Posted in Music

#146: Sooner or Later

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

Sooner or later the skies will be bright,

Tears will be all wiped away; (away;)

Sooner or later, then cometh the lightt,

Night will be turned into day. (glad day.)

CHORUS

Sooner or later cares will have flown,

Sunshine and gladness we’ll see (we’ll see;)

Sooner ro later God calleth His own,

With Him forever to be. (to be.)

2

Sooner or later, our Lord knows the hour,

He’ll send His beloved Son; (His Son;)

Sooner or later, in His might and pow’r,

Our battles all will be won. (be won.)

CHORUS

3

Sooner or later, yes, sooner for some,

Darkness will all then be past; (be past;)

Sooner or later our Savior will come —

With Him will your lot be cast? (be cast?)

CHORUS

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: Fitbit Foray

Well, My fitness goals are moving along this past week. I’m closer to my cycling goal — not as far ahead — than I was in other months. That means I have to put in more effort through December. Weather is likely to impede certain days, so I’ll need to take advantage of every day that I can.

For my running, I actually got out twice this past week, and my second run was better than the first for speed. This during the time I was still recovering from the sinus issues and limitations it placed on by breath, while dealing with cold air breathing adjustments.

No swimming. I’m going to need to get motivated on that for the turn of the year, but I’ve reached this year’s goal, so it’s easier to slack off.

The item I have changed is my fitness tracker. I still have the MisFit, but I happened to win a FitBit Flex in a drawing, so I’ve spent the last 3 days seeing how it works. The problem is that I wish I had won the FitBit Flex 2: it has the swimming option, and SmartTrack auto exercise recognition. I haven’t found a way to track my cycling on the FitBit Flex.

The other option I don’t like is that it has to be worn on the wrist. I was glad when I could stop wearing a watch; I wear my MisFit on my ankle; to have to wear a device on my wrist again, not sure how I would adapt to that. Nevertheless, I can see the possibility of moving to the FitBit  Flex 2. If the swimming app is able to do the extra it says, and if it is waterproof so I don’t have to remember to put it off and on for the shower, I’m liable to move platforms. We’ll see if I make the investment.

Posted in Music

#145: Hail, Thou Once-Despised Jesus!

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

Hail, Thou once-despised Jesus” Hail, Thou Gallilean King!

Thou didst suffer to release us; Thou didst free salvation bring.

Hail, Thou agonizing Savior, Bearer of our sin and shame!

By Thy merits we find favor, Life is given thru Thy name.

2

Paschal Lamb, by God appointed, All our sins on Thee were laid;

By almighty love anointed, Thou hast full atonement made.

All Thy people are forgiven Thru the virtue of Thy Blood;

Opened is the gate of heaven, Peace is made ‘twixt man and God.

3

Jesus, hail! enthroned in glory, There forever to abide;

All the heav’nly hosts adore Thee, Seated at Thy Father’s side:

There for sinners Thou art pleading, There Thou dost our place prepare,

Ever for us interceding Till in glory we appear.

4

Worship, honor, pow,r and blessing Thou art worthy to receive;

Loudest praises, without ceasing, Meet it is for us to give.

Help, ye bright angelic spirits, Bring your sweetest, noblest lays;

Help to sing our Savior’s merits, Help to chant Immanuel’s praise.

Posted in Social Issues

Perfectly Appoproriate; Perfectly Counterproductive

I wrote last Saturday about the Hamilton/Pence  brouhaha. Since then I have had a chance to listen to and read other opinions on the issue. It hasn’t changed my basic opinion, but it has expanded my perspective.

The question was whether the cast of Hamilton was rude, did anything inappropriate, by making their appeal to vice president-elect Pence when he was at their performance. I still believe that they were not rude, and it was totally appropriate of them to make their appeal.

But the appeal was totally counterproductive. Rather than change any opinions, it highlighted the opposing views without actually making any lasting change or impact. It allowed people on both sides to “virtue signal” without doing anything of substance.

I came to my real epiphany in two steps. One was an article on Mike Rowe’s response to Hamilton. The other was a Facebook share where someone had asked a musician he liked to stop using her posts for a bully pulpit (my wording), and actually get back to the music and artistic endeavors that people came to her for in the first place. She, of course, screamed that she wasn’t about to be silenced.

Rowe’s response to Hamilton was that they would have achieved their goal better by listening to Shakespeare; Let the play do its thing to “prick the conscience of the king.” Once you start broadcasting your own feelings, it becomes personal instead of persuasive. Both sides have emotions and you just bring them up instead of making a persuasive sense.

