"Eighty percent of success is showing up." Woody Allen
Learners Really Like Learning this Way, and That's the Point
Overheard in the break area . . .
“You guys going to that financial presentation?”
“I don’t know. I hate finance. It’s so boring.”
“Yeah. I think I’d rather work.”
Recently, one of my clients was confronted with this attitude about his finance PowerPoint presentation. He presents a ½ day module on company performance for the new supervisor’s course. He’s done it for years. This time, about half of the planned group actually showed up. He was quite frustrated. But, after further reflection and collecting some data, we determined that it wasn’t WHAT he was teaching that caused the no-shows, but HOW he was teaching it. He started to feel a little better.
We confuse this cause and effect all the time. “I’m not good at math.” Or “I am not an artist.” Or “Actuaries scare me.” We may be right. These statements could be correct; however, consider for a moment that perhaps we aren’t good at something because of how we were taught. Teaching does not equal learning. Teaching effectiveness results in learner engagement, motivation, and persistence. Here’s another thing to think about: Evidence suggests that college students follow their best professors to their undergraduate major. If they have a good professor, they’ll tend to stay in that field and discover their passion.
So, my client discovered that if he used a different method of instruction, namely Celemi Apples & Oranges , his students would be pleasantly surprised. Guess what? Yep. They were. He got high marks and positive reaction from his students. He had fun teaching. And, he had many in-depth discussions that made the time pass quickly.
And here’s the best part. After conducting Celemi Apples & Oranges the word got out. Students told one another that his finance presentation was fun, interesting, and worthwhile. Students signed up, and later, they showed up. Absenteeism went down, and learning went up.
Several years ago, Dr. John DeJoy of Union Graduate College did his doctoral research on learner preference in topics related to business finance. His findings suggest that there is a connection between learner enjoyment of the learning methods and their actual learning performance. Yeah, they like it because it works.
Anecdotally, I can count on these methods as winners. I know intuitively and through direct experience that my presentations, seminars, and workshops that include simulations, discussions, engagement, and relevance are better received. I can count on things going well every time. My learners are sometimes effusive in their praise of their learning experience, and the evidence we collect seems to support these opinions. Besides, it isn’t in my long-term personal interest to deliver services customers don’t like. Yeah, it works.
We all need better understanding of business and business finance. Our stakeholders are depending on all of us to put resources where they’ll do the most good. Only after we ‘show up’ and learn will we stand a chance to harvesting that business value.
"The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the unanimous views of all parts of my mind."
- Malcolm McMahon
Dan Topf, CPT is Sr. Vice President at MDI, Inc.
Business Learning by Dan: Primers for Trainers
PDF versions of short articles on how to integrate business acumen into all training and development:
The Income Statement
Price and Volume
The Circulation of Capital
The Cost of Capital
Financial Services -- Life Insurance/Annuities