Learning about learning
How NOT To Learn Something
Then we began the excuses and dismissals for people who had relatives involved in a trial, the jobs that would create hardship, the grandmother traveling overseas for the birth of a child who would miss several months, etc, and one by one, the pool diminished and a replacement was added. We were close to being finished, and a "what about...." question arose from a final candidate. She was dismissed, and my name was drawn. <Cue Perry Mason music> What the heck, I figured. You can always learn something, right? I have fond childhood memories of the Perry Mason theme song playing as I walked down the hall to bed every night. It was one of my grandfather's favorite shows and it came on after the 11:00 news.
Sworn to Secrecy
Our training included very stern instructions that we were not to discuss the proceedings of the trial with anyone. Spouse. Mother. Therapist. Nada. No one. It was especially important because this is Rhode Island, and as a small state, six degrees of separation is more like 2.31, so we aren't allowed to talk about the cases. I can tell you that it's like watching a mashup of Law and Order where the case changes at each commercial break. We've had 16 cases so far, and I've filled up three notebooks, which, by the way, must be left in the courtroom, along with the officially appointed court pen. We may not bring our cell phones past the security guards (lest we record something!) though we can house them in a little phone locker with the security staff by the metal detectors and sign them out at lunch. I was jonesing over that the first couple of weeks (How do I tell time?) but I got over that and now don't even bother to bring my iPhone along to sit in the little locker.
So What Does This Have to Do with Learning?
You may be wondering, since I can't talk about any of this, what it has to do with learning. LOTS! Let me explain.
Guild master? Me?
Then the feed started congratulating me. For what? All day long people were congratulating me for who knows what. It wasn't until late in the day that David Kelly presented me with my award as 2016 Guild Master. Apparently he handled that great awkward silence when I didn't pop up by asking everyone to have some fun with me and congratulate me without sharing what as they saw me throughout the day. That was fun. I suppose there is some irony in having the two 2016 Guild Masters presented in absentia this year. After all, we are about the virtual thing in elearning.
I was astounded, humbled and honored to be included with the likes of those who have taught ME so much: Clark Quinn, Jane Bozarth, Chad Udell, Michael Allen, Mark Rosenberg, Allison Rossett, Joe Ganci, Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher. All I know in this business I have learned from those who have been willing to share what they know with others.
So what does a guild Master do, anyway?
Today is the first day back to work after receiving this award, and I'm sitting here wondering what the heck a Guild Master is supposed to do, anyway, when it hit me. More of the same. For me, that's sharing what I know with others. It's not about being the professorial sage on the stage. It's about learning together. Noodling with others on the best way to do things. Mentoring other IDs on dealing with the SME who can't meet deadlines, who don't get this learning thing at all and want to dump more content than any human can absorb in a few days into a 15 minute elearning module. I have loved developing the IDs on my teams, watching the lightbulbs go off, and seeing them move into better learning for their clients. I've also watched them carry that mission forward. (My husband calls that the cult of Jean Marrapodi. )
It's reminding people that the goal of your learning must be able to be encapsulated in one high level sentence. In the end, what do you want them to KNOW and DO? then finding a way to assess that. It's about assessing the right things. Not vocabulary. It's about making things look good so people aren't distracted and the information is organized. It's about listening and learning from others. It's about tweeting new ideas. Retweeting great ideas of others. Taking scissors to red tape. Documenting processes to see how convoluted they are. Challenging "because we've always done it that way".
It's about always learning. Not just what we do for a living, but applying tangential thinking to what we do to make it better. This year I've been working on human computer interface design and learned a ton from the world of design thinking, and interface design, and the way they explore people's needs to solve problems. We don't do that enough.
It's about attending conferences, sharing workshops and learning from others. I leave on such a high from a conference and can't wait to try out the new discoveries. It's also about connecting with those who are in the trenches making a difference to continue to learn from them.
I'm a rebel. There. I've said it. I admit it. And it gets me into all kinds of trouble trying to fit into Corporate America. Tracy Goodwin (aka The Red Sweater Lady) of Captivate the Room asked to interview me and titled the conversation When Speaking Your Truth Becomes a Threat and More. Yes, indeed, I have stories. How about this?
Me: There is a major problem here and we need to fix it. We could....
Musings from ATD2015
I'm in Orlando at the Association for Talent Development International Conference and Exposition, fondly known in the industry as ATD ICE. This is my second year, and I'm still amazed by the mammoth size of this event. I forgot from last time that I should have prepared for the Boston Marathon prior to coming here. This place is HUGE and I'm convinced that I am walking several miles between the parking lot and between sessions.
It's also an interesting thing to see the family gathering atmosphere that occurs here as people who have made connections over the years reconnect at the conference. There's lots of catching up, and I suspect that there are some job connections that come from this event as people build their PLN. One the flip side, if you come alone, things can be daunting and feel clique-ish. It's important to realize that things are not like that at all. Everyone is welcome and often invited.
The discoveries so far have been rather unexpected.
Reflection is important
I've been tweeting up a storm at this conference. It's been great meeting people, and sharing the nuggets that I've been discovering in workshops. I really appreciate having the handouts available and online so I can go back to them and add them to my notes. I'm not convinced I appreciate the long trek from one end of the building to another between workshops and from parking to the conference, but I have appreciated having quiet time to reflect like this.
I've learned a lot so far. How about you?
Six word Memoirs
I was wandering on a path of tangents from Twitter this morning, and stumbled on Six Word Memoirs. What a brilliant writing prompt! I would love to use this in a class somewhere. I was pondering what my six words would be for 2014, since this has been a year of transition.
If I use this as a scratch pad for 2014 I come up with:
I suppose I could get all Freudian about what came out there. But I won't.
What would your six words be?
2014 is going to go down in history as a year of celebration and change.
Joanne let me see secularism through our conversations and her perspective. Coming from a world devoid of Christ certainly is different than the place I live. We are both educators, with similar lifestyles, but certainly very different thinking. We have had many heated debates as she wrestles with her newly found faith. This has given me a better sense of compassion this year. It is my honor to mentor both Joann and Stephanie and walk into 2015 together.
Celebrate and change. For me, it will be a change moving into another job. As I've been going through the interview process, I've been able to redefine who I am and what I want in my career. I'm not changing who I am by any means. I'm just sharpening the focus a bit. I've realized how much I enjoy leading and teaching others, and look forward to working with another team. I also recognize the maverick that I am, and that creativity leads to innovation. However, many are threatened by it so I need to learn to tread lightly.
With change, comes predictable patterns. I anticipate the ups and downs of the new year with the changes, but I'm making a point to celebrate along the way. I hope you are too.
Teacher by training, learner by design.