Thursday, April 23, 2009

Improve training with guerrilla tactics

From art to gardening, and even marketing, people have been using guerrilla-style tactics over the past years to side step the usual outlets and get their work noticed.

Take guerrilla gardening for example. It’s a practice where environmental activists target a piece of seemingly neglected or misused land and give it a new, more beautiful purpose. Some guerrilla gardeners practice their trade overnight and in secrecy to reveal a flowering garden or lush vegetable patch in the morning.

Through the inconspicuous act of gardening, these activists are able to get their message across to a much wider audience than what they could reach in their own backyard.

So, what does gardening have to do with training?

Not much, until I read a recent post on guerrilla learning by Michele Martin at The Bamboo Project blog. After reading Keri Smith’s Guerrilla Art Kit, Michele started thinking about how the same tactics artists use could be put to work in the learning world.

Her ideas can be used as pre- and post-training activities, or even ongoing tactics to reinforce training points. Here are just a couple of Michele’s ideas for Guerrilla learning:

  • Public Chalkboard--Install a chalkboard and chalk in a public space and invite comments or ideas. For learning, I'd post a provocative question related to the learning and then invite responses. You could also do this with a notebook that was passed from person to person or with a poster in a public place that has a pen attached.

  • Installations--Use Post-It notes in a central location to create a trail of words, quotes or drawings. This could be a semi-permanent, ongoing project for a lunchroom, hallway, etc.

All of her ideas would undoubtedly make workplace learning more enjoyable and imaginative. Guerrilla tactics like these could get employees excited about the learning process again and improve learning retention over the long run.

Have you ever used guerrilla-style tactics to reinforce your employee training points? Do you think they would work in your organization?

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