Writing Assessment Distractors

Course design often includes creating an assessment of the skills gained during training. To truly assess a learner’s knowledge on a subject, you need more than just a question and a correct answer for them to choose, you need good distractors. There is magic in a good set of distractors that really makes the learner analyze the choices in front of them and consider what the question is asking. How do we accomplish that? Continue reading

Resource Allocation Template

Over the last few weeks, I have been boasting about standardizing your course development process with the use of templates. A surprising amount of the design and development process can be sped up by taking a little admin time to set up templates.

Project schedules can get complicated quickly as resources have other priorities and time away from the office. Whether you are the person planning the project or the talent allocated to it, you need a high-level view of milestones and deadlines. There are dozens of project management applications available, and I have tried several of them. The one thing I have learned is that they all have a learning curve and people are rarely consistent in keeping them up-to-date. To put it bluntly, they can be a waste of money. No matter how many times I have been on a team adopting new project management software, I always go to an old process I learned when I first started writing training.

Like most planners, I love spreadsheets. They are easy to customize, nimble, and most people with a computer have access to spreadsheet software. Instead of fancy project software, I keep a color-coded, ADDIE-inspired spreadsheet with all of my resources, projects, and status. You can download a copy of the template by click the picture below.

https://trainlikeachampion.blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Resources-Template.xlsx

How to use this template

This template is intended to be a high-level view of projects, resource availability, and any obvious gaps. Any project requiring in-depth work breakdowns should be tracked in another tab which can be broken down by the week or even daily if that is required. Here are a few advantages of using this style template for learning and development projects.

  • Color coading makes it easy to quickly view the project phase.
  • High-level scheduling shows the team each other’s priorities at a glance.
  • Projects of the same size often have similar timelines, making them easy to copy and paste across projects.
  • The use of comments gives individual the ability to keep the project team aware of status.
  • Cloud storage quickly enables real-time collaboration on this document.

How does your team manage your busy work-load? Does your team really update their project management software? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

Trello Templates for Learning Design

Last week, I talked about various aspects of learning project planning. In that post, I mentioned making use of templates to increase efficiencies and optimize steps by using standards of practice. Over the next few weeks, I will dive into a few templates we have built to help learning project run as smoothly as possible.

My new obsession to accomplish this is Trello. Trello is a simple drag and drop program with some added functionality to make assigning tasks and notifications easy. It reminds me of a digital flipchart with column headers and a stack of sticky notes that can be moved around from column to column based on need. In this example, the flipchart would be your Trello board, the columns are your Trello lists on that board, and the sticky notes are your cards that you can drag and drop to each list. The simple functionality means I can invite contractors who are unfamiliar with the software to a Trello board and know that they will find their way around quickly and a learning curve will not delay the project.

Trello Templates

Sample Trello Template

For a very long time, I created a new Trello board for every new project. Even though it is simple to set up, I was always digging through old boards trying to make sure I didn’t forget any common tasks. After frustration with this process, I finally learned how to create a template, and it is super easy.

  1. Create a Trello board and include the word Template in the title.
  2. Add lists that match your design process.
    1. You may want to stick with ADDIE and have a list for each letter. You can also break it down by role; Instructional Designer, Project Manager, Project Sponsor, Client, Voice Over, Quality Assurance, etc…
    2. It is helpful to add lists to indicate status such as Needs Review, Validated, Complete.
  3. Add common tasks to cards and place them in the lists.
    1. See the screenshot above to review a sample template of these tasks.
  4. Once your template is ready, click the Menu in the upper right corner and then click More.
  5. Click Copy Board.
  6. Type the Title of the board.
  7. Click Create.

Once you create your board you can update the lists with tasks lists, due dates, attach screenshots, and update any customized information you need for your project.

There is a lot more you can do with Trello. I have personal to-do lists that have daily/weekly/monthly tasks as well as a drive-by list for when random things come up that needs to be finished when time allows. I also keep a shared board with my family for chores and groceries, and I power-up my boards with notifications so I am less likely to miss anything – after all, project management aims to mitigate risk. With that in mind, I challenge all of you to set up a free account and give it a whirl. Once you set up your board, let us know what you created and how it went in the comments below.

Learning Project Planning

At Endurance Learning, we are busy planning for 2019 as we lay out our project schedules. I like to dig into project lifecycles before we kick-off each project so that I can understand the scope, where to assign resources, and what our availability looks like over the next few months. The beginning of the year is a great time to do some planning, let’s look at a few ways project tips and calls to action that can keep you and your team on-track for the new year. Continue reading

Wrapping Things Up

It’s the end of the year and deadlines are piling up! There is a lot to wrap up this time of year, and I am not just talking about presents. Many folks take holiday away from work to spend time with family during the month of December which also seems to coincide with many end-of-year project deadlines. What happens when our teams just don’t have the bandwidth to meet our year-end goals?

There are several ways to address bandwidth needs, but one of the cheapest ways is to find ways to optimize work processes. At Endurance Learning, we have a lot of little hacks to streamlineour processes. Let’s take a look at a few tools we have developed to make yourwork a little easier.

Templates

Written documentation is required for many projects. Manuals, performance support, and several other document types tend to have several contributors who all come to the project with their own preferences and style. To reduce editing time at the end of your project, start with a style guideeveryone can agree to when your project begins.

Storyboarding is one of my favorite ways to start a project. It helps me wrap my head around the design of my project, and it gives other a visual representation of all of the crazy stuff I think I can make happen in a training. This process is not limited to eLearning development, in fact, here is a great template you can use to storyboard your next PowerPoint presentation.

Checklists

I love a good PowerPoint deck, especially one that complements the presentation. I view PowerPoint development as an art form. Just like any other tool, you should know how to use it properly before turning it on. There are dozens of PowerPoint classes that can make you efficient in the program, but if you short on time and resources, that may not be an option for you. Instead, take a look at this easy PowerPointChecklist and let it guide you through your next presentation development.

Delivering a presentation requires a lot of preparation. I suffer from glossophobia and need to be extremely organized in order to feel confident in front of participants. To guide me through this process, I use our presentation skills checklist as a practice facilitating all of my presentations.

What tools do you use to optimize the work on your team when you are under deadlines? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments below!

Not All Holiday Parties Have to Be Ugly

It is that time of year again. The time where we conservatively let loose in front of our co-workers and talk about something other than work at the annual holiday party. I enjoy holiday parties, as long as they are not awkward or forced. Just like training, if these parties are well thought out and curated, they can be really fun. Similarly, if they are poorly planned, they are awkward. Continue reading

Storytelling for Trainers

Last week, my daughter came home from the school library with her first graphic novel. She excitedly showed me how the story moved through the speech balloons and panels. Her excitement came from the novel approach (pardon the pun) to telling a story. She recently graduated to chapter books, and I think she was missing the imagery she had grown accustomed to in her beginner books. Continue reading

No Stupid Questions

Training is expected to yield change. How does change make people feel? I don’t know that we can expect everyone to react consistently when they react to change, but there is a tendency for most of us to ask how changes affect our own lives when we are faced with them. Continue reading

The Role of a Co-facilitator

I like to start my day with positive visualization. In this form of meditation, I enjoy picturing what success looks like. That success may be how my day will go, how a client meeting will go, reactions to my work, or any other permutation of a successful day. When I am facilitating a session, I like to visualize and think through the ways I can support my participants, to help them be successful. Recently, I started thinking about how this may change when I am co-facilitating. Continue reading