johnleskodotbiz

Archive for the ‘Active Learning’ Category

Why experiential learning is more important than sleeping with your smartphone

In Active Learning, Aikido, High Tech, High Touch, Leave Your Comfort Zone on October 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

On the topics of Know-How, Technology, and Tribal Knowledge

by John Lesko

 

Know-how is a term for practical knowledge on how to accomplish something, as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (communication). Know-how is often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

Know-how is a term for practical knowledge on how to accomplish something, as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (communication). Know-how is often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

If I tell you how to tie a figure 8 with a back-up knot, there’s a good chance it will take a long time for you to get it right. If I show you how, the odds for success improve. And if we practice tying knots together — before you know it — you’ll soon be dressing that knot and either climbing or belaying with confidence in your equipment.

 

Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia[3]) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things. (Source: Wikipedia)

Technology (“science of craft”, from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία, -logia[3]) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things. (Source: Wikipedia)

What are the 5 keys to mastery according to Sensei George Leonard?

  1. Seek Instruction
  2. Practice, Practice, Practice
  3. Surrender to the Discipline
  4. Work the Mental Game
  5. Push The Edge

 

 

If you aspire to master an art or trade, consider studying the technology of learning. Apply the above listed five keys to mastery and soon others will seek your counsel and insight.

Tribal knowledge is any information or knowledge that is known within a tribe but often unknown outside of it. A tribe may be a group or subgroup of people that share a common knowledge. With a corporate perspective, "Tribal Knowledge or know-how is the collective wisdom of the organization. It is the sum of all the knowledge and capabilities of all the people.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Tribal knowledge is any information or knowledge that is known within a tribe but often unknown outside of it. A tribe may be a group or subgroup of people that share a common knowledge. With a corporate perspective, “Tribal Knowledge or know-how is the collective wisdom of the organization. It is the sum of all the knowledge and capabilities of all the people.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Where do you find opportunities to practice? How can you optimize your learning? Seek out others who have studied what it is you’d like to learn. Then join their dojo. Become a member of their “tribe.”

 

Now as for spending your time on-line, visiting and/or living in a virtual world …

Ask yourself which you enjoy better: sharing a hug & kiss in real life or pretending while wearing goggles and staring at a screen. Which experience allows you to break a sweat and get your hands dirty?
To live a better life, you must experience it. Think outside the box. Put down that smartphone or tablet, turn off your computer. Think outside — no box or batteries required. Bye for now …

 

the-mountains-are-calling

Note: This art is a father-daughter collaboration. The original, numbered print is by Kelsey Lesko. Placing it in an inexpensive frame w/ the John Muir quote is my idea.

 

Advertisements

Be Prepared

In Active Learning, Aha!, Confidence Course Facilitator, CPR and First Aid, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on September 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Long before Doomsday Preppers and the Disney’s movie The Lion King with its sinister lyrics to the song Be Prepared, there was Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship by Lord Baden-Powell. More recent television and movies based on the theme of preparedness include the 20 or so shows listed here: http://urbansurvivalsite.com/20-best-prepper-survivalist-shows-netflix/

What is it about our fascination with survival? Why do so many people worry about the so-called “End of Days” or why has the Center for Disease Control prepared with such vigor for a Zombie Apocalypse? The answer to these last two questions continues to evade me.

That said …

With a quick walk about my cabin, I found evidence for my own preparedness. Two examples …

img_2855

Yep, I must admit that I've found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Yep, I must admit that I’ve found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Recently I was called on to perform a “pick off” at the place where I work as a senior challenge course facilitator. Now before anyone gets upset or over reacts, the climber was unharmed and in fact wanted to immediately try again to climb our Alpine Tower. There were no cuts, no bruises, no harm, no foul — and this climber successfully re-climbed our tower to the first platform!

One more thing … I’m not posting this article today in pursuit of any congratulatory praise. My role in this incident was simply a part of my job — like a fireman who might climb a ladder to rescue a kitten from a tree. But we learn and re-learn from such drills. I know that I’m going back to work soon to inventory the gear that’s in that rescue bag.

Hmmm ... What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful  "pick off?"

Hmmm … What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful “pick off?”

