Why Calibrate Learning? Learners have their own maps as they arrive at a workshop; your job is to help them to navigate the territory. When you calibrate learning you make fine adjustments that enable learners to create new maps, consider the application of new skills and knowledge in context to enable them to complete their journey and repeat it many times.
Calibrate A Definition: make fine adjustments for optimal measuring.
The expression “A map is not the territory” first appeared in print in a paper that Alfred Korzybski delivered in 1931. The phrase means that a map can describe a territory in a similar structure that allows us to take a route through the land, providing useful guidance but that our perception of the map can never equal the territory,only our version of it, our own internal map.
This started me thinking about how we design training programmes based upon guidelines, criteria, a syllabus (Amap), only to find of course, that it looks slightly different from delegates real world experience or their territory.
Hence the need to calibrate learning making those fine adjustments to our maps to accommodate the reality of the learners territory.
When we explore new territory in the real world we look at maps, because they provide a visual representation of the terrain whether real or perceived. Learners have a key role in interpreting and transferring what is being taught in ways that create meaning in their own context. Maps help us to create context, and that understanding of the environment helps us to redefine perspectives and identify alternative routes.
For facilitator’s learners maps provide essential clues about the issues that may present barriers or inhibit application of the skill or knowledge. This understanding enables us to explore those roadblocks and suggest alternative strategies to navigate the journey.
I am Here!
So, here are two simple techniques to help you to identify where learners are now in relation to the content and record the journey navigating all of the roadblocks until they reach where they want to be:
Create a mind map from the key content that you will explore during the course, to show learners where they are now and where they are going. You may also include topics such as “ways in which the facilitator can enhance my learning” and/or “How others can best support me during the training event”. Make sure the map is visible.
Cover the tables with white paper table cloths (available from supermarkets). Also, provide a huge selection of coloured pens for each individual. Introduce the session by explaining your map, and invite delegates to replicate the map on the tablecloth adding their thoughts about where they are now in relation to the content, and identifying any special circumstances or potential barriers that they would like to explore. Invite feedback and encourage delegates to continue to build their maps throughout the event exploring the relationship between ideas, adding ideas of their own and expanding upon these.
Purchase some card (A5 size) in the coloursred, amber, and green. Stable them together with the green card on top, followed by amber and the red at the bottom of the pile. Invite learners to use the cards to reflect at the end of each module, recording on the GREEN card the ideas that they can use immediately, using the AMBER card for ideas that they are not confident to implement or wish to park for the future, finally the REDcard is used to record bad practice, or things to avoid.
This method is particularly useful in helping learners to consider content in their own context, it enables the facilitator to identify misunderstandings and explore hesitation. It can also provide an effective close to the workshop.
Joy Wilson is a learning and development consultant. She specializes in designing competency based learning and development solutions. She holds the British Institute for Learning and Development Quality Mark -The Learning Providers Mark of Distinction . She is a fellow of The British Institute for Learning and Development and a provider of Accredited Learning Solutions. Joy is a Certified Learning Practitioner. She is recognised by The European Coaching and Mentoring Council