Thursday, 10 March 2011

Accelerated Learning Programme?

I have been asked to explain a little bit more about our Accelerated Learning Programme?

I had a very early interest in how people learn as my son was diagnose a dyslexic when we lived in South Africa, and they were far more with it there than they are in the UK. He was removed from his class and put into a very warm and supportive special teaching unit for a year, then put back into his same class so that way he never lost a year. In this special class they used multi-sensory teaching e,g, How do you spell the word rope? They would give him a piece of rope and ask him to touch it, run it across his cheek, smell it and look at how it was constructed and then they would explain the spelling. I saw how that really helped him, and although this 'word blindness' never goes away, he learned to manage around it.

I became really interested in ways to accelerate learning and read as much as I could, bought Colin Rose's videos and books and also attended a Graphic Facilitation course run by the Grove. Then the big opportunity came at the time we were starting to implement a huge change programme at Nestlé called GLOBE. I was asked to run a series of train the trainer programmes for the functional people who were going to handle the 'knowledge transfer'. Guess what the knowledge was contained in 1,000s of the most boring PowerPoint slides, created by technical people without a clue as to how people learn. So I got together with my coaching buddy Jerry Hodge and we created a two day train-the-trainer that didn't use a single PowerPoint slide. 
What we used was graphic facilitation and we created a giant learning map 6 meters by 2 meter and the metaphor we used was a river starting off in Switzerland and then gradually running through to the sea. At each bend of the river they learned something new about how to train people, and it worked wonderfully well as people experienced sound, sight and sensory learning. They could look back up the river at what they had already leaned and forward to what they were going to learn. 

Jerry and I had said that we could only train the Purina guys, but when it leaked out how good this course was we were asked to train all of the Nestlé team. I remember one Nestlé group coming to attend the course, and we were told in advance that they were very anti. They were sales trainers with many years experience, and we welcomed them with open arms and showed them 'the way'. At lunch time the lead trainer pulled me to one side and said 'I suppose you heard we didn't want to come?' and then went on to say 'that he had leaned more in half a day that he had in the previous five years'. This was a great endorsement and months later I met up with this same sales guy and he was doing a regular induction programme and he had got rid of his PowerPoint decks and was doing it with 6 beautifully produced learning maps - it was stunning. 

I then moved on to run our leadership programme, and Jerry together with Julie Wales kept running it until all the subject matter experts had been through it, and they said it had been a roaring success. 

Jerry like me is also an independent coach and we are working together on a great new programme for middle managers called 'The Everyday Leader' which bolts together 4 x 100 day accelerated learning programmes that cover 'Managing. 'Coaching', 'Facilitating' and 'Leading'. 

This stuff really works!

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