Sheldon teaches Penny physics

Barbara’s thoughts about Sheldon teaching Penny physics:

What Sheldon did well:

  • He observed and made note of the initial mental and physical state of the learner
  • He took notes on the teaching process

What Sheldon could have done better: 

  • He could have shown more respect for her instead of insulting her (“college ruled – I hope that doesn’t intimidate you,” “Have you suffered a recent blow to the head?” etc.).
  • He should have focused on her learning goals, and focused on giving her information in line with them rather than giving her irrelevant information about ancient Greece.
  • He should have considered Penny’s prior knowledge (or lack of it) and level of education.
  • He should have told her why it would be helpful to take notes.
  • He could have taken cues from her as to whether the pace was too slow, too fast, or about right.
  • He could have asked questions and provided other opportunities such as games for Penny to interact with the material.
  • He expected her to remember and understand something he said just one time.
  • He expected her to be able to tell him what she needed in order to learn – but she couldn’t.
  • He coached her to memorize and repeat information that she didn’t understand.


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Training Transfer Process Diagram Lightened

Trainee Characteristics:  Penny had some pre-training motivation to learn what Leonard does, she seemed open to the experience, and she probably had a good idea how she would be able to use what she learned.  Her self-confidence and self-efficacy could have been boosted if Sheldon had done a better job.

Organizational Environment and Support - Before:  Penny’s learning wasn’t part of her job so there wasn’t much opportunity for support, although it probably would have helped to have Leonard’s support for her learning. 

Training Design:  Sheldon did provide a self-management strategy for Penny – encouraging her to take notes.  But he fell short on learning goals, content relevance, and especially with providing practice and feedback opportunities.

Organizational Environment and Support – After:  While Penny did have an opportunity to perform, her performance was a misguided repetition without understanding.   Sheldon could have enlisted the support of Bernadette and Leonard to help and support Penny in her learning.  


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Carnes and Associates, Inc.
Phone: 314-780-8142

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Dr. Tammy Means
Phone: 601-434-3457

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