Critique background- This report looks at the e-mail and letter writing module. This module goes into detail about the general letter writing process such as template letters and official correspondence on behalf of M.P’s etc. The module also covers how to write a letter from scratch, plain English and the misuse of e-mail from the point of view that it is an area where the conventional rules of spelling, grammar and flow are often disregarded. The module covers all of the RPA standards when writing a letter.
Results The results of the critique showed a lot of areas that could be developed further to allow the course to follow the standards set out more effectively. There are positive points. The material tries to cover a lot of areas and in most manages to do this but this is not always what the objectives have stated for the session or the course. The exercises are weighted on the side of theory and written assessments. There are a lot of skills that are displayed by the learners over the course which are not picked up on. The paperwork for both the trainer and the learner is very wordy and should be flexible.
Conclusions & Recommendations – My conclusions are that the objectives (in the majority) need to be re-written to include standards actions outcomes and conditions. The exercises need to encourage more participation within the group. The learning styles of all delegates need to be adressed as these are not met. The course is lengthy for delegates who do the work already could be split or back up sections put in to facilitate learning needs.
The assessment methods should be assesed within the course objectives as looking at the material one formal assessment in particular is not valid. My recommendations are that the exercises within the course are tailored to the four different learning styles (Kolb 1984, Honey and Mumford 1996). The power point slides need to be less cluttered and use more visuals and make the content come to life. It will then be an effective addition to the course. The course should be split to allow better learning needs identification and also to accommodate the wealth of knowledge already in the business. An assessment of level of knowledge on the business procedures could be done before hand or during the session in a controlled and safe environment.
The aim of the course is to improve the quality and effectiveness of writing- and thus enable delegates to write to internal and external customers using English that is clear, correct and has the effect that you want You will see as you read through the assignment if the Aim holds true. I will be looking at standards I have set (Appendix 1) as well as referencing the material against models and theories contained within books and what I have learnt on the programme so far all the way through the assignment allowing a full and frank critique of the material.
Method(s) of investigation My methodology for this assignment was firstly to come up with a list of standards for objectives, key leaning points, methods, resources, assessments and transfer which allow me to objectively critique the course chosen. (Appendix 1) I will also use knowledge I have gained on my CTP sessions such as the 10 principles of adult leaning, together with knowledge from some books such as Training practice- Hackett (2003) ,Accelerated learning- Dave Meier (2000), blooms taxonomy- Benjamin Bloom(1954), Experiential Learning- David Kolb (1984) to think about and look at the different sessions of the course, and to consider the whole brain approach to learning (Herrmann-Nehdi, 1995) in my critique of the sessions
I have looked at the standard training design document used within RPA (appendix 4) and found it to be ok. For me the titles used within the CTP sessions were much more understandable and as far as I can see the TDD misses the transfer element which is the most integral part of identifying how you can make things real for people or relate it to work so that the learning takes place or is reinforced. I am not taking up much time as we currently use this document as standard in the RPA. I will put forward suggestions that the TDD is changed to include transfer to make it a more effective tool for RPA to use. I hope this is well received. I have spoken with people within and outside of the team to draw on their expertise and to gain knowledge and another point of view which has helped me greatly in coming to conclusions and making recommendations.
I assed the criteria or standards I have used by posing questions to the material myself and with my colleagues coming up with standards which can be commented as they can be measured against the standard. To do this I looked at a models (Hackett 2003) and (blooms 1956) and from our CTP session looked at the sessions plan for designing training and assessment (Brian Hamer DPG 2009) to then take this research and formulate the standards for the critique. This allowed me to scope this document using all the research mentioned above.
I have also incorporated the whole brain approach (Herrmann-Nehdi, 1995) to the overall body conclusions and recommendations. All the criteria chosen had to cover off these areas and therefore are robust and valid criteria using the knowledge gained from these areas. Body of the report The e-mail and letter writing material is extensive for a day’s course and at first glance looks as if it covers all the bases when in fact it has a lot of gaps. It does not consider individual learning styles as all of them are not catered for. There is not much active participation as most exercises are done individually.
The subjects that are covered within the course, although valid do not bear much resemblance to what happens on the shop floor. Although there is a progression within the exercises and material which allows some of the adult leaning principles (DPG 2009) to be met, a lot of potential learning is lost. The course does not meet much of the whole brain approach to learning (Herrmann-Nehdi, 1995) as the exercises and material is restrictive to this process. With changes this could be fulfilled and the need for refresher training and post coaching reduced considerably.
As I have gone through my critique and investigation a few things have become very clear through my methods of research. The objectives in some areas are not to the standards set by myself, and because of that and the fact the trainers guide is very wordy it does not allow the learning to shine through. It gets muddled in all the detail of what is covered over the day. I have experienced delivering this course and have had comments about this level of detail as most people do not have an opportunity to write a letter from scratch.
Using the standards set in appendix 1 and results in appendix 2 I want to focus in on the main points/results of what I have found. There are a lot of advantages with this course. It is very detailed and covers all of the aspects of letter writing in the RPA. Although there is an assessment of learning made at the end of the course that is an assessment but actually is an assessment of people’s knowledge and skills they already have. It doesn’t have much to do with the actual key learning points in the course.
The actual ongoing assessment building up to the writing the letter towards the end of the course is a better indication of the course objectives being met by the learners. The spelling and grammar assessment could be used at the start of pre course work of the session to check levels on these areas and make adjustments along the day to fit the results accordingly. As stated above it doesn’t link in to anything else in the day and with most template letters only requiring minimal adjustment, usually a choice of options or snippet of information, this knowledge might not be needed in such detail.
The power point is too wordy and could use some visual aids to help the overall presentation and make it real. The learner guide has enough space in it for notes although could be condensed or be a project throughout the day for the learners to build themselves bringing in the Whole brain approach to learning (Herrmann-Nehdi, 1995) and the 10 Principles of Adult learning- DPG (c. 2009) to give a real sense of progress and practice skills and most importantly (as this is lost in this session) control over learning activities. These constructed learners guides could be checked and form the bases of best practice workbooks in any work area.