Creative Things Come to Those Who Wait

I was sitting in the same conference room I’d been sitting in for two weeks, across the table from the same client, working on the same project. The clock was ticking.

The client had come to the Seattle office for two weeks. We had two golden weeks to work together in person, then we’d need to rely on remote meetings and emails and file transfers once she returned to her field office.

While we were both working as hard as we could and we were both feeling a sense of urgency to keep moving forward, I think both of us were also bored.

“What if we have the learners create an FAQ document – we’ll give them the questions and they need to come up with the answers – as the culminating activity for this section?”

“It’s practical,” she responded, “but I don’t think I like it.”

Ugh! We were never going to finish before she went home.

“I liked the idea you came up with for a prior section – the activity with the mountain climber theme. Can’t we do something like that here?”  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

A 3-item Checklist to Make Sure Your Next Presentation is Meaningful

 

My colleague, Heather, has been on fire recently with the templates she’s shared on Train Like A Champion. In case you’ve missed them, she’s shared:

All of her recent templates have made me wonder if there’s a template or checklist I could share. Then it hit me. While Heather has been sharing some templates for fairly advanced training professionals, perhaps I could take a step back and offer something up for anyone who ever has to give a presentation, regardless of their experience or comfort level in front of an audience. Continue reading

Have instructional design writer’s block? Here are 8 ideas to get unstuck.

I recently read that James Taylor‘s creative process involves doing nothing for three days in order to come up with a good song… or better said, in order for a good song to come to him.

This idea resonated with me… a lot. Prior to my current role, I worked in an eye bank (as in cornea transplants) and everyone around me seemed to be working very hard. The people in the lab worked late hours. The people in the call center always seemed short-staffed, extremely busy, pulling extra shifts and had little downtime. The distribution team was always trying to figure out how to get the right corneas to the right doctors around the world even when bad weather or civil unrest screwed up the normal flight schedule for planes on which the corneas were transported.

So I was very self-conscious when someone would walk past me and find me simply staring at my screen or wandering around the halls of the office seemingly aimlessly. I didn’t appear to be doing anything. Yet, when someone walked into the training session I was preparing, they’d discover one of the most engaging, creative training sessions they’d ever experienced.

Designing engaging and impactful training requires a creative process. If you’re trying to put something creative together for your next session but the ideas aren’t flowing, here are eight ideas to get unstuck: Continue reading

What’s most important when you need to take a “Mobile-first” instructional design approach?

Last week I was talking with a team in Uganda to scope out an elearning project.

“Tell me about the audience. Do they have computers and reliable Internet at home? Would they take the courses in an office with an Internet connection?”

“Actually,” the response came, “some would gather around a computer in an office, but many others would probably need to use their smartphones.”

I paused. For whatever reason, I hadn’t anticipated this response.

Our client asked: “So what implications does that have for the design of this project?”  Continue reading