Written by SEWI-ATD Guest Blogger, Alexis Fielek
Anyone who has ever developed and delivered soft skills training has probably considered role-play as a way to engage audiences. After all, people learn by doing, right?
Yet many people hear “role-play” and cringe, roll their eyes, or simply come up with an emergency schedule conflict. Why? Sharlyn Lauby sums it up nicely, but role-play can be intimidating. Not everyone loves to stand up in front of a room full of their peers and risk feeling foolish.
Role-play can also be stale, canned, and boring for anyone not in the hot seat; usually it involves two people acting out a scene in front of an audience, who, if they’re lucky, get a chance to comment on what their peers did wrong after the scene is done. Fun for all, no?
But what’s the alternative? Put an inexperienced caregiver in front of a volatile patient and hope he “learns by doing” without either party getting hurt? Make the new job-seeker flounder through interview after interview, on the chance that she figures it out before making bad first impressions on every employer in town? Throw a newbie trainer in front of a class of busy, impatient professionals and spend time and resources repeating material because the audience wasn’t engaged in the first place?
Clearly, this isn’t the best path.
So, how can we create a safe space for learners to practice key behavioral skills without lasting, real-life consequences?
In the early 1970s, political activist and theatre director, Augusto Boal, was probably not thinking about the challenges of corporate trainers and L & D professionals. Yet the techniques he created to raise awareness of and combat oppression can, in fact, address our challenges too.
Boal’s creation was called The Theatre of the Oppressed; it strove to make audiences see the oppression in their society, identify and analyze its root causes, work as a group to identify solutions, and finally to act to change the situation in the larger world.
I first discovered TO during my undergraduate studies of Theatre Education at Western Michigan University. I was part of a group that used the techniques to help high school students talk about bullying. Today, I use my favorite Theatre of the Oppressed activity, Forum Theatre, to engage whole classrooms in solving real-life problems that are relevant to their jobs and lives.
Forum Theatre is different than role-play in a couple of important ways.
Of course, there are pros and cons, challenges, ways I have seen it go horribly wrong, and some tips I’ve picked up for avoiding that outcome in the future. However, this is a post, not a novel, so I’ll save the details for a future article.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more:
About the Author
Alexis Fielek, MLIS, CAWC, CC, CL, is Senior Operations Training Specialist, at United Heartland, has 20 years of experience in education and training, and is an SEWI-ATD Member. Alexis has earned her Master's Degree in Information Studies from UW-Milwaukee; Bachelor's degrees in Theater Education, English, and German; is a Certified Authority in Workers’ Compensation; and has recently acquired her Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Toastmaster's designations. Her passion is engaging adult learners by any means necessary, including relying on her Theatre Education background to bring new ways of learning to her audiences.
The ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI) is creating a new certification for talent development professionals who are in the early part of their careers or whose professional roles and aspirations are focused on a few areas of expertise. It may be a destination for some or a stepping stone to the CPLP for others. Click here to register for the March 30, 12 pm CST webcast with ATD's Holly Batts, who will answer all your APTD questions.
"Over the past 50 years, changes in the workplace sector of the economy have taken place driven by science, technology, engineering and math. This evolution of workplace behavior has largely been determined by forces of global competitive innovation, technical development, communication and economy. Interestingly, this powerful and sweeping change was never labeled by a specific collective term. However, now viewed in the light of the educational imperative, it can contribute an important new definition of the term STEM." Read more.
Written by SEWI-ATD Guest Blogger, Craig Bodoh
The turn of the calendar from one year to another often motivates people to set, or ponder setting, a New Year's Resolution. But time and time again people set themselves up for failure if they don't follow a few simple rules.
The opportunity to reflect upon what went well and what didn't in the current year and what one would like to change in the new year can be a great way to make a difference in how one's life changes.
But what's that quote? “If nothing changes but you expect a different result, it's called -----”.
Habits good or bad are a huge part of your daily routine. How you brush your teeth, or put on your clothes are examples of habits that serve you. What is your natural reaction to a stressful situation? Raise one of your five fingers? Say something you might regret? When you are driving along and the railroad crossing gates come down and you are forced to wait, how do you react? These reactions (your habits) can be changed over time.
The R.E.A.L. simple formula to follow for setting New Year's Resolutions:
R = Realistic; Get clear and be specific about the new behavior.
E = Enjoy the process; It takes a minimum of 21 days for a new habit to become a part of your life. And if you stop the new habit during the 21st day of the habit formation period, it is day ONE the next time you begin the new habit. That's right, it takes daily focus and regular practice for the new habit to become part of your life.
A = Action; Regular focus on the new change, supported by affirmations, brings change into reality.
L = Long term goal; Determine the what, the how, and the why you want this new habit or goal to become a part of your life.
Far too many people expect quick results - The “get rich quick schemes,” the infomercials that offer a better body in minutes. The easiest path is what everyone wants to take. When in reality, changes can happen, but not at the speed the marketing department wants you to believe it will take. Constant, regular, focus will make changes happen. Understanding the process of how new habits can be brought into your life makes a huge difference in how things end up.
Instead of the earlier quote, “If nothing changes but you expect a different result, it's called -----,” you now can understand and believe,
“If you make simple positive changes on a regular basis, anything is possible.” ~Bodoh
About Craig Bodoh
Craig has been an active SEWI-ATD member since 1990. He is president and founder of Personal Effectiveness Plus, a personal development coaching practice specializing in time management. As a certified Master Life Coach and trained time management consultant he has helped hundreds of people begin a path to a fuller, richer life. Craig is also an adjunct instructor for Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), a workshop leader, a public speaker, an author, a figure skating coach, and a music director. He works from his passions, using his skills to do what he loves; making a difference in people's lives through personal development. Contact Craig if he can be of service to you!
If you haven't yet met, worked with, or taken advantage of a learning opportunity with Master trainer Sivasailam Thiagarajan, AKA Thiagi, find a way to do so! He is a prolific writer, blogger, and thought leader in challenging learning processes with creative, serious games. This article from the January 2017 issue of Training Magazine will give you some insight into how he is rewriting the way we learn.
As a bonus from the Thiagi Group GameBlog, try out Envelopes, a flexible structure for an effective follow-up activity to review to content of lecture.
To ensure mindfulness initiatives are having a meaningful impact on the workforce and the organization’s bottom line, measure their effects. Learn more in this essay by Max Dubowy, an executive mindfulness coach and the CEO of Your Success Launch.
Rapid changes in technology will force companies to redesign themselves to engage and develop top talent and drive their competitive edge. Check out this article by the editors of Chief Learning Officer, and read the associated research report, "Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital" (linked below) for some insights into the new year ahead.
Predictions for 2017.pdf
Do you use "movie trailers" in a flipped learning model to create interest and provide quick information for your virtual learning audience? In her blog post, Dana Peters, CEO of Mondo Learning Solutions and President of SEWI-ATD shares strategies and video editing software to help you reach your audience in a simple yet entertaining way.
This article was referenced by Diane Kelly, Director of PWM Professional Development at Robert W. Baird & Co. during our November 4th Leaders of Learning and Talent Development PDN. While the piece appeared in the Harvard Business Review back in 1991, its progressive views appear to still hold true in today's modern Adult Learning revolution.
Give it a read and feel to comment based on your own contemporary experiences!
Teaching Smart People How to Learn by Chris Argyris