When a presenter tries using a pick-up line on the audience…

A friend of mine was sharing her experiences recently on a dating site. She had met an international man of mystery – Tomas – on a site. He seemed good looking enough and successful. Tomas was Portuguese and apparently made his money by doing something with gold bars and China.

And then on his most recent trip, Tomas got stuck in China and couldn’t get his gold bars out, unless… Continue reading

Your attention span is shorter than a goldfi… Squirrel!

The year was 2015. I was sitting in a breakout session at a training conference and the speaker was about to discuss ways to easily bring animation into an elearning course. As she introduced her topic, she shared a bit of research that was new to me: Thanks to all of today’s technology and distractions that surround us, the average human attention span had dwindled to under nine seconds, which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish! She even cited this article in Time magazine as her source.

The problem with this eye popping statistic is Continue reading

What are training professionals actually doing with their time?

Several weeks ago I introduced our presentation design tool — Soapbox — and asked for volunteers willing to test it and provide feedback in our Beta phase. This week we’ll begin Beta testing on this tool intended to save people time in the design of their training programs.

As our Beta testers have waited to get their hands on Soapbox, we’ve asked them to participate in several short surveys about how they’re currently spending their time. Following are some insights from their responses.  Continue reading

Leveraging Pinterest as a Learning and Design Tool

People have their opinions about social media. Believe me, I have my own. I do, however, play on Pinterest every so often and I have found a few useful things when searching for ideas for my kid’s school project or gardening tips. As a site that is geared toward the DIY mom type, there is a surprising amount of teaching resources. Continue reading

Is it possible to design an engaging, effective training session (and accompanying slides) in 5 minutes? Yep.

How much time do you typically spend putting together a good presentation?

Beginning with thinking through your learning outcomes, mapping an outline of activities, putting together the slides and handouts you’ll use – how much time does that typically take? Half a day? Two days? A week?

There’s a new online tool that will soon be available that can get you 80% of the way to a well-designed, engaging presentation in about five minutes.

Soapbox is a tool that the Endurance Learning team has been developing for several years. This Thursday at a Seattle-based conference called Learnapalooza, the world will get the first glimpse of Soapbox in action. Today on Train Like A Champion, you’ll get a sneak peek. If you’re intrigued to learn more, we’re looking for a limited pool of beta users who can help us identify bugs and find gaps in the content.

What is Soapbox?

Soapbox is a job aid that takes several key factors of your next presentation into consideration and instantly designs a training presentation for you that includes:

  • an outline of activities,
  • detailed instructions,
  • a slide deck, and
  • a template for any suggested handouts

How does Soapbox work?

You tell Soapbox a few details about your presentation:

Initial Details

You decide what should happen as a result of your presentation:


Then Soapbox offers you a lesson plan with a series of activities (that you can re-order if you’d like), slides, a materials list and handout templates.

Initial Outline

Don’t like an activity? Swap it out.

Swap Activities

Want to customize your content? All text and PowerPoint slides are completely editable.


Want to help with our limited beta?

We’re looking for a handful of people who might have a training presentation coming up and who would like to test Soapbox and give us some feedback. If you fit the profile, sign up here and we’ll get in touch with you in the next few weeks.

Coming to Learnapalooza? Hope to see you in our session where we’ll see just how fast you can put together a presentation!

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

Storming the Norms

People like their comfort zones. Our jobs as trainers are to lead change which by its very nature is to get people outside of their comfort zone. Many people walk into the training event – whether live or asynchronous– with their proverbial comfort blanket unwilling or not ready to hear what you have to say. Continue reading

Product Review: SessionLab

In just over a month, I’ll have an opportunity to speak at Learnapalooza, a super-fun annual conference in Seattle that features a wide variety of learning blocks – from speed learning sessions and demos to breakout sessions to keynotes from some of the most important L&D voices found in the Pacific Northwest.

The theme of the conference is superheroes and my session will revolve around three superheroes in the world of instructional design.

One of those superheroes is a tool called SessionLabContinue reading

Exquisite Corpse Activities

Working through a bit of writer’s block recently, I began searching random words and collecting them for inspiration for a project. Once I finished the research, I sat down to a large and seemingly random collection of words, I was reminded of an activity we used to do in a college poetry class called Exquisite Corpse.

Exquisite Corpse is a surrealist parlor game where people assemble a group of words or pictures given some loose parameters depending on the desired outcome. Sometimes it is a poem, a story, a picture, or any number of things. The etymology is a bit awkward, but it makes a bit of sense once you start seeing the end results because they turn out strangely beautiful. After creating my own Exquisite Corpse, I thought it would be fun to put together a few ideas on how this can be done in the training room. Let’s look at a few ideas below.

One-Word Exquisite Corpse

One-word Exquisite Corpse activities would best be played given a set of parameters such as sentence structure- Adjective, Noun, Verb, Adjective, Noun- where each member of a group is assigned one word of the sentence. This activity is great for an icebreaker or a brainstorming session and instructions can look something like this:

Divide participants into groups and distribute flipchart paper and sticky notes. Each participant is assigned one word of the greater sentence to write on a sticky note. Once complete, assemble the Exquisite Corpse sentence on the flip chart and allow other groups to review.

One-Sentence Exquisite Corpse

One-sentence Exquisite Corpse is more elaborate and is best played when they can build off of the last word of the previous sentence. This activity is great for brainstorming or teambuilding where storytelling is a part of their work. Instructions may look like this:

Divide participants into groups and distribute two pieces of flipchart paper to each group. Each participant is given an opportunity to write a sentence on the flipchart which shall remain covered by the second flipchart paper. Reveling only the last word of the sentence, the next group member will then write their sentence. Continue this for as many rounds as desired to complete the story/poem/etc.

Drawing an Exquisite Corpse

When doing an activity where groups are drawing an Exquisite Corpse, it will be important to have parameters defined before participants put pen to paper. It should be clearly stated what each group member is responsible for drawing and that they should bring their own flair. There is a great PBS video on YouTube about this practice if you need inspiration for this activity. Suggested instructions are as follows:

Divide participants into groups and distribute flipchart paper and sticky notes. Each participant is tasked with drawing their portion of their group’s exquisite corpse on their sticky note without looking at each other’s drawings. Once complete, assemble the Exquisite Corpse on the flip chart.

Have you ever played Exquisite Corpse? Do you see any other applications in the training room? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments below!