Novel Utterances: You need to know this!

Casual baby playing happy with a mobile phone sitting on a black couch at home In language development, whether it is learning a first or foreign language, a novel utterance is defined as the first time the learner generates something that they have not been taught. If you are a parent, you remember your delight as your child began forming words, then sentences. You laughed as they experimented, making errors, but corrected them, shaping their development. It was a safe place for the child to discover and create.

Learning to create original thoughts and express them in a new language is an enormous step forward in the developmental learning process.

This episode of 5 Trainers in a Car looks at the parallels of the novel utterance and the learning that occurs in our training courses. Here’s who was along for the ride:

  • Daniel Gray | Prime Lending
  • Delia Smola | Global T&D specialist | @deliadelia
  • Frank Tomsic | Director, Learning Design & Development, On Course Learning | @fcthomsic | fctomsic@gmail.com
  • Matt Pierce | @piercemr | piercemr@gmail.com
  • Phylise Banner | LX designer | @phylisebanner | pbanner@gmail.com

The Ah-Ha Moments

Our trainers included a foreign language teacher (Frank), a childhood English language learner (Delia), and a conceptual ponderer (Phylise), who brought up the topic of novel utterances, which she learned about from Frank. Sharing from personal experience, Delia spoke about the delight of discovery as a child learning to speak English, and the empowerment she felt as the world opened up to her as she could communicate. It was a huge ah-ha moment for her, that generated more motivation to learn.

What about in your classroom, whether ILT, VILT or elearning? Do your learners have those ah-ha moments? Are they given a chance to experiment and try new things? Do you remember your joy as a facilitator, seeing learners light up in moments of discovery or one reviewing evals, hearing about learner delight? We want to create these break through moments.

There are some keys to that kind success, all applicable to our training environments.

Keys to Success

The first key is safety. Learners need to feel like it is ok to make mistakes. It has to be ok if things don’t come out perfectly the first time. When we are learning, we make mistakes, and in those mistakes is discovery and shaping of new thinking and behavior.

The second key is engagement. Have we created compelling lessons, targeted to our learners, designed in ways that they like to learn? We have to connect with them before we can connect the dots of our content.

The third key is the desire to learn more. In our classes, we can’t possibly teach every single thing that a learner needs about a topic. As instructional designers, we regularly trim the content to simplify things to the basics. If we do our job well, our learners will want to take things to the next level and continue to learn more.

So listen in to Episode 10 of 5 Trainers in a Car to glean insights on how you can develop novel utterances on your topics with your learners.

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