Pick ‘n’ Mix Learning

Who can forget standing in Woolies… plastic scoop in hand… wondering which of the sweets to add to our bag?

This grand old tradition of picking your favorite sweets and paying by weight has spilled over into every facet of our lives from pick ‘n’ mix school menus to pick ‘n’ mix medical cover. Now, in this digital age, we expect even more choice (think multi-channel shopping, multi-plex cinemas and flexible learning)…. we want variety, in any order and any combination…and whenever we want them. Practical Action Consulting (PAC) has also been working hard to create wonderful multi-experiences to learn on and offline about our market-based approaches.

Click ‘n’ Mix

Currently PAC is testing an online learning option in our inclusive markets methodology ‘Participatory Market Systems Development’ (PMSD) to complement face to face training. This focuses on the skills to perform ‘live’ tasks relating to our ten-step PMSD  Roadmap …via training and mentoring that is no longer bound by space or time.

Adult learners need to see an almost immediate application for new knowledge and have this information readily available. Digital learning not only frees learners from the traditional training environment – it gives them ‘unbundled’ choices for the delivery of instruction. We are able to break things up into more manageable and digestible pieces at reasonable costs.

The thing about loose sweets is that not only can customers select their favorite ones but they often buy more than they came for. So maybe we can ultimately sell more of our flavors or brands than we intend…

Quality and rich pickings

This is not really about the changing application of technology, it’s what is being ‘unbundled’ that counts. Simply streaming a lecture or sharing digital documents or performing online tests isn’t enough. New kinds of instruction need shaping… we need more variety of awesome quality sweets in our huge party bag.

Choice and freedom of consumption

So here is what we are trying… training is offered firstly via a series of webinars… sure, we make presentations and share web content (think nostalgic and retro sweets such as Bon Bons, Pear Drops and Wine Gums) but we also make full use of chat spaces, interactive whiteboards and combine platforms such as MindMeister and Google Docs to ensure a richer sweeter experience (think fizzy Dracula Teeth and Sour Dummies).

We also harness an online education management system – to streamline interpersonal dialogue, mentor and monitor. We offer online tests but also share resources that capture the voices and evidence of PMSD in our work as well as facilitating discussions and posting homework…all from a single location.

Having it your way

Our virtual confectionery should be coupled with face to face instruction. It’s supposed to complement not replace traditional approaches. Embracing online learning as part of our pick ‘n’ mix mega bag gives us more flexible and cost effective ways to influence more practitioners with our inclusive markets-based approaches and tools.

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