Resources from the episode:
- Learning styles
- Honey and Mumford Theory
- The Manual of Learning Styles
- An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology
- Learning styles by Jon Rosewell
- Honey and Mumford Learning Styles
- Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles
- The Vark Questionnaire
- The Productivity Habits
- Self-Diagnosing & Forward Planning your Productivity Habits
Transcript of the interview:
Welcome back to the learning elevated podcast brought to you by Docebo, the show where we help you elevate your learning efforts and move up in the world of enterprise learning and development. Guiding you on your journey up the tower as always, we’ll be your elevator operators, myself, Rob Ayre and my co host Kerri Moore. Each week, we stopped off at a new floor and today we’re getting off on the fifth floor of the gym. Just like we will need a spotter for support when we’re lifting weights, sometimes you’ll always need support to stop them from becoming overwhelmed. So let’s get lifting. Let’s get lifting indeed. And it’s funny we were trying to think okay, like what’s the what’s the right floor for this for this episode to be named in the gyms an interesting one because I think there is an element that applies to what the personal trainer would be in your life at the gym. That was your own sort of personal understanding. And, and I think that that’s kind of why this really fits nicely here. Because one of the topics that I think we touch on a lot
In this episode is the sense of being overwhelmed, or just having too much weight on your shoulders. So just like at the gym, you can’t just start lifting too much, because, you know, it’ll probably overwhelm us in the right carry. That’s right, exactly. And I mean, we will. So we’ll be discussing as well, how maybe someone is overwhelmed with the whole idea of working from home, learning from home as well. And so we have two great guests that can give us a bit of an insight for that. But um, yeah, they’re all spotters today. They’re going to be helping us see make sure that I’ll let us not overwhelmed. And but as always, you’ve got a good article for you that’s actually mentioned in the interview that we have with Ben neck that’s coming up shortly. And how did you feel about this article, Rob?
Yeah, I thought it was good. I’m always interested to think about myself personally, and what type of learning style I have. So this article is all about Honey and Mumford learning styles. So that’s Peter honey and Alan Mumford. And it’s all based on the work of COLB Cole. They really identify in the article and in the theory itself four distinct learning styles. So the first one is the activist. The second is the theorist. The third is the pragmatist. And the fourth is the reflector.
Yeah, I think it’s really interesting this because it’s about how well do we really know our learners? You know, how tapped in away to all of them? Do we know how much stress is on that plate? Do we know what they actually react best to? Do we know if they’re being productive or not? And this is a great start, I think, because then you can really understand what’s going through their mind. Maybe you’re not providing them with the the right format of learning, and that’s why it’s not clicking for them, for instance. So yeah, I think this is a great exercise to run with your team so that you can really figure out what works best for them. Yeah, I think, too. If you’re a learning administrator listening to this podcast, just take a second right now and think how much have I really thought into the learning styles of all of my learners? You know, I know for myself personally when I was going through this I’m interested curious to hear your your feedback on it as well.
But I in reading through it, you know, there’s this element and the theorist in the name kind of says it all but but they like to understand sort of the theories behind the actions and the what they’re learning and they like that sort of the models and the concepts but then on the side, I will also this is the thing I feel like it kind of is but then the activist side of learning by doing I felt like was kind of it’s kind of a mix of both. Like I really do enjoy learning by doing and actually getting involved in the activity, but I also don’t find that I can get engaged in the activity unless I understand the theory behind it. Yeah, so I feel like I’m kind of a mix of both of these. And even in the other two they’re flickering the pragmatist there was a couple that kind of spoke to me a little bit but it was more the things that spoke to me in those other ones were based on what is spoken to me in the first few What about yourself, how did you how did you kind of rank yourself within the sort of the Honey and Mumford learning styles?
Yeah, I just quite funny that you said actually wrote because I feel like mine is pretty similar to that. So I quickly identified with the activist again, to kind of getting involved jumping in very practical, want to kind of learn by doing. But then I pray that there’s some other ones that you can definitely pick. So I would say I lead with activist, and then potentially even theorist or even reflector actually because same as you I do like to have the more of a background as to why I’m doing something so that that really sticks that information really sticks in my mind. So I think that’s the beauty of this as well. I think that from just reading through this, it seems to be that people generally have a little bit of all of them in them. But it’s just what is the most leading thing and from there, you can find out what’s actually going to stick the most with your earnings, I suppose, but very interesting.
