An awful lot when you start to think about it!
Recently, I had the chance to visit the Design Museum in London, and one of the exhibits that caught my attention was an exploration of straw as a modern building material. It was a fascinating journey through time, revealing how something seemingly archaic and out of place could find a home in today's world of strict regulations and advanced technology. What struck me was not just the material itself but the powerful message it held - the idea that old methods and materials can still be relevant in a modern context, provided we're willing to adapt, combine, and innovate.
The Remarkable Resilience of Straw
When you think of straw, it's easy to dismiss it as outdated, impractical, and incompatible with our high-tech, rule-bound world. Yet, the Design Museum's exhibition revealed that the value of straw lies in the details. How you prepare it, stack it, layer it, and even what you combine it with can have a profound impact on its utility. Straw, once perceived as a relic of the past, has found its place in modern architecture through innovation and creative adaptation.
Training Design: Finding the Parallels
This got me thinking about the world of training design. We may be quick to dismiss training methods, techniques, or materials that we consider old-fashioned, and opt for the latest trends or technologies. But, perhaps, we don't need to. Just like straw, these seemingly antiquated training components may still have relevance if we're willing to reimagine their use in the context of contemporary L&D.
Here are some thought-provoking parallels that the straw exhibition drew with modern training design:
1. Combining Old with New: Just as straw can be combined with modern construction materials, we can combine traditional training methods with new technologies. For instance, blending classroom training with apps can enhance the learning experience.
2. Adaptation Matters: The way we adapt straw for modern construction is a reminder of how we can adapt older training methods. For instance, consider how traditional mentorship programs can be adapted with online platforms to remove barriers and connect people across the globe.
3. Layering for Impact: Like layering straw for strength, we can layer various training approaches to reinforce learning. Combining workshops with self-driven learning, on-the-job training, stretch projects and coaching can create a more robust training ecosystem.
4. Depth of Content: Just as the thickness of straw layers matters, the depth of training content is crucial. In a world flooded with information, focusing on comprehensive, quality content that adds value remains timeless.
5. Reimagining the Value: The straw exhibition inspires us to reimagine the value of older methods. Perhaps it's time to revisit techniques like flipcharts, storytelling or role-playing in training, understanding that they hold timeless effectiveness in engaging learners.
To summarise, let's consider a few self-coaching questions and tips that can guide our approach to training design in a new light:
1. What older training methods or techniques have I dismissed that might be worth revisiting?
2. How can I blend traditional and modern training elements to create a more effective learning experience?
3. Are there opportunities to adapt or reimagine older methods to fit the needs of contemporary learners?
4. Have I focused on the depth and quality of content in my training programs, or have I prioritised quantity over quality?
5. How can I encourage my team to see the timeless value in certain training techniques and promote their use alongside modern strategies?
The straw exhibition at the Design Museum reminded me that even the most seemingly outdated elements can find their place in the modern world. It's a testament to human ingenuity, creativity, and the power of adaptation. In training design, this lesson is equally applicable. Before we discard older methods as obsolete, let's pause and consider how they might be reinvigorated, repurposed, or integrated with modern strategies. As we strive to create effective and engaging learning experiences, the past can sometimes offer the best guidance for the future.