Considering freelancing or consulting in the L&D world?

Over the past year or two, I’ve met a number of people who are exploring the idea of either taking on some side projects or leaving their full-time job and focusing wholly on freelance or consulting work as instructional designers, elearning developers or coaches.

This is the path I took, beginning in 2012, with a side hustle until I partnered with a friend from college and turned it into an actual company with 5 other employees.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Elaine Biech who has been doing her own thing – quite successfully I might add – for more than 40 years and has published EIGHTY SEVEN books! She had a lot to say about lessons learned and some very helpful advice for those looking to become their own boss through freelancing or consulting in the L&D space.

Continue reading

Developing an L&D “playbook”

Later this month, Brandon Carson, a Vice President of Learning & Leadership at Walmart and author of the recently published book, L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age, will be speaking at the Association for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Expo about the importance of developing an L&D playbook for the digital age.

Recently I had a chance to talk with Brandon, and my biggest take-away was that it’s silly for folks in L&D to insist on a “seat at the table” where decisions are made in an organization if we haven’t done our homework and identified the needs of individuals and teams we’re working with. L&D professionals shouldn’t wait for someone to tell them to do a needs assessment. We need to be proactive, which is how we bring value to the table.

Of course, once a needs assessment has been conducted, then we need a strategy to address those needs. That’s where Brandon’s concept of a “playbook” comes in.

Continue reading

What it means to be an “L&D Detective”

Recently, gamified LMS platform creators Growth Engineering released their list of “the top 20 L&D experts and influencers you need to know about in 2021.” Along with some of the titans of our industry such as Josh Bersin and Karl Kapp, there were also some nose-to-the-grindstone practitioners on the list.

One of the people on the list was Kevin Yates, a self-described L&D detective doing some of the most important work that can be done in our industry: uncovering the impact and value of learning initiatives.

I had a chance to talk with Kevin about what we should all be doing in the field of learning and development to play the role of L&D detective and uncover the impact and value of our own training initiatives.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Real Cost of Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-left training costs can come in many forms. Financial costs are the traditional way in which this question is answered. “We were able to develop this training program for about $2,500.” But what’s the cost to you?

real cost of instructor-led training includes time

Just because you develop a training program in-house, doesn’t mean it was designed for “free”. Yes, your time is already budgeted and paid for, but it’s certainly not “free”.

Continue reading

The Business Case for Learning

Recessions and economic downturns happen. Many of us have worked – or tried to work – through more than one economic downturn. As training departments tend to be small compared to other departments, how do we stay relevant in tough economic times?

Chris Pirie from the Learning Futures Group sits down with the Train Like You Listen team this week to give us a little history of his experiences in training departments during economic downturns. He takes some time to discuss how this economy is different than others in his experience, and what the business case is for learning and development, no matter what the economy.

If you are interested in hearing more from Chris, be sure to check out his work and his podcast at learningisthenewworking.org

Tune in this week, and every week to learn more about what other professionals are doing to push our industry forward!

Continue reading

Flipping your training toolbox upside down

JD Dillon is an interesting creature. The best that I can tell, the guy eats, sleeps and breathes talent development. I’ve followed him on Twitter, I’ve seen and interacted with him at conferences. And he’s a total learning geek. So it’s fitting that his company is called LearnGeek.

Earlier this week we shared our latest Train Like You Listen podcast, featuring JD, and we had a chance to talk about organizational learning strategy and a modern learning ecosystem. I want to return to this idea in today’s post because there’s something fascinating about the modern learning ecosystem model that JD offers. It literally turns the tools we typically use in training and development on their heads.

Continue reading

Prioritizing Learning and Development.

Generations tend to shift their priorities based on many things, like values and events that happen as they enter the workforce. As the youngest of our co-workers start their professional careers, many are noticing a shift in what they value from their employer in the form of benefits. One interesting thing I have encountered is the priority many people, across generations, are starting to place on learning and development over many other benefits that used to seem like the bee’s knees. Continue reading