And I think, you know, if this sort of idea listeners has piqued your interest in terms of understanding what, what kind of learners you’re dealing with and what you can do to make sure that your content and your programs are speaking to a multitude of learners, you’re gonna want to make sure you listen to this this interview. So let’s kick it over to the interview right now. Sounds looks like we’re just about at the floor, and we’re going to you know, hear a lot of different tactics that you’re gonna be able to put in place when it comes to these different learners. So enjoy, and we’ll speak after.
Welcome back, everybody, we’ve got an exciting interview for you today on the learning elevated podcast. We have two internal folks are going to be speaking today with us, we have the global manager of sales enablement for disabled Nick Thomas, as well as the sizzle a sales trainer here at Docebo, Ben Elijah. And Ben is actually also the author of The Productivity Habits. So the both you guys welcome to the podcast.
Nick Thomas 5:29
Hey, thanks for having us. Thank you Good to be here.
You know, the the things, there’s been a lot of changes that have happened globally over the last little bit remote work has obviously taken over for most workplaces. And, you know, we want to talk a lot today about productivity and arming salespeople in particular with the materials that they need to be successful at their jobs. But I kind of wanted to kick off and get your guy’s personal experiences thus far, you know, over the last two, three weeks, what are you guys doing to stay productive and to make sure that you’re still learning and growing in your role?
Ben Elijah 6:01
It’s a good question. So your question is in two parts, what are we doing to remain productive in our roles? And what are we doing? I’m sort of interpreting that about how we’re adapting to the change for working from home. Is that, is that a reasonable understanding of your question?
Yeah, absolutely Ben. That’d be great.
Ben Elijah 6:17
Okay, understood. Routine, routine routine. You know, if you imagine you’re arriving at the office, or rather you leave your home, and let’s say you, you drive to work, right? You leave your house, that’s a change of context. You get in the car, change your context, you get out of the car, change your context, you walk into the office, change of context, multiple changes of context before you even started the day. When you’re working from home, maybe there’s one change of context, you know, depending on whether or not you put your pants on. So it’s very, very, how can I say it there are few – far fewer triggers to initiate those work habits. What you may often find is that people will struggle to get up to speed. And likewise, you’ll find that there are far fewer shifts of context when people leave for the day. So again, you leave, right you’re leaving the office, it’s a total change of change of scenery. Maybe you go to the gym after work, another change of scenery, change your context. So plenty of triggers that you have to stop working and get on with your personal life. working from home you don’t have that. So typically, what you’ll find is that and I must confess, I’ve been experiencing this a little bit myself. A lot more inertia, how do we get started and much harder to stop?So routine, forcing yourself into those changes of contacts, getting yourself a little ritual, whether that’s doing a little workout when you finish the day, whether that’s even super simple as changing, changing your clothes at the end of the working day.
And yeah dont forget to put on your pants. Right?
Ben Elijah 8:01
Well, that helps. Absolutely.
Nick, how about for you? Is there anything that you’ve been doing over the last little bit that they’ve, you know, been kind of your best practices?
Nick Thomas 8:10
Yeah, I think, you know, echoing Ben, I think it’s all about having a routine, you know, one of the things you’ll see it’s really common across feedback you see on online or seeing internally is that a lot of the managers, my team included, have implemented that, you know, 9am, just quick 30 minutes, 15 minutes catch up. And that sort of helps, I think to get everyone into that routine of getting online at the same time they normally would every day. Now that meeting keeps creeping more and more towards 8am. So dependent going around finding that balance is important as well. So like I’ve been now trying to block some time in the middle of the day, make sure I can take a walk around the neighborhood, my wife and girl out and then in the evening, we start cooking at the same time every day. And that helps us to you know, a you know, keep that schedule, turning off your computer at a certain time and then be obviously eating maybe, getting the personal health right in the right context.
