Critical Moments in Beer and Learning

Farm restroom

A few years back, a couple of my friends made the decision to leave the big city of Helena, MT to move back to the farm to continue the family business. I am not going to pretend I know much about farming, but I do know that the arid lands east of the Continental Divide are a great place to grow barley. Yes, my friends are beer farmers, and visiting their farm is one of my favorite fall activities. Every year after the hard work of harvest is complete, my family visits the farm to enjoy everything the land has to offer. We hike, fish, watch wildlife, catch crawdads, and harvest as many vegetables from their garden as we can fit in our cooler to bring home. I enjoy knowing where my food comes from, and at the farm, I feel more engaged in that aspect. Continue reading

A (free!!) form to investigate the effectiveness of your presentation design

Investigate

Last week I had an opportunity to co-facilitate a webinar for the Early Childhood Investigations webinar series. The focus, of course, was on presentation design.

One of the key points I made, late in the webinar, was how to increase the likelihood that your learners will transfer what they learn from your presentation into their own work flow when they return home. A key piece to this transfer is finding a way to engage your learners’ supervisors.

What are we, as presenters, to do when we don’t have access to the learners’ supervisors?   Continue reading

Do adult learning principles transcend cultures?

World

I was in Canada last week observing several pilot versions of training programs that my team had developed. After one of the sessions I was talking with a participant who asked: “Have you found that adult learning principles work the same across cultures?”

As I took a moment to reflect on my experiences, everyone’s eyes turned to me, curious of what I might have to say about it.   Continue reading

3 Lessons that the Women’s Marches Hold for L&D Professionals

womens-march

On January 21, 2017, the day after the U.S. Presidential Inauguration, about a gazillion women, men and children took to the streets in cities across the United States and around the world, in order to make sure that their voices, although not represented by the incoming administration, could nonetheless be heard.

When the marching began, I was sitting in an airport in Nairobi, Kenya, traveling from one training program to another. I watched the images roll in on CNN and I listened to several people from Kenya, standing behind me, exclaim: “HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people are marching?! Wow.” It struck me that there were some very real lessons that learning and development professionals could take away Continue reading

A New Spin on Peer Feedback Forms

feedback

Greetings from sunny Uganda! I’m on assignment this week in Kampala, where it’s Day 2 of a 3-day train-the-trainer program.

There will be a lot of practice facilitation and peer feedback today. Days like this can grow long and monotonous, with presentation after presentation, and the peer feedback process can grow stale and feel drawn-out after the first 5 or 6 presentations.

Recently, a colleague suggested I alter our peer feedback form. For this suggestion, I think he’s a genius.   Continue reading

How ruthless can a learning and development professional be?

darth-vader

Happy New Year!

In my last post from 2016 I shared my one-word resolution that I’m hoping can center me as I try to make my work bigger and better in 2017: ruthless. As in: ruthless prioritization.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked to design several training programs in which the clients want big things achieved… and they’ve also given very limited time in which to achieve these things. My biggest challenge was to figure out how to deliver what the clients wanted while at the same time ensuring the training programs were what I’d consider to be fundamentally sound.   Continue reading

The Saga of Inky the Octopus is a Cautionary Tale for Anyone Leading a Training Session

Octopus

Last week it was reported that Inky the Octopus crawled out of his tank at a New Zealand aquarium, suction cupped his way across the floor, squeezed through a 6-inch drain in the floor and, like Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption, wriggled 164 feet through a pipe on his way to freedom.

He was being held captive against his will. He wanted out. By any means necessary.

I get the feeling that a lot of people who are sent to mandatory compliance training or IT system training or a number of other workshops and conference sessions feel much the same way.

Here are five ideas you might want to consider in order to keep your audience engaged and to prevent them from ditching your training session. Keep in mind that even if someone doesn’t walk out of your session, they can still mentally check out.  Continue reading