Six Ways to Build a Better Training Role Play

Many people find the six dirtiest words in a training setting to be: “Now let’s do a role play!”

There are many reasons people don’t like role play, and many of those reasons are legitimate. Often people don’t have enough context to carry on an effective scenario. Often the role play arrives at a happily-ever-after sort of conclusion that is neat and easy to wrap up in a training setting, but not actually realistic at all. Often people don’t like getting up in front of all their colleagues… and then receive feedback.

There’s gotta be a better way.   Continue reading

Case Study: Continuing the Learning after a Conference Session

Last fall I had an opportunity to deliver a pair of presentation skills sessions at the Arkansas Early Childhood Association Annual Conference in Little Rock. Everyone I encountered during the few days that I was in Arkansas showed me an amazing time, the session participants were engaged throughout, and then I got on a plane and returned home. What did the participants do with the concepts I’d taught?

Recently, I exchanged a few messages with one of the conference organizers – Michelle Pounds – and was amazed to hear how they had extended the learning from my sessions. It can serve as a model for how organizations can get the most out of their investment in sending people to a conference, maximizing the possibility that the learning is applied in the real world. Following is a brief description of what Michelle and her team did to keep the learning going, written in Michelle’s words:   Continue reading

Teaching Style: What Would Jesus Do?

Last week I was sitting in church and I was struck by how the homily held my attention from start to finish. In the homily, the speaker compared the teaching style of Jesus to other rabbis and holy men of his day.

As I listened, I grabbed a pen and found a donation envelope in the back of the pew in order to jot down a few notes. I knew this homily was blog-worthy.

Whether you believe Jesus was The Messiah, just another prophet, just some guy who lived two thousand years ago or just some character made up in a book that a lot of other people find important, the fact is that the teaching style that was attributed to him was very, very different than what was considered normal.

There’s a lot of value for learning and development professionals to take a look around at how they apply their craft and ask: what would Jesus do?   Continue reading

Evolution of an eLearning Designer

Early in my instructional design career, I developed loose structure I followed for most of my instructor-led training. Most training I developed had the same basic structure:

  1. Short lecture (two to five minutes)
  2. Activity
  3. Short assessment
  4. Repeat for all objectives
  5. Final Assessment

Evolution of In-Person Structure

As I grew in my field I learned that this structure missed a lot of opportunities for engagement Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Training Trivia

Crowd Sourcing

This coming Thursday I’ll be serving as the emcee for the Association of Talent Development Puget Sound (ATDps) chapter’s annual conference. As I was talking over this opportunity with a colleague, she asked what I’d be doing to engage the audience from the beginning.

One idea that came to me is that we could get the audience engaged before the session even begins. This is where, dear reader, I need some help from you today.   Continue reading

Want your learners to feel like they hit the lottery? You’ve got to trust them.

Lottery Winner

Over the past few years, I’ve been facilitating fewer training programs myself and I’ve been designing a lot more training lesson plans for other people to deliver. For many of my clients, the learner-centered design style that I incorporate into each lesson plan makes them feel uncomfortable.

One of my favorite clients always uses the metaphor of correcting a golf swing as a way to describe what his staff seems to be going through. When you adjust your golf swing, it’s initially uncomfortable. It feels funny. Your game may even get worse for the first few weeks. In the end, however, your game can improve exponentially… if you don’t revert back to old habits and your old swing.   Continue reading

Hmmm. Maybe it is actually a training problem.

Riding a Bike

Written by: Heather Snyder

Like many parents before me, I have spent several hours running next to my daughter shouting words of encouragement as I try to teach her to ride a bike. We have spent a lot of time preparing for this goal. We have practiced on tricycles, strider bikes, and even training wheels. There are several techniques to teaching a child to ride a bike, as I have learned by scouring the internet for less frustrating ways to train her in this rite of passage.

This summer’s goal is to finally ride on two wheels, although I have forgotten if it is her goal or mine at this point. As we meander up and down my sidewalk, I reach deep into my bag of tricks to say the right words, demonstrate techniques on my own bike, show her the right picture or video on my phone, or have her visualize herself successfully riding to the end of the road.   Continue reading

Is this a training problem?

Last week I was in Target in downtown Seattle and needed to take the elevator down to the parking garage. When I went to press the elevator call button, this is what I found:

Target Garbage

The call button is just above the heaping pile of trash. As I looked at this, I wondered if this was a problem that could be solved by training, or if it was something else.  What do you think? Continue reading

“Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”

Elephant in a Tree

It’s grilling season in Seattle. Last weekend I was at my sister-in-law’s house for a cookout and over dinner my niece and nephews decided to play a round of: “Who can actually get Uncle Brian to laugh?”

From the sound of this game, I started to get the impression that I don’t laugh enough around them. Then my niece asked: “Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”   Continue reading

Can you admit when you’re wrong?

soccer.jpg

My daughter’s final spring soccer game took place last Sunday. As the game was winding down and the score was tied 3-3, one of her teammates took a blistering shot and found the back of the net.

My daughter’s team went up 4-3. As the referee ran back to mid-field to set up for the kick-off, my daughter caught his attention and said: “Sir, the ball hit my arm before it went into the goal.”

The referee waved off the goal and the score reverted to 3-3.

That was a gutsy sign of maturity and sportsmanship. Do we have the same guts when we do something wrong in the training room?   Continue reading