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Tag Archives: on-the-job learning

From Learning Outcomes to Performance Outcomes

In most, if not all e-Learning and classroom courses, one of the first things mentioned are the Learning Outcomes. After all, they’re the purpose of the course. Unfortunately, in many cases, they appear to be slapped on with very little thought put into them. Here are three that I dislike seeing:

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand something, or
  • Be aware of something, or
  • Know something.

The problem with these outcomes is that they are too vague. Yet they are used all too often to set the scene for an online or face-to-face learning experience. Sure, understanding, awareness and knowledge are part of the learning process. You could even argue they are learning outcomes because hopefully by the end of a course, learners will understand, be aware and know something that they didn’t know before. The problem is these outcomes don’t go far enough. How can you tell if a learner understands, is aware or knows something?

They’ll be able to DO something.

As someone who works in “Learning and Development” my goal is to change behaviour and ultimately improve the performance of the employees in my organisation. There are many ways to do this both formally and informally but focusing on what will be learned i.e. the content, its stopping short of the ultimate goal of behaviour change and performance improvement.

For example, if I’m designing a course about our organisations Code of Conduct, a learner is aware of, and knows that, the code exists – just by participating.

So, an outcome of the course isn’t really:

You’ll be able to understand the requirements of the Code of Conduct.

It’s only part of what learners are able to do. A real outcome is:

You’ll be able to make ethical decisions while working at our organisation.

See the difference? The first one is content focused – what the code says to do, where the second is performance focused – making decisions based on what the code says to do. So why don’t we call them Performance Outcomes? Surely, by moving away from the term Learning Outcomes and calling them Performance Outcomes, we can focus on the desired performance required from learners and not what content is to be covered during the course?

A performance focus should also guide us through the analysis and design of the course resulting in an improved outcome for learners who are participating and the organisation as a whole.

What’s your view?

10982789-performance-word-in-white-chalk-handwriting-on-blackboard

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5 Comments

Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Instructional Design

 

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Showing My Work #1

The Showing My Work series of posts are what I’m using to ‘narrate’ the projects that I’m working on or have developed.

Recently at my workplace, I’ve been involved in a project to train a group of employees to become relief operators for some items of plant (which are machines like tractors, graders, excavators and trucks). I was working on this project with the HR Co-ordinator and the L&D Officer for the outdoor staff in our organisation. My role as the instructional designer was to develop some materials to help the new operators learn how to drive and use the various machines (there were 9 different types in all).

Armed with a Sony Handycam, we met with each operator who was also our subject matter expert (SME). The reason for filming was that we thought it would be easier to capture what the SME was saying and showing, rather than having to make lots of notes and take photos. The SME took us through the pre-start checks, what the cabin controls are used for and how to perform some of the operating tasks – things that a new person would need to know about. I filmed the SME as they talked about their machine and explained how it worked. After this, I went through the footage and took snapshots to create images (using VLC media player). I then annotated the images using the SME’s descriptions and explanations. It all came together in a ‘New Operator Guide’ for each piece of plant.

The footage turned out pretty well especially given it was unscripted (although, no Oscar this year!). As a result, we also decided to burn the footage to disc and give this to the new operator to go with the guide.

All of the guides followed a similar format – Entering and Exiting, Pre-start Checks, Cabin Controls and Operation. The aim was to keep it as simple as possible and easy to follow. Safety was also important, given that the items of plant can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly.

As always, the guides were given back to the SME’s for review and comment. This was then incorporated into the guide. The operators were very passionate about their item of plant, so it was great to talk to them and work with them. The materials will essentially be a support for the new operators to supplement the practice sessions they will receive until they are competent (which will take some time).

Here are a few samples taken from different guides:

In this example, we can see how to enter and exit the vehicle safely. The ‘Key Safety Tip’ boxes were a suggestion from the Safety Officer who I also sent the guides to for feedback from a safety perspective. Them tips are used throughout all of the guides and generally, the information came from the Work Method Statements (WMS) for the particular item of plant.

Entering and Exiting

The pre-start checks are completed each day before operating the piece of plant. I wanted to step the learners through the process. This example comes from the grader and shows how to check the engine area. Where possible, I’ve tried to orientate the learner to where a small part sits within a larger area. I’ve done this by magnifying the views of some parts. This was the learner can see where the item sits within the overall picture and then gets some enhanced detail of the part – in this case the isolation switch and a light switch.

Pic1

This example shows the cabin controls from one of the trucks. These varied in complexity from machine to machine. For ones that had many controls, I again used the method that showed the whole thing and then enlarged relevant sections which were labelled.

Cabin Controls

The final part was to show how to operate parts of the machine. This example shows some of the steps to fill a pothole.

Operation

The real test will be when the new operators receive the materials once the program starts. I intend to talk with them to gather feedback from their perspective as a learner that I can then incorporate into the materials for future groups.

So, what do you think?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Show Your Work

 

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