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Organisational Learning Method – Workplace Demonstration

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Workplace demonstration is a common method of learning employed everywhere, from retail to manufacturing to office work. The demonstrator typically thinks, “I’ll show you once, and you will then know how to do it”. While this can be true, sometimes the demonstrator (who is often an expert) forgets that the person learning could be a novice. Therefore, the way the demonstration is conducted must be paced appropriately, explained clearly and mindful of the learner’s ability to retain information and perform considering he/she could be new to this task.

  1. Position everyone so they can see clearly
  2. Demonstrate once at normal pace, to show completed work
  3. Repeat, but this time slow down and explain each step
  4. Pause to ask questions eg. “Why am I doing this?”
  5. Show no more than 3 steps at one time, then ask colleague/learner to try
  6. Give feedback along the way

  1. Organisation / management
    • Ensure new employees are paired up with experienced workers
    • Provide enough tools / resources for ‘workplace trainers’ where needed
  2. Workplace ‘trainer’
    • You are an expert now, but try to remember what it was like learning for the very first time!
    • Talk through your demonstration (your ‘learner’ cannot read your mind and understand why you are doing what you are doing)
  3. Workplace ‘learner’
    • Ask questions if you don’t understand what is happening
    • Take down notes / photos / videos to help you remember the next time you have to do it (Don’t tell yourself “I’ll remember”, because you won’t J)