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Key Concepts: familiarization, memorization, reference

June 15, 2009

FMRA couple of years ago I was inspired by this article by Elliot Masie, and wanted to share it.  I approach this slightly differently than Masie does.

Many times I’ve been told that employees “need to know this” when dealing with a type of operational  training.  When trying to uncover if this is the case (do they really need to? do they all need to?  do they need to know all of it? do they need to know it or do something with it? who thinks they need to know it? etc), I’ve found that this model helps to differentiate what kind of knowledge it is, and use it as a diagnostic tool at a task level.  

  • If they really need to know it and be able to do it without thinking (non-conscious comptence), well, then it is a training need, so we need to figure out how they will learn it (and possibly move beyond the knowledge domain). 
  • If it is a familiarization situation, we need to figure out how to train them to identify the situational cues, by developing a schema, and reference the detail.
  • If it is a situation where they don’t really need to know it, but need to know where to find it, then it becomes (drumroll please) a performance support situation and we figure out how they can access the information.   

The next time you find yourself thinking that “my people need to know this”, stop and do an on-the-spot analysis by asking yourself some questions and using the above model to determine what type of learning/knowledge situation is this.

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