The Art of sucking your feet…and other learning techniques you have forgotten about.

What is mobile learning

As a ‘warm up’ to the ‘What is mobile learning and how can it be used to reduce costs and increase capability?’ sessions that he will be presenting for us at our upcoming networking events in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne, Dawid Falck (MD of BabbleWire Learning Group and acknowledged subject-matter expert in field of online and mobile learning) has generously agreed to let us publish a section of his upcoming book ‘The Art of sucking your feet…and other learning techniques you have forgotten about’.

As the book’s name suggests, Dawid is something of an ‘out there’ thinker and, as attendees of the recent Brisbane session would attest, an extremely innovative, charismatic, and engaging presenter.

You’ll find info on the upcoming sessions at the end of this article or by clicking here.

Dawid Falck - Head Shot

By: Dawid Falck – March 2016

Chapter 4 – The Language of Learning

When I was little, my parents moved to a great city called Windhoek. Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia. Namibia was known as ‘Deutch West Africa’ and was a colony if Imperial Germany. This wonderful city had an amazing mixture of quaint German culture, effectiveness and love of beer beating to an unmistakable African drum. I Loved it.

Given, however, that Windhoek was located at the bottom of Southern Africa, just above South Africa, in what is often still largely a forgotten corner of the world, things like Colour TV took forever to get there and become the norm.

As a result, I can clearly remember how four men from our local furniture store had to carry a huge colour TV into our lounge. It was tremendously heavy.

I could not wait. They plugged it in, popped bunny ears on the top, moved them around a little and bam, there it was. A flower. In full colour slowly waiving in the wind. It was amazing! I stared at that test signal in fascination for hours.

Then, of course, joy of joy, the programs started. Now it is important to know at this point of the story that South Africa at the time was very much at odds with the rest world and as such, only bought programs from carefully selected countries. It is also important for you to know that after world war one, South Africa was given control over Namibia by the now defunct, League of Nations.

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English programs were not overly popular in Pretoria and as such they bought a lot of wonderful Dutch and Belgium programs. These were translated for those of us needing it in English and for the first time in my life I came face to face with a new phenomenon.

There is a famous Oscar Wilde saying where he refers to American and England as “two countries, separated by a common language”. It is very true and I saw this first hand in Windhoek. You see, the Belgium and Dutch programs, once translated, looked odd, in that the voices would stop before or after the people’s mouths stopped moving.

The entire thing felt out of whack. I regularly tried to adjust the bunny ears to try to get the sound and image aligned until one day my Mum, God rest her soul, told me that there is nothing wrong with the signal. The programs have been translated. They recorded English speakers and then placed their words over the images of the Dutch speaker.

I was astounded and instantly hated this practice.  It looked stupid. But the worst was still come. The clever people in South Africa also noted that this looked stupid and decided to create new scripts for the shows that would not have this problem. This lead to a phenomenon that had to be seen to be believed. They came up with a version of English that made no sense, but that did fit the Dutch faces. Sentences like

There goes a car and I see it”


STOP or I’ll shoot and you’ll know it!”

were burned into my brain. I remember thinking; ‘What the hell is wrong with these people? We don’t talk like that!?’

You see, the issue is the language they created served its purpose. It matched the Dutch characters’ facial movements, but lost all authenticity. Eventually, the South Africans gave up and bought English programs. Yet today, in companies all over the world learning developers are making the same mistake.

Adult learning has its own ‘language’. Its own tone if you will. eLearning, that is to say, learning created for a visual environment is especially prone to this.  Yet, almost to man (woman/person. You know what I mean) we have been trained in ACADEMIC institutions. Academia has its own language (version of English). It is distinct and very different from how adults learn in non-academic settings.

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Do you still struggle to see why so many of your students fiddle with the preverbal ‘bunny ears’ or shut down the ‘TV’ in desperation because what you present, at best, does not feel authentic?

