China has recently announced an interesting solution to a common problem they experience in large cities. It seems that most public restrooms do not provide toilet paper. This is because it is usually stolen by people who worry that the next restroom they go into will not have toilet paper – which means that the one the have just left no longer has toilet paper. An unending problem, unlike a roll of toilet paper!
Using technology as a solution, Chinese officials have decided to install machines that will scan a person’s face and then a two foot length of toilet paper. If the same person tries to get more t.p., the machine will recognize that they have already had their allotted share.
While this may be an innovative response to the toilet paper problem, it ignores the fact that individuals may need differing amounts of paper on different days (Number 1? Number 2? Diarrhea? You get the point.) A “just the right amount” perspective might be helpful.
Perhaps these officials could learn something from the best trainers and facilitators. We know that each learner has different needs. Some may learn the material quickly, while others process more slowly. Some may embrace social interactions, while others prefer to study solo. The best trainers provide for different learners by proactively building in variety and choices.
Look at the following two comments that a presenter might offer. Which would you prefer to hear as a learner?
Which of the following would be better for the learners?
And again in this scenario – which might be better?
When classes are designed and facilitated with the individual learner in mind, differentiation is inevitable. People have access to “just the right amount” to match their needs.
For more ideas on how to design for differentiation, check out “Caffeinated Learning: How to Design and Conduct Rich, Robust Professional Training.”
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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