INSIGHTS – 04/13/2009

Slumdog Learning

Vol. 1, No. 07 * 13 April 2009

0119 - mennen aracidBy JCI Sen. MENNEN M. ARACID, ITF

Trainer and Developmental Consultant

You might have found time to watch SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I did yesterday easter afternoon.

It is a fascinating story about a call center assistant, Jamal Malik, who joined the Indian version of the game show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE and won 20M rupees (1INR = .97 PHP).

What is so amazing about this movie is that the questions that made him win 20M rupees had direct references to his experiences in life. All this done in the context of Jamal searching for his brother, Salim, and the love of his life, Latika. What are the odds of that happening?

This blog is not a film review though. I am here to share with you my insights from a trainer’s point of view. I picked up something very powerful. It is this: EXPERIENCE=RECALL.

In the context of the movie, this equation made Jamal 20M rupees richer, and made Jamal reunite with Latika. This equation can be used in real life situations as well. The most memorable experiences you may have are probably linked to events that provoked very strong emotions (both positive and negative).

Therefore, if you were to relate some experience in the past, you would still be able to tell your story as if it happened yesterday. Strong emotional links provide a very good anchor for recall.

In the training context, what must you keep in mind so that skills are easy to recall and apply? Here are some suggestions:

1. Social interaction. Allow time for people to socialize and mingle throughout the entire training experience. Some participants are motivated by interaction. Allow for individual work to be done. At the same time, provide opportunities for group work.

2. External expectations. Some participants are also likely to be motivated by external expectations. In my opinion, this means that people are sent to your programs by someone else. The expectation for your participants is to behave in a certain way when performing a skill. I think it is important to be able to show them how to do it so that they can also follow the desired behavior.

3. Social welfare. Provide opportunities for new learning to be generic. That means that what the JCI member can learn from you is not strictly limited to the JCI community. Provide enough opportunities for participants to find ways to apply the new skill in their work, in their homes, and in their communities. JCI programs are good examples of this. Though the program is designed for JCI members, the skills are perfectly applicable anywhere. Allow the members to find ways for these skills to benefit their communities, not just JCI.

4. Personal advancement. Each person wants to be better. That is why he sits in your class. Keep in mind that the focus will always be him not you. The participant is the reason why a course is organized. Provide all the opportunities for him to practice new skills and for their opinions to be heard so he can be a better person.

5. Escape and/or stimulation. Some people will come for fun, amusement, and challenge. Provide these in your workshops.

6. Cognitive. Provide new knowledge and a fresh insight to otherwise old concepts. What we teach in JCI is not new. The trainerʼs challenge is to always provide a fresh take on the subject at hand. This is the challenge for us trainers: stop copying activities from other trainers and let us build our own content. The worst thing that can happen is that our participants will say that they have seen or done the exact same activity somewhere.

In the end, it is their experience that counts. Their experience with you makes YOU memorable to THEM.That is why they recall you as that: AN EXCELLENT TRAINER or AN EXCELLENT LEADER. It is not your claim to make. They attach that to you.

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? Make your participants the winner in any training activity. At the end of the day, you too will walk away feeling you just won a million.

To live in hearts we leave behind

Is not to die.

~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground

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