What are the elements of amazing learning experiences? There’s a periodic table for that!

If professional development experiences are a sort of lab, in which learners can test new knowledge and skills and instructional designers and trainers can concoct new and engaging ways for people to learn, I wonder what the basic elements for this lab would be.

Being inspired as the son of a science teacher, I put together this periodic table with elements of amazing learning experiences organized by solids, liquids, gases, radioactive elements and interactive elements.  Continue reading

Case Study: The Impact of Training One Year After Launch

A year ago I found myself in Birmingham, AL, helping to lead a train the trainer session as part of the launch and roll-out of a new sales training program.

A year later, we’ve been able to look at the impact of training through the lens of Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation and see the results and impact on each level, including a double-digit growth in sales for those stores who have implemented this program compared to those who haven’t.   Continue reading

Use Data to Make a Compelling Business Case for Training

Shortly after this year’s Super Bowl, this statistical analysis began making its way around the Internet:

Statistics used poorly

As a Buffalo Bills’ fan, I appreciated it.

As a training professional, it served as a very good reminder that numbers can be very deceiving.

So how do we make the best business case for training and professional development? Numbers can be helpful… if we use the right ones.   Continue reading

7 Presenter Gifts that Can’t Miss

As the Christmas season descends upon us and you stress out over that perfect gift for that special presenter in your life, I’m here to help you with a variety of presenter gifts at various price points. I’ve intentionally kept each of these gifts relatively small in size because presenters are constantly traveling and need things that are easy to cart around – whether simply moving from their desk to a conference room, or perhaps they’ll need to pack these things in a carry-on and haul it across the country or around the world.

Presenter Gifts Under $10.00

Mr Sketch - Inexpensive Presenter Gifts1. The Perfect Flip Chart Markers. I’ve raved about Mr. Sketch markers in the past – they’re long-lasting, they don’t bleed through the paper and they smell good. And just in time for the holidays, you can even get holiday-scented markers!

2. A Beach Ball. Having one or two of these around will give you the opportunity for an easy icebreaker – either planned or on the spur of the moment. I like this soccer ball-style beach ball because there are a lot of different, well-defined spaces. Write a get-to-know-you question (or a debrief question) in each panel and toss it around the room. Each learner needs to answer the question closest to their left thumb when they catch the ball. Want a fancier version (which may not quite fit into a stocking)? Try these pre-made activity balls from Trainers Warehouse.

Presenter Gifts Under $50.00

Continue reading

Case Study: Get Training to Stick

A few weeks ago I was exchanging messages via LinkedIn with someone who had reached out to connect with me. As she began sharing more about her work, it was obvious she had a story to tell. Following is a guest post from Betty Dannewitz, who generously offered to share her experiences with the Train Like a Champion community. Be sure to share your thoughts about this case study with her in the comment section.

The Scenario

We know how the story goes.

Step 1: Trainee hears about a great class.

Step 2: Trainee shows up ready to learn.

Step 3: Trainee loves the class and soaks up all the knowledge like a sponge.

Step 4: Trainee leaves class excited and energized.

Step 5: After class, all content falls out of trainee’s head.

Step 6: Trainee does nothing with the new skill set.

Step 7: Cycle repeats.

Techniques to Get Training to Stick

How do we stop the madness?  How do we make training stick?  How can we help them remember?  We have all asked these exact questions.

Continue reading

Learning how to peel an orange has made me a better L&D professional

Orange

When I was growing up, my father would chop off the very top of an orange, then he’d score the peel vertically with a knife, cutting lines about an inch apart around the circumference of the orange. Then he’d use his thumb to remove the orange peel, section by section.

This is how I learned, and it’s the only way I knew how to peel an orange. When I found myself in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, a friend handed me an orange one day. I took out my handy Swiss Army knife, scored the peel, and spent several minutes determinedly trying to remove the peel. These oranges didn’t peel as easily as the oranges back home.

When I finished peeling the orange, my hands were sticky and the peel was all over, but I was ready to dig in. I looked up and saw my friend staring at me in amusement. She had finished her orange already.

“Why do you peel your orange like that?” she asked.   Continue reading

How do you know if attending a conference was worth your while?

A week ago, I shared a framework for goal-setting (MPV goals, or Minimum/Primary/Visionary goals).

If want your employer to foot the bill for your attendance at a conference, it can be quite helpful to identify (in advance) what you hope to get out of that conference. I spent last week at the eLearning Guild’s FocusOn Learning conference and I have to say, it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended, but…

The key question my supervisor (or myself or anyone else who plans to hold me accountable for the investment of time and money that was spent on my attending this conference) should be asking is: “So, you say it was a great conference… how do you know?”

Collage

Continue reading

5 Key Elements to Effective Meeting Design

IMG_4852

This past weekend I had an opportunity to facilitate an executive leadership retreat with an organization’s senior staff and Board members. As I reflect on that experience, I really don’t think the meeting could have gone better. We accomplished all of our objectives. We stayed on time. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. And there are concrete, actionable items that came out of the meeting that will impact the organization for the next five years.

Over the past several years, I’ve also facilitated strategic planning sessions and other meetings of senior staff that haven’t gone so well. Meetings have ended with a vague set of next steps. Participants have shared they felt lost at times during meetings.

As I contrasted these various experiences in my mind, I began to come up with a list of key ingredients for such facilitated meetings to be successful. Continue reading