Communicating Effectively

My interpretations did change from one modality to another. I interpreted the e-mail message as a pressing matter but at the same time her use of words were passive. Just by reading the words it seemed as if the request for the report was urgent but it was not as important as what Mark was currently working on. The phone message sounded more urgent because of the tone in her voice, she sounded desperate for the report as if she had been waiting a long time to receive this report. The face-to-face meeting appeared to be a little condescending because of the tone in her voice; she really came across as if she is tired of waiting for the report despite how busy Mark has been.

The factors that influenced how I perceived the message is tone followed by a passive voice. She appeared to be sympathetic to Mark’s workload but she was clearly agitated that her report was taking a long time to complete.

I think that the face-to-face meeting and the voicemail both conveyed the true intent of her message because the words were spoken and Mark could her the urgency in her voice. Written communication could not capture the sense of urgency, in fact in written the same words comes across as passive.

Depending in the intent of the message, choosing the correct form of communication is essential. This is something that I have never given much thought to. Clearly depending on the message choosing the right communication will pay dividends. If I see a doctor and he/she has to deliver bad news to me, I would really prefer a face-to-face or phone conversation instead of a written correspondence. When matters are pressing verbal communication allows the receiver to respond or ask questions for further clarification, correspondence cannot offer instance feedback.

This activity opened my eyes about communication. As stated earlier, I have never given much thought about communication, I simply relied on common sense. Depending on the nature of the message choosing the correct form of communication is key.

Patrick Hopkins

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“Post-mortem”

I use to work for a well know retail store as an Efficiency Expert on the distribution side. The distribution center operated an employee incentive program called the Productivity Evaluation Program (PEP) to motivate employees to work harder and faster. The PEP system was designed to award employees a financial bonus to work above and beyond normal industry standards. The company had this term called “turn” which means the amount of turnaround time merchandise entered the distribution center from manufactures, processed and released to the department stores. The industry standard for “turn” was 2-day turn schedule and my company’s turn was operating on an 8-day turn schedule, which was completely unacceptable. However, the PEP system was paying bonuses at an all-time high for unproductive work. I was handed the task of reducing the turn schedule from 8-day turn schedule to an industry standard of a 2-day turn schedule coupled with aligning the pay incentive to those standards.

My very first task was too review the time and motion studies conducted for the pay incentive program for each recorded task. The scope of this project was very large because of the time and human resource requirements. Furthermore, I needed to review how the productivity was being recorded for each employee to determine eligibility for bonus pay. After a 5-month study it was my recommendation to suspend the incentive program until new standards and procedures could be put into place.

It was determined that the time and motion studies conducted by the previous Efficiency Expert were invalid for a number of reasons. To effectively conduct a time and motion study of employees, multiple studies has to be conducted using a large sample of employees and a variety or study methods such as video surveillances as well as in person studies both formally and informally. The previous study only used live studies and the sample was too small. The problem with live studies is that the employees become nervous and they do not work to their full potential or purposely work at a slower pace to relax production standards. Also studying a small amount of employees does not effectively measure the capabilities of all employees. By using a small sample size of employees to study coupled with a small frequency will skew the production standards in favor of the employee. With in a 12-month period I was able to put the distribution on a 2-day turn inline with the pay incentive program.

 

Patrick Hopkins

Perceptions of Distance Learning

Distance Learning today is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Distance Learning offers learners the ability to pursue degrees; complete required training for work, and continued education credits all around the learners busy lifestyles. The learn anyplace at anytime asynchronous nature of distance learning enable students to learn at times that are convenient for them.

Lets be careful with the future of distance learning replacing traditional education entirely in the future. Although education is trending towards distance learning, I don’t foresee distance learning as a total replacement of traditional education. Distance Learning provides a niche, which captures a market share that traditional face-to-face brick and mortar education cannot reach. As technology improves and the field of Instructional Design propagates, the creditability of distance education will greatly improves.  As society becomes further educated through distance learning environments, and become more and more productive in society, distance education benefits by gains in popularity and credibility.

As an Instructional Designer, we are charged with designing and building courses that are aligned with current societal standards, trends and technologies. To remain creditable, Instructional Designers have to be continually educated and recognize current educational trends, changes in society, and be on the cutting edge of technology. Designing courses, working with industry leaders and subject matter experts, have to be a continuous process to build and maintain quality courses. As a high school technology teacher, it is difficult for the public school systems to keep up with the pace of technology because of cost. Most of the courses that are taught in school today are obsolete or becoming obsolete because the technology is antiquated. Students have technologies at home that are far more advanced than what’s at school. It is difficult to remain creditable if what you are teaching is obsolete. Furthermore, it is important to stay ahead of the current trends in technology to remain respectable. It is the job of the Instructional Designer to design courses, maintain, and update courses frequently to keep pace with external factors in society.

As society is trending toward distance education, the demand for Instructional Designers is rapidly increasing; these are oblivious reasons why I am pursing this field like many others. I will be a positive force in this industry by being a pioneer not simply relying on what’s available but remaining on the cutting edge of technology and paying close attention to external factors such as the economy, occupation, and technology trends. To be effective in the industry forward thinking is a must. We have to go beyond what is current; education is about tomorrow. Over the past six years we have witnessed a shift in education due to the lack luster economy. Americans were losing their jobs at an alarming rate partly due to a shift in industry that we were not prepared for. If you fail to look ahead you are doomed to get caught in traps that you can’t foresee.  There have been paradigm shifts in jobs that many Americans are not qualified for and we failed to recognize these shifts. So today we have many out of work Americans that do not have to skills to keep up with the job demands. For these reasons, my job as an Instructional Designer has to go beyond what is current and explore and become a pioneer to what is in the future. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.–Patrick Hopkins

Reference

Schmidt, E., & Gallegos, A. (2001). Distance learning: Issues and concerns of distance learners. Journal of Industrial Technology, 17(3). Retrieved from http://atmae.org/jit/Articles/schmidt041801.pdf

Siemens, G., (2010) The Future of Distance Education. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4198205_1%26url%3D