Monday, August 30, 2010

The clock is ticking, part two

I had a chance to try out the 10-minute rule at a program we did for Northwestern University last week.  The workshop is called "Grace Under Pressure," and it focuses on how to recognize and relieve adrenaline flooding - the fight-or-flight response that shuts down your ability to think clearly.  It's really cool material, mostly developed by Andra Medea, who wrote Conflict Unraveled and certified me to teach this stuff.

We have two fantastic interactors who demonstrate flooding and its solutions, and of course they're riveting.  But there's also a lot of information on the physical signs and symptoms of flooding that I have to convey at the beginning of the workshop.  Last time we did it, a participant complained about the "lecture" (!), so I wanted to tinker with this section to see if the 10-minute rule might help keep the learners more engaged.

I redesigned this chunk it so that I changed direction about every 9 minutes, bringing in the interactors, discussion, etc.  I also made sure that I explained BEFOREHAND exactly how the information would be useful to the learners.  (I'm an awful nerd sometimes, and I tend to get enthusiastic and not notice that listeners may be thinking, "And you're telling me this WHY?")

The redesign worked beautifully!  In fact, one of the participants, commenting on the half-day program as a whole, said, "I don’t think any of us were bored for even one second."

Granted, most of this was due to Ta-Tanisha Jordan and Jack Hickey (pictured above), and their skill at demonstrating conflict and calm.  But at least I didn't get in their way!

Photo:  Jill Brazel

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The clock is ticking

Found this interesting item on John Jamison's ImagiLearning blog:                                    

There is something about the human brain that causes it to begin to refocus every 10 minutes. So after doing your best for 9 minutes, spend the next 60 seconds doing something to re-capture the brain's attention, to 'hook' it into sticking around for the next 10 minutes. If you lecture for 60 minutes...or create online courses...chunk them into 10 minute 'modules' divided by a 60 second "hook"...something that will cause the learners' brains to say, "Say what?" This buys you another 10 minutes.
 Don't know what research this comes from, but it's interesting enough to try out.  I'll watch in my next training program to see if folks get restless in 10-minute intervals.  Anybody notice this in their own classroom work?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good words

Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me and I'll remember.  
Involve me and I'll understand.  - Confucius