Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Assess Learning not Teaching

This morning I took part in a trial Ofsted at the secondary school where I am a governor. The inspector commented that, in assessing teachers, the focus needed to be more on learning than teaching.

I like that approach. Changing the focus from whether the teacher has carried out the 15 different tasks on the checklist, to the quality of the learning that is taking place has the potential to transform the classroom.

Learner Focused Training
It is similar to the change that Happy Computers went through around 8 years ago. Challenged by the Institute of IT Training on whether we were focused more on course objectives or personal objectives, we developed a new approach. We called it Learner Focused Training.

Most trainers go into the classroom focused on the set objectives to be achieved and the material to be covered. Instead be guided by these objectives but flexible to the needs of the individuals. Always remember that your role is to help your learners be more effective in their job, which is much more important than what material has been covered.

A Change in Direction
So stop assessing what the teacher or trainer is doing. And instead assess the learning that they are enabling. Look more at what the students are doing than what the teacher is. I look forward to the effect this change in approach could have.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Five Steps to Great Service

I've just been brainstorming with a colleague who is teaching a 50 minute Active Listening course tomorrow. It brought to mind a great story from "Influencer" by Kerry Patterson et al - a book I strongly recommend. It is about a regional hospital in the US where feedback was that families didn't feel treated with care, dignity and respect.

The core message of Influencer is to find "positive deviance". This is to identify where people are successful, identify what are their key behaviours and copy them. In this case they identified 5 specific actions:

1 Smile
2 Establish eye contact
3 Identify yourself
4 Let people know what you are doing and why
5 End every interaction by asking "is there anything else that you need?"

None of this is rocket science and none of it is about medical expertise. They are simple behaviours that make people's experience better. But relentlessly pursuing them resulted in dramatic improvements in customer feedback and the centre becoming best-in-class among its peers within a year of the new focus.

What simple steps can you and your people take to ensure your customers feel appreciated?