Oct 212015
 

bored_reading_paper_400_clr_5342Now that I’m teaching more real estate continuing ed classes, I have found the second most frequently asked question is “Where are the handouts?” (The most frequent question is “Where is my certificate?”)  This, of course, has set me to thinking about the role of handout material in and after class. The following article addressed the topic contributes some important ideas. Watch for some differences in the courses I develop–and expect to be reminded that learning isn’t supposed to stop when the class is over!


The following article was published in the October 2015 issue of Training Doctor News — one of my absolutely favorite publications on the topic of training and adult education. It is reprinted here with permission. Visit www.trainingdr.com for more information!

Are Participant Materials “Necessary?”

We recently had a lively discussion with a training group regarding this statement: Participant “materials” (workbooks, job aids, infographics, etc.) are “nice to haves” but people rarely use them back on the job.

The group unanimously agreed that rarely do participants use these items on the job, and, more often than not, they are left behind “in the classroom.”

This lack of respect for training materials is quite detrimental to adult learning for a number of reasons:

Most people are visual learners

80% of Americans are visual learners, which means they “understand” information better (and retain it longer) if it is presented in a visual manner. If 80% of your audience spoke “in another language” wouldn’t you present in that language? And yet, we often completely ignore providing tangible, visual elements that complement our training offerings.

Seven-to-ten days after training, people remember only 10 – 20% of what was taught them in a training class
If your “training” consists of providing information, with no reference materials, how can anyone be expected to remember what was taught? Back on the job, it would be helpful to have a job-aid or infographic to refer to in order to do one’s job or refresh one’s memory about the proper process / sequence / tasks.

Temporal contiguity

Brain research tells us that it is better to present concepts in both words and pictures than solely in text format. Typically, 3-days later, text-only information is recalled at a rate of just 15%, but the same information, when presented in both text and visual (a’la an infographic) is recalled at a whopping 65%!

Muscle memory

Muscle memory is not a memory stored in your muscles, of course, but memories stored in your brain (although its origin is related to physical fitness). Providing workbooks or worksheets in which participants actually work (answer questions, complete diagrams, underline pertinent facts in a case study) aid in retention because the body is also physically involved in the learning process.

Solution?

The “problem” is not that participant’s don’t see the value in the learning materials you provide, but rather, the problem lies with us trainers who do not show people how to use these materials while they are in the training. The solution is to utilize the training materials at the time of teaching. Don’t teach a process and then say “Here is a job-aid to take back to your desk,” but rather teach the process as participants follow along using their job aid. The solution to participant materials being “left behind” is to utilize them during the training process so that their usage becomes part of the learner’s muscle memory.

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Oct 152015
 

stick_figure_presenting_with_pen_150_clr_3808I’ll be teaching an AGSRE Continuing Education Course at the Ramada Inn in Bangor on Tuesday, November 17. This course is being offered as part of a full day of courses being offered–check out all the offerings here.

Starting at 5 PM, I’ll be teaching Do You Need to Take an Aspirin When Writing an Offer? For a complete description, check out my Course Calendar and click on the name of the course.

You can register online at the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website or call 856-1712.  I’m looking forward to seeing some “alumni” from licensing courses I’ve taught!

 

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Oct 092015
 

The following article is reprinted with permission from the September 2015 edition (Volume 4, Number 9) of Maine Woodlands, a monthly publication of Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine. It includes some interesting background and insight into today’s forestry and land use laws.


 

pine_tree_400_clr_17374Newspapers and magazines have been reminding us it’s the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the “Great Charter   signed under duress by King John in 1215. It turns out that, in addition to protecting the traditional rights of the barons, it also created medieval forest rights that are still with us today.

Almost everyone knows that in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, defeated Harold Godwinsson, King of England, at Hastings, and took the crown for himself as William the Conqueror.  He turfed out the feudal lords owing homage to the crown, replacing them with his own retainers and relatives. England became involuntarily Normanized. What you may not learn ln school is that these kings enjoyed the hunt. Medieval monarchs circulated around their domains, requiring hospitality from their barons. At every stop a hunt was virtually mandatory. Hunting was not only recreation, it was business, part of the proper upbringing of a knight or young nobleman. Hunting supplied familiarity with movement on horseback in rugged and unfamiliar terrain, training in teamwork, and exercise in marksmanship — all important martial skills. And the venison was popular at table. Some centuries passed, though, before literacy was considered essential to an aristocrat’s upbringing.

In their legal tradition kings  did not  own the wildlife, but they controlled hunting rights. King William marked our hunting reserves he personally controlled. These, he called “forests.” The original foresters, then, were the royal game wardens and managers.  Historians estimate England at the Conquest was 15% tree-covered (FIA had not yet been invented). Many of the royal forests contained farmland, pastures, marshes, and even villages. Some of William’s Royal Forests exist today, at least in outline and popular geography, though not in legal form. The New Forest is a popular tourist destination.

Within the forests, it was not only unlawful to take venison — the big game, though a modern hunter wouldn’t consider the animals “big”— but also to harm the “vert,” the habitat. So, within the forest’s limits, neither baron nor commoner could clear shrubby or wooded land for crops. The kings also owned manors and woods in their own name, so- called demesne” lands. But “Royal Forests” were areas where the king controlled the hunt on lands of feudal tenants. The kings at times went to extremes, evicting local farmers and burning villages. The opening of Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood film recalls this.

