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I spy with my beady eye ...

19 Aug 2016

Have fun learning

The simple structure of the NoticeBored quiz belies its effectiveness as an security awareness mechanism: in the right setting with a good facilitator and (most of all) a group of willing, cheerful, fun-loving participants who are up for a laugh, the quiz can be a supremely memorable and effective learning experience.  

In awareness terms, that’s a remarkably powerful outcome.  

Really, a 'supremely memorable and effective learning experience'? That's no idle claim. This is not an empty marketing piece. Trust me, I know what I'm saying.

Every month as part of the module, we deliver to NoticeBored subscribers an awareness quiz supporting the month's information security topic ... but it's probably not what you have in mind. A conventional quiz would be a set of factual questions with the corresponding answers, the sort of thing that some mind-numingly banale TV presenter/celebrity might try to flog into life with a bit of (fake) drama and (pumped-up) audience participation.

We deliberately avoid that approach. For us, the quiz is not merely an exercise in factual recall, not even when surrounded by the glitter and razamatazz of a prime-time TV game-show. We don't particularly care how much participants knew before attending the quiz night. We aren't terribly interested in who are the winners and losers: points mean prizes, maybe, but that's not the goal. Wherever they start out from, we want everyone to go home with more knowledge and understanding than they had when they arrived. 

We care passionately about them learning.

Our approach, therefore, is to focus on promoting and facilitating group dynamics in the social situation than on the specific learning points. My mention of 'quiz night' was a massive clue. If people enjoy themselves, have a good time and (incidentally) learn stuff, they will come back for more ... and learn more in the process.

This is the adult education equivalent of the after-school club that many of us experienced as teens. Speaking personally, I had a great time learning about electronics and radio at the club, way beyond what I would ever have picked up from the textbooks and staged experiments that filled the physics lessons. "Mister Cluer" (as he was known by day) or "Graeme" (at the club) gave us just the right mix of encouragement and freedom to explore our horizons and develop our interests - essentially teaching ourselves - a learning experience that has literally stayed with me for life.

I invested my afternoon today developing a quiz for September's 'communications security' awareness topic. I hope it pays off big time for our subscribers. I must say, I wish I could be there to join in!


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