Yeah, you know, so one of the topics too, that we want to touch on is more in the learning context Being that this is a learning podcast is that feeling of being overwhelmed and still making the time for those developmental opportunities? You know, I know myself personally, I’ve certainly felt a different level of business, I suppose. And I think probably has to do with you know, your routine, you’re always kind of on, you know, working remotely on your guys. And you know, being a sort of a really tied in with it with a high functioning sales team. Can you tell us what are some of the signs that you guys are looking for right now, to see if there are people that are kind of being overwhelmed or feeling swamped? And sort of second part to that question is, how are you still sort of providing opportunities for learning, even though they are maybe feeling a little bit overwhelmed?
Ben Elijah 9:48
It’s a great question. There’s one key phrase which should alert you it’s a red flag that someone is maybe not in a great place for their productivity, and it’s It’s these words, I don’t have enough time, or I’m too busy. Now, neither of those two things are likely to be true, by the way, right? Yeah. Einstein and Bach are the same 24 hours that you and I have. Okay, Bach didn’t have zoom or slack. But he did have 20 kids. So. So look, does that mean they can’t say no? Does that mean that there’s a relationship issue with their manager where they just can’t push back? It’s one thing to explore? Does it mean that they’re potentially over committed on stuff that isn’t meaningful? Does it simply mean that they’re not efficient in the way that they’re working? Do they know how to use their tools? Does it mean that, you know, they’re like to use the phrase playing tennis with eight balls, you know, do they have a single list of everything they need to get done? Or is it coming at them from all directions and they’re having to, quote unquote, multitask? These are good things to explore when people, People say I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time.
You know, and I think that is one of the things that you hear a lot, I think it’s a good point to make is that everybody does have the same amount of time. And, you know, it kind of comes back to what you’d said originally to about Find yourself a routine but but you know, adding on top of that, make sure you have a list of priorities and tasks to be done. So you don’t get overwhelmed. You know, one of the one of the things that came up and Nick, I’d love to kind of get your take on this was the idea of coaching and in a remote workforce coaching and learning and development really go hand in hand. What are what are you doing a sort of a best practice right now to sort of put coaching on the forefront? And what can organizations do you think do to prioritize learning, even in a remote work environment?
Nick Thomas 11:48
So I think especially in the remote working environment, you have to rely on having a unified message with between yourself as the enablement or l&d professional and as the with the frontline managers as well. So we work very closely to have unified coaching plans for each individual Rep. Within the cohorts that my team is assigned. So, for example, Ben might work with our sales manager and UK, to make sure that, you know, anytime that his reps are receiving coaching, there’s a unified message and unified goal. So that, you know, as people are going through, they’re getting feedback, they’re having different experiences, you know, they might get overwhelmed with something as simple as coaching feedback, because they’re getting a lot of coaching from a lot of different people. So if you can remain focus on one particular objective, focus on making that 1% change and not this 180 degree change for an individual, I think that can go a long way to making sure that you guys are focusing your efforts as coaches and then helping the rep to focus on one particular objective at a time. That way their list of objectives doesn’t get overwhelmed with all these different pieces of what might be really good feedback or coaching. You know, just can become overwhelming in and of itself.
And that’s really Great advice, because, yeah, how else are we supposed to kind of manage that internally? And But why? Why would you say that it’s important for organizations to consider this, like, what are some of the repercussions that you’ve seen of teams that are whelmed?
Nick Thomas 13:17
So I think the repercussion, if you don’t consider this as that it’s easy for people, especially in a remote situation to come detached. They quickly get into this habit of maybe only being online when they have meetings, or maybe they’re in meetings, especially team meetings, they’re not being engaged because they’re large group sessions. So it can become easy to kind of get a little bit sort of like a hermit in a way. And I think that if we let our team members get that way, a reduces their productivity, but also has an effect on their mental health, which can be you know, much more difficult issue to make sure that everything that we’re doing is focused and keeping the rep focused, and then it can go a long way in terms of having impact on their productivity and Yeah, the individuals help.
Yeah. One thing I want to touch on a little bit here, guys, if it’s okay with you is the idea of ramp. You know, you bring on folks and I know at the table, we have a fairly, you know, lengthy process to make sure that that that our folks are aware of everything that’s kind of going on and what they’re meant to be talking about and the best points to talk about. Can you tell me a little bit about maybe some of the things that we do or even just some of the best practices that you’ve seen to most effectively onboard and ramp up employees to avoid them being overwhelmed during that process?