Let me get back to the second epiphany point: the artist who won’t stop using the Bully Pulpit instead of just doing her art. Both she and the Hamilton cast made the same rhetorical mistake: Art is what gives them their public stance to be able to speak, but they forget that is their art, not their speaking, that is the persuasive point. The Hamilton cast did a one-fer,  they might recover from the impact it has on their careers; The lady musician is deep sixing her career by driving her audience away with stridency instead of luring them to her persuasion with her real art.

And since I think I disagree with the lady artist in question, I am more than willing to let her go on sabotaging her own cause. I mean, the person who asked her to stop, as much as said she was driving him away, and it didn’t seem to phase her that she was doing the opposite of what her avowed goal was. This is the same situation with most of the Hollywood set that gets to making political pronouncements; they don’t understand their own rhetorical position.

This brings me back to another point, and another cultural struggle: the Hugos and the Sad Puppies. The Sad Puppies are saying the same thing Rowe is: if you want to persuade people, do it with a persuasive story, with persuasive art, not art that “virtue signals”. But people on the other side refuse to listen. So let them drive their own audience away, into the arms of their “foes”. They are not my foes, but I, and other Sad Puppies, apparently are theirs. They become less relevant by the day with their stridency.

Posted in Family

A Blast of the Past #72: Nathan’s Birthday

This birthday in 2005 was one of the simplest yet fun parties. The cake as a rainbow cake that I stole the design from the worm cake we had seen at another kid’s party. And the balloons were the easiest thing for everyone to have fun with. I think we may have used balloons a couple of other times they worked so well.

Posted in Social Issues

Thanksgiving not Entitlement

11And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:13 and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. — Luke 17:11-19, KJV

A Bible study I am a part of had a special time Tuesday where we asked people to share verses on Thankfulness for us to discuss. One particularly astute woman brought up the above passage. We had a lot of fun conjecturing on why the other 9 didn’t come back. But the main point we pulled from this, is that we tend to have a sense of entitlement for things that we should be thankful for.

When we are thankful, we know what we have, the good things, are all gifts.But today too many people have a sense of entitlement for everything they get. Entitlement is the poison that removes thankfulness.

So my homily for this Thanksgiving Day is “give up your sense of entitlement”. You don’t deserve things, other people don’t owe you things. Be grateful for them, and be grateful to the people who provide.

Posted in Music

#144: Hark! Ten Thousand Harps and Voices

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

1

Hark! ten thousand harps and voices Sound the note of praise above;

Jesus reigns, and heav’n rejoices — Jesus reigns, the God of love:

See, He sits on yonder throne — Jesus rules the world alone.

REFRAIN

Alleluia! alleluia! Alleluia! Amen

2

Jesus, hail! whose glory brightens All above, and gives it worth;

Lord of life, Thy smile enlightens, Cheers and charms Thy saints on earth:

When we think of love like Thine, Lord, we own it love divine.

REFRAIN

3

King of glory, reign forever — Thin an everlasting crown;

Nothing from Thy love shall sever Those whom Thou hast made Thine own:

Happy objects of Thy grace, Destined to behold Thy face.

REFRAIN

4

Savior, hasten Thine appearing — Bring, O bring the glorious day,

When, the awful summons hearing, Heav’n and earth shall pass away:

Then with golden harps we’ll sing, “Glory, glory to our King!”

Posted in Education, Gonzaga University

OJT Training: Theory Influencing Practice

(Note: This is a paper I turned in for my class on consulting and training.)

 

OJT Training: Theory Influencing Practice

Jonathan R. Lightfoot

Gonzaga University

 

 

OJT Training: Theory Influencing Practice

Three source documents are being used to analyze the theory and practice of On-the-Job-Training. The oldest is a 1996 article from a manufacturing magazine, Water Engineering & Management, about the use of OJT vs. classroom training classes in factories. The next is a Train the Trainer handbook copyrighted in 1999 and used for several years at to educate first line managers and supervisors on how to best train new hires in their operational responsibilities. The final document is a 2013 study published in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on the effectiveness of OJT and PDCA training.

Each of the three materials will be reviewed in chronological order, and then compared and contrasted with each other to see what the disparate perspectives can yield when brought together. The author of this paper was trained in the second document’s methods in the early 2000s, and is writing this paper to place his education and experience in context of the greater field of study. By reviewing the materials chronologically, the training materials can be placed in an appropriate context, and then evaluated to see where current theory can be used to approve or amend it to be more effective.

