How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck?

This was a question a close friend asked his Grandma when we were roughly 12 years old, the 80-something promptly responded to the question with lightning speed precision… leaving us both in amazement.  Why, after so many years later can I recite the answer, yet ask me ANY mathematical equation or even what I had for dinner last night and I struggle to respond without racking my brains?! It’s not like I hear this saying every day, the answer seems to be stored in a locked memory bank so I too can use it if it pops up in discussion (more than likely in a pub/bar environment).

I joined the training industry 6 ½ years ago. Although I was welcomed with open arms I’d had a terrible perception of education. I had been burnt before, in school where I had been force fed information to just merely pass exams. I was always a practical person (something that hasn’t changed to this day) so evidently I received good marks in the practical subjects and ‘less than desirable’ results in the theory and ‘academic’ subjects.  Being within an industry which is constantly evolving, looking for that ‘next big’ learning method I believe we often lose sight of what’s really important – how we each individually learn and what is the right method for us.

Original research done by Edgar Dale shows that the effectiveness of learning or the learning retention rate based on learning experiences and the media used:

See/Hear (Lecture)                                                                   5%

Reading                                                                                     10%

Audio Visual / Video                                                                20%

Demonstration                                                                        30%

Discussion Group                                                                    50%

Practice by doing                                                                    75%

Teaching others                                                                      90%

Immediate application of learning in a real situation       90%

This is of course backed up by the National Training Laboratory institute and other university researchers – Obviously we cannot forget there is a huge dependency upon content engagement.

I’ve been to a couple of (what I would consider) ‘dull’ discussion groups but I have read some extremely engaging books, I certainly remember more from one than the other!

Being within the Learning Technologies sector, seeing the importance of technological evolution, particularly our own platform (eLMS ) in encouraging a personalised learning experience, with the ability to add video, coaching, and simulation training is truly amazing. I for one am welcoming this blended approach with open arms. I visit a lot of customers, and meet many organisation up and down the country, learning methods form a large part of initial discussions and it’s always refreshing to hear of our customers doing things outside the normal classroom or eLearning environment, really engaging their staff and offering them a multitude of learning types.

I recently witnessed the virtual world platform of an ES Partner – Fenturi, they are using simulation and virtual communication for greater engagement in subjects which are often too costly to run in real life – it allows avatars to be controlled and assessments to be taken based on their actions, this is as close as content can currently be to personalised learning – it’s amazing how life like the scenarios are and you really do get immersed in the content so much so it doesn’t even feel like learning. This is taking the coveted 90% of ‘Immediate application of learning in a real situation’ to a whole new virtual level!

The department for education defines Personalised learning as ‘a highly structured and responsive approach to learning for each individual child and young person creating an ethos in which all pupils are able to progress, achieve and participate’ – Greater knowledge retention can and will be achieved through the choice of blended, personalised learning methods, Simulation and gamification is the way forward for me personally.      I sometimes wonder what other gems of knowledge I may have retained if we’d had the levels of content and technology engagement as we do now…back then. Not only would I have received the reply of ‘Well… he would chuck as much wood as a Woodchuck could if a Woodchuck could chuck wood’ I probably would have been shown a woodchuck in action on my friends grandmas’ mobile device too….

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