Nick Thomas 14:38
Yes, I think it’s about for what we do, for example, is we focus their efforts on a week by week basis on particular topics that build on top of each other. So we start with broader topics that are more, let’s say, externally focused and more, let’s say role agnostic things like the industry and who we are as organization. And then we start building into let’s say, departments, specific goals and knowledge they need. Have there and then they started looking at role specific goals and objectives and, and skill sets need to bolster. And so I think if you can take that approach and face it out in that way, it helps them remain focus on one topic at a time. And that knowledge just naturally builds on itself. But then it’s also important to keep keep in mind that you don’t want to overwhelm them with every bit of information right up front. So for example, we have a cool tool that we use called panda doc. And that’s where our reps used to send contracts to customers. We teach them about that and the onboarding, but we don’t spend a lot of time on it, because ultimately, you can get into a lot of detail there. That’s not necessarily going to be retained because they’re getting a lot of information at all at the same time, kind of like drinking from a firehose, and so you can give them the information but just tell them, Hey, this is the tool you’re going to use. Once you get to the point where you’re going to use it. We’ll set up some additional time with you and kind of go through the details then. So that way, they’re getting the information at the point of need and you’re not just overwhelming them with all of it right up front expecting them to retain everything. because realistically, they’re not. And I think also one of those elements is whatever you do cover in onboarding or in any sort of enablement effort, you want to make sure you have materials that reps can go back to, in case they missed the session, or they just need that refresher.So that they’re all covered.
Yeah, they can learn at the point of need. Right, right, exactly. What are you, Ben, you have any any thoughts on that topic?
Ben Elijah 16:25
Yeah, particularly when people are working from home. You know, if I may, I want to tell you about a little failure I had in the last week and the touches on this exactly, um, we have a new person in London. And we sent him our standard onboarding materials. Of course, he’d been in the business for about a week and then we’re working from home. And he was starting to struggle a little bit with it and getting frustrated, and I guess blaming himself and when we started talking with him, we realized that just sending him videos, so reading material wasn’t really working for him. So we pivoted pretty quickly and focused instead of audio materials. Why is that relevant for us? And if you have an understanding when people, particularly when people join the business, what is their learning style? What are their learning preferences, numerous ways that you can use to analyze that.But if you understand that someone’s more visual or auditory or action focused, kinesthetic, or you know they prefer reading and writing, then you can tune your onboarding accordingly. I would absolutely recommend having multiple instances of a given topic for onboarding that you can use depending on learning style. So you might have the same content as a video, you might have the same content as a podcast, or an article, etc. So according to the way someone likes to learn, make sure that you’re setting them up for success.
Do any other tips in terms of you know, being able to figure out somebody’s learning style, you know, is there is there a series of questions or I’m just sort of I’m interested to dive a little bit deeper into into figuring out somebody’s learning style. If you have any, any kind of pointers or some tips on that.
Ben Elijah 18:08
Yeah, for sure. Do we have the ability to add show notes?
Yeah, absolutely. So So, as listeners, I’m sure at this point, no, you can go to docebo.com/podcast. And anything that we we discussed on this podcast is available in that section. So absolutely anything that we speak about today, we’ll make sure it’s available as a resource to folks who can go back to the website.
Ben Elijah 18:29
Great. So two resources then that we can link to all of which are just, you know, out there on the web for free, one of which is called vark, which is the way that you can analyze the way that people like to take information into their heads. And the other. I don’t know the acronym for it. But it was developed by two researchers out of the University of Leicester in the UK, Honey and Mumford, and they analyze the way that people like to process information. Long story short – Two super quick five to 10 minute questionnaires. And it allows you to very quickly analyze the way that someone likes to learn.
That’s great. Yeah. And like I said, we’ll make sure that those are available on there and people can read. And I think I think just, you know, having those those extra resources to be able to kind of figure those things out, I think it’s really helpful to just sort of dive into those. And I think it’s a good point that you make, and I know for myself, in particular, I have my own unique learning style and you know, sometimes just sitting in let’s say, like a lecture room or something like that, I kind of zone out and I and I stopped kind of realizing what’s even going on. So that’s just you know, that’s a silo doesn’t work for me, and I’m sure that there’s there’s styles that don’t work for other people too. And, you know, being an author of the productivity habits, are there any other productivity tips that you that you would have or, or sort of thoughts that you’d like to make sure that our audience is is sort of considering as they as they go about their day following listening to the podcast, things that they can kind of put into immediate practice.
