New ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness to do just about anything.

A graduate is a person who has successfully completed a course of study or training; an undergraduate or first academic degree. Usually still in their youth, enthusiastic and bouncy, a graduate should add immense value to your company. However some companies shun these graduates in favour of more experienced candidates. What they don’t realize is how mistaken they can be.

This way of thinking is driven by a number of factors:

Graduates lack experience. They do not have the professional or life experience to make informed decisions, where an experienced employee would.

Graduates require big training costs. Graduates need to be trained in order for them to become familiar with their jobs and exactly what it is that they need to be doing. This costs the company money.

Experienced employees already know the industry. This saves time and prevents problems in the future.

giphy (2).gif

Looking at these factors, do you agree that hiring a graduate is the wrong choice to make? Before you do that, let’s examine some of the reasons forward thinking companies are hiring graduates:

Companies are able to mold graduates. Because they don’t have poor previous training or any bad habits from other jobs. They can be taught in the exact way that the company would like to create future leaders.

Adaptability to change. Companies are bound to change strategies, rethink ideas, modernize and expand. Young people like graduates, welcome change and embrace it as it is familiar to them, as opposed to employees who are resistant to change due to being set in their ways.

Eagerness and motivation. A person’s first real job is exciting and it inspires them to be as productive and successful as possible. So what they lack in experience they make up for in enthusiasm.

giphy (4)

Affordable. Although they don’t have a powerful CV like a professional, they still have much of the needed knowledge and skills to aid the company at a portion of the cost.  

Willingness. Often graduates do not have the many responsibilities of some older employees such as children and numerous payment obligations. This therefore means that they are often less stressed and can focus all of their attention on their work without becoming distracted.

Fresh ideas. Being new and from a different world, graduates are often able to provide new, fresh ideas that companies have sometimes never heard/thought of.

giphy (5)

Looking at these factors would you agree that hiring a graduate is a wise decision that will benefit your company?

You should be left with the confident answer yes! Graduates have new, fresh ideas, they are enthusiastic, and willing to do just about anything. They will lack in experience but this is a minor hurdle that will quickly change as the graduate gains experience. With a good support program and induction, this can be a short process as they are able to absorb information quickly, use their fresh ideas and their freshly honed ability to learn.

Companies should seriously consider hiring graduates: it’s one hell of an investment.

Jamie Gilberson



DO IT! – Managing learning, performance support, change management and promotions on already tight learning budgets.

With budgets being stretched increasingly thin it is becoming more and more difficult to get the budgets needed to create great learning interventions, let alone the additional budget needed for performance support and marketing aspects that should go along with them. By developing only the learning interventions and not thinking about how the learning will be promoted, how the learning will be supported after it has taken place, and how we can create a desire to learn the content in the first place, we are dooming our courses to low uptake rates and failure.


The trick then seems to be to design our courses in a new way that incorporates these promotional and change management elements into the learning strategy.

Here at the Performance Workshop, powered by BluePencil Education Services, we have defined a unique approach to learning that we call: “DO IT”.

DO IT! stands for:

  • Demystify
  • Ownership
  • Implement
  • Transform

Using a variety of blended learning tools we manage the rollout of the required outcomes, performance change, promotions and change management elements through this easy to follow process.

Phase 1: Demystify

In this phase we take the complicated and make it uncomplicated by demystifying concepts and, using a connectivist approach, linking them to things that the users already know. This allows the users to see the propose and use of the new information and makes them more open to learning it as:

  1. It seems clear
  2. It seems useful
  3. It will help them to achieve their goals

The key thing here is that this changes the learning from a “push” methodology to a “pull” methodology. If we can get the leaners to ask: “How?”, “Why?”, “Where?”, we have won half the battle of getting them to actually learn.

Phase 2: Ownership

In this phase we create a sense of ownership in the users by showing them how the learning is accessed and allowing them to access the training, information, and support tools “on demand”.

Phase 3: Implement

Phase 3 sees us implementing the learning through blended roll out.

Phase 4: Transform

In the final phase we support the learning into the workplace through job aids and blended support tools. This cements the changes required of the outcomes.

By implementing this approach you can not only achieve all your outcomes, performance change, promotions and change management needs, but you can also do it (lol) in a more dynamic, modern and engaging way.  Your learners will thank you for making the learning more dynamic and appealing, and your budget holders will thanks you for innovating under budget!

So come on: DO IT!

drew carey


Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.