Okay … I’ve delayed enough. Here’s the real reason for this post …

When you think of the motto: “Be Prepared,” what comes to mind? Are you someone who thinks through the various scenarios of your day mentally rehearsing your options and thinking about how you’d like to respond to the day’s challenges? When was the last time you checked the glovebox of your car for a first aid kit? When was the last time you inspected the fire extinguisher that’s under your kitchen sink for that stovetop fire should those fried chicken wings get a little too crispy on game day? And if someone were to choke on one of those wings — due to their food going down the wrong pipe after their favorite team scores a touchdown — do you know how to dislodge it? When was the last time you enrolled in a Red Cross First Aid course?

Today I invite you to take one small step toward preventing a future accident or incident. Restock your first aid kit that’s in the trunk of your car. Check the batteries that power your smoke and/or CO2 detectors in your house and home. Prepare a list of supplies that you’ll purchase before the start of autumn in preparation for winter. (Note: Buy now before the merchants artificially raise their prices for the pre-winter rush.)

Be prepared.

The Wall Banger … Where’s Harvey?!

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on August 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm
And the OC says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to 'The Wall Banger'." To which one participant replies, "Where's Harvey?"

And the OC says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to ‘The Wall Banger’.” To which one participant replies, “Where’s Harvey?”

Recently I had the honor and privilege of serving as the “officer-in-charge” at the Thayer Leader Development Group’s “Leader Reaction Course.” While at West Point, two groups of corporate executives were put through their paces in team-building and executive decision-making.

So what makes experiential learning so effective? There are many reasons …

a) Leadership is best picked up in an experiential, hands-on setting. You can read about the HOW TOs and you can study how others may act in situations of high stress when faced by a challenge. But there’s nothing like being faced with a challenge — in the moment — with working with others and deciding what makes for the group’s next steps.

b) Reality trumps virtual reality 99 times out of 100. How do you gain experience? You make mistakes and learn from them. “Plan-Prepare-Execute-Learn” is the cycle that can only be appreciated when you’re doing and being versus just thinking about it.

c) When navigating through a challenge course, ropes course, or reaction course — you see the results of your thinking and decisions directly and in real time. Positive and negative results are revealed within minutes if not seconds of your decision. If you’re luck to have a trained “observer-controller” or OC / coach working with you during this experience, then they can help you see and understand the good, the bad, and the ugly consequences of your actions.

As for items d) … through z), these may be the topics for future posts here or on Linked In.

______________

John Lesko is a certified professional facilitator and leadership coach. He’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks and an adjunct faculty member of the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. He also hangs with the staff at The EDGE at Mason. To learn more, comment here or send an e-mail to <John@JohnLesko.Biz>.

Anatomy of a Successful Workshop

In Active Learning, Aha!, facilitation skills, How To, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, Uncategorized on February 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm

When you think of the word anatomy what images, thoughts, or symbols come to mind?

Okay, now pull out a piece of paper or a sketch pad and ponder on this question. Brainstorm a bit. Work fast. And then when you think you’ve exhausted all possible ideas, pause for a moment and think of a few more connections to this word. To help get you started, please, consider these images.

... a visual kick start for your brainstorm

… a visual kick start for your brainstorm

Now imagine yourself swimming in symbolism — much like that frog before he/she met his/hers educationally-inspired demise.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a professional development workshop sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network (a.k.a., MAFN). This workshop was one of the very best I had ever attended since becoming a facilitator. But rather than just make this claim and assume that you’ll accept my opinion as fact, let me tell you why.

Imagine you’re in a lab-class: Anatomy & Physiology 301. Let’s examine the structure and internal workings of what makes for an outstanding workshop.

... cleverly designed handouts should facilitate your note taking and engage you without distracting you

… cleverly designed handouts should facilitate your note taking and engage you without distracting you from the speaker

Set the stage or prepare the operating room for use.

There’s usually time to settle into your learning space, greet a few of your colleagues, and perhaps introduce yourself to the workshop instructor/trainer. I highly recommend that you arrive a few minutes early to do just that. Gather up any handouts which are made available and review them so that you’ve a good grasp of what’s to be covered and in what order topics may be addressed.

