A Trainer’s Responsibility: Staying On Top Of Current Trends

If you’re anything like me, you find some cool tools and techniques that work for you, and you incorporate them into your daily practice. Once you feel like you have enough tools and techniques, there’s no need to learn about anything else!

I’ve realized recently that I seem to have stopped learning about new tools, techniques and trends sometime in 2015 or so (Kahoot was totally cutting edge back then!). Recently I had an opportunity to talk with Training magazine Editor-in-Chief, Lorri Freifeld, about the importance for learning professionals to stay on top of trends, how to differentiate between a useful trend and a “shiny object”, and where learning professionals can get the biggest bang for their professional development buck.

As L&D practitioners, we can’t be like the Cobbler’s children who have no shoes. We can’t go around helping others to do their jobs better, and never think about how we can improve our own craft.

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5 Places to Stay on Top of L&D Trends

As learning professionals, we’re often helping others do things new or differently or better, but how do we stay on top of trends to make sure we’re doing things new or differently or better?

Here are five places for you to look if you have a few minutes to develop your own knowledge and skill set this week.

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Storytelling as a Learning Device

Humankind has been using storytelling to pass knowledge from person to person for a very, very long time.

Rance Greene, who spent time earlier in his career earning experience in live theater, recently wrote a book entitled Instructional Story Design: Develop Stories that Train, in which he translates his experience to help readers write and develop stories for training.

Recently, I had an opportunity to spend some time with Rance to get his thoughts on why stories are such a powerful training device, whether stories are appropriate for every topic and how to rein in the desire to share every detail in a story.

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Resources, Not Courses!

Jeni Johnson was perfectly ready, willing and able to volunteer her instructional design talents to create a training program (for free!) for staff and foster pet parents on how to best care for the animals… but nobody was interested in taking her up on her offer.

It turns out, people were just too busy to stop what they were doing to take an e-learning course about how to give a flea bath. At the end of the day, it wasn’t even a training course that was needed.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Jeni about her approach to training design and when it might be appropriate to use something other than a formal course to help others get their jobs done better.

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Seeking Alternatives to Training

One of my first blog posts on Train Like A Champion began with the following:

“The conversations around the need for training can sometimes seem like they’re take out of a book a Mad Libs.” As part of that post, I shared the following Mad Lib-style activity, along with 7 questions you might want to ask to determine if training is the right solution:

The fact is that training can be one way to help people learn, but there are a lot of other ways that organizations can help their employees learn key knowledge and skills without the need for time-consuming formal training programs.

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Talking Games and Gamification (for Learning) with Karl Kapp

On Thursday, I wrote about a way that BINGO could be used as an engagement tool during learning programs (and shared this free, cool BINGO card generator).

As part of that post, I shared a downloadable BINGO card you can use to follow along with today’s podcast (or just skim the transcript below) and play along at home. The first five folks who send me a completed BINGO card, marking off the 5 concepts that Karl and I actually spoke about in the podcast, will earn themselves a $10 Starbucks card (my email address is brian@endurancelearning.com).

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B-I-N-G-O and BINGO is a training game-O!

While “engagement” doesn’t necessarily equal “effective” when it comes to training design, lack of engagement most often results in ineffective training. Introducing games or game elements into a training program can be a very fruitful way to engage participants (if the games are designed well).

Next Tuesday, our Train Like You Listen podcast will feature gamification expert Karl Kapp who will be discussing the differences between games and gamification as well as offering some gamification examples and ideas, if introducing game elements into your training program is something you’re looking to do.

In honor of game play in a professional development context, the first five Train Like A Champion readers to come back on Tuesday, print out this BINGO card, mark off the concepts that Karl and I discuss during the podcast (hint: we will only discuss 5 of the 8 concepts on this card, so you’ll have to listen to the podcast and mark this BINGO card up!) and send it back to me (brian@endurancelearning.com) will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card.

In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking a look at how a simple game of BINGO can add a different kind of engagement to your training program.

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The Role of Goal Setting, Milestones and Accountability

In December, the Endurance Learning team shared one word around which they will focus in 2021 – a one-word resolution.

Resolutions, like any professional development goals, aren’t just something to set and forget. They take intention, action, reflection and effort in order to ensure they’re more than just a feel-good way to wrap up the year.

I was reading an article recently that cited data suggesting almost half those who set a New Year’s Resolution had abandoned it after a month. Well, we’re one month into the year. How’s your own New Year’s Resolution doing? Rocking along? Or time to re-commit?

Let’s take a look at how our Endurance Learning team has fared a month into the year.

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3 Instructional Design Lessons from the World of Naruto

One minute my children were innocently watching The Backyardigans and Dora the Explorer, with imaginary quests and talking maps. They’ve traded such light and frivolous forms of entertainment (which also seemed to have a learning component subtly built in) for a more grown up world of anime. One of the shows that we all watch together is Naruto.

While the lessons being taught in shows like Naruto aren’t always as overtly pronounced as lessons from Dora and The Backyardigans, I think there is something powerful that draws tweens and teens into the world of anime, and I think there are lessons that instructional designers and learning program developers can (and should) adopt.

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