Friday, April 28, 2006

The "karaoke principle"

Maybe I should patent the phrase!

A colleague and I were discussing our projects today. There is a fair degree of overlap between the requirements of our two clients. We were talking about what happens to a company undergoing transition - particularly a service industry. So much attention gets paid and (dare I say it) money gets spent on vanguard learning. The whole hearts and minds thing, then the new processes. Lots of carefully positioned learning, in the case of my colleague's client, designed to show the empathy of the transition directors for the coalface workers, to provide them with support as they cope with the uncertainty that comes with facing change and learning the skills required within the new framework.

Then comes go-live. It's after that that things tend to get a little patchy. The stabilisers are removed and real life begins to happen. While it is easy to exercise a new skill in the artificial environment of a classroom, it's whole different matter when it comes to applying the same skill in the context of the workplace. This is what I call the Karaoke principle: you can sing along to a song on the radio - every word, every note. But take away the vocal track, stick a mike in your hand and put you in front of an audience and you suddenly realise that you barely know the chorus. It's bad enough when you have the words scrolling across the screen in front of you, but if the karaoke system isn't sophisticated enough to have them... oh dear! Helllllp! One desperate soul on stage in front of everyone trying not to make a complete prat of him/herself.

This stage of the process needs to be covered by suitable learning, too.


teacher dude said...

Wow. I think you have just encapsulated the very essence of being a language learner. That just about sums up the move from the classroom to real life. I hope you don't mind if I quote you.

Anonymous said...

I'd be honoured!