When preparing a handout should you be the presenter, avoid designing a handout that’s jammed packed with text. Use “bullet lists” and leave enough white space for note taking and doodling. Bibliographies should list online references and are particularly helpful for those who want to “dive deep” and learn more.

Create a learning laboratory for hands-on, experiential engagement.

... learning occurs in a sequential and progressive fashion -- in steps: 1, 2, 3.

… learning occurs in a sequential and progressive fashion — in steps: 1, 2, 3.

It is not my intent to re-create the content or attempt to re-teach this workshop. Kudos to Rebecca Slocum who was the featured presenter at MAFN. The credit for the design and facilitative instruction at this event belongs to her. That said, look again at the photos above. Contemplate how our group learning evolved, step by step.

  • The workshop leader/instructor tells a story about being stuck in Iceland … This story doubles as a self-introduction and opens the door to being genuine and personable.
  • The instructor uses several decks of Visual Explorer Playing Cards … Having us draw one card face up (representing our approach to facilitation) and a 2nd card face down (the mystery card) … We are up on our feet and engaged early in the program.
  • We share our first card with our neighbors / table mates … This serves as a purposeful icebreaker with those who are in the room and learning with us.
  • The instructor shares more of her agenda/syllabus with us … Covering the THEORY that behind the PRACTICE of our experiential learning.
  • The 2nd card is flipped and now we are challenged to create meaning from this unknown image … We learn that symbolism works in several ways … In the example above, that flea or “bug” is something that trips me up while I’m a facilitator. It’s the “nit that must be picked” that detracts me or someone else in the group.
  • The instructor leads more discussion on WHY USE SYMBOLS, WHEN TO USE THEM, and HOW TO USE THEM … More group discussion follows.
  • We are asked to draw a 3rd card (face up) … This image is to explain how our practice as  facilitators or our professional behavior might evolve and change in the future … I aspire to take a bird’s eye view of future situations yet understand that I’m at the mercy of the winds.
  • A two-part case study follows … We are encouraged to take notes using a worksheet entitled: A Symbolic Framework … Our learning has been re-enforced.

Okay … I’m assuming that you’ve got the idea. Understanding the anatomy of a successful workshop helps guide us in the following ways:

  • Be welcoming and friendly … Tell a story that triggers everyone’s curiosity.
  • Engage your audience as soon as you can, early in the workshop, and before you dive into the “boring, academic” stuff.
  • Lay out the steps — 1, 2, 3 — and explain each step as you go so that folks don’t get lost while “dissecting their frog.”
  • Allow time for the participants to share their stories, feelings, and experiences.
  • Test or challenge the learners with some sort of direct application of what they’ve just learned. Think: case studies, completing a worksheet, …, creating an action plan, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


PS: Think of a way to extend the learning or build a sense of community with your colleagues and potential clients. For example after the MAFN workshop described above, our members and guests gathered at a nearby restaurant for networking and a social. There were free appetizers and a cash bar. But there was also a structured activity called the NAME TAG ICEBREAKER which I’ve attempted to explain below in a doodle/sketch-note.

... a name tag can be used creatively to enable purposeful networking

… a name tag can be used creatively to enable purposeful networking

The 3rd Way – Redux

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Aikido, Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, leadership, Toastmasters on January 31, 2016 at 12:13 am

(Thank You) x 3 … It was a pleasure to participate in District 27’s Executive Committee meeting held on January  31, 2016.

As promised …

Here’s the “soft-copy” of the one-page handout we used during our 20-minute educational session. A PDF-version can be found here –> The 3rd Way Redux

There's always more than one way to resolve conflict.

There’s always more than one way to resolve conflict.

And here are a few other references for those who wish to take a “deeper dive” into the topic of conflict resolution:

Primary Sources:
* Appreciative Inquiry … various books and authors
* Emotional Intelligence … various books and authors
* Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et. al.
* The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz
* “Resolving Conflict.” A manual from the Excellence in Leadership Series by Toastmasters International — NOTE: The 10-slides from this manual and training program are found here for your review and use. Follow this link –> 321CD_ResolvingConflict

Secondary Sources:
* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
* The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
* The Abilene Paradox by Jerry Harvey
* How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are on the Knife? (also) by Jerry Harvey
* Mastery by George Leonard
* The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba

 

 

It’s time (again) for some expeditionary thinking.

