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Is It Time to Rethink Your IT Training Strategy?

New research adds a new wrinkle to the tapestry of IT training. Mindfulness, which is a practice that focuses on the present and has shown to have health benefits, may also have a benefit when training IT members. In an article for InformationWeek, Cynthia Harvey explores how the study was created and how it might be utilized in future IT training.

Find Your Mind

Jason Thatcher, a professor at the Clemson College of Business, was involved in the experiments and explains how they worked. Participants were unaware that they were being studied and thought that they were only receiving IT training about how to handle phishing emails. Of the two groups, one was given structured instruction that involved “seven principles of phishing emails,” whereas the other was given mindfulness exercises–taught to stop and think before acting. The group that received mindfulness exercises was far less susceptible to phishing attacks.

An additional test was conducted centered around software use in conjunction with mindfulness exercises. This study focused more on the trainees’ exploration of software and their use of more advanced features. Once again, the mindfulness group sought out more of the advanced features of the program than their formally instructed peers.

Thatcher states that while these new techniques are important, the techniques are mainly driven by the situation:

“It depends on what you’re trying to do,” [Thatcher] said. “If you’re trying to foster critical thinking, you’re probably better served by saying, ‘here are three or four principles,’ and then having people apply those principles in action.”

On the other hand, “If I’m trying to teach programming, it would be a mistake to not take people into the details. The combination is probably what you’re after.”

So no, mindfulness training will not throw best practices out the window. But it will make for a great addition to existing practices. You can view the original article here:

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