The Story Behind My End-User Training Session

A Long Time Ago Back in January…

In the first weeks of January 2017, I submitted my first professional submission to speak at a regional Salesforce conference called Southeast Dreamin’. This idea of speaking was sparked (demanded) by some of my fellow Salesforce ecosystem Women in Tech at Dreamforce 2016.

I began to scratch ideas out of my head and thought about what I liked the most when working with Salesforce. An answer that made it’s way known to me when I began to go through my daily progress notes (my daily notes I have taken everyday since 2013 when I began working in depth with Salesforce).

Prior to getting to Dreamforce 2017, I delivered this session a total of three times to three different audiences.

My first delivery of this session went over an hour and people stayed in the room. I was happy.

My second delivery of was refined for Midwest Dreamin’ another Salesforce regional conference. My third delivery of this session took place two weeks prior to Dreamforce on a Women in Tech virtual call. By the time I brought this presentation to Dreamforce, I had molded it into a product I was already very proud to deliver.

I Already Did the Work…

My research and notes were already available, I just needed to put it together into a presentation that would make it easy for others to understand my method.

I initially began my research into training back in late 2013 when I was asked to share my Salesforce knowledge with a colleague. My methods at the time consisted of big red boxes and detailed instructions.

I learned later that year that my training was not productive. My mistakes were normal and I decided to treat training as if I would a scientific experiment. This is how I came upon Learning Solutions Magazine. A great resource for those who are always on the hunt for the latest news or cool tips on delivering eLearning strategies.

An Application of College Learning…

In February of 2014 I saw an article that instantly had me hooked. It was called Brain Science: The Neuroscience of Teaching and Learning written by a neuropsychologist named Art Kohn. I was fascinated because this was right up my alley. I have had a fascination and curiosity with the brain since I was little. To discover my fascination had something to do with work was shocking. Professor Kohn had written seventeen articles between February 2014 and August 2015.

Reading these articles and developing my own approach throughout my Salesforce career has been fun. So much fun that I captured my results and experiences over a four year period. Again I also found my path directed towards other sources such as Dr. Henry Roediger and his work with memory research at Washington University in St. Louis.

While Dr. Kohn gave me insights into the importance of challenging our brains, Dr. Roediger’s research gave me a deeper understanding into both the existence of the forgetting curve as well as how one can overcome such a curve. However, there was still one essential piece missing.

I found memory and retention as well as the importance of assessment when it comes to challenging the brain. The biggest question came from something that was not science, but readily available to me. How do we truly engage a classroom of professionals?

The answer was in front of me the entire time…

During my studies in rhetoric, I read many books. Books that I still have on my shelves and I often re-read or reference because I thought I would make my future college classroom students read the same books.

One such book by Neil Postman, an American critic and educator, titled Amusing Ourselves To Death, had a chapter I never forgot. At the time of reading chapter ten, Teaching As An Amusing Activity, I was reading persuasion articles on educate versus edutain in the classroom. What I came to understand from reading all of these debates as well as the book taught me the importance of the audience when it comes to rhetoric.

I always joke with my friends, students and family with the following: What’s the difference between a pimp, a salesman and a politician? Nothing, they are all selling you something. From a fundamental point of view can the same be said about teaching? To teach is to learn. To learn is to teach.

From the methods of the ancient greeks to the current pedagogies of education, what is the final goal? To have your student take in knowledge with the ability to apply it on their own. The best salesmen usually sell products that they themselves use. A prolific orator or politician has the ability to draw in their audience with words because they have established a connection with that audience.

What brings people and strangers together? What goal drives children to interact despite any differences? Fun. In the debates on educate vs. edutain in addition to Postman’s discussion on the lack of value proposition for entertainment in any of the well versed educational discourses, they forgot about the greatest foremost teachers of all kind. Parents.

When a child is born, our first instinct is to teach our children through fun and love. Why do we stop? When and why was it determined that learning must be boring to drive itself into our memory? Why do we as adults have to stop having fun? By whose rules?

My fondest lessons are attached to fun memories or what I like to think of as positively reinforced memories. This is how I came to my final ingredient for professional training: fun. It’s that simple from my complex journey.

If you have read this far, I hope it all makes sense and I thank you for reading my post.

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