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The description begins this way:

As workplace learning-and-performance professionals, we live in world of shiny toys, blinding clouds of floating ash, and darkness. While we have passion and good intentions, we are unable to maximize performance because we are infected with misinformation about how learning really works.

Should be fun!

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In this scenario, John and his best instructional-design team have to decide whether to utilize concept mapping, question answering, or multiple sessions instead of just presenting material in the normal way. Can you help them make the best decisions?

After years of being embedded as a consultant in organizations who have struggled to move their stakeholders beyond a training-centric model to a performance-improvement approach, I finally realized that our painstakingly slow progress might be due to our own failures in getting our messages heard.

We in the workplace learning field are over-reliant on conveying our messages in a way that attempts to connect to our stakeholders’ logical, analytical, conscious cognitive processing. The problem with this — beside the fact that it is obviously not working — is that most cognition occurs subconsciously. We’ve been trying to sing underwater.

I’ve always been enamored with the idea that we need to find the most important causal factors and focus on those–not on the hundreds of factors that might have minor impact. I’ve followed this approach in reviewing the learning research — finding the most important learning factors, not the fad-of-the-year learning factors. But this leverage-point approach applies to our workplace-learning organizations as well. We should be looking for our most potent leverage points and focusing on those.

So, after some lengthy reflection, I have written a book chapter which describes how our leaders — our chief learning officers, training managers, and other learning executives — might restructure some of their organizations’ standard operating procedures to send stealth messages that resonate at both a conscious and unconscious level with their stakeholders.

You can access this chapter — which I should warn you is in rough-draft form — by clicking here.

If link doesn’t work for you, go to Work-Learning Research catalog.


Speaking on Stealth Messaging

Also, come here me talk about this at the ASTD International Conference next week (May 7-9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado, US). Here are the details:

Tuesday 10:00 to 11:15AM

  • Room: Mile High 1F
  • Research-Inspired Rubrics to Boost Training Transfer to On-the-Job Performance: The Example of the Course Review
  • Co-Presenter: Russ Spaulding of DIA

Wednesday 10:30 to 11:45 AM

  • Room: Mile High 1F
  • How Learning Executives Can Use Stealth Messages to Change Their Organizations. For Example:  Moving from a Training-Centric Approach to a Performance-Improvement Approach

I’m speaking under the auspices of the ASTD Forum, a group of organizations who meet regularly to share best practices.