I’m one of those people who just chugs along through life: Not one to go searching for a deep and meaningful purpose, or constantly questioning my values.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to what’s going on around me, and being alert to the subtle messages that come my way. I think it’s something to do with my unconscious brain searching for answers to questions I am blissfully unaware that I have.
And the consistent message I’m being sent right now is “Less is more”.
I share the value of clearing out in this Monday Musing.
Likewise, in my voluntary work with Mersey Forest, we’re busy reviving a small woodland by cutting a fair amount of it down! This feels very contradictory to me, but the project leader and more experienced volunteers take whole tress down without a second thought. The reason: If it’s too densely populated, none of trees will reach their potential – there’s simply not enough sunlight and nutrients for them all to survive. AND by opening things up, we will encourage wildlife and maybe insects and flowers to make it a more balanced eco-system.
One of the most common challenges people have when designing training is fitting everything in. We try to cover too much and often in much more depth than is needed.
The reaction to the “Surrounded by idiots” book that was recently recommended in the Facebook group illustrates this perfectly. One person felt that it’s far too simplified, but this person probably has deep knowledge about the topic. To someone coming to the ideas for the first time, it's probably just right.
Another example is Transactional Analysis. When I used to cover it with line managers, I kept it super simple. How would a controlling parent or over protective parent act? A rational adult? A spoilt or timid child? People got that and they could work with it. They didn't need to know the transactions, the games or any of the jargon. Just the gist. Giving them all the background and nuanced differences would have lost them. They wouldn’t have used ANYTHING because it would have felt too difficult and/or not relevant.
When designing training, is SO important to remember that it’s for THEM not us.
It doesn’t matter if its not complete as long as it’s relevant.
It doesn’t matter if it’s over-simplified, as long as its not wrong.
And it's far better to cover a couple of things well – to give them the space to breathe, to allow people time to explore, investigate and understand than it is to cover 10 things too quickly or badly.
So how to we get the level of content of right?
- Be clear about your aim and objectives. Focus on what people need to DO as a result of the training. In most cases accurately recite a theory is unlikely to it.
- Make use of independent learning. Any content that doesn’t directly support the aims and objectives but is useful can be signposted for people to complete independently if they wish.
- Use the 80/20 Rule. Which 20% is crucial for success? If this is too hard, simply cut 20% of your material to give the rest space to breathe. If you still struggle, used paired comparisons to prioritise your content.
- DON’T cut exercises, but be savvy with them. One well-selected activity can be analysed multiple times, each with a different focus.
- Get an outside perspective. You could be a victim of the Curse of Knowledge (covered on a recent Lunch n Learn) so asking someone else to sense-check your outline BEFORE you start writing in detail is helpful.