Resources, Not Courses!

Jeni Johnson was perfectly ready, willing and able to volunteer her instructional design talents to create a training program (for free!) for staff and foster pet parents on how to best care for the animals… but nobody was interested in taking her up on her offer.

It turns out, people were just too busy to stop what they were doing to take an e-learning course about how to give a flea bath. At the end of the day, it wasn’t even a training course that was needed.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Jeni about her approach to training design and when it might be appropriate to use something other than a formal course to help others get their jobs done better.

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Seeking Alternatives to Training

One of my first blog posts on Train Like A Champion began with the following:

“The conversations around the need for training can sometimes seem like they’re take out of a book a Mad Libs.” As part of that post, I shared the following Mad Lib-style activity, along with 7 questions you might want to ask to determine if training is the right solution:

The fact is that training can be one way to help people learn, but there are a lot of other ways that organizations can help their employees learn key knowledge and skills without the need for time-consuming formal training programs.

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B-I-N-G-O and BINGO is a training game-O!

While “engagement” doesn’t necessarily equal “effective” when it comes to training design, lack of engagement most often results in ineffective training. Introducing games or game elements into a training program can be a very fruitful way to engage participants (if the games are designed well).

Next Tuesday, our Train Like You Listen podcast will feature gamification expert Karl Kapp who will be discussing the differences between games and gamification as well as offering some gamification examples and ideas, if introducing game elements into your training program is something you’re looking to do.

In honor of game play in a professional development context, the first five Train Like A Champion readers to come back on Tuesday, print out this BINGO card, mark off the concepts that Karl and I discuss during the podcast (hint: we will only discuss 5 of the 8 concepts on this card, so you’ll have to listen to the podcast and mark this BINGO card up!) and send it back to me ( will receive a $10 Starbucks gift card.

In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking a look at how a simple game of BINGO can add a different kind of engagement to your training program.

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The Role of Goal Setting, Milestones and Accountability

In December, the Endurance Learning team shared one word around which they will focus in 2021 – a one-word resolution.

Resolutions, like any professional development goals, aren’t just something to set and forget. They take intention, action, reflection and effort in order to ensure they’re more than just a feel-good way to wrap up the year.

I was reading an article recently that cited data suggesting almost half those who set a New Year’s Resolution had abandoned it after a month. Well, we’re one month into the year. How’s your own New Year’s Resolution doing? Rocking along? Or time to re-commit?

Let’s take a look at how our Endurance Learning team has fared a month into the year.

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3 Instructional Design Lessons from the World of Naruto

One minute my children were innocently watching The Backyardigans and Dora the Explorer, with imaginary quests and talking maps. They’ve traded such light and frivolous forms of entertainment (which also seemed to have a learning component subtly built in) for a more grown up world of anime. One of the shows that we all watch together is Naruto.

While the lessons being taught in shows like Naruto aren’t always as overtly pronounced as lessons from Dora and The Backyardigans, I think there is something powerful that draws tweens and teens into the world of anime, and I think there are lessons that instructional designers and learning program developers can (and should) adopt.

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(Mostly) Free Resources to Reduce Training Development Time

How much time does it take for you to develop your learning programs? It’s a question whose answer can have enormous implications.

Of course, the first answer to this question is: “It depends.” But that’s not good enough if you’re having a serious conversation with your boss or with a potential client.

Robyn Defelice has been studying this question for years, and recently posted How Long Does It Take to Develop Training? through ATD, sharing her latest findings.

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The One Word Resolution (2021 Edition)

“Start a blog” was my New Year’s Resolution for 2012. Almost 7 years and 835 posts later, I’m still here. (Full disclosure: my colleague, Heather Snyder, has written a good portion of those 835 posts since she joined Endurance Learning in mid-2017.)

And for the past eight years, I’ve shared a one-word resolution that I’ve chosen to guide me personally and professionally in the new year.

In 2013 it was momentum as I pondered the most critical element to successful learning programs.

In 2014 it was possibility as I pondered the idea of launching my own company.

In 2015 it was execution.

In 2016 it was risk.

In 2017 it was ruthless as I knew there were some tough decisions I needed to make.

In 2018, I chose joy, because what good is success if I couldn’t have more joy in my life?

For 2019, my head was wrapped around the word new. And we indeed began working with new customers this year, tried some new activities, wrote some new articles for major publications, spoke at some new conferences and launched a new product!

In 2020, the word that I focused on was partnership. While it was tricky to stick to this word as social distancing and virtual work became the norm, I’ve been able to strengthen my bond with my business partner, established working relationships with a half dozen new clients (any of whom have become repeat customers), developed new relationships as I led our local ATD chapter, worked closely with ATD as I put the finishing touches on a book that will be released next summer and established a new partnership in my personal life. Not bad considering the natural restrictions that befell us with the global Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it was an extremely important word and resolution to hold on to throughout the past year.

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Last-minute Gift Guide for that Special Trainer in Your Life

With the holiday season upon us, just the simple fact that we’ve made it through 2020 with our health and important relationships in tact should be gift enough. Of course, if you’re still looking for a physical present to give to that special trainer in your life, my colleague Rachel Niles spent some time this week compiling a list of recommendations from almost three dozen thought leaders in the L&D space.

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Free Elearning Storyboard Template

A lot of my work focuses on instructor-led training – whether in person or virtual. Over the past year, I’ve returned to elearning design as well. Just like a lesson plan is the cornerstone for helping me to organize all of my instructor-led thoughts into a coherent, engaging learning experience, I’ve found the elearning storyboard template to help me in the same way as I design tightly-focused, engaging elearning.

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