We talked last week about how learning is not the same as completing a checklist. Learning is a process. It requires learners to assimilate new knowledge and skills into what they already know, at a level that will let them use that information later. Everyone learns at a different pace and have different learning needs.
Some people easily get one aspect of the process but struggle with others, while another person in the same cohort may have the opposite needs. This means that a coach or teacher dedicated to fostering real learning has to be flexible in their approach and customize the experience to each learner.
When a learner doesn’t get something (be it simple addition or how to use relational skills during an initial engagement meeting), they need more support and exposure to help them master that task. For a staff person struggling with a concept, that might look like a focused coach debriefing and then supplemental learning aids (an activity like a behavioral rehearsal with an experienced peer, listening to a podcast, watching someone do it correctly, whatever that might be). Providing the correct supplemental learning aids is part of being a good coach.
But one size and one focus does not fit all. Imagine that you are in a class, and you just finished learning about a skill. You flew through the material. You demonstrated mastery. Actually, you already knew how to do this skill before this part of the class – you just needed to prove it to you instructor so you can move on.
Now imagine that, instead of your instructor saying “Good job – you clearly have this part down. Let’s move on to the next thing.” they said something like “Great. I still need you to listen to this explain-it-like-I’m-5 podcast, to shadow a few people, and to do another demonstration.” Really think about how that would make you feel:
- How motivated would you be to do the extra work?
- How would it change how you feel about your instructor and the program?
- How hard would you work on the next section, knowing that you have to do all the extra stuff anyway?
Engagement and motivation are essential to staff success at mastering MiiWrap – in the same way and for the same reasons that they are essential to families in MiiWrap being successful at making changes.
When we meet learners where they are, offer extra help that they need, and show them that we really see their work and care about their progress, we increase both engagement and motivation. This requires us to know what our learners do and don’t know with a pretty high degree of accuracy.