You are not a lecturer. You are not creating learning that needs to fit into, or adhere to academic standards. You are trying to convey true meaning and understanding and, as such, you are free to communicate as required. To teach like someone left the gate open!!

Yet, so many of us deny ourselves this privilege. Or worse. We get Legal to check it. Gods what a mess that is. NOBODY SPEAKS LAWYER!!! Lawyers don’t speak lawyer. It is one massive game of the Emperor’s new clothes!!

Don’t let them near your courseware. If you do, there will be long lines in front of the suicide booths at lunch time! I truly believe legal-speak has the ability to cause actual brain damage if it is ever allowed into your course-ware.

Similarly, with HR.

I feel so sorry for HR. They are always needing to justify their existence and do the impossible with little or no budget. They are responsible for every individual and the culture and values of the entire organisation with little or no power to do anything.

I have come across many of them that have spent their lives dealing with the ‘lowest common denominators’ in the company. Consequently, they became dark, sinister creatures, devoured by the ring of power. Indeed, some HR teams remind me of those creepy statues in Doctor Who…nice to look at…all proper an in place…but don’t you bloody dare blink!

That’s not at all fair of course. Most of my friends (possibly ex-friends now) are in HR. I know many wonderful people, desperately trying to win a losing battle. The issue is, they are not trainers and teachers.

They speak HR. You speak (or should speak) human.  YOUR job is to move the bunny ears and talk normal.

About the Author:

Dawid Falck is an experienced Senior Executive, Artist, Author, Public Speaker and Entrepreneur and, for the past 9 years, has been a thought leader in mobile and online learning since he founded the Capability Group, which specialises in online learning development for large Australian and International brands.

David Served on the Board of the QLD Ballet, The Israel-Australian chamber of commerce and currently services on two commercial boards.

Dawid is a qualified teacher who specialised in assisted learning techniques and is well known for his passion, energy and colour.

Perth, Sydney, & Melbourne ‘What is mobile learning and how can it be used to reduce costs and increase capability?’ sessions information:

Online learning (and more recently, mobile learning) has been promising a revolution in capability development for some years now and is playing an increasing part in learning and development programs. But what EXACTLY is online/mobile learning?

It’s somewhat surprising to find that there is more than one opinion on what constitutes online learning and, perhaps more importantly, how we can use it to improve our learning outcomes whilst reducing costs.

Dawid Falck, Managing Director of the multi-award-winning online (and now mobile) learning programs company, BabbleWire Learning Group, will be presenting at the upcoming L&D Network morning teas in Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne (see times and dates below).

BabbleWire provides core services to many of Australia’s largest multinational corporates and over 60,000 people have been inducted and or trained using their online platforms.

In addition to his in-depth knowledge of (and experience in) online and mobile learning, Dawid promises a highly engaging session that will include:

  • What constitutes true online learning
  • An overview of what makes good elearning
  • How to implement interactive learning solutions without needing to completely redevelop everything
  • Emerging trends and new blended solutions

We look forward to a practical session that should give us all something to take away and implement immediately.

Session information:  

Perth – Tue 22nd March
Time: 08:00 – 09:30am

Saxons Training Facilities (Perth) – Level 1, 140 St Georges Terrace Perth

Sydney- Tue 26th April
Time: 08:00 – 09:30am

Where: Saxons Training Facilities (Sydney) – Level 10, 10 Barrack St, Sydney

Melbourne – Fri 29th April
Time: 08:00 – 09:30am

Saxons Training Facilities (Melbourne) – Level 8, 500 Collins St, Melbourne

A light breakfast, tea and coffee will be provided at all three sessions.

This is a regular breakfast meeting hosted in a workshop style for Learning & Development Managers, or those working in a similar capacity. In addition to the workshop, this is a great opportunity for networking and sharing best practice with other L&D Managers from various businesses and industry sectors…we hope you can make it and join in…obviously feel free to forward this invite to anyone else you know in the L&D community.

Limited spaces available – email your details ASAP to to secure your place.


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