Re: CBT vs. Stand up (long, but different)

Subject: Re: CBT vs. Stand up (long, but different)
From: Kimberly Lyle-Wilson <klylewilson -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 16:23:08 PST

I swore I wasn't going to get trapped in this thread, but I found it
fascinating.

There were lots of good arguments for and against CBTs, as well
traditional classroom training. But, IMHO, Barb Ostapina came closest to
making the most important point of all: people learn differently.
Period. Classroom instruction does NOT reach everyone, and hands-on
doesn't help everyone; some people can intuitively draw conclusions, but
other people need the cause-and-effect relationship explained rather
than demonstrated. Why were some kids in school lousy in history but
great at chemistry lab? Hint: they were probably hands-on learners. Why
do some people run screaming from the room when you try to show them how
to send e-mail? Hint: they're NOT intuitive or visual learners.

The question, then, is can CBT be put together to teach in ALL the
learning styles?

I remember reading a book that says there are seven different learning
styles, with most people having a primary and a secondary style.
Classroom training, like traditional grammar school education, is geared
toward verbal (audio and visual) learners. Lecture and readings, take
notes. That's fine, since a big majority of people learn that way
(something like 75%, I seem to remember). Classroom training
supplemented with books works best for this segment. The other styles of
learners will be left out in the cold by using this method alone.

However, the computer industry has a higher than average proportion of
people who AREN'T the traditional verbal learners. Many are intuitive,
or tactile (like me), etc. As a rule, these folks learn better by DOING,
TOUCHING, and PLAYING with something. Furthermore, computer training
almost certainly requires some level of hands-on learning, whether you
like it or not.

My point: traditional classroom training is geared for the majority of
the population, so it's considered "successful" (even thought it doesn't
really reach the other 25%). CBTs aren't. CBTs tend to vary greatly
based on who wrote them. The information may be right, and thorough, but
if it is strictly verbal, for me, I won't get anything out of it. I need
to click buttons and learn by breaking.

Now, if CBTs could be tailored for ALL the different types of learners,
(as classroom training OUGHT to be), I think they would be hugely
successful. For example, the tactile learner, when faced with new
software, tends to click buttons and watch to see what happens. The
manual remains untouched, and if the system crashes, he just boots back
up. The visual learner, OTOH, enjoys those animated examples that
simulate the mouse moving for him, and learns by watching lots of full
examples. These folks have learned best by looking over someone's
shoulder. The intuitive learner is esily confused and frustrated by
inconsistent results, etc. etc. Maybe the audio learner would have
trouble with CBT. It isn't the *words* they listen for, it's the
inflection, gestures, facial expressions, speech cadences, etc. that
they get the most out of. Other than full video CBTs, these folks might
suffer from CBT.

In my experience with training, when I was teaching a class full of
people with natural computer skills, my role was limited to introducing
the concept, outlining the steps, then standing by to answer questions
as the students played. There weren't many questions about the software.

For non-"computer people" a more traditional approach worked better, and
hands-on work took a LOT of hand-holding. I think that for these folks,
the CBTs of the past have been sorely inadequate.

Like we all know, tech writers must Know Thy Audience, which generally
means know your audience's technical proficiencies. Trainers. OTOH, need
to know the technical levels of their students, AS WELL AS be able to
recognize and adapt to the different learning styles. My question is,
can CBT really do all of that?

Kimberly
Atlanta GA





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