Ben Elijah 19:55
Do you mean as it relates to learning?
As it relates to learning but also just as a relates to, you know, making the most effective use of their time?
Ben Elijah 20:02
Yeah, for sure. Um, well, I suspect they’re probably two things that you want to be considering. The first is where can people get access to good expertise on, on just getting more productively? You know, there’s a ton of great material online. And again, we’ll add some of our top our top tips for it. But again, I would discourage people from treating it as a very tactical issue. Oh, if only I had this app, or if only I had this, this service, I become magically more productive. It goes a lot deeper than that. It’s a lot more psychological. You really need to work with people and understand the way that they like to deal with information. Do they tend to write things down? Do they tend to be proactive? No, do they tend to be quite planful. So I would really encourage you to talk about productivity when you’re building your own business competencies and make it part of your culture.The other aspect that I will be looking at as far as it relates to learning is how do you make sure that development doesn’t get in the way of their existing workload? What you don’t want to be doing is saying to people, while it’s important right now, particularly, and especially if you’ve got sales guys working from home is their opportunity to prove that they don’t need to be micromanaged. Right? So, they got to be proactive, they got to be owning their own development. Do they have the time to be doing a six hour course? arguably, not? Probably your, probably your top 10% would do it but only in their own time. But that’s not necessarily something that you can dictate to everybody? Well, maybe I don’t. So think about how you bring learning and development into the flow of work, rather than keeping it out of the flow of work as a separate activity. And, I mean, I probably defer this part to Nick, for example, because what Nick’s done a great job of doing is defining our business’s sales methodology, just speaking for sales for a moment. And then linking in the relevant development resources into the stages of the of the CRM, perhaps Nick, you can add some more color to that.
Nick Thomas 22:14
Yeah. So what we’ve done is that in the pipeline stages for our sales reps, you have, of course, certain objectives they want to accomplish at any given point in the sales process. And so what we’ve done is we’ve helped to outline what the likely objectives are for each stage, and then link that into specific resources that we have on the back end in our LMS that allow us to train them up on different topics are LinkedIn to customer facing resources that might be relevant for that point in the sales process. So to Ben’s point, it’s about giving them the information that they need, whether that’s internally focused information for training them or externally, resources, you want to make available external, you know, giving them those resources at the point of need and making it easy for them to find them.
Yeah, we Talk about the point of need and flow of work kind of topic on the show quite a bit and in it, and the reason it comes up is because it’s something that’s actually relevant and useful, right? It’s it’s you need information to complete specific tasks throughout your job. And I think everybody in any profession in any role has been at a point where they’ve said, okay, you know, I need this piece of information. And sometimes they’ll go to Google, sometimes they’ll, they’ll hopefully have a manager around or something like that. But the more that we as as learning professionals and enablement, folks are able to make sure that it’s there for them, the better off employees are going to be right.
Nick Thomas 23:35
And it’s all about to that point, like redirecting them there at any given point in time. So like, don’t sort of get people into the habit of searching to one specific place. You start making them go to multiple different places to find resources. That’s where you’ve introduced an element of confusion. That’s what makes it hard for reps. So give them the one place they can go to find everything they need. And I think that goes a long way.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Nick, Ben I just want to say thank you so much for being on the show today. Are there any final points that you kind of would want to leave off on?
Ben Elijah 24:06
Yeah, I guess, when it comes to when it comes to productivity. This is not something that when you’re speaking with your staff, particularly when you’re coaching them, do not expect that everybody’s going to be on the same page with this stuff. Even going up to senior professionals, executives, when they join an organization, they may be joining an organization organization that has a different amount of support than what they used to. And that will expose flaws in the way that they might plan it might expose flaws in the way that they organize themselves. So don’t be afraid in those cases to take people back to basics. And really all that helped them to build a very simple organizational strategy and consider working with you’re working with a People in your team as they work from home, about the time that they invest in their day to make sure that they’re set up for success for that day, rather than just flying directly into it. Do you want to have the biggest impact on your team’s productivity as an l&d department? That’s the one.
