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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Tips On Establishing A Structured On-The-Job Training Program

Is all of your orientation and onboarding done in a classroom? Or perhaps it’s done via Elearning? How much of it is on-the-job training?

Several weeks ago at the Association for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Expo, I had the opportunity to meet presenter, author and Head of Training at Baker Construction Enterprises, Paul Smith. Paul has literally written the book on how his organization successfully implemented a formal, structured on-the-job training program that effectively helps bring new employees up to speed while also helping them to feel supported in their new work environment.

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What’s the right formula when working with SMEs on training?

“How do we get subject matter experts (SMEs) to be better trainers?”

It’s a question I hear often, especially in light of the recent presentations I’ve been doing on the concept of radioactive elements, which comes from my book What’s Your Formula?

Before I dive more deeply into SMEs, I want to remind everyone what “radioactive elements” are. Radioactive elements are components of training that can be very powerful, but they can also be very dangerous or even harmful if they’re not used very well. As you can see from the image below, these elements include some of the most commonly used pieces for training today: lecture, PowerPoint, SMEs, handouts, smile sheets (level 1 evaluation forms), icebreakers, elearning, augmented reality, role play, games and data.

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What are the most “radioactive” elements you can include in a training program?

The Association for Talent Development’s International Conference and Expo kicks off in earnest today, and in the final podcast of our series featuring ATD ICE speakers, my longtime friend and fellow L&D nerd (and VP of Organization Development at FORUM Credit Union in Indianapolis), Michelle Baker, fills in as our podcast interviewer to ask me some questions about my upcoming session (which will take place on Wednesday, September 1, from 8am – 9am Mountain time).

My presentation will focus on the “radioactive” elements that are often (mis)used in training programs, and how they can best be leveraged to yield maximum impact on your learners. These elements include lecture, PowerPoint, subject matter experts, handouts, smile sheets, icebreakers, elearning, augmented reality, role play, games and data.

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Helping SMEs Become More Effective Presenters through Communities of Practice

For years I’ve facilitated presentation skills programs and train the trainer programs for Subject Matter Experts, hoping that they’d buy into the idea of adult learning theory, some basic instructional design principles and the need to abandon bullet point-laden PowerPoint slides. It’s worked to varying degrees of success.

Later this month at the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) International Conference and Expo (ICE), Darlene Brady Christopher, who is a Senior Knowledge and Learning Officer with the World Bank, will be sharing her experiences from a program that has seen great success converting SMEs to more effective presenters. Through a bonus podcast this week, we went into more depth about how her community of practice program has helped keep SMEs at the World Bank engaged and interested on becoming stronger presenters.

If you plan to be at ATD ICE, Darlene’s session will be on August 30, from 1:00pm – 2:00pm.

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What Are The Top 200 Tools for Learning?

Since 2007, Jane Hart has been compiling a list of the top 200 tools that learning professionals find the most useful. It began by asking a few people to opine and now her annual top 200 list receives votes from thousands of learning and development practitioners from around the world.

What trends has she seen? What’s been the most surprising tool to top the list over the past 14 years? Take a few minutes to hear about why she originally began compiling this ranking and what she’s learned in doing it.

And don’t forget to make your voice heard. Vote on your most useful tools before voting closes at noon (BST) on Thursday, August 26!

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One Website, 51 Different Learning Elements

As you may have heard, I wrote a book recently (and I’m super humbled and flattered by the reviews people have been posting on Amazon!!). If you’re interested in checking it out, here is a quick link. Today’s post is about a giant, free resource that my colleagues developed as a sort of companion piece to the book.

The book, entitled What’s Your Formula: Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training, revolves around a periodic table of 51 different learning elements, which are organized into five different categories.

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Top 10 tools for an L&D Manager

Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard perspectives from Tim (COO), Heather (Director of Project Success), and Lindsay (L&D Manager) as part of the effort by Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) to compile a list of the top 200 technology-based tools in Learning & Development.

This week, I’m sharing the top 10 tools that I utilize as a Learning and Development Manager to interact with and support customers and to create engaging in-person and virtual learning experiences.

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When training is a matter of life and death. Literally.

While many of us are extremely passionate about being able to bring amazing learning experiences to our audiences, very few of us can say that the work we do can literally make the difference between life and death.

Colonel Andy Saslav has been leading troops in the U.S. Army for more than two decades, and while it’s true that the training he puts people through can indeed literally help save lives, the lessons we can all take away from how training is done in the U.S. Army are seemingly countless.

I’m not suggesting that each of us becomes more drill sergeant-like in our approach (though it’s a fun thought: Hey! You! Get your thoughts down on that flipchart! NOW! I SAID NOW! MOVE IT! MOVE IT!). The nuggets that Colonel Saslav was able to share about the way in which the Army uses reflection, coaching, feedback and critical thinking is something we can all certainly learn from.

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Top 10 Tools for L&D Project Success

Last week Tim (our COO) introduced our approach to picking our top ten lists as part of the effort by Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) to compile a list of the top 200 technology-based tools in Learning & Development.

I love reflecting on my top 10 tools every year. It gives me an opportunity to compare my list to previous years and see what has changed and how I am growing. This year’s list looks a little bit different than other years, but not a ton. I recently took on the responsibility of Director of Project Success at Endurance Learning. In my new role, I work a lot on keeping projects moving toward deadlines and keeping resources balanced. Within this new role, I continue to touch all aspects of the eLearning project, and many tools I have used in years past continue to be essential to do my job.

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