10 questions to ask before you begin designing a training program

If you’re anything like me, anytime a training request comes your way, you’ll be tempted to jump right in. “Ok, what’s the topic? What should people be able to do? Great, leave it to me, I’ll come up with something amazing!”

There are, however, some additional questions we should be asking before we jump into the development of a training program. Depending on the answers to these questions, perhaps training isn’t going to be the best solution after all.

Here are ten questions you may want to ask the next time a training project comes your way:

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5 Reasons Why Joining Your Local ATD Chapter is a Good Idea

These are strange times we’re living in. Who knows when many of us will return to our old offices (if we ever do… some claim that physical office space may become obsolete by the end of this whole quarantine). Who knows when we’ll be able to connect with old co-workers around the water cooler. Who knows when we’ll next stop by someone’s cubicle to bounce an idea around.

Physical distancing means that in-person connections will naturally fade. In the world of learning and development professionals, these connections have often been the lifeblood of new and creative ideas.

So what’s an L&D person to do?

If you’re not yet a member of your local ATD chapter, this could be a really good time to consider it. Here are five reasons why:

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What kind of facilitator are you designing for?

A few weeks ago I asked: “What kind of facilitator are you?” and I shared this model:

As part of this post, I also asked the following two poll questions:

Into which quadrant do you think that you fall?

Into which quadrant do the people you design training for generally fall?

If you haven’t had a chance to respond to those questions, I invite you to share your thoughts now by selecting the choices that best fit you and your situation. The answers I’ve received so far offered some interesting data points.

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The Value of Being Active on Social Media in L&D (podcast)

What value can learning and development folks get from being more active on social media? Well one opportunity is to talk with people like Mike Taylor from Mike-Taylor.org about all of the cool things he finds on the internet. You can also geek out with Brian Washburn about all things training and development, or Heather Snyder about eLearning design and development. You can virtually talk to anyone in our industry with a quick post.

In this week’s podcast, we talk to Mike Taylor about how he found his way into social media and how he now uses it as a tool for himself and to share information with others. On our 22nd episode on the Train Like You Listen podcast, we learn more about how to get started with social media, who to follow, and what effect it can have on networking in-person.

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Addressing Challenges and Getting Help (podcast)

How do you move forward when a project challenges you and you don’t see a clear path? On the podcast this week, Brian sits down with his colleague and Director of Instructional Design at Endurance Learning, Heather Snyder to dig into this topic. During this chat, they discuss some challenges they encounter during the training development process and how they can be addressed. Heather and Brian talk about a few recent projects and how they made them successful, some resources they use when they are stuck, and why and how to ask for help.   Continue reading

I was a white racist. I think training made me a better person.

With a headline like that, I’m guessing my future career in politics may be over before it begins. I’m ok with that.

For a long time I felt that we lived in a nation that was realizing Dr. King’s dream, where people in the United States in the 2000s had every opportunity to be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. I worked in Washington, DC, in a youth center helping students earn their GED credential so they could have bigger and better opportunities. My students seemed to enjoy my tough love approach and my sense of humor and perhaps most importantly, my presentation style – it worked for my students in a way that their traditional high schools didn’t.

There were times when my students would be talking about “white people” and I’d give them a look and they’d quickly say: “Oh, we don’t see you as ‘white’, Brian!”

I worked with neighborhood gang members and drug dealers and it really felt to me that with some hard work, a good support system and some determination, anyone in this country had an opportunity to make it as far as they themselves wanted to go. I saw it with my own eyes! My students were earning their GEDs and getting jobs!

Then, a little over 13 years ago, I was serving as the training director for the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. Our organization worked closely with the foster care system – a system which touched families of color at an overwhelmingly disproportionate rate compared to the general demographic make-up of the United States. Our organization’s volunteers across the country were overwhelmingly white and middle aged.

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What kind of facilitator are you?

Designing effective training is one thing. Designing training that can be delivered effectively (by you or by someone else) is a bit of a different animal. It doesn’t matter whether the training is being delivered in-person or virtually, the person delivering the session is an enormous X Factor in whether the training will be effective or not.

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Training In The Age of COVID (13-min Podcast)

What does training look like in a COVID-19 or even post-COVID-19 world?  A lot of people are talking about how their jobs are changing. Whether it be working from home, adapting to new norms, or changing their skill set as an essential worker, these changes are impacting the way we work and how we approach and embrace technology.

In this week’s podcast, we sit down with Brent Schlenker of dominKnow and the Instructional Designers In Offices Drinking Coffee Crowdcast (better known as IDIODC) to gather some of his thoughts on workplace change as a result of the pandemic. Brent took some time with us to point out some interesting trends we didn’t expect, share some wisdom about how to up-skill as we move forward, and gives us advice on how to be successful in our own careers.

You can join Brent every Wednesday morning on the IDIODC Crowdcast to learn more about his colleagues’ and his perspective on learning and development. If you can’t make it on Wednesday mornings, all Crowdcasts are recorded and available on the dominKnow Crowdcast page.

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Engaging People Virtually: Advice from 11 Really Successful L&D Folks

In a world under lockdown and quarantine, organizations are still needing to train their workforce. Virtual sessions have been adopted almost universally as companies (and school districts) find creative ways to make sure learning continues to happen, skills continue to improve and knowledge is shared.

I’ve talked with a lot of people over the past month, and most of them agree that even when restrictions are lifted and people can safely return to their offices, working remotely is here to stay. Several weeks ago we polled Train Like A Champion readers with the following question: When we can go back to our offices, I anticipate my team will…

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