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Clare Feeney's Blog

Practice leads to Proficiency – but does our training allow enough time for this?

This question of allowing enough time in workshops for what is most important has challenged me throughout my training career. It zoomed to top of mind a couple of weeks ago at Beryl Oldham’s seminar on training needs assessment for the New Zealand Association of Training and Development. Taking a good look at what Beryl called “what IS” there (rather than what level of staff performance we “think” might or …Read More

Training – the temerity!

It’s always amazed me how training works. You take a bunch of fully autonomous adults in a room together – and there is an automatic consensus about the conventions we operate under. Yes, we socialise, crack jokes, make conversation, have fun. But it’s not a social situation in the normal sense, apart from in the breaks. The conventions around how we operate in a training context form an unwritten social contract. Most of us are unaware …Read More

Training that creates communities of excited professionals

The best training creates communities of excited professionals who want to communicate with each other about what they’re learning. Training is becoming both more social and more virtual as technologies enable this. It’s also becoming much more collaborative – not only amongst learners, but between learners and trainers, as trainees take responsibility for their own learning and ask correspondingly more of their trainers. Engineering ethics may not at first blush …Read More

Honour well-deserved for Nganeko Minhinnick, environmental champion

Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, are often both the first and last to stand for environmental values in this country. Let me share one of my earliest experiences of the immense value for everyone in this country of Māori environmental kaitiakitanga (guardianship). Every June on the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the New Zealand government recognises citizens whose work has made a difference in some positive way to the community. This …Read More

How to create an exam that everyone will enjoy

Over a coffee with a colleague earlier today, the conversation turned to assessing learning after a training workshop. Of the many people who’ve attended my workshops over the years, some have been extremely capable practitioners for whom school most definitely would have been one of the least rewarding times of their life.  In fact at one workshop a delightful young man confided to me that he couldn’t read, so please …Read More

Setting up the conditions for creativity

A couple of weeks ago I spoke on innovation at a conference on that theme for the civil construction sector. One of the many fascinating things about creativity is its need for the right conditions before it can emerge – both in our brain and in our organisations. The brain is a very energy-hungry organ: just 2% of our body weight, it appropriates 20% of our energy intake to fuel …Read More

Training providers adjusting to trends in learners’ needs

Two meetings last week reminded me of the utmost importance of understanding the needs of trainees, and revealed how recent trends are being reflected in major re-thinks by training providers of how they have traditionally delivered the information their stakeholders need. My business partner Susie Wood and I met with representatives of two major training providers, both professional membership organizations, to discuss their programs. We had perused their extensive suite …Read More

Re-inspiring myself about training

Recently I had the privilege of attending a professional development session with Karen Boyes from Spectrum Education. What a whirlwind she is! Karen specializes in helping teachers understand how to teach so children learn and helping parents support their children’s learning can  – and she teaches the children themselves how best to learn what they are taught. The interesting thing was that before we fully found this out, Karen was …Read More

The cutting edge of the knowledge economy – a view from the digger bucket

Now that I’ve submitted an expanded second edition of my book to my publisher in the UK, Global Professional Publishing (it will be published in September this year), I find I’m having to explain the purpose and content of the book in a different way. It’s not easy! It started when I attended a 2-day VIP workshop for professional speakers and confessed to everyone there that having just submitted the …Read More

E- and m-training: glimpsing the future in what we’re doing now

After four failed attempts to build a grassed swale along a motorway to the design and performance specifications, an environmental manager told me she finally got the project engineer to agree that maybe the topsoil had to be sieved after all, and that perhaps it was indeed a good idea to mark out the dimensions for the digger driver to follow.  Roadside swales are notoriously difficult to build for long …Read More