On-the-Job Training

Smith and Kules (1996) did a practical article for plant managers on when and how to apply on-the-job-training to their plants, and how to know when classroom or OJT training made more sense.

Their leading point was that good OJT training is not the “sink or swim” method, where an activity is demonstrated once, quickly, to the trainee, and then they are left alone and expected to be competent. Instead, evaluation is done to understand what the trainee knows before training, and training is done to ensure the trainer is trained. This structure teaches the trainee problem solving skills. The trainee learns more information about the why of the process, and is thus more open to ask questions of the trainer. The trainer/trainee relationship is also one of more respect than the sink or swim method.

Smith and Kules gave guidelines for deciding between classroom and OJT training. Note, these are considering factory/plant training, but their recommendations can be applied elsewhere. One factor should be cost per person. What can affect those costs? The expense and availability of capital equipment, experience of employees and number of employees needing similar training. Another factor to consider is the experience of the employee(s). Less experienced employees usually do better in classroom training first before OJT.

Tools and Techniques of OJT Training

The materials in this OJT training book by Instructional Design Associates (1999) concentrate on creating the best trainer for OJT training. It is high on principles and concepts. There are the characteristics of successful OJT training:

1)         Structured

2)         Timely

3)         Accountability

4)         Premeditated

5)         Consistent

6)         Human

Then there is the 4-step training model, as detailed in the below table:

 

 

 

Trainer   Student
Prepare Leaner Put student at ease, get student interested in materials Motivation
Present the job Tell, show and illustrate the task Understanding
Try out performance Have student practice the task, correct errors Participation
Transition to job Put student on own, tell where to get help, check frequently Application

 

That is balanced by an analysis of trainer/trainee styles. Again, another table:

Trainer: Tour Guide

Student: Gadfly

Trainer: Balanced

Student: Thinker

Trainer: Administrator

Student: Rock

Trainer: Engine

Student: Engine

 

The key is to work through the 4-step training model while recognizing the student’s training style and aligning the material and the trainer with that style to achieve the end training result. A trainer needs to recognize the student’s quadrant on the style table, and move the student to the place of greatest learning.

The PDCA Cycle and OJT Training

Matsuo and Nakahara (2013) put the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle and On-the-Job-Training (OJT) through a research study to compare their effectiveness in fostering the organizational learning process.

They defined the organizational learning process as:

  • Acquisition of knowledge by individuals or groups
  • Sharing and interpreting knowledge within groups and organizations
  • Incorporation of knowledge into organized routines
  • Elimination of anachronistic routines

To determine effectiveness, they put forth four hypotheses:

  • OJT – Direct supervision is positively correlated with workplace learning
  • OJT – Empowerment is positively correlated with workplace learning
  • PDCA – Positively correlated with workplace learning
  • Reflective Communication is positively correlated with workplace learning

They used learning outcome survey data from a Japanese firm to make their analysis. What they discovered is that the first hypothesis was false, but the other three were true. The general conclusions were that quality management based on the PDCA cycle can markedly improve development by promoting problem solving and stimulating experiential learning. In contrast, the effectiveness of OJT depends on its style.

They did note that the results might be affected by the culture of the Japanese firm, and need to be expanded to other cultural settings to confirm a more general conclusion.

Historical Progression

The article by Smith and Kules (1996) can be seen as a first step discussion of the effectiveness of OJT vs. classroom training, and the need for conscious structure to OJT training, instead of the “sink or swim” method. The training materials experienced by this author (Instructional Design Associates 1999) were designed where the assumption of OJT was already in place. The focus of these materials was on preparing the trainer with the skills necessary to assess the status of the trainee and adapt and direct training to make the most effective use of where the trainee is to learn the materials for the job. Neither of these sources had any assessment phase to validate the accuracy of their assumptions. The research study (Matsuo and Nakahara, 2013) added this level of complexity to the information available on the OJT process.

Analysis and Reflection

The experiences of the author of this paper with OJT started prior to his participation in the training class on how to be an OJT trainer. That is the usual progression: someone who has been a de facto trainer is sent to a class to learn all the right theories and practices to do what they have already been doing. The OJT trainer usually doesn’t have any relief from the other duties of their workday. Training the other employee is an addition to the already busy workload. This creates the temptation is to do the “sink-or-swim” method mentioned in the Smith and Kules article. The Train the Trainer class is the encouragement to put more thought into the process.

