Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Rubbing your tummy & patting your head ......

Being a member of an International workforce means that getting us all to use the same tools in the same way is a necessity but also a challenge.

Apparently classroom based training is now too fucking expensive old fashioned and modern alternatives allow the work force to be educated at a time that suits them and with minimal disruption to the day to day business of the Organisation.

Right, enough of the bull shit, are you familiar with the concept of a negative confirmation ? This is where you send someone a letter or email and say "if you don't respond I will assume that, from the 30th April, I will own your immortal soul and all your worldly goods become mine". Basically if you employ the scatter gun approach you will have plenty of souls and quite a lot of capital by the end of the month.

Where I am I going with this? Computer based training, that is where I am going with this.

This is the educational equivalent of the "negative confirmation". You send all your victims a web link and a "complete by date". Then you wait until the "complete by date" and resend the link and a new CBD. You repeat a couple more times and then send a threatening email and a "drop dead date" and then you are able to report back that all of your victims employees have been trained and are fully skilled in the new process for rolling rocks up a hill.

This, of course, is absolute bollocks. I am afraid that it is difficult to give a precise translation for "bollocks" to any US readers so I will suggest that you go with "nonsense" but you probably need to be aware that bollocks has many uses  from noun to verb to adjective and depending on the context it can appear to be totally contradictory. It's a British thing, dont get up tight just be aware that in this instance I mean nonsense.

Education is where a the students are assessed for their current level of understanding in a particular subject. They may know nothing, a little or a lot. From this assessment a clear set of educational aims or goals are developed based on increasing the level of knowledge in the aforementioned subject. Using this defined knowledge gap a syllabus is constructed that allows the student to gain knowledge and understanding. The syllabus is then developed in to lectures and practicals and so forth and presented in a way that allows the Tutor to check the progress of the student and ensure that knowledge is being gained.

Sending me a link to a PowerPoint Presentation is not education it is akin to chucking a book over the fence and hoping that someone picks it up and reads it. This approach is appalling. Let me explain ....

..... I find a slot in my day to "be educated". I click on the link and a window opens up. I am told the duration of the presentation and the number of slides. I click on the start button and off we go ....

.... yep, "off we go to sleep" or "off we go to do something else" or "off we go to cut off our own heads". There is no interaction it is just a charmless presenter in transmit mode. There is no opportunity to stop them or ask a question and it is so easy to loose track as you ponder on a point made a little to long and then loose track of the narrative. That is if you are lucky enough to have a narrative that corresponds to the material on the slides. It might sound odd but the best least worst of these presentations is where the Presenter just reads the slides. There are some where the Presenter's narrative has little relevance to the slide being shown and you are then trying to listen to a narrative whilst reading a slide that bears no relation to the words you are hearing.

It is like watching TV whilst listening to talk radio or patting your head while trying to rub your stomach. It can be done but it is not conducive to taking on new facts.


Also these presentations are given by Manager rather than professional educators. None of this material has been properly developed or assessed for it's value and combined with a one-way delivery method means that little or nothing gets taken on board.

Add in to this the fact that despite setting the status message on my instant messenger to say I am being educated twats people still ping me to ask me inane questions and then ping again when I don't respond in the next six seconds.

You may have guessed that I am not having fun and I have several more hours of this to get through. The frustraing thing is that the material is important and useful but it is just so badly put together and delivered via a totally unsuitable medium.

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