Reader response spot

Ice-breakers

Re your article on favourite ice-breakers – could you please enlighten me as to what wizards, goblins and dwarves is all about.
It sounds very intriguing.

Helene Swan,
Learning and development specialist


Editor’s reply: It was listed as a response to the ice-breaker question in our December 2005 reader survey. Pathetic though it sounds, I don’t know either. Sounds like a Tolkien-esque role-play energiser – any other thoughts?

Bite-sized training

We read with interest Jo Hennessey’s article on bite-sized learning in the February issue, in which she makes a series of valid points. However, many of her views appear to stem from two basic assumptions that we would like to challenge.

The first of these is the belief that bite-sized learning leaves out important stages of the learning cycle, such as thinking and absorbing ideas, making the overall experience less meaningful than a two- to three-day course. Bite-sized learning is not all about high-energy activity, and we believe that if the trainer applies the principles of good training design to a 90-minute session, then such an event will be successful.

We meet overworked managers on a daily basis, all of whom complain that they have little time to reflect as they move from one task to the next.

Surely, if a bite-sized learning session can create the space for even 20 minutes of focused reflection, there must be value in that.

The other basic assumption is that the bite-sized learning experience lasts only 90 minutes. However, with careful thought given to pre-work and post-event projects, the learning cycle continues. Trainers often talk about learners taking away two to three key learnings from an event. So, if from a 90-minute session the participants take away one titbit that really makes a difference to their working life, surely that represents exceptional value.

We support Jo’s comment that it is most beneficial to implement blended-learning interventions. Bite-sized learning should therefore complement other interventions that improve performance. After all, a busy trader might be able to get away from a desk for a life-changing 90-minutes, but is unlikely to be tempted by two days in a workshop.

Richard Phillips and Mark Mercer,
Training consultants, MaST International



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