In Active Learning, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Open Space Technology on September 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm

This has been a most interesting summer …

  • I’ve been able to go hiking along the Appalachian Trail; completing the Dirty Dozen Hiking Challenge and learning a bit of Presidential history along the way.
  • I’ve spent several days as a senior facilitator working with student and adult groups who’ve visited The EDGE; watching these groups leave their comfort zone and discovering life lessons that can only be revealed when one stretches beyond ones normal range of learning.
  • I’ve been sailing on the Chesapeake Bay; helping a friend fix a couple of engine problems while we both reminded ourselves that we were okay and that so long as we had a mast and some sailcloth we’re get back to shore without having to call the Coast Guard.
After sailing into a cove and sleeping on the problem, my pal and I identified this oil leak and were able to fix things.

After sailing into a cove and sleeping on the problem, my pal and I identified this oil leak and were able to fix things.

Smooth sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Smooth sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

  • And, if that weren’t enough, I’m reading a funny, funny book — A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson — with the hopes of finishing it before the movie by the same name leaves the local theaters.

Which brings me to the main point of this blog post …

What factors have led our society to depending so much upon so-called modern conveniences: air conditioning, fast food, and our electronic devices? When did we forget how to work with a map, read a compass, or discern the difference between poison ivy and a raspberry bush? And, when did scoring well on standardized tests become more important than creative problem-solving, working as a team, or applying some expeditionary thinking?

It’s time (again) to think outside — no box required.

A stream crossing along the Appalachian Trail

A stream crossing along the Appalachian Trail

 

Be-Know-Do: How to overcome nervousness & engage your audience

In Active Learning, Communication, Tips re: Professional Development, Toastmasters on August 20, 2015 at 1:42 am

Today I had the pleasure to assist with an executive retreat. As a member of Toastmasters International – District 27’s Speakers Bureau, I presented a workshop focused on how to overcome nervousness and how to engage your audience. My “client” was the Office of Policy and International Affairs (PIA) in the Copyright Office of the US Library of Congress.

PIA is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisers to the Register. This Office assists the Register with critical policy functions of the U.S. Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. PIA represents the U.S. Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and provides regular support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction.

Here is a copy of the slide deck I used for this workshop –> Be-Know-Do at the LOC

And here are a few photos I captured while visiting the Library of Congress.

The venue for the PIA retreat

The venue for the PIA retreat

View of the US Capitol from the 'porch' of the Library of Congress

View of the US Capitol from the ‘porch’ of the Library of Congress

The front steps of the Jefferson Building of the LOC features various busts of our Founding Fathers above the windows on the 2nd floor. My favorite is Ben Franklin, perhaps America's 1st genius.

The front steps of the Jefferson Building of the LOC features various busts of our Founding Fathers above the windows on the 2nd floor. My favorite is Ben Franklin, perhaps America’s 1st genius.

Excellence and Equity in Education

In Active Learning, Facilitating Genius, leadership on August 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm

On August 13, 2015, I had the pleasure of presenting a workshop at the Prince William County School district’s Excellence and Equity in Education conference. This year’s theme was “providing a world-class education: reflecting, refining, and refocusing.” Patriot High School served as the venue for this professional development event.

Follow this link to download my slides –> Facilitating Genius at the Triple E Conference

Follow this link for a copy of the participants’ handout –> Facilitaing Genius Handout EEE Conference

And here are a few photos taken during this day-long event.

The Triple E Program from the 2nd largest school system in Virginia

The Triple E Program from the 2nd largest school system in Virginia

It was a thrill to lead this workshop for three "sold out" breakout sessions: A21, B28, and C1. Wow!

It was a thrill to lead this workshop for three “sold out” breakout sessions: A21, B28, and C1. Wow!

And it was perhaps ironic or symbolic that these sessions were located in Room 2015 of Albert Einstein Hall.

And it was perhaps ironic or symbolic that these sessions were located in Room 2015 of Albert Einstein Hall.

