The Baseline, Spaced Practice, and Reward Structure

If you talk to anyone who attends Crossfit for more than a few minutes, they will likely try to convince you to join. Despite the incessant need for its members to recruit everyone they know, Crossfit is not a pyramid scheme or a cult. Yes, I happen to be one of those annoying people, and I have a theory as to why so many of us are evangelists of our sport. Continue reading

Teaching Style: What Would Jesus Do?

Last week I was sitting in church and I was struck by how the homily held my attention from start to finish. In the homily, the speaker compared the teaching style of Jesus to other rabbis and holy men of his day.

As I listened, I grabbed a pen and found a donation envelope in the back of the pew in order to jot down a few notes. I knew this homily was blog-worthy.

Whether you believe Jesus was The Messiah, just another prophet, just some guy who lived two thousand years ago or just some character made up in a book that a lot of other people find important, the fact is that the teaching style that was attributed to him was very, very different than what was considered normal.

There’s a lot of value for learning and development professionals to take a look around at how they apply their craft and ask: what would Jesus do?   Continue reading

How can you meet your professional goals?

Before the holidays, the Endurance Learning team shared our one-word resolutions. A recent New York Times article claims that 25% of resolutions will be abandoned by January 8th, and by the year-end, less than 10% of resolutions are fully kept. With that in mind, it is important to talk about how you execute on resolutions, and more specifically how you can meet your professional goals.

As with any growth, it is fairly unlikely that any resolution can be executed without a plan. As we embark on this new year, we must follow a plan to achieve our goals. Continue reading

Instructional Design Dilemma: Knowing When To Let Go

Let Go

Last Thursday we published a transcript of a conversation our team had about game design. One theme from that post is the idea of letting go of something that you poured your heart and soul into.

I love my job, and that shows in how much I love what we produce. As a result of this passion, I often find myself emotionally connected with what we produce and I have a sense of pride when I feel we accomplished what we set off to achieve. I am not a perfectionist, but I do like putting out good work. Continue reading

Something about old dogs and new tricks

Old Dogs New Tricks

At the beginning of June, I led a train the trainer program with a customer.

The other day, this customer sent a note that included these comments:

Brian and Tim, without question, completely changed our paradigm with their How Adults Learn training. These are the most critically important principles that I’ve learned in my 25 years of teaching, training, and developing leaders. Additionally, their instructions on how to facilitate training as opposed to delivering information was one of the greatest “Aha!” moments of my professional life.

It was high praise, and it got me wondering. I’ve spent much of my adult life developing habits and ways of doing things… when was the last time I chose to change any of those habits, especially in my professional life? How about you?  Continue reading

Trainer’s Tip: Calming the Mind, Focusing Learner’s Attention

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Association for Talent Development Puget Sound (ATDps) chapter’s annual workplace learning conference. As soon as I walked into the room for the general session, I noticed something a little different.

On each table there was a container withcolored pencils, and sprinkled across the tables were various postcard-sized coloring pages. Adult coloring books are kind of “in” these days, and I thought this was a novel alternative to table toys or other objects typically put on tables to give people something to do while listening to speakers.

Continue reading

How do you get the most out of your conference experience?


This week I’m headed to Austin, TX, to participate in the eLearning Guild’s FocusOn Learning conference. Attending any conference can be a significant investment – either for your organization or, if you’re footing your own bill for professional development opportunities, then it’s a significant investment for yourself.

For example: without any discounts, the FocusOn conference registration is $1,695. Add a couple hundred dollars for the hotel, a couple hundred more dollars for airfare, some more money for meals, local transportation and other expenses, and this could easily run several thousand dollars. That’s before you factor in the cost of your own time.

What’s the best way to ensure there’s some sort of return on this investment? Continue reading

Infographic: Corporate Training Waste

Would you get upset if you spent $1,000 on a watch that didn’t work? How about spending $40,000 on a car that didn’t run?

Would you be upset if you spent $97.5 billion on something that was never really used?

I’m not sure why corporate training waste is so widely accepted and corporations around the world are willing to spend that much without getting anything in return for that investment… or why they don’t seem to get too upset about it.

You can also check out a case study about using data to defeat corporate training waste.

Corporate Training Waste Infographic

As you can see from the following infographic about corporate training waste, there are some… er… issues with the way learning and development is being conducted.

Corporate Training Waste Inforgraphic

Facts about Corporate Training Waste:

  1. A lot of money is being spent → Worldwide, companies spent $130 billion on corporate training.
  2. Not much happens as a result of that investment → Only 25% of training programs measurably improve business performance.
  3. We aren’t built for lecture → Humans forget 40% of what they’ve learned after 20 minutes and 60% after just 6 hours.
  4. L&D (Learning & Development) is not a good messenger → Only 5% of respondents reported that they are influenced by a learning & development department in order to access online materials.
  5. Terrible, painful design → 1 out of 3 employees say that “uninspiring content” is a barrier to learning.

What to do about Corporate Training Waste:

  1. Better visual experience → Students who view slides with a title, vivid imagery, and no bullet points exert less mental effort during a presentation testing than students who viewed traditional bullet point-laden slides.
  2. Supervisors must be engaged (or don’t bother) → Actions by an employee’s supervisor before and after a training event are the most essential factors as to whether an employee ever uses what she was trained on.
  3. What’s the rush?  → Surgeons retained information better and had better surgical outcomes when they learned content over the space of several weeks compared to surgeons exposed to the same content crammed into a daylong workshop.
  4. Find the motivation  → 76% of learners will complete a training course if it’ll help them do their jobs better and faster.
  5. Before spending all that money  → 86% of “Top Deck” organizations complete and report on all pilot projects before implementing major initiatives (compared to 43% of all organizations).

Is there a bright side?

On the bright side, there are some clear steps that can be taken – indeed, that organizations should insist on – in order to increase the effectiveness of corporate training and reduce corporate training waste.

These five solutions are based on research and self-reported surveys. Have you tried anything on here? How has it gone for you?

What’s missing? What other solutions are available to transform learning programs into a results-driven, effective investment for organizations? How are you preventing corporate training waste?

Want more information on possible solutions? Try:

Including Remote Staff in your Next Training Session

Max Headroom

A month and a half ago, we had a high profile speaker come to our headquarters and some of our remote staff wanted to be included in her training presentation. We set them up in Adobe Connect, we turned on the web cam in the conference room, we projected the remote staff on the screens in the front of the room (so we wouldn’t forget about them), and then… we forgot about them.

They were seen, but not really heard, during the presentation.

We struggle to include remote staff in our meetings and training sessions. Have you had similar problems?

Recently I was involved in a training program and the organization that hosted the event may have stumbled upon a better way to include remote staff.   Continue reading