I remember my days in the military where we often sat down in front of our computers to “receive training” that was being delivered via CBT. I soon was conditioned to cringe at the thought of yet another episode of online learning, as the tool quickly turned from exciting and engaging (it was new after all) to laborious and ghastly. Despite my love for technology I found the simple clicking through screens to be repulsive and downright painful! We quickly learned some of the fastest techniques to “stop the pain” and click through to the end, achieving the desired goal: a certificate of completion. We moved on to the real business of learning.
On many occasions I pondered how the CBT did not meet the objectives of its authors despite the significant investment that had been made to develop it. The objective was to transfer knowledge and increase my understanding of a topic, while engaging me to think critically and challenge me to synthesize it with knowledge I already possessed.
Now I’m not the smartest person on the block, so I often have to go define a word to fully capture its meaning, so I zipped on over to [dictionary.com](http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/learning?s=t) in order to _lookup_ the word learning. Here’s what it had to say:
# **Learn** – verb (used with object)
* to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience: _to learn French; to learn to ski._
* to become informed of or acquainted with; ascertain: _to learn the truth._
* to memorize: _He learned the poem so he could recite it at the dinner._
* to gain (a habit, mannerism, etc.) by experience, exposure to example, or the like; acquire: _She learned patience from her father._
* (of a device or machine, especially a computer) to perform an analogue of human learning with artificial intelligence.
As a teacher, I am constantly looking to revise my delivery methods in order to increase the probability that “learning” can occur. In the past I have modified delivery techniques, instructional material, pace and paths in an effort to continuously increase the probability that the learner will retain the information.
That moment when the **”light comes on”** and you see a reflection in your student’s eyes as **they understand**
This pedagogy has often been derived from traditional delivery methods. For example I lecture, demonstrate, then encourage (and sometimes hope) the learning occurs. I’ve targeted the visual, auditory and tactile learners, pushed to understand the linear and global learners, and ultimately attempted to find a mean by which the highest probability of success might occur. This probability is often measured as I test a student through actual tests or practical application of the material. In this method I have also often asked myself if I am testing myself as well as the student, as the score leads me to believe the student and I both achieved a measure of success with a passing grade.
What if we could alter that model, and deliver instructions that are designed not to just teach, but _truly_ transfer knowledge? If you have ever taught anything to anyone you know well that moment when the “light comes on” and you see a reflection in your student’s eyes as they understand. They just added a measure of learning to their repertoire and you stand satisfied that knowledge was in fact transferred.
As a PMI member working for a company that is a PMI Registered Education Provider, I am cognizant of the need to protect the body of knowledge, add to it, and give back to the community of project management. Now working for a company with over 25 years’ experience in project to portfolio management, I further feel the weight to ensure we “transfer knowledge” and not just teach someone. The measure of our success rests in our client’s statement that they understand more than when we first engaged them, and that the relationship fostered the transfer of knowledge.“While we have enjoyed many years teaching live courses in classroom settings, we recognize the need for a lower cost, more convenient solution.” The world’s economy has diminished, companies coffers are reduced, and the requirement for us to remain in the workplace to perform our primary functions while we learn is driving an interesting dynamic: How can instructional material be transferred in a learning environment efficiently, quickly, with efficacy and success? How can we rapidly respond to a market that quickly changes? How can we ensure that we are teaching the skills necessary to achieve our business objectives while investing in our human (and in my opinion most important) resources, yet do so in a fashion that ensures we are not simply wasting money on training that may just be no more than a CBT at the end of the day?
I feel that comes in the model by which we choose to deliver. Our goal is to reduce the time impact required (online delivery) while maximizing the concepts (nuggets) of learning to achieve a goal of knowledge transfer. This is a core philosophy of Advisicon: **Knowledge Transfer**. What if we reduce courses to smaller one hour blocks of time, dispersed across a period of time, reduce the costs slightly to allow companies and individuals to engage in their own learning effectively while choosing to deliver instructions in a problem-solving approach? This while we deliver it through an online environment, reaching multi-lingual nations globally, and delivering content that can rapidly be altered to meet needs of the industry as a whole? Successful model? I think so.
*[CBT]: Computer Based Training
*[PMI]: Project Management Institute