Learning Program Priorities (through the eyes of your learners)

We all have our reasons for creating learning programs. Sometimes (hopefully most of the time) the learning programs address business needs. Sometimes they’re mandated for compliance reasons. Sometimes a stakeholder requests that we build them a training course.

While we (generally) know our reasons for building these programs, what happens when we try to look at the program through the eyes of our learners? What is it that they find most important?


It’s not a rhetorical question.

What do you think?

I even prepared a poll for you. I’d love to know your thoughts. Through the eyes of our learners, what do you think is most important?

Which of the following is most important to your learners?

I’ve talked with many trainers who get excited when they get feedback such as: “That was so engaging!” or “I had so much fun!” or “That was the best training session I’ve ever attended!”

And who wouldn’t want feedback like this?

However, something we all need to ask ourselves is: Is this meaningful feedback, or is it what I’d call “vanity feedback” (feedback that makes us feel good, but tells us little else)?

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Is there a difference between “engaging” training and “effective” training?

I cannot count how many times I’ve been in a training session in which the speaker opens with some sort of variation on the following: “Good morning! I want today’s session to be highly engaging and interactive, so be sure to ask questions!”

Inviting learners to ask questions during a session might be one way to engage them. Playing a game of Jeopardy might also be an engagement strategy.

But are these strategies effective?

Over the next few minutes, I’ll take a closer look at the difference between engaging training and effective training.

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Modern (Training) Love: If You Love Something, Let It Go…

Last week, while I was in the midst of moving homes, I realized how much smaller a 1600 square foot home is compared to a 2200 square foot home. The smaller space meant I had to make some hard choices on what to let go.

Sometimes that needs to happen in our training programs, too. In today’s Modern (Training) Love podcast, I share a heartfelt story about falling in love, then needing to let that love go for the greater good.

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When was the last time you had a first time?

On Monday, my kids finally had a chance to enjoy their final Christmas present: ski lessons. Since we were on the mountain anyway, I joined in the ski lessons. It was the first time any of us tried skiing. While the kids seemed to pick it up quickly, I began to reflect how odd it was to be 46 years old and to be trying something totally new to me for the first time.

It was uncomfortable. And beyond the fact it was my first time trying to ski, I was even more self-conscious because my fiancée (who has skied plenty) decided to join my ski lesson.

What does this experience have to do with training and instructional design? Plenty.

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Where do The Greats find creativity?

Earlier this month I shared some research behind some practices that can help exercise your creative muscle. In today’s post, I began to dig around to see how some of the most creative people in other industries find their creativity and inspiration, in hopes that you’ll find some transferable lessons as you look to bring your own training programs to the next level.

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A 4-Step Training Design Model

Today’s podcast takes a closer look at a 4-step training design model.

This is different than an instructional design model, which is typically more holistic and looks at everything in the process from the need of the training through assessment, piloting, revisions and implementation.

The model we’ll explore with today’s podcast assumes there is a valid need for training, and can be used when you’re designing a training session (whether in-person, virtual or elearning) intended to help develop new knowledge, skills and abilities.

With this podcast, you’ll explore the following four steps: anchor, content, application and future use.

Come back next week and I’ll spend some time going into more detail about specific training activities that can be used in each step.

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How do we get more creative in training design?

Late last summer, I had the opportunity to have dinner with authors Karl Kapp, Rance Greene, Robyn Defelice. During dinner, the conversation turned to training industry conferences, specifically the observation that whether you attend a conference put on by the Learning Guild, ATD, Training Magazine or any other talent development organization, the format is generally the same.

I posed the question to the group: “Well, how would you do things differently if you were organizing a conference? What would a different format even look like?”

Everyone around the table mulled that over for a moment. Honestly, a conference was a conference, and I didn’t really have any bright ideas on how the standard format could be improved.

Having dinner with people like this is exactly how we get more creative in our training design.

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Key Components of a Training Lesson Plan

One of my most popular blog posts ever was the one in which I shared a free training lesson plan template. It was so popular that it made me think that a tool like Soapbox, an online tool that basically puts a training lesson plan together for you in a matter of minutes, would be something the world would be interested in.

If you have about 10 minutes or so and want to hear what should go into a training lesson plan, give this week’s podcast a listen.

And if you have an extra 5 seconds, I’d love your response to the following survey question (I’m genuinely curious about who’s been listening to my podcasts lately). Thank you in advance for listening (and for giving me some idea of what your role is)!!

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