A 3-item Checklist to Make Sure Your Next Presentation is Meaningful

 

My colleague, Heather, has been on fire recently with the templates she’s shared on Train Like A Champion. In case you’ve missed them, she’s shared:

All of her recent templates have made me wonder if there’s a template or checklist I could share. Then it hit me. While Heather has been sharing some templates for fairly advanced training professionals, perhaps I could take a step back and offer something up for anyone who ever has to give a presentation, regardless of their experience or comfort level in front of an audience. Continue reading

Have instructional design writer’s block? Here are 8 ideas to get unstuck.

I recently read that James Taylor‘s creative process involves doing nothing for three days in order to come up with a good song… or better said, in order for a good song to come to him.

This idea resonated with me… a lot. Prior to my current role, I worked in an eye bank (as in cornea transplants) and everyone around me seemed to be working very hard. The people in the lab worked late hours. The people in the call center always seemed short-staffed, extremely busy, pulling extra shifts and had little downtime. The distribution team was always trying to figure out how to get the right corneas to the right doctors around the world even when bad weather or civil unrest screwed up the normal flight schedule for planes on which the corneas were transported.

So I was very self-conscious when someone would walk past me and find me simply staring at my screen or wandering around the halls of the office seemingly aimlessly. I didn’t appear to be doing anything. Yet, when someone walked into the training session I was preparing, they’d discover one of the most engaging, creative training sessions they’d ever experienced.

Designing engaging and impactful training requires a creative process. If you’re trying to put something creative together for your next session but the ideas aren’t flowing, here are eight ideas to get unstuck: Continue reading

What’s most important when you need to take a “Mobile-first” instructional design approach?

Last week I was talking with a team in Uganda to scope out an elearning project.

“Tell me about the audience. Do they have computers and reliable Internet at home? Would they take the courses in an office with an Internet connection?”

“Actually,” the response came, “some would gather around a computer in an office, but many others would probably need to use their smartphones.”

I paused. For whatever reason, I hadn’t anticipated this response.

Our client asked: “So what implications does that have for the design of this project?”  Continue reading

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”

Recently I took my kids to The Strong National Museum of Play. As we walked through the seemingly endless interactive exhibits, I looked up to find this sign:

Play

There may not be any hard science behind this statement, but we don’t always need empirically-tested data to be inspired by an idea. When it’s integrated into a learning experience with intention, play isn’t just a gimmick. Play can engage participants’ hearts and minds which in turn can capture their attention and can allow them to explore and navigate complex concepts on their own terms.

Here are a handful of ideas to bring play into your next session. 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!

After certificates have been handed out, how does training continue to live?

I’m currently working with a client who needs to deliver the same online training program to two different audiences. The first audience is located in their US-based headquarters, the second audience is located in regional offices around the world.

The headquarters has a thriving community of practice for training alumni that meets regularly, in-person. Furthermore, the headquarters has a critical mass of people in this role who can see each other in the break room, daily meetings, the hallway or walking by one another’s desks for informal conversations about challenges and key learnings.

People in regional offices are a little more isolated when it comes to ongoing opportunities for informal learning that can reinforce the initial training. So what are regional and remote staff to do?

Online Communities of Practice

Technology offers a lot of opportunities to shrink the distance between people and allow for greater communication, yet the ability to seed an active online community of practice remains elusive to many organizations. 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

When a training program is as stuffed as a guest at grandma’s house on Thanksgiving

Many of us in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday. A time for family to gather, give thanks, and eat. A lot.

The American Council on Fitness estimates that the average American takes in 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving… and 229 grams of fat!

Is it possible that there’s a training program or two that we’ve developed that can be equally bloated and gluttonous? Sitting on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday, I started wondering this very thought (because I’m apparently always thinking of training). Continue reading