Animation isn’t just for Saturday mornings anymore!

Perhaps I’m dating myself with this title since Saturday morning cartoons mostly died off in the 1990s, but all I’m trying to say is that animation isn’t just for children. Similar to games and gamification, there can be a serious side to animation as well that can truly aid in the learning process.

Recently I had a chance to sit down and talk with Kevin Doherty, who is a Communications Manager at the animation software company Vyond. We spoke about the importance of animation software as an element to any instructional designer’s bag of tricks and we also discussed how to overcome the learning curve that accompanies any effort to grow comfortable with a new technology.

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How do you train your colleagues how to train?

Ajay Pangarkar doesn’t have your typical L&D background. He’s a “numbers guy” and comes from the world of finance. Perhaps that “numbers guy” background helped create the lens through which he views learning and development initiatives, because it all comes down to finding evidence and statistics that demonstrate the effectiveness of a program for him.

Of course, for any program to be effective, it needs to be delivered well. In this week’s episode of Train Like You Listen, Ajay, who currently has six courses available on LinkedIn Learning, shares some insights on how to effectively craft a train the trainer program to help your colleagues be more effective trainers.

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Examples of Easter Eggs in Learning Programs

Monday’s podcast featured gamification expert Karl Kapp sharing some insights on what “Easter Eggs” (in a learning context) are and how they can be used most effectively. In the transcript of Monday’s podcast, I challenged readers to find four Easter Eggs that I had embedded into the post. If you were wondering what those four Easter Eggs were, I’ll reveal them at the bottom of this post (so keep reading!).

Before I get to those Easter Eggs, however, I wanted to share several examples of Easter Eggs that blog readers shared, which were creative ways to hide information (or just reveal a few fun things for those lucky enough to stumble upon them).

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What should a Train The Trainer session look like nowadays?

On Monday, we shared a podcast recording with Ajay Pangarkar who has created a number of LinkedIn Learning courses on the topic of train the trainer and presentation skills.

This conversation got me thinking about Train the Trainer sessions in two ways:

  1. It got me curious about how people feel about facilitating Train the Trainer sessions within their own organizations, and
  2. It also got me thinking about what Train the Trainer sessions look like in an Age of the Pandemic, where so much of our training is done virtually.
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An L&D-style Easter Egg Hunt (with Karl Kapp)

Growing up, I always loved Easter morning. The excitement of waking up, running downstairs, and trying to find some treat-filled plastic Easter Eggs hidden around the house before my older sibling found them all.

It turns out, game designers have been hiding Easter Eggs for people too, and it’s a concept that instructional designers can adopt to enhance learning programs as well.

In this week’s special Easter-themed episode of Train Like You Listen, gamification expert Karl Kapp shares a little more about the history of Easter Eggs in games and how they can be used effectively in a learning program.

As a treat for blog readers, you may also find four different Easter Eggs hidden around this post. The first person to send me an email ( that identifies all four Easter Eggs will find themselves on the receiving end of a $50 Amazon gift card. You’ll need to earn this gift card because these Easter Eggs may not be so easy to find. Look closely at the images, the transcript of the conversation (see if there are any acronyms that can be found!) and the links (is there anything weird about any of these links?). Happy Egg Hunting!

UPDATE: Congratulations to blog subscriber Laura Brown, who correctly identified all four Easter Eggs! We’ve received a lot of submissions, many of whom were able to find three of the four Easter Eggs. Although our prize has been awarded, if you’re dying to know whether or not you can find all four, you are welcome to continue sending your guesses to me!

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Instructional Design Lessons from Puppy Training School

This Saturday, a 9-week-old Australian Labradoodle named Picco will sniff around our house for the first time.

Puppies are cute, and fun, and playful, and from what I’ve recently begun to understand, they’re also a lot of work. They don’t just come with a factory setting that makes them sit, roll over, play dead or stop barking at the postal carrier. Apparently, we have to train them how to do this.

To prepare for our new arrival, our entire family has been listening to The Puppy Training Podcast and we’ve signed up for a lifetime membership to Baxter & Bella’s Online Puppy School, which is loaded with videos, printable job aids, live classes and opportunities to talk with a live trainer. It’s quite well-organized and offers some instructional design ideas for anyone tasked with putting together self-directed online learning resources.

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What can L&D folks take away from the 2021 Global Sentiment Survey? (Answer: A lot)

For the past 8 years, Donald Taylor has been taking the pulse of innovators and technology’s early adopters across the field of learning and development through an annual Global Sentiment Survey (download the 2021 edition here).

By asking the simple question: What will be hot in learning and development in the coming year, this survey sheds some light on some very interesting trends that any L&D practitioner should be keeping an eye on.

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The Layout of Your Job Aids Matters (So Does Coaching)

My oldest child is a swimmer, and as a parent, we need to commit to a certain amount of volunteer hours per year. To earn some volunteer hours, I offered to serve a the swim meet announcer last weekend, even though I’d never done it before.

I don’t really know much about organized swimming. I’m honestly scared of the water and organized swimming is an entire sub-culture that I don’t quite understand. I have recently learned how to time my cheering for when the swimmer’s head bobs out of the water during the breast stroke. So, when it came to getting on the PA system to make announcements to help ensure the swimmers knew when to get behind the starting blocks, I was a bit of a fish out of water.

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Better Visual Design: Advice from Connie Malamed

If you’re anything like me, you feel pretty good about your instructional design and presentation skills. As for those PowerPoint slides or elearning slides… meh, I figure good instructional design will make up for my stick figures and default fonts, right?

Connie Malamed, Chief Mentor at Mastering Instructional Design and publisher of The Elearning Coach website (who has also written two books on this topic) suggests that we can be doing better when it comes to visual design. Visual design impacts both the learner’s experience and their confidence in the training program you’ve put together.

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When Zoom attacks, will you know what to do?

Whether you’re using Zoom, Webex, Adobe Connect or any other virtual meeting platform, chances are that you’re going to run into technical difficulties at some point, especially when you try using features intended to make a session more interactive.

Recently, my colleague Lauren Wescott delivered a highly acclaimed session on the role of the producer in virtual meetings. The producer has many responsibilities, and among those responsibilities is the need to quickly troubleshoot and think on their feet. If a virtual feature is giving you fits, the producer may need to help nudge the facilitator in the right direction to move past the technical difficulty.

Following are a few common mishaps, and a handful of immediate steps to move beyond these issues without derailing your whole session.

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