About Learning Styles or Why Inventors are Always Bothering an Organization

At ABN AMRO I was responsible for one of the biggest training projects ever started. The complete IT-Staff and their customers had to be trained in “the ABN AMRO-way-of-working” after the merger took place.
 
We were able to use the most advanced people and tools to accomplish this aim. It made it possible to meet “the best minds on earth” and to learn about their vision and experience. Later we used this knowledge in every part of the bank.

One of the major targets we wanted to accomplish was to minimize training. People with IT-Skills are very expensive and every day they spend at a training costs a lot of money.

Minimizing training was translated into “Training on the Job”.

To minimize training we started to investigate where and why people were trained and we found many “hidden costs”.

People (mis-)used other people to learn. One of them was an Expert and the others phoned or mailed the expert to ask questions. The expert loved to do this but by “helping others” he (or she) was unable to their “real job”.

We gave them “time to help” but we started to investigate why (and how) one person became an expert and why the others did not spend much time to “learn the trade themselves”.

Experts are people who Explore everything in their own way. They have an internal priority to find out for themselves “how-it-works”. Experts are Explorers.

The others needed to be programmed (or a better term Instructed) and the best way to do this was (of course) Programmed Instruction. The funny thing is that “programmed instruction” can be programmed in a program.

When you create software you are able to create a kind of “meta-layer” that helps (it is called Help) the user. Creating a user-friendly help-system is very difficult to do. You have to balance between compact (Do This) and Extended Information (Why?).

When you develop a software-system the best way to do is to design the “help-software” first and the “real software” later.

Another category of “users” are the Inventors. They are sending a new Idea or Enhancement every day. Inventors are a burden to the organization because they are “way ahead” of the others and the “others” are a majority.

Most of the Inventors are “technology-watchers” and want “new gadgets” build into the System. With Inventors you have to apply the 80/20-rule. Skip 20% of their specification and the essence appears.

If you read this blog I have showed something called “Learning Styles”. Some people have to be Programmed to learn others Invent or Explore.

Learning Styles are created by combining the “Internal Organs” of the Human Being.

These organs are the Imagination, the Emotions, the Sensory-Motor System and the Cognition (“Thinking”). The fifth organ, Consciousness, monitors the balance between the other organs. It acts as the Observer.

When you combine the Four Organs you are able to create six (or twelve) combinations. When you want to put your Ideas in Practice you are an Inventor and when you want Apply the Rules you want to be Programmed.

The six combinations can be combined in a pattern (a triangle, a square) and if you arrange the people with different learning styles in the right pattern they can Help the others to learn.
 
If you arrange this pattern in the “wrong way” your Organ-ization will stagnate and Innovation will stop.
 
Perhaps the best way is to “let it go the way is goes” (the flow) but this is something Managers, People who want to Instruct, don’t like at all.

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