Guided Mastery

Most of my school days the responsibility of learning something was always for the student, if we did not understand something or we are confused then it was so easy for the teacher to punish or give a bad rating. When I had to don the role of a trainer I decided that both the learner and the teacher are responsible for the task.

The first part of any learning is to avoid fear of failure. No one can succeed in the first attempt unless it is a gamble or the steps to success is just one or two steps. It is not just in learning, fear is present in all fields. I happened to read about Doug Dietz and his contribution to make children enjoy the hospital experience, children are given a pleasant experience to go through what might otherwise be a harrowing experience. The details about that has been captured here by Vivek Kemp. At this point the engineers and the medics did not say that we have the state of the art of the systems, we do not care if children like it or not; instead they went to the extent of making it a pleasure ride.

I related Doug Dietz’s experiment to the training world. The trainers as I have seen put immense efforts to prepare and deliver, this puts a narrow focus on the outcome and the pressure to learn and excel is transferred to the students. Most of the world’s lectures are boring, students wander off and people just sit through the lecture. Presentation tools have added to the misery where the documents get converted into slides which has led to the famous term “Death by Powerpoint”.

How can we guide someone to mastery?

Engineers at GE when they created the adventure for the kids, they literally tested the setup from a kid’s perspective. They knelt down to a child’s height and prepared the room at that eye level. Like that everyone who is trying to get something done or help someone achieve something, then it is mandatory that the style of delivery is prepared as per the receiver. The preparation should be such a way that there is mutual respect, clarity of content and should give an experience that will leave people wanting for more.


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