Of course the conference started with a nutritious light breakfast prepared by the cafeteria staff. After the fresh fruit, I liked the cinnamon scones.

Of course the conference started with a nutritious light breakfast prepared by the cafeteria staff. After the fresh fruit, I liked the cinnamon scones.

A round of Jeeepardy served as an excellent icebreaker and energizer.

A round of Jeeepardy served as an excellent icebreaker and energizer.

Dr. Adolph Brown entered the auditorium dressed as ... Well, he had dreadlocks, a backpack, and fatigue pants and looked like he didn't quite belong. Well done, sir. Well done!

Dr. Adolph Brown entered the auditorium dressed as … Well, he had dreadlocks, a backpack, and fatigue pants and looked like he didn’t quite belong. Well done, sir. Well done!

And by the end of his keynote, he had everyone ready to commence toward a new year and brighter future.

And by the end of his keynote, he had everyone ready to commence toward a new year and brighter future.

Most of the classrooms at Patriot HS are equipped with user-friendly audio-visual systems.

Most of the classrooms at Patriot HS are equipped with user-friendly audio-visual systems.

Here are the results of a large group exercise based on the Ben Franklin Method of decision-making.

Here are the results of a large group exercise based on the Ben Franklin Method of decision-making.

This image shows the results of the multiple intelligence self-assessment by participants from sessions A, B, and C. Naturally, in a group of teachers we see a large number of 'people smart' people.

This image shows the results of the multiple intelligence self-assessment by participants from sessions A, B, and C. Naturally, in a group of teachers we see a large number of ‘people smart’ people.

Presenter gift bags -- filled initially with a bottle of water and snacks -- made for a handy way to collect business cards. Kudos to the multiple intelligence community at the  Montclair Elementary School.

Presenter gift bags — filled initially with a bottle of water and snacks — made for a handy way to collect business cards. Kudos to the multiple intelligence community at the Montclair Elementary School.

 

How BIG is the audience? How do you prepare to address a full house?

In Active Learning, Facilitating Genius, Toastmasters on August 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm
Cool beans!

Cool beans!

Wow! First the news about my book becoming an eBookIt-Best Seller in June and just yesterday I learned that my workshops at the Prince William County School District‘s Excellence and Equity in Education conference are ‘sold out.’ Note: I’ve placed ‘sold out’ in quotes because this is a pro-bono event for educators — teachers, specialists, and administrators — in the 2nd largest school district in Virginia. The (E)3 conference is next Thursday, 8-13-15.

On a related note, this will most likely be my largest audience, to date. It’s time to get those public speaking butterflies to fly in formation, yes?

Now what?

  • When preparing for a presentation or workshop, how much research do you do on your audience?
  • To whom do you speak before the event to make sure your message will be on point and well received?
  • If asked to present a workshop more than once at a conference, how do you keep each session fresh?

I sure am glad that I’m a member of Toastmasters International. Now where did I put my manuals on speaking to inform, presenting a technical topic to a non-technical audience, and the entertaining speaker?

Yes, I’d love to hear from you. How do you prepare when asked to present to a full house? What tips and techniques do you rely on as you ready yourself for a public speaking engagement?

~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~

The Back Story … When I first wrote Facilitating Genius, I thought that it might have the potential to serve as a reference for educators. The theory of multiple intelligences has been used by educators for decades. My book has between its covers two dozen (plus) stories of genius achievement, 17 worksheets, and literally hundreds if not thousands of questions for teachers to use in their classrooms while inspiring and instructing their students. Fingers are crossed. I hope to share teacher reactions after the EEE conference in a future blog post. – JL

Toastmasters Leadership Institute Elective: “The Natural Life Cycle of Clubs: Tips for Successful Club Mentors and Club Coaches

In Active Learning, Aha!, Coaching, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mentoring, Toastmasters on July 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm
All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

All clubs progress along a natural growth pattern where there are opportunities for both club mentors and club coaches to assist others in achieving their goals.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Key concepts from this TLI elective were captured here by graphic facilitator John Lesko.

Copies of the instructor’s notes and handouts follow in PDF format.

218G New Club Mentoring Matters

218F First Class Club Coach