Freeing Up More Time To Spend On Better Instructional Design

Have you ever wished you could have more time in your day to develop better, creative, more engaging and effective training programs?

The laws of time dictate that there can only ever be 24 hours in any given day, but Megan Torrance has some ideas on how you can save time during the development of training programs. She’s literally written the book on integrating an Agile process for instructional design, and recently she spent some time explaining where she sees time being “sucked” away and how instructional designers can be more efficient in their craft.

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Lessons in learning design from a former marketing and advertising pro

The professionals in the world of marketing and advertising are very effective at grabbing our attention and moving us to action so that we’ll buy their products.

Danielle Wallace, who led advertising and marketing efforts for some very big brands before launching her own learning and development company about eight years ago, dropped by the Train Like You Listen podcast to share some lessons that she’s successfully applied to training initiatives.

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Who has anything new to say about learning and development?

At my son’s soccer game over the weekend, I was talking with another dad. He’s working on an app that will make sure you don’t miss a concert by your favorite artist simply because you didn’t know they were coming to town. I love this concept because there have been plenty of times that I’ve scrolled through Facebook to find my friends at a concert venue, watching a show that I didn’t even know was coming to town.

While it’s not an app, I’d like to take a little time right now to try to offer the same type of service for the field of learning and development. There are a lot of really smart and/or creative people doing some fascinating stuff, but unless you know where to look, you may never be exposed to these folks.

Here’s a list of 12 people that you might want to begin following on LinkedIn. They post some very smart, creative things that could help inform you, inspire you or otherwise help bring your L&D game to the next level.

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Considering freelancing or consulting in the L&D world?

Over the past year or two, I’ve met a number of people who are exploring the idea of either taking on some side projects or leaving their full-time job and focusing wholly on freelance or consulting work as instructional designers, elearning developers or coaches.

This is the path I took, beginning in 2012, with a side hustle until I partnered with a friend from college and turned it into an actual company with 5 other employees.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Elaine Biech who has been doing her own thing – quite successfully I might add – for more than 40 years and has published EIGHTY SEVEN books! She had a lot to say about lessons learned and some very helpful advice for those looking to become their own boss through freelancing or consulting in the L&D space.

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Still looking for ways to engage people during virtual meetings and training sessions?

Just last week, two things happened to make me realize that even though Covid-related lockdowns began in March 2020 (leading to a complete shift from in-person to virtual meetings and training sessions), there are a lot of people who still aren’t quite sure how best to leverage virtual technologies to engage people.

First, someone who I used to co-facilitate training with reached out and asked if I had a lesson plan template and some best practices for how to engage people virtually. Second, there was an article in the Washington Post last week entitled: Workers are putting on pants to return to the office only to be on Zoom all day.

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A Tale of Two Periodic Tables for Learning Professionals

Have you ever done a “vanity Google search” just to see how high any search results including your name might be? A little while back I was doing a sort of vanity search for Endurance Learning’s periodic table of amazing learning elements and I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the only periodic table of learning elements at the top of Google’s search results.

In 2020, the Elearning Brothers published a Periodic Table of Instructional Design.

Curious about this “other” table, I reached out to Chris Willis to learn more about how it can be used by instructional designers and even casual trainers (people who don’t have “training” in their title but are asked to put together training). If you have a few minutes, give this week’s podcast a listen (or read the transcript). Warning – this podcast was recorded in person at ATD’s annual International Conference and Expo, and both Chris and I were wearing masks, so the recording came across a little more muffled than usual.

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A Tool to Help You See Online Training Through Your Learner’s Eyes

Will your learners be taking your next online course from a desktop computer? Will they be taking it on a laptop or tablet or some other handheld device?

When creating eLearning modules and courses, it’s imperative to validate the look, feel, and function of the courses before they are in the hands of your client, SMEs, and learners. If you use Storyline or Rise, Articulate 360 provides an easy and convenient way to do this through preview mode while in development and publishing to Review 360. Using Review 360 allows you to review Rise modules and Storyline courses with a click of a button. 

You’ve now previewed each page as you built it and it looks great! But is this approach enough to show you how a learner will experience your module?

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Why it’s good to have L&D friends outside of your own organization

How many people do you talk with about learning and development outside of your colleagues and co-workers in your organization?

Recently, my friend Betty Dannewitz and I had a chance to sit down and discuss the importance of having “friends” across the L&D landscape, especially people outside of our own organizations, with whom we can talk, brainstorm ideas, collaborate or just plain nerd out.

If you’re not sure where to find people outside of your organization, social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter could be a good place to start. Attending a local ATD chapter event could also be a way to begin connecting with other L&D professionals in your area. Want more ideas? Give this week’s podcast a listen!

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How do we make icebreakers relevant?

Some training participants really enjoy icebreakers. They can be fun, a nice way to ease into a day of learning and they can ensure participants have an opportunity to meet one another in a low stakes activity before needing to work with each other in small group activities later in the day.

On the other hand, many training participants do not like icebreakers. Some, seeing an icebreaker scheduled for the first 15-30 minutes of a training program, choose to arrive late in order to avoid the icebreaking activities all together.

If you feel an icebreaking activity is important to help create a sense of connection and get participants talking with one another before the “real work” begins, what’s a trainer to do?

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