Illustration: The X-factor in blended learning

Here at The Performance Workshop, it’s never quite business as usual – such is the nature of blended learning. The often repeated adage of a picture being worth a thousand words compliments the picture’s place in education. Today I will explain exactly why illustration benefits an educational environment and how it has the potential to be an incredibly powerful learning tool.

But before that, allow me to offer a little background on myself, my career and why you should believe me. My name is Joel Kanar and as of this moment, I have been working with the The Performance Workshop team at BluePencil for a month. Truth be told, my experience in producing content for a blended learning sphere is limited but I come from a background where the traditional educational system never served me as well as my own desire to self-educate. I have worked as a professional illustrator for over 14 years and have indulged myself in the idea of a learning culture and all that entails.

So why do we need illustration in any classroom? Simply put (and bear in mind that most explanations in this blog will be appropriately simple) pictures are a language in and of itself that compliments if not transcends the written word.

Illustrations permeate the educational journey from the earliest days of a child into their adult life; from comic strips, to text books, and progressing to instruction manuals and animated presentations – we are visual creatures after all and from personal experience, I typically look for illustrations before purchasing any type of literary material.

Think back to your childhood and you may remember that the first books you ever read most likely were accompanied by colourful and exciting pages of illustrations – whether it be the works of Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, or many of the timeless children’s literature authors found in any library or book store; picture books are the typical starting line on the journey of any child.

The children's classic
The children’s classic “The Enormous Crocodile” by Roald Dahl. Illustration by Quentin Blake.

The first form of language was simple pictographs, and even our modern alphabets are essentially pictures representing sounds and ideas. So with a form of communication so ubiquitous in society at large, why is their purpose seemingly found to be superfluous in traditional learning institutions? Humanity as a species never grows out of pictures (the abundance of imagery in social media should be but one overwhelming indication) so there is no logical explanation for their absence as education grows.

Pictographs, photos, drawings – all these aspects of imaging serve multiple purposes and when crafted with intention will only serve to reinforce concepts mapped out traditionally in the data-laden text books that every student has become accustomed to. Imaging may not always possess the ability to convey complex processes, but text alone often works contrary to the intention of enrichment through language and thought barriers.

That said, here are a few examples where images and illustration trump text:

Capturing attention

Comics have entered popular culture at a phenomenal rate and from the Superheroes of decades past to the subversive webcomics of today, they succeed in communicating their message and are more often than not retained in memory with greater efficacy. Once again, this is typical of the medium as we visual creatures and like the magpie enjoy shiny things.


Building a story

Read any novel and you will be familiar with how a story is built, however this takes the span of pages whereas a single image can tell the viewer who the character is, his/her environment, their state of mind, intent, and the list goes on – all this and without the need to compound the audience with lines of arbitrary text that arrive at a similar yet less effective conclusion.

Infusing emotion

e-Learning frequently relies on producing situations that involve the user making decisions to reflect a positive outcome in order to progress through an interactive learning module. The situations provided are more likely than not simply procedural however when coupled with illustration or photographic elements can communicate an emotional aspect within the scenario and compel the user to invest themselves emotionally. Not only this but it allows the user to empathise with the character thereby increasing retention and involvement.


Explaining process

In recent years, infographics have become the go-to medium for the explanation of a process flow. Text serves as the explanatory device but imagery defines the content. Depending on complexity, text may not even need to be used at all and in doing so allow the audience to quickly discern information that may become convoluted and strained.


Transcending language

Above all, the enveloping theme of using illustration and iconography is to cut out the middle-man so to speak. Pictures possess the quality to communicate beyond language and culture and in doing so will appeal to a larger audience, with a larger scope of understanding and without the need to localise the information in any way. This leads to less time spent on development and more time to focus on concept.

These points on the effectiveness of illustration as a communication device just scratch the surface and through using them you too will find your own benefits to implementing this aspect of learning into your own learning process.

Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.

But what about the data?

Here at the Performance Workshop we do a lot of work in the mobile space, and in this work we almost always encounter the question; “but what about the data?”


What about asking our learners to use their own data to download content? What about asking our learners to store data on their device? What if they say: “No”?


