About 8 years ago, I started working at BMC. I was hired as a Technical Instructor. My first assignment was to learn the course content of a course called BMC Remedy AR System 7.1: Administering – Part 2. The goal was to be able to teach the course in 3 months. I never used AR System in my life. The process of learning the content for the course consisted of self-study, listening to other instructors teach the course, and presenting the course to other instructors (my peers). After 3 months, I taught the course for the first time. It was very stressful because some students knew a lot more than I did. They would ask challenging questions that I could not answer right away. I learned a lot by researching the answers to the questions that the students asked during class. After teaching AR System for a couple of years I started teaching CMDB, ITSM, and Remedy Knowledge Management. Each time I followed the same process I did to learn Remedy AR System: self-study, listening to other instructors and finally, presenting to my peers. When I was learning the content for the ITSM and CMDB courses, I put myself in the shoes of the students. What would I like to know that was not in the course? I started leaning those things and presenting them too.
By teaching the courses I learned a lot more than I would have if I just read the documentation or took one course. The other key was that each time I taught I had to answer questions from students. Students did not ask the questions the same way each week and they did not ask about the same topics. I learned by engaging with others about AR System.
Today, I develop courses (not teach) about the AR System platform. Because I am developing courses, I have to think about how other people learn. I spend a lot of time thinking and researching what is the best way to present the material to you. Part of my research includes referencing learning models such as Bloom’s Learning Taxonomy. For the most part, it is about understanding business objectives and then showing the learner how to meet the objectives with software.
Since I am constantly learning about learning I am very self-aware of my own learning style. I recently read, Brain Rules by John Medina. There are 12 Brain Rules. There are rules about sleep, stress, and exercise to name a few. One of my aha moments while reading this book was that in order to learn more I needed to get enough sleep and exercise. I must have intrinsically known this because when I taught ITIL®, I would tell the students 4 things to do to prepare to take the exam the next day:
- Go Home
- Eat Dinner
- Don’t stay up all night studying. Get your rest.
Neuroscience or brain-based learning is a hot topic in learning and development today. Information is at our finger tips. However, turning information into knowledge or wisdom is difficult.
I am continuing to build courses for AR System and would like your help. If you had to learn AR System or any programming language all over again, How would you do it?
- Would you like videos on how to perform certain tasks that are available when you need them?
- Would you like to take a 5 day course presented by an instructor?
- Would you like to take a course online over the course of many weeks that consisted of videos, lab exercises (homework), office hours with an instructor, and an online forum to post questions?
- Something else?
Help me build the best classes for you. Post your comments and stories below. I can’t wait to hear from you!
@Laurie Cremona Wagner, @Elaine Miller, @ Nick Barnes, @Kym Ledford, @Geoffrey Bergren, @Rodney Morton, @Terri Lawrence, @Kim Wharton