Being a trained OJT trainer creates a mindset that should make the trainer mindful of the training process, both of the trainee and the information to be learned. What the Train the Trainer course expected is a fairly structured concept of what information needs to be learned, in what context and time frame, by the trainee. In practical experience, many of the training events are one-off and ad-hoc events that fit into the total knowledge of the trainee. There isn’t a scheduled course of instruction that gets worked through. The initial crunch of essential information is learned at the beginning, and then the intensity of the relationship tapers off, and the trainer becomes more of a resource than a focused trainer.

The Train the Trainer materials give a mental mindset, but doesn’t give a real strategy for the perpetual training cycle. That is where the insights from the research study come in.

The research study, with its focus on PDCA and OJT visualizes the training process as a perpetual, recursive function. PDCA in particular, with its plan-do-check-act cycle, visualizes training intentionally and perpetually. The study also gave a caution for OJT training: The wrong style can actually be counterproductive to the learning of knowledge.

The training materials encourage supervision of the student, until the appropriate time for putting them on their own. The PDCA study suggests that the empowerment of putting the trainee on their own (but not in a sink-or-swim manner) sooner is more productive than a prolonged period of supervision. Longer supervision is actually counterproductive. Earlier episodes of independence, properly coached, can stimulate problem solving in the trainee and increase experiential learning.

A side result of this process is something I have experienced multiple times as an OJT trainer. I call it “the right mistake”. This “right mistake” is an important part of the OJT learning process. Rather than train the trainee on everything they could possibly need to know, rather than show them all the steps and possible logical branching tree options available, you concentrate on the core information needed now, along with the how and why information. Then the trainee is allowed to proceed and experience their learning. Sooner or later they are going to come to a point where their knowledge, and training, tells them what the correct answer is going to be, but it isn’t; what they try is wrong. Then they come to the trainer to understand what happened. And my response is: “you made the right mistake”.

What they did shows they understand what they have been taught, and are applying it correctly.  Yet no explanation can ever be complete, or show the whole picture; no training can cover everything. Letting them work out their understanding until they run into something where it doesn’t work, is an important part of the learning process. Equally important is assuring them that their “failure” is a sign of success in their understanding. Thus, the concept of the “right mistake”, and the need to look beyond what you know when you make the “right mistake”.

(The wrong mistake, of course, would be one where they didn’t follow what they already knew correctly, and requires a different remediation; review of what they should already understand until they fully internalize it.)

The one part of the that I haven’t seen focused on from the research study is step four of the organizational learning process: Elimination of anachronistic routines. That is something that should be focused on in future papers.

Conclusion

While a small sample, statistically, of the literature, the three articles selected show a certain progress in the way On-the-Job-Training has been viewed over the past two decades. The starting point is taking a serious view of OJT as more than just a quick show-tell sink-or-swim session. This led to training materials for the OJT trainer. Just being experienced in how to do the task is not enough to be able to train it: one needs experience in how to connect with the trainee to convey understanding. Yet the results of this train-the-trainer experience was also mixed. Further analysis, the research study, shows that style in OJT is critical to the amount of knowledge learned.

When using this to analyze my personal training experiences, I see that those occasions where I felt inclined to greater supervision were actually the most counterproductive, requiring further intervention on my part. Following the empowerment model is what actually led to my own “eureka” moment about the “right mistake” as an excellent teaching tool and measurement of trainee progress. While some tasks had obvious “right mistake” points, others tend to be more individual, yet the “right mistake” moment itself is always recognizable as an achievement of learning by the trainee to be celebrated and encouraged. Empowering a trainee to learn from failures in a precious form of empowerment.

 

References

Instructional Design Associates (1999). Training employees: Tools and techniques of OJT training. Training manual.

Matsuo, M., Nakahara, J. (2013). The effects of the PDCA cycle and OJT training on workplace learning, The International Journal of Human Resource Management. Pages 195-207, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2013

Smith, M., Kules, J. (1996). On-The-Job Training: Harder Than It Looks. Water Engineering & Management 143; 12; ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry

 

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: weather-related allergies/illness

I started off last week with the best of intents. Ran a 5K on Monday with the intent to get at least one more in. Then a weather swing hit the sinuses. Eyes felt funny/sleepy from all the pressure behind them; ears like they need to pop all the time. Sleep went, coughing ensued. Took until Sunday to get through most of it, but the sinuses still run.

I was part of a Doctoral Music Recital for a choral director on Sunday. The weather swing hit almost everyone in group respitorially one way or another, so I know it is a common occurrence. Weather swings bring adjustments that take our bodies time to adjust.

So last week didn’t make much progress in fitness goals.  With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, this week’s schedule should be interrupted one way or another. There is still 75 miles to go on November’s bicycle goal. I’ll need some good weather and open time to get that one in somewhere.