Well the answers to these questions are pretty clear: A cellphone is a personal device. As such, learners are not going to want impersonal things on their device. (Think about how quickly we delete apps that we don’t like!) Therefore – you have to make the learning personal! If the data that you want the learners to download and/or store is not applicable to them directly, if it doesn’t help them in their day today lives to be better at what they do, then, like the useless apps, the learning is going to get deleted and/or not even downloaded in the first place.

throw phone

So here are our 3 tips for successful mobile learning:

  1. Keep it small! Don’t expect learners to download massive files.
  2. Design for the medium; don’t just repackage eLearning, make mobile learning.
  3. Make sure it is useful! If it isn’t something that the learner will want to refer to again and again, then the chances of success are not great.

Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

By Imke Van Eeden

As a Training Specialist in the Blended Learning space, I use social media to assist delegates in classrooms, support groups, blogs and just to help communication. Most of us have not matured fast enough in our thinking, because when we comment on someone’s posts, whether it is on Facebook, What’s App or Twitter, without thinking about the consequences, this could get you into serious trouble. For example, getting fired for offensive statements or, even worse: landing you up in prison.

imke 6

Hitting that keyboard means that you can find any information within a few seconds, (provided that your service provider is not still stuck in the stone age). This is why we need to become more tech-savvy in terms of how we use this digital power.

imke 5

I am not qualified to speak about social law, but it is common sense, read what you have commented on before you post it, if you think you would be offended or upset about the comments then DON’T post it.

imke 4

It is a known fact that over 74 % of online adults are on social networking sites, and as smart phones become more accessible, not only adults but children also need to be taught what not to do.


Simple ethics and values, how would you feel if someone posted something like that about you? Never post something when you are angry, upset or Drunk. Once it is out there and shared by someone, you are then liable for your actions. But it does not stop there; any person that shares your comment (depending on circumstances), could very well be liable too. This could ruin your reputation, which could have taken years to build and could come crashing down in one simple moment. Unfortunately: people don’t forget, so why would you think the World Wide Web could forget? This is no easy feat.

If something is questionable: then don’t post it, don’t comment on it and don’t share something that could land you up in hot water.

imke 2

In summary, know your facts before sharing or commenting, and think about how you would feel if someone made hurtful comments. The Digital age has made the world a smaller place, so don’t drink and type and definitely think before you leap.

imke 3

Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.

“How do I know what my learner’s preferred learning style is?”

This question comes up a lot. It came up at our conference in April and we get asked it almost every time we present on a blended learning solution with multiple paths to success. I would like to address it once and for all here:

once and for all

How do you know what your learner’s preferred learning style is?

You… wait for it… ASK THEM.

ask dog

We’re used to being so disconnected from our learners. We sit in the corner learning office, out of the way and type away on our computers making “learning” we think our audience will enjoy, making learning we think will help.


It’s time to get out of the learning office, away from our desks. It’s time to interact with the people we are training. Its time to get to know who we are trying to help.


Ask them.

And then, when you have completed a training intervention: ask them again. Like any relationship, there is no such thing as too much communication.


Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.

How long is too long?

When it comes to  ‘course duration’, the most asked question is: “how long is too Long?” This is a great question, particularly as our audience’s attention span dwindles lower and lower thanks to ever increasing youtube usage.

rick ashley

Well, to start with, I would question that word “course“. Its a problematic word for me because it harks back to an era where we made our learners sit through a single learning experience, and then set them loose on the real world to somehow, hopefully ‘perform better‘, all the while joking amongst ourselves in meetings that the manuals from these ‘courses’ always end up in the bottom drawer of the learners desk gathering dust. We have to start doing things differently. We have to start supporting our learners rather than just training them.


If you look at how learners are accessing MOOCs you have a good indication of how learners are using learning material: on average, learners take only 15% of a MOOC before logging off and never coming back. Initially, the industry thought this meant that the MOOC platform was failing, but now we know the startling truth: they didn’t fail, learners just used them in an unexpected way.


Learners were taking as much of the MOOC as they needed to achieve their learning goal, and then… they were logging off. And why not? Doing anything else would be equivalent to taking the family on holiday to Durban and not stopping when you hit the sea…  just keeping on driving.




“How long is too Long?” I would say that anything that is not immediately useful is too long. Anything that doesn’t change the learner’s life there and then is too long. Anything that doesn’t make the learner bigger, better, faster or more at their job there and then is too long.

too long

This length varies from outcome to outcome, but there are some great learning development strategies such as Action Mapping to help create this kind of learning; cutting out the unnecessary and the waffle.

Thereafter: it’s up to us as learning practitioners to design multiple paths that support learners into real world application of knowledge.

real world

Contact The Performance Workshop today to see how we can help drive performance and support in your organisation!

Click here to send us a mail and we will contact you.