Experiencing Enlightenment – Part 2 – Music and Life!

In the first part of this article, we looked at the way cardio equipment manufacturers are utilising engagement and interactivity to help people get fit. Part 2 looks at learning from another angle.

Do any of you play musical instruments?  I play one, although some of you might disagree that it is a musical instrument…  I play the highland bagpipes. It is actually quite a complicated instrument to play requiring a lot of physical effort (blowing, playing and marching) as well requiring good technique for playing in time with the rest of the pipe band.

You have to manage three drones – a bass and two tenor drones, as well as the chanter.  You have to learn to synchronise blowing and squeezing the bag at an even pressure and then you have to memorise each tune by heart because just to add to the challenge, you have to play in time with other pipers and drummers and march as a band whilst stopping starting and performing set routines.

There is so much to think about.

So there is a lot to think about and for anyone starting, it feels quite overwhelming.  I started learning when I was nine, my father was the Pipe Major and of course I was under the spotlight and so had to do everything right. It was difficult to start with and it takes years before you actually turn out with the band but after many years of practicing, I got to the stage where I no longer needed to consciously think about the aspects above, they became second nature.

When you start to learn any instrument, it is really difficult and the same goes for most things in life. If you are just starting to learn how to drive a car, it feels complicated and requires intense focus. The same with learning a new language or studying a new subject – just maintaining the motivation at the beginning stages and not quitting when it gets tough is a very real challenge.

The point I am making is that when you have finally learnt something it becomes relatively easy, requires less effort and then it becomes enjoyable. But we should remember that there is a path you have to take when learning something new which is often difficult but becomes progressively easier with practice and the more familiar you become with the topic.

Prepare the foundations.

You have to be prepared to create the foundations which is probably the hardest but most important part and then build upon these foundations, growing in confidence, learning and capability.  It also helps greatly if you have a good teacher or great learning materials.

If we consider some of the points above, it is no different when learning and acquiring new skills and knowledge within a business context.  As content developers we can examine learning outside of the business to suggest how we can introduce some of these insights into our business learning delivery and make the challenge of learning more enjoyable and help maximise its success:

Building effective learning.

  • Build solid foundations so that key concepts are in place and then build on these with further learning.
  • Effective learning can be challenging – so make it interesting and even fun in places where possible.
  • Recognise that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t expect a learner to become an expert after just one piece of training. Look for ways to re-enforce the learning with a variety of tools and approaches.
  • Remember that different people learn in different ways so use a mix of media types – audio, video, images, assessments and combine them in a way that maintains interest.
  • Recognise that learning can be difficult, especially with all the other commitments that learners have and so look for ways to help them, for example; job aids, learning snapshots, podcasts, explainer videos.
  • Provide training that enables a learner to progress in manageable stages. Don’t throw everything at them at once, it will just overwhelm them.
  • Enable them to recognise how far they have progressed to help motivate them.

I hope that the 2 parts of this article have shown that we are surrounded by interesting approaches to learning as part of our daily life outside of work. These experiences can provide us with powerful insights to re-examine our learning development so that it becomes the very best we can deliver.

Can we show you how we have put some of the ideas examined above into practice for other organisations? 

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About the Author

Terry Simmons

Terry Simmons

Terry Simmons is the founder of eLearning Plus, an organisation dedicated to helping organisations engage with their learners for a Smarter Business. eLearning Plus works across the UK and Internationally to help organisations with bespoke and generic course development. eLearning Plus also designs tools and training materials that support learning as well providing technology solutions to manage learners and course delivery. Terry's LinkedIn Profile