Telling Ain’t Training | Harold D. Stolovitch

Summary of: Telling Ain’t Training
By: Harold D. Stolovitch


Dive into the insightful world of ‘Telling Ain’t Training’ by Harold D. Stolovitch, where you’ll discover transformative educational techniques that go beyond mere instruction. Emphasizing the importance of a learner-centered approach, the book explores the differences between training, instruction, and education, and examines the ways humans acquire information. Get ready to uncover key learning traits and strategies for engaging learners effectively, incorporating adult learning principles, and applying the six essential components of an effective training session.

Effective Training Strategies

To effectively train individuals, active participation and engagement are crucial for acquiring and retaining new knowledge. People learn best when information is presented in organized categories or accompanied by visual images, in an informal setting. However, many trainers solely rely on verbal instructions and non-participatory demonstrations within a formal instructional setting. Such approaches are ineffective and disregard the fundamental principles of learning. The ability to execute mental or physical procedures without thinking is essential, and trainers must bridge the gap between how people say they learn and how they effectively absorb new information.

The Three Ways People Learn

People learn through training, instruction, and education. Although often used interchangeably, these three methods have different meanings. Training produces automatic and reproducible actions. Instruction broadens the use of specific things taught, while education creates broad mental models and value systems. For effective teaching, focus on the learners’ needs and characteristics, and make learning learner-centered. This enables you to train and transform the person, rather than just transmitting information.

Facilitating Transformational Learning

Learning is best facilitated by combining multiple senses, relevance, and chunking of information.

To aid individuals in changing through learning it is essential to comprehend how humans acquire information. The author suggests that simple conveyance of information is ineffectual, and true change only takes place through transformation. Humans acquire information through the five senses; although sight and hearing are the most widely used senses. However, incorporating more senses into a learning experience increases the ease of information retention. People have a natural tendency to filter out irrelevant information to avoid information overload. Consequently, irrelevant information is likely to be forgotten or disregarded.

It is important to acknowledge that individuals hold new information in their short-term memory for a limited time, about 10-15 seconds, after which it disappears unless further processed. Notably, people can only remember about five to nine “chunks” of information in their short-term memory; however, more information can be remembered by combining pieces of information. For instance, an acronym such as “NEWS” is easier to remember for the four directions than memorizing the four directions—north, east, west, and south—individually.

In essence, to facilitate learning, individuals need to combine multiple senses, emphasizing relevance and chunking of information to aid in transformation.

Maximizing Learning Potential

Want to maximize learning potential? Understanding the differences between expert and notice learners and the types of knowledge is crucial. Experts process information differently than novices. While novices may focus on individual bits of information, experts perceive patterns, chunk information, and avoid getting mired in detail.

Knowledge is either declarative or procedural. Declarative knowledge is about things, while procedural knowledge is about how to do things. To train novices more effectively, use transformative, procedural knowledge. Consider the varying abilities, information, and motivation people bring to a learning situation. People who already have some knowledge about a subject or who have some prior skills can learn more knowledge faster and improve their skills more quickly.

Adult learners understand best if they take charge of their learning. The greater the value of information, the greater the motivation, and as confidence increases, so does motivation. So, positive learning environments that elevate mood are crucial. To become an expert, it takes time, but over time, people generally gain their abilities through procedural knowledge.

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