/pre-requisite knowledge to understand what is being taught
  • Distractions (This was the case in my example above)
  • Instructional strategies that don’t match the content or learning preferences of the audience

Providing handouts helps but it still puts a lot of responsibility on the learner.  They have to take good notes, which isn’t always easy or accurate.  The learner also have to take the initiative to go back to them when they need an answer.

Providing digital resources can also extend the learning and compliment the materials provided in class.  Its also helpful to encourage networking in class and support it beyond the event itself.

If this is true for training imagine what its like at a person’s desk with all the distractions there.