Jim’s Journal: Time to Get With the Program

September 25, 2013 in Jim's Journal

Several years ago I walked into a classroom in Beijing, China ready to JIMPACT the room.  I was there, for two weeks, to teach my experiential leadership course for the students of the Rutgers University International Executive MBA Program.  My roster indicated that there would be 78 students in the class.  Yes!  I was ecstatic!  Unfortunately, my roster DID NOT indicate that each of those students would have a laptop open to take notes.   “Are you kidding me?” I thought. The “laptop party” totally caught me off guard.  I had grown accustomed to participants/learners taking notes with pens and pencils – not with technology.  I knew I had to make a shift.  I had to change my mindset.  I could not tell them to turn off their technology, like so many of us do today (e.g., cell and smartphones).  So much has changed over the years.  As trainers, speakers, facilitators and educators, we have to evolve too.  We’re now competing with technology for our learners’ attention and we have to continue to bring more value than ever before.  My two-week course went extremely well and I adapted to all of the technology nuances that the participants brought to that class.  Since then, I never tell my learners to put their phones on vibrate, silent or turn them off.  I now encourage them to use it during the session.  I ask them to email, text, tweet, linkin or provide a status update to others relative to the valuable information they’re getting from the session.  Evolve!  Evolve!  Evolve!  That’s what we have to do.  We have to get with the program!

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