Giving a damn

June 20, 2007

I enjoy reading Dave Pollard’s how to save the world blog. His post Getting People to Give a Damn struck a cord after reading my colleague Gary Woodill’s comments about training professionals coasting to retirement. Lynn Marentette made several interesting comments in response to that post including people don’t know that they don’t know, or what they need to know. In effect, they haven’t found a reason to give a damn. What don’t you know? What don’t I know that I need to know? What don’t I give a damn about because I haven’t been shown why I should give a damn?

Michael Moore is an expert in getting people to give a damn. See the clips from his new movie, Sicko. What if the training industry made a documentary of outrageously bad training, bad decisions, and failed initiatives?

Now, I know there’s a lot of good classroom trainers and phenomenal teachers and am grateful to have had many show me the way to giving a damn. My point is not to minimize the need for instructor-led training.

So what to do? Dave Pollard’s action plan includes informing by showing so that people would care if they knew, they will and personalization. One cause Dave suggests attacking from a rather long, important list, is the need for a self-directed education system, with facilitators and coaches instead of bums-on-chairs lecturers. He suggests answering two questions:

  • “How can we make these issues real for people who don’t care or can’t relate to them?” and
  • “How can we make it easy for people to become part of the solution?”
  • This is about activism and passion isn’t it? We talk a lot about it – I’m doing it now –  informing (in a way, maybe) but not by showing and certainly not making it personal. So, my short-term action is leading an e-learning 101 session in Toronto next week where I’ll step out from behind the comfort of a keyboard and in front of a group, put on my favorite damn strappy sandals and get freakin’ personal. Maybe somebody will be ready to give a damn and it’ll be a catalyst for change.

    • http://www.mctoonish.com/blog Heather

      Janet,

      Check out Professor Marion Diamond from UC Berkley

      I dropped her a note to compliment her on being old school, but interesting and engaging (two things that are difficult in a lecture setting)

      Her classes are also available through iTunesU.

    • http://www.mctoonish.com/blog Heather

      Janet,

      Check out Professor Marion Diamond from UC Berkley

      I dropped her a note to compliment her on being old school, but interesting and engaging (two things that are difficult in a lecture setting)

      Her classes are also available through iTunesU.

    • http://eduspaces.net/vinall/weblog/ Joan Vinall-Cox

      Janet,
      I hope you have a great time in Toronto – which is the big city closest to where I live. If you’re going to have any free time, I’d love to get together and talk education, and giving a damn about teachers paying attention to Web 2.0 and using it in classes. One of my missions is to show students how the social web can be used for learning and working, not just for socializing and playing.
      Toronto’s lovely right now, and Hart House is a beautiful, traditional, stereotype of an English college. I hope you have fun!

    • http://eduspaces.net/vinall/weblog/ Joan Vinall-Cox

      Janet,
      I hope you have a great time in Toronto – which is the big city closest to where I live. If you're going to have any free time, I'd love to get together and talk education, and giving a damn about teachers paying attention to Web 2.0 and using it in classes. One of my missions is to show students how the social web can be used for learning and working, not just for socializing and playing.
      Toronto's lovely right now, and Hart House is a beautiful, traditional, stereotype of an English college. I hope you have fun!

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