Replacing PowerPoint with Play-Doh

“I’m sorry. Can you say that again? You want to use WHAT when we teach the technical aspect of the content?”

“Play-Doh.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought you said. And you want grown adults, some of them in their 60s and 70s, to do this?”

“Yes.”

Such was the conversation I had with my client when I proposed we swap out a technical, PowerPoint-based presentation with a hands-on activity that called for dozens of canisters of Play-Doh. I admit that, after this conversation, I grew a little more nervous. If the activity flopped, my team stood to lose a lot of credibility with this extremely important client.   Continue reading

19 Sites That Can Help Your PowerPoint Slide Design

I’ll start this post by simply saying: Mike Taylor knows how to find things. He’s constantly posting articles and resources on Twitter and LinkedIn that, if curated in one place, would probably serve you better than any masters program in instructional design.

This post borrows heavily from one of his sites on which he’s compiled “a collection of the best free design resources on the web.” If you have some time, I encourage you to check out his site.

Sometimes having too many choices can be overwhelming, so I’ve narrowed his resources down into the following list of 19 resources that may be helpful if you’re specifically looking for new places to find stock photos, fonts or icons.   Continue reading

Back to School Deals for Training Professionals!

It’s back-to-school season here in Seattle and I found myself in Staples last week walking through the bargain bin aisles. It turns out, back-to-school sales aren’t just for k-12 students!

Here are 12 sale items that caught my eye, things you may want to pick up if you’re a training professional looking to stretch your budget a little further this fall:   Continue reading

Tool Review: Screencast-O-Matic

When I have down time, I like to play around with some different tools to see if there’s anything I should be adding to my own catalog of technologies I can incorporate into my work flow.

Jane Hart’s list of Top 200 Tools for Learning is my go-to place for inspiration.

This past week I spent a lot of time talking with colleagues and potential clients about software training, specifically the importance of short, on-demand tutorials to help casual system users remember how to perform certain functions. With this in mind, I started to browse the Top 200 Tools list and came across Screencast-O-Matic. I took it for a spin and this is what I learned:   Continue reading

Why does it matter if people in your organization don’t like to lead training sessions?

There are a lot of reasons why someone may not like being asked to train others in your organization.

Perhaps they’re busy and don’t have time for “one more thing.” Maybe they have anxiety around speaking in front of others, especially their peers. Perhaps they feel like they’re not an expert, or worse, they suffer from a touch of “Imposter Syndrome“.

Whether or not they like to do presentations at work, it is essential that high performers have an opportunity to share their expertise. In his book The Leadership Engine, Noel Tichy writes, “Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. all… had strong ideas, values, energy, and edge, but without disciples to spread their mission, both during their lifetimes and after their deaths, their legacies would have been short-lived.”

Organizations need disciples to buy in to their mission and carry out the myriad tasks that keep the organization running. To do this, organizations need people who will embrace training others. How can we set people up for success every time they present, and perhaps help people across the organization embrace the opportunity when they’re called upon to train others?   Continue reading

Why does it matter how long it takes to design a presentation?

When it comes to designing an effective presentation or training program, there are some fundamental questions that need to be asked.

  1. What will success look like? (Specifically, what will success from the participants’ perspective look like?)
  2. How much time will it take to put together the presentation?
  3. Will investing more time to put together the presentation mean that it will be a better presentation?

A recent ATD study suggested that it takes between 28-38 hours (on average) to develop one hour of training. The amount of time spent on presentation design matters for several very important reasons.   Continue reading

What happens when instructional designers are partners, not order takers?

When a long-time friend and I decided to leave the safety and comfort of our respective jobs to start our own instructional design company, Endurance Learning, we made a conscious decision that we were going to be different. We didn’t simply want to bring our clients’ initial ideas to life, we wanted to make sure our clients ended up with the best learning experience possible.

It was a nice theory. In reality, it proved to be a risky proposition. After all, pushing back on a client could mean that they take their training project (and their budget) to someone else who will do exactly as they say.

Recently, Michelin presented our Endurance Learning team with their Dealer Experience Partner Award. As he presented this award, Tim Cunningham, Michelin’s Director of Customer Training and Development, cited our ability to be a partner with his team and to push back as necessary as some of the reasons he found our instructional design contributions to his team so valuable.

Endurance Learning receiving Partner Award

Following are four takeaways from our experiences with Michelin that could be applied by instructional designers everywhere – whether you’re internal to the organization or coming to work on a project from outside the organization.   Continue reading