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Andrew Linford: Learning & Design Principles for Managers (Ep. #22)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 22 - Andrew Linford

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #22: Learning & Design Principles for Managers

During this time it is so important to keep developing our managers and leaders. Because almost all training is now remote we have to understand what are the principles of a good remote training experience. People need flexibility because our work schedules are not the same as they used to be. We discuss what are the components of a good online training experience.

People need flexibility because our work schedules are not the same as they used to be. We discuss what are the components of a good online training experience and how do we keep people engaged.

In this episode:

Meet Andrew Linford:

  • Background
  • The current importance of online training.
  • The challenge for people who've been teaching for years in person that now have to make their efforts meaningful and effective in a completely different environment online.
  • 87% of millennials say that Learning and Development in the workplace us extremely important to them.

The Components of a Great Online Learning Experience

  • Backwards Design: Start with the Learning Objective and working your way back through the Activities, Applications and Assessments to the Content.
  • Learning Objectives & Bloom's Taxonomy.
  • Activities: How are you going to know if they learned the objective?
  • Application: without the Application of the knowledge, you don't get the depth of learning.
  • The Content Trap: building your program around your existing content may not reach the Learning Objective!
  • Overcoming "Zoom Fatigue".

The Importance of Managers Having Coaching Skills

  • Motivation can be seen as a spectrum, from Extrinsic Motivation, the idea of dangling a job promotion or a bonus, to Intrinsic Motivations such as being interested in their personal development.
  • Being a good coach isn't that you're just spouting information at the person that you're coaching, right? It said, Hey, the person is figuring things out, you're helping to guide them.
  • The importance of listening: The 3 Levels of Listening

The Flipped Classroom

  • Instead of lecturing, the most important part of the learning can be when the teacher provides direction leading those discussions where students are figuring things out for themselves, or in being there when students are actually working on the projects.
  • Really thinking about what's valuable in terms of face to face time human interaction, that's what the whole idea of the flipped classroom is about. Let's bring the most valuable parts of learning, where you have the teacher there as opposed to just the content delivery.

Accountability and Motivation

  • Motivation is a spectrum, from Extrinsic Motivations, such as job promotions or bonuses, to Intrinsic ones such as personal development.
  • Studies show a mix of external Extrinsic and Intrinsic elements leads to the best results.
  • Intrinsic: if someone doesn't really care about the topic, they may care about the act of achievement, accomplishment, completion.
  • The Intrinsic Motivation that educators are always trying to get to is self determination. That someone passionately cares about a topic and wants to just learn about it because they're interested in it.
  • It is important to know that you can combine the two: If there's a topic that is not initially interesting, bonuses or other things of that nature, can be used as a gateway to develop internal interest.

How Managers Can Become Great Trainers

  • The manager is the one most directly in contact with the direct report and can structure training that's personalized and targeted in a way that L&D never can.
  • First, sometimes managers need to be a coach, sometimes may need to be a therapist, and many other different things. Being a trainer is an extremely important part of these. And it provides structure to working with direct reports on the specific skills that they need improvement on.
  • So then the second question is, how do you do it? Remember Backwards Design: Learning Objective, Application, the Activity, and then the Content.
  • Your Learning Objectives are the particular areas that you see your direct reports needing improvement at. Pick one Learning Objective. Don't pick five, because if you pick five, you're never accomplish any of them. But if you pick one, you can accomplish it.
  • Then the next part is what type of Application or Activity is relevant. And unlike L&D, which is often separated and not able to apply the learning in the work, the manager can look at the direct connection between the learning and the work.
  • For example: if your direct report needs more help in terms of creating & designing slides for a presentation, then the final part is Content. Help choose a manageable amount of highly relevant relevant content that they can apply to their real-world project.
  • Direct and individual personalized attention by the manager in this way is really, really valuable.

Downloads & Resources

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Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

About Andrew Linford

Andrew Linford serves as the Director of Operations at the collaborative online education platform NovoEd. Over the past six years, Andrew has worked with numerous clients to improve their online curriculum and has been a speaker at multiple conferences, including South by Southwest. Prior to NovoEd, Andrew was an international teacher, having worked in education in Singapore, South Africa, Poland, Japan, and India. Andrew has a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University, and he is a proud graduate of the Coro Program in Public Affairs, a program to promote cross-sector civic leaders.

Episode Transcript
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