The King’s control over hunting went down poorly with the lords and barons, who, being Normans, also liked to hunt. Worse, the villeins (farmers) could not kill game animals that fed on their crops. Deer must move freely — no fencing for livestock or to protect crops. Dogs in and near the forest had to have claws removed. “Fence months” were periods when forests were closed to grazing to avoid disturbing does giving birth. Since grazing was a key use, this was a major blow. This was equal opportunity confiscation and oppression, though the poor rarely dined on venison. The Royal Forests disrupted the local economy. Robin Hood got in trouble with the law for two things: robbing the rich to help the poor, and killing the King’s deer.

The Normans and their Angevin successors were serious: Initially, poaching the King’s deer was punishable by death. By 1215, 140 years after Hastings, Royal hunting forests had been extended. They were controlled by Royal “Forrest Lawes,” administered by Forest courts. With this, and various taxes, the barons were fed up. They caught King John at a weak moment and forced him to sign Magna Carta.

What you don’t learn in school is that among ringing declarations of rights of “free men — the barons, not the common folk — there were several clauses dealing with forest rights. The subject was so detailed it was soon necessary for the King to issue a separate Forest Charter (1217). It repealed the death penalty for poaching deer, replacing it with a fine, or a year in jail if unable to pay. It created new “verderers courts” to administer the forest laws. Some of Richard’s and Henry’s expansions were “disafforested,” and rights returned to local feudatories and villages. Later, entire books were devoted to details of Forrest Lawes, referring specifically to the Royal hunting forests, not woods and coppices generally.

Does any of this look familiar? The heritage of the Middle Ages influenced English legal thinking for centuries. Massive tomes on Property Law, which law students suffer through, often begin with medieval property rights, including forest law. Under Maine law today, as in Richard’s time, the government does not own the wildlife. Instead, the “ferae naturae” are the trust property of the entire society and its people. Government administers them as a trust. Landowners and others often differ on how to manage wildlife, and hunting (Sunday hunting, anyone?) No legislative season passes without the introduction of numerous bitterly contested bills concerning what is to be hunted, when, and how. Some things never change.

Lloyd C. Irland is a forestry consultant, sometime teacher, and writer. While in forestry school he was a history geek who took courses in Medieval History for fun.

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Oct 022015
 

panic_button_400_clr_2667Many will recognize the title of this post as a line delivered often by Henny Penny in a folk tale that by some estimates has been around for more than twenty-five centuries. As with most stories that old, there are various endings–some happy, some not so happy for Henny as she and her friends get eaten by a fox. The moral therefore has several twists, but the commonalities are usually around the theme of having some courage and not believing everything you hear. We might also conclude, rightfully, that hysteria is often contagious.

TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule) is coming this weekend. Actually, it’s been coming for a long time. Now it’s finally arriving.

There has been a certain amount of “The Sky is Falling” hysteria surrounding the implementation TRID. This is evidenced by some of the dire warnings that licensees should expect problems, add extra time to their closing windows, etc.

Personally, I think it may rain for a while, but the sky will not likely fall. Why? For one thing, the changes aren’t really that massive. However, any change that impacts an entire industry (real estate, lending, legal/closing) will surely create some temporary disruption. Learning curves are real, but their steepness often depends on the learner. The changes didn’t come as a surprise. I suspect some lenders are well prepared and will find the change relatively smooth. One thing that will help those lenders is for the other parties to become informed and stay calm.

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) has actually created a “Real Estate Professional’s Guide” on their website that might be very reassuring, particularly if you accept the idea that we most greatly fear the unknown. Did you know, for example, there are only three changes that will trigger a new three-day review period? (And one of those three has existed for quite some time–it’s not new.)

I’m not suggesting it wouldn’t be a good idea to prepare customers and clients for the change. In fact, educating your buyers about the “new” process will streamline the steps between pending and purchase–as it always has. I’m less certain that we need to start adding days and weeks to closing. We still need to focus on our clients’ needs. Another thing that hasn’t changed is the reality that the length of time required to close is still dependent on the capability of each and all of the involved parties: borrowers, licensees, lenders, title companies, attorneys, etc.

In at least one version of the tale, the panic starts when an acorn falls on Henny Penny’s head and she mistakenly concludes it’s the sky that is falling. The implementation of TRID will be an acorn for those licensees who do not panic, become informed, and facilitate keeping their client’s transactions on track. If it helps, you can give yourself the nickname “Ducky Lucky” and be like a duck: be calm on the outside while you’re paddling fast beneath the water.

 

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Oct 012015
 

stick_figure_presenting_with_pen_150_clr_3808I’ll be teaching two AGSRE Continuing Education Courses at the Senator Inn in Augusta on Thursday, October 15. These courses are being offered as part of an AGSRE Education Spectacular starting on October 13–check out all the offerings here.

Starting at 9 AM, I’ll be teaching Transaction Trouble Shooting and then at 1 pm Getting Licensees and Appraisers in the Same Boat. For complete descriptions, check out my Course Calendar and click on the name of the course.

You can register online at the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website or call 856-1712.  I’m looking forward to seeing some “alumni” from licensing courses I’ve taught!

 

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