Why it’s good to have L&D friends outside of your own organization

How many people do you talk with about learning and development outside of your colleagues and co-workers in your organization?

Recently, my friend Betty Dannewitz and I had a chance to sit down and discuss the importance of having “friends” across the L&D landscape, especially people outside of our own organizations, with whom we can talk, brainstorm ideas, collaborate or just plain nerd out.

If you’re not sure where to find people outside of your organization, social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter could be a good place to start. Attending a local ATD chapter event could also be a way to begin connecting with other L&D professionals in your area. Want more ideas? Give this week’s podcast a listen!

Continue reading

How do we make icebreakers relevant?

Some training participants really enjoy icebreakers. They can be fun, a nice way to ease into a day of learning and they can ensure participants have an opportunity to meet one another in a low stakes activity before needing to work with each other in small group activities later in the day.

On the other hand, many training participants do not like icebreakers. Some, seeing an icebreaker scheduled for the first 15-30 minutes of a training program, choose to arrive late in order to avoid the icebreaking activities all together.

If you feel an icebreaking activity is important to help create a sense of connection and get participants talking with one another before the “real work” begins, what’s a trainer to do?

Continue reading

Tips On Establishing A Structured On-The-Job Training Program

Is all of your orientation and onboarding done in a classroom? Or perhaps it’s done via Elearning? How much of it is on-the-job training?

Several weeks ago at the Association for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Expo, I had the opportunity to meet presenter, author and Head of Training at Baker Construction Enterprises, Paul Smith. Paul has literally written the book on how his organization successfully implemented a formal, structured on-the-job training program that effectively helps bring new employees up to speed while also helping them to feel supported in their new work environment.

Continue reading

What’s the right formula when working with SMEs on training?

“How do we get subject matter experts (SMEs) to be better trainers?”

It’s a question I hear often, especially in light of the recent presentations I’ve been doing on the concept of radioactive elements, which comes from my book What’s Your Formula?

Before I dive more deeply into SMEs, I want to remind everyone what “radioactive elements” are. Radioactive elements are components of training that can be very powerful, but they can also be very dangerous or even harmful if they’re not used very well. As you can see from the image below, these elements include some of the most commonly used pieces for training today: lecture, PowerPoint, SMEs, handouts, smile sheets (level 1 evaluation forms), icebreakers, elearning, augmented reality, role play, games and data.

Continue reading

Helping SMEs Become More Effective Presenters through Communities of Practice

For years I’ve facilitated presentation skills programs and train the trainer programs for Subject Matter Experts, hoping that they’d buy into the idea of adult learning theory, some basic instructional design principles and the need to abandon bullet point-laden PowerPoint slides. It’s worked to varying degrees of success.

Later this month at the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) International Conference and Expo (ICE), Darlene Brady Christopher, who is a Senior Knowledge and Learning Officer with the World Bank, will be sharing her experiences from a program that has seen great success converting SMEs to more effective presenters. Through a bonus podcast this week, we went into more depth about how her community of practice program has helped keep SMEs at the World Bank engaged and interested on becoming stronger presenters.

If you plan to be at ATD ICE, Darlene’s session will be on August 30, from 1:00pm – 2:00pm.

Continue reading

What Are The Top 200 Tools for Learning?

Since 2007, Jane Hart has been compiling a list of the top 200 tools that learning professionals find the most useful. It began by asking a few people to opine and now her annual top 200 list receives votes from thousands of learning and development practitioners from around the world.

What trends has she seen? What’s been the most surprising tool to top the list over the past 14 years? Take a few minutes to hear about why she originally began compiling this ranking and what she’s learned in doing it.

And don’t forget to make your voice heard. Vote on your most useful tools before voting closes at noon (BST) on Thursday, August 26!

Continue reading

What kind of training facilitator are you?

In June, my book What’s Your Formula: Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training was released. While the majority of the pages revolve around a periodic table of learning elements, there is also a chapter about an “X-factor” that can have as much impact on any training program as the elements used to design the program. That X-factor is the presenter.

In July, the Association for Talent Development published an article I wrote to expand on this idea of an X-factor in their monthly publication, TD magazine. The article was entitled Presenter, Know Thyself. This concept revolves around a presenter knowledge/ability learning matrix. The article goes into more depth about how to navigate this matrix to become a more effective presenter.

Why is it important to know where you might fall on this matrix? I’ve found this matrix to be very helpful in reassuring me, as a presenter, that I don’t need to be able to do everything perfectly.

Continue reading

Developing an L&D “playbook”

Later this month, Brandon Carson, a Vice President of Learning & Leadership at Walmart and author of the recently published book, L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age, will be speaking at the Association for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Expo about the importance of developing an L&D playbook for the digital age.

Recently I had a chance to talk with Brandon, and my biggest take-away was that it’s silly for folks in L&D to insist on a “seat at the table” where decisions are made in an organization if we haven’t done our homework and identified the needs of individuals and teams we’re working with. L&D professionals shouldn’t wait for someone to tell them to do a needs assessment. We need to be proactive, which is how we bring value to the table.

Of course, once a needs assessment has been conducted, then we need a strategy to address those needs. That’s where Brandon’s concept of a “playbook” comes in.

Continue reading

One Website, 51 Different Learning Elements

As you may have heard, I wrote a book recently (and I’m super humbled and flattered by the reviews people have been posting on Amazon!!). If you’re interested in checking it out, here is a quick link. Today’s post is about a giant, free resource that my colleagues developed as a sort of companion piece to the book.

The book, entitled What’s Your Formula: Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training, revolves around a periodic table of 51 different learning elements, which are organized into five different categories.

Continue reading