Four Steps to More Engaging Training Design

A little while back, I was showing a tech industry executive – someone who knows both his way around the C-suite and who knows his way around training design – a lesson plan that was generated by our training design tool, Soapbox.

“Hmmmm. When you first told me about this, I thought I’d see some sort of instructional design model integrated into the way you designed this.”

I pointed out that the lesson plan actually did follow the formula of a 4-step instructional design model. He looked at the lesson plan again and smiled. “Ah, I see it now. Yes, this is good.”

Being intentional about the design of your next training program by using a model rooted in adult learning theory can make the difference between a meandering, ineffective session and an engaging session that leads to change. Following is the model we use Continue reading

The S.T.O.R.Y. model for storytelling

Sometimes the simplest way to bring your content to life is to tell a story. Storytelling is a means of educating people that has been around for millennia.

Just because you have a story to tell, however, doesn’t mean you know how to tell a story in an engaging, effective way. The S.T.O.R.Y. model can help give structure to the way in which you plan for, and ultimately tell, your story. Continue reading

Leveraging Pinterest as a Learning and Design Tool

People have their opinions about social media. Believe me, I have my own. I do, however, play on Pinterest every so often and I have found a few useful things when searching for ideas for my kid’s school project or gardening tips. As a site that is geared toward the DIY mom type, there is a surprising amount of teaching resources. Continue reading

Is it possible to design an engaging, effective training session (and accompanying slides) in 5 minutes? Yep.

How much time do you typically spend putting together a good presentation?

Beginning with thinking through your learning outcomes, mapping an outline of activities, putting together the slides and handouts you’ll use – how much time does that typically take? Half a day? Two days? A week?

There’s a new online tool that will soon be available that can get you 80% of the way to a well-designed, engaging presentation in about five minutes.

Soapbox is a tool that the Endurance Learning team has been developing for several years. This Thursday at a Seattle-based conference called Learnapalooza, the world will get the first glimpse of Soapbox in action. Today on Train Like A Champion, you’ll get a sneak peek. If you’re intrigued to learn more, we’re looking for a limited pool of beta users who can help us identify bugs and find gaps in the content.

What is Soapbox?

Soapbox is a job aid that takes several key factors of your next presentation into consideration and instantly designs a training presentation for you that includes:

  • an outline of activities,
  • detailed instructions,
  • a slide deck, and
  • a template for any suggested handouts

How does Soapbox work?

You tell Soapbox a few details about your presentation:

Initial Details

You decide what should happen as a result of your presentation:

Outcomes

Then Soapbox offers you a lesson plan with a series of activities (that you can re-order if you’d like), slides, a materials list and handout templates.

Initial Outline

Don’t like an activity? Swap it out.

Swap Activities

Want to customize your content? All text and PowerPoint slides are completely editable.

Editing

Want to help with our limited beta?

We’re looking for a handful of people who might have a training presentation coming up and who would like to test Soapbox and give us some feedback. If you fit the profile, sign up here and we’ll get in touch with you in the next few weeks.

Coming to Learnapalooza? Hope to see you in our session where we’ll see just how fast you can put together a presentation!

What are the elements of amazing learning experiences? There’s a periodic table for that!

If professional development experiences are a sort of lab, in which learners can test new knowledge and skills and instructional designers and trainers can concoct new and engaging ways for people to learn, I wonder what the basic elements for this lab would be.

Being inspired as the son of a science teacher, I put together this periodic table with elements of amazing learning experiences organized by solids, liquids, gases, radioactive elements and interactive elements.  Continue reading

How different is instructional design in a K-12 setting vs. a corporate training setting?

Instructional design, at its core, is about creating learning experiences that engage and excite learners to embrace new knowledge and skills. That said, does the context – whether instructional design is applied to a traditional school classroom or a corporate training room – matter? Or is instructional design the same, regardless of context, setting and audience?

Last Monday, Endurance Learning welcomed its newest employee – Lauren Wescott – to our team. I first learned of Lauren and her skill set about 6 months ago when I saw a post on LinkedIn that said she’d been working in a K-12 setting as a teacher and instructional designer for several years and now wanted to explore the world of corporate training.

EPSON MFP image

Today, Lauren is going to share some of her insights on the similarities and differences between instructional design in a K-12 setting and a corporate training setting.  Continue reading

Training Handouts are a Natural Extension of Instructional Design

Recently I was asked to facilitate a webinar on how to create better handouts. I hesitated initially because I’m not a graphic designer. Then a thought struck me: graphic design may lead to prettier handouts and training manuals, but instructional design leads to more effective and engaging handouts and training manuals.

If you have 45 minutes and would like to see a recording of the webinar in its entirety, here is the link. During the session, I discussed the following five mistakes that many people make when distributing handouts to training participants:  Continue reading

What happens after a training session?

A participant walks up to you after your training session, smiles, and says: “Thank you. That was by far the best training session I’ve ever been to. I have to tell you, I’ve been to a lot of these sessions and I didn’t have high hopes for this session, but my boss told me I had to be here. I wasn’t looking forward to it. But now I’m so glad I came.”

As long as you’ve made your content relevant for your audience and have designed opportunities for engagement, a comment like this may not be uncommon.

But what happens next?

Two people I respect very much in the learning and development space, Nancy Bacon and Mark Nilles, recently published a short eBook for conference planners on how to design a more effective conference. I think there are some key lessons in there for anyone who works in the training space.  Continue reading