That’s great. Ben Elijah, Nick Thomas. Thank you guys, both so much for joining the learning elevated podcast.
Nick Thomas 25:21
Thank you once again, for having us.
Thank you so much to Ben and Nick, for joining us this week on the learning elevated podcast, what a great interview, and I hope there was a lot of resources that everybody was, you know, able to sort of take away from that, and they’re going to be able to implement in the coming weeks ahead. Carrie, what did you like most about the podcast? Well, I mean, firstly, I just love speaking to Ben and Nick, they just have so many great insights. I love that how many we’ve kind of mentioned it, but how many resources that we actually got from those guys as well. And really, really gonna be helpful for everyone that’s listening to this right now. But also, I really liked how they kind of started off into
Speaking about what bed doing right now during the crisis, what kind of self support, you know that they’re kind of doing self care. And something that really stood out for me was about having a routine because I know that we’ve all been struggling with that. And I personally have to, and that’s making me feel overwhelmed, you know. So I think if we have like a set routine, try to make things as normal as possible, you know, going out on the walk before you start your workday. So it’s like your commute, for instance. And yeah, things like that. Just some really great tips. So that was really, really cool for me. What about you? Well, so after we started the after we did this interview with both Ben and I actually took upon myself to go into my Google Calendar, and actually marked out my entire day and try to give myself an actual routine, because I thought, well, what a great way to do it. Right. And there’s a lot of stuff that they were saying that was speaking to me as a sort of a first time remote worker that I was able to put into practice.
And, you know, one of the one of the elements that I thought they use that as a good tactic is to sort of keep an ear out for those around you who are saying I don’t have enough timer I’m so busy, or you know, what are those red flags that you can listen for to be able to understand if somebody is overwhelmed? Especially if we’re not in the office? Because sometimes, you know, you can you can, you can address or understand that somebody’s feeling overwhelmed based on their body language or sort of physical cues. We don’t have that. Right. So what can we do as we’re in the office, out of the office? And we’re talking to people in there? Are they saying stuff that that makes it feel like okay, yeah, maybe this person is overwhelmed, then you can start to work with them to give them some, some tips and tricks to be able to sort of deal with that, that sense of overwhelming, you know, element for them. Yeah, absolutely. And I think this kind of comes into play as well, just when, without this crisis happening right now, so many companies are working remotely. And we know for our teams, for instance, our trainers often you know, are going to be helping people in North America when they live in England, or they’re going to be helping someone in Italy when they work in Canada, for instance. And so I think that’s a really, really good point that you brought up.
You have to be able to notice this without seeing them and realize that maybe there’s something else going on here. Maybe they can’t say no, to too much what was going on? Maybe they’re not working efficiently, whatever it may be, but just being able to see those signs, so I think that yeah, it can be right. It’s pretty relevant right now. Well, there’s a lot of repercussions if you don’t address these things. Don’t keep an eye out, right. People can become attached productivity, of course, could go down. But ultimately, there’s also the issue of just sort of mental health. Yeah. What I’ve actually really enjoyed over the last week in particular, is that we started to shift from using the phrase social distancing to physical distancing. Yeah, I think it’s a really cool kind of just adjustment in the way that we talk about these things. And for all of us, who are working remotely, we’re still connecting with people every day. So, you know, maybe not every single call has to be about business. Maybe you have a couple of calls a day with people, it’s just about connecting and it’s just about saying, you know, where are you at, and where am I at, and helping each other to sort of find different ways to cope and to deal and
You know, to be able to get those sort of pieces of information that you can use similar to Ben providing me the idea of, of setting that sort of regular routine. Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree with that. It’s almost as if now we need to be more connected. So I think you’re completely right, that having like a social distancing ideology is not the best bet. Because we need to be together, we need to actually try and create some kind of society and all of this, but we’re so lucky that we do have the technology we have, obviously. But um, yeah, I completely agree with that. So we’re taking a break talk on our second season of learning elevated podcast next week. So stay tuned, and go back and listen to any episodes that you may have missed for the season. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any topics that you’d like us to cover. Or if you just want have a story about learning that you think that we should know about. Get in touch with us at learning firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to go back to the website, www.docebo.com/podcast for all the resources on this episode, and all of our past episodes as well. Thank you so much for staying with us guys. See you next season.