Tag Archives: cognitive learning

Why a New Training Needs Analysis is Required To Manage Over Whelmed Remote Workers by Diane Shawe

Here’s Help for the bosses on how to help staff to manage stress when working remotely after and during the coronavirus outbreak by restructuring there training needs analysis.

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When you (the boss or your board members) think about thriving in a digital world, you probably think first about technology. It’s evolving so fast that your business constantly has to adapt. But the greatest challenge is not the tech itself: It’s developing a knowledgeable, strategically adept, cognitively flexible, and proficient workforce.

You want people who can command artificial intelligence, analyse data, invent and apply solutions on the fly, and slide effortlessly into new roles as needed.
All the while, they should keep their skills sharp with mobile apps and online self-taught courses. Ideas should flow from all corners of the company, whether from full-time managers or a pool of gig workers who jump in when work heats up.

The demand for a more talented workforce goes beyond adapting to the new digital world. CEOs of fast-moving organisations – enterprises with bold strategies, innovative cultures, inclusive workforces, and great expectations – need highly skilled people.

Unfortunately, in nearly every industry, the best talent is in perilously short supply. At the 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, 79 percent of chief executives around the world said that a lack of key skills threatens their business growth. Retailers need interface designers who understand customer experience. Banks and insurance companies need data visualisation experts. Energy, automotive, and industrial companies need team leaders who can manage interoperable platforms.

Helping remote workers draw a line between work and timeout

Just about everyone is looking for employees adept in robotic process automation, materials science, or simulations with machine learning that can predict outcomes and streamline processes.

They also need people who can master softer skills, such as managing teams effectively, gaining trust, working across boundaries, or applying neuroscience findings to increase their own stature and influence.

Upskilling is part of the answer. But you also need to rethink your jobs: redesign the workflow, combine some positions, add others, and probably eliminate some. You need to be more creative in finding and onboarding people, including through acquisitions, partnerships, gig economy–style freelancing arrangements, and talent pools oriented to flex work.

Finally, you must fill your enterprise with opportunities for continual self-renewal via modern learning strategies and digital technologies, so that becoming adept in new technologies is just part of everyday life.

Many business leaders realise that they can’t just hire the workforce they need. There aren’t enough prospective recruits, and the expense would be enormous. Instead, companies must upskill their existing employees or members of their communities.

This means expanding people’s capabilities entrepreneurial thinking, employability, often using adult learning and training tools, to fulfill the talent needs of a rapidly changing economy. But the old training needs analysis does not sit well in this every changing cog and an increasing number of remote workers.

A remote workforce transformation brings all these elements together, oriented specifically to your organisation. Your initiative must be led directly by the CEO and the other top executives of the enterprise, because your company’s success depends on the ability and commitment of all your employees.

In a successful initiative, you’ll do more than approve a budget and hold the leaders accountable; you’ll take part in the learning efforts yourself, engage in teaching others, and use this transformation as a genuine opportunity to improve your own skills and those of your direct reports.

Online, Workbooks, Zoom Training available now

Because no two organisations have the same circumstances, there is no single recipe to follow. But together, the 10 principles below can help you ready your company’s remote workforce for the future.

  1. Focus on a few concrete business outcome
  2. Foster emotional commitment
  3. Design a compelling experience
  4. Start with the highest-impact roles
  5. Change behaviour first
  6. Promote citizens led wellness groups
  7. Plan and commit to a comprehensive journey
  8. Engage with cultural influencers
  9. Include everyone but the unwilling
  10. Track results and course

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Chunking information as a learning strategy: Micro Learning by Diane Shawe

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed

One of my educational heroes is George A. Miller[1], a Princeton professor who died a few years ago. Miller is considered one of the greats of twentieth-century psychology. I often quote Miller’s law (for those who have heard me speak it is about a toaster that talks) and am struck by his effect on modern learning. At AVPT Short Courses ltd, we are proud that we can deliver very high quality online learning in days rather than years.

The courses are accessible by using tablets, ipads, smart phones and laptops and works on the principle of chunking up material into bite size micro content.  This aide’s memory, improves recall and the  ability to learn rapidly. So what is the science of chunking?

‘Chunking’ refers to organising or grouping separate pieces of information together. When information is ‘chunked’ into groups, you can remember the information easier by remembering the groups as opposed to each piece of information separately. The types of groups can also act as a cue to help you remember what is in each group. Chunking, in psychology, is a phenomenon whereby individuals group responses when performing a memory task. Tests where individuals can demonstrate “chunking” commonly include serial and free recall tasks. All three tasks require the individual to reproduce items that he or she had previously been instructed to study.

There are several ways to chunk information. Chunking techniques include grouping, finding patterns, and organising. The technique you use to chunk will depend on the information you are chunking. Sometimes more than one technique will be possible but with some practice and insight it will be possible to determine which technique will work best for you.

You can organise information into groups arbitrarily. For example if you have to remember a 10 digit number you can group it into pairs of numbers and remember 5 two digit numbers.

Another way to chunk information is by finding patterns in the information. When you find a pattern in information you just need to remember the pattern rather than a list of separate pieces of information. For example, if you have to remember the letter sequence ADGJMPSVY you may notice that these letters are just every third letter of the alphabet. So instead of remembering each individual letter, you can just remember the pattern used to find these letters.

Another chunking technique involves organising the information based on its meaning. For example, let’s say you have to memorise the age of everyone in a group of people. You can chunk the information by organising people by their age, then, for each age group, remember the people that belong to that group.

Chunking information can also help overcome some of the limitations of short term memory. We can generally only have 7 plus or minus 2 things in our short term memory at a time. However, by chunking information we can remember more. For example, if you have to commit a list of 11 numbers to your short term memory you likely won’t be able to. However, by grouping the numbers into chunks, you will greatly increase your chances of doing it.

The word ‘’chunking’’ is from a 1956 paper by my hero George Miller, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information[2]. At a time when information theory was beginning to be applied in psychology, Miller observed that some human cognitive tasks fit the model of a “channel capacity,” characterised by a roughly constant capacity in bits, but short-term memory did not. A variety of studies could be summarised by saying that short-term memory had a capacity of about “seven plus-or-minus two” chunks.

Miller wrote that “With binary items the span is about nine and, although it drops to about five with monosyllabic English words, the difference is far less than the hypothesis of constant information would require. The span of immediate memory seems to be almost independent of the number of bits per chunk, at least over the range that has been examined to date.” Miller acknowledged that “we are not very definite about what constitutes a chunk of information.” Miller noted that according to this theory, it should be possible to effectively increase short-term memory for low-information-content items by mentally recoding them into a smaller number of high-information-content items. “It is a little dramatic to watch a person get 40 binary digits in a row and then repeat them back without error. However, if you think of this merely as a mnemonic trick for extending the memory span, you will miss the more important point that is implicit in nearly all such mnemonic devices. The point is that recoding is an extremely powerful weapon for increasing the amount of information that we can deal with.”

Using this as a basis, AVPT Short courses is committed to micro content and the chunking methodology to take out the traditional rote learning styles and avoiding large tracts of materials, making them more accessible and improving learning results. As a result of Miller’s work we can justifiably claim that achieve learning in days, not years. Thanks George!


[1] George Armitage Miller  died o July 22, 2012. He was one of the founders of cognitive psychology.  He also made seminal contributions to psycholinguistics and cognitive science in general. He authored several books and directed the development of WordNet, an online word-linkage database usable by computer programs. He authored the paper, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two,” which experimentally discovered an average limit of seven for human short-term memory capacity.

[2] Miller, G.A. (1956), The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information. Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.

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