4 Activities for Group Problem Solving

We recently wrapped the first round of beta on our new presentation creation tool, Soapbox. A piece of feedback that we received quite often was that people were excited about all of the fresh activities that Soapbox provides. Beta users were energized at the prospect of trying out new activities suggested by Soapbox to add depth and engagement to their training. Chances are that if you’re tired of your learning activities then your learners are too. Here are four application activities straight out of Soapbox to try as your next problem-solving activity.  Continue reading

Four Steps to More Engaging Training Design

A little while back, I was showing a tech industry executive – someone who knows both his way around the C-suite and who knows his way around training design – a lesson plan that was generated by our training design tool, Soapbox.

“Hmmmm. When you first told me about this, I thought I’d see some sort of instructional design model integrated into the way you designed this.”

I pointed out that the lesson plan actually did follow the formula of a 4-step instructional design model. He looked at the lesson plan again and smiled. “Ah, I see it now. Yes, this is good.”

Being intentional about the design of your next training program by using a model rooted in adult learning theory can make the difference between a meandering, ineffective session and an engaging session that leads to change. Following is the model we use Continue reading

Is it possible to design an engaging, effective training session (and accompanying slides) in 5 minutes? Yep.

How much time do you typically spend putting together a good presentation?

Beginning with thinking through your learning outcomes, mapping an outline of activities, putting together the slides and handouts you’ll use – how much time does that typically take? Half a day? Two days? A week?

There’s a new online tool that will soon be available that can get you 80% of the way to a well-designed, engaging presentation in about five minutes.

Soapbox is a tool that the Endurance Learning team has been developing for several years. This Thursday at a Seattle-based conference called Learnapalooza, the world will get the first glimpse of Soapbox in action. Today on Train Like A Champion, you’ll get a sneak peek. If you’re intrigued to learn more, we’re looking for a limited pool of beta users who can help us identify bugs and find gaps in the content.

What is Soapbox?

Soapbox is a job aid that takes several key factors of your next presentation into consideration and instantly designs a training presentation for you that includes:

  • an outline of activities,
  • detailed instructions,
  • a slide deck, and
  • a template for any suggested handouts

How does Soapbox work?

You tell Soapbox a few details about your presentation:

Initial Details

You decide what should happen as a result of your presentation:

Outcomes

Then Soapbox offers you a lesson plan with a series of activities (that you can re-order if you’d like), slides, a materials list and handout templates.

Initial Outline

Don’t like an activity? Swap it out.

Swap Activities

Want to customize your content? All text and PowerPoint slides are completely editable.

Editing

Want to help with our limited beta?

We’re looking for a handful of people who might have a training presentation coming up and who would like to test Soapbox and give us some feedback. If you fit the profile, sign up here and we’ll get in touch with you in the next few weeks.

Coming to Learnapalooza? Hope to see you in our session where we’ll see just how fast you can put together a presentation!

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

How many words is it worth?

Long before a group of people gather in a room or online to take a training, the training design process begins. At some point during that process, an idea of what that training will eventually look like is generated and subsequently explained.

The creative process varies; both by person and by project. Various tools help designers and developers work to get to the final stages of training. One process I like to do during the training development process is storyboarding. A storyboard is basically a few frames of images, usually with some text, that graphically represent a sequence. In the context of Instructional Design, it is the sequence of your training. I think of it like a lesson plan comic strip.   Continue reading

Instructional Design Lessons from a Stupid Parking Ticket

Ticket

I walked out of a meeting that ran 10 minutes long yesterday and I found a parking ticket on my windshield. I now owe the city of Seattle $47.00.

The thoughtful people at the Municipal Court have offered me a variety of ways to make sure I can pay. There’s a website I can go to. I can call a phone number. I can pay in person. They even left an envelope (though it’s not a postage paid envelope, so I’d still need a stamp) in the event I wanted to mail a check.

Basically, they’ve made it super easy for me to pay. And this is an important design element for anyone developing a training program.   Continue reading

“Time can only be spent… it can’t be saved for later.”

This quote has been bouncing around in my head ever since I read these words in a letter that my father sent to me while I was in the Peace Corps. I must have written to him and alluded to the idea that I was already counting down the number of days I had left before I could come home… and this was after only about 3 months had been completed of my 24 month service.

It changed how I look at any project that I’m working on.

I’m reminded of my father’s words every day when I drive by a neighbor’s house:

Countdown

Like much of the country, they’re counting down the days until the Trump presidency finally ends. Every once in a while, I wonder if my learners ever feel the same way during a training session.  Continue reading

Well-designed training has something for a range of experience levels

Evolution

A guiding principle for good instructional design is to be sure that you know your audience and design something that meets their specific needs.

If you know that your audience is relatively inexperienced, then you need to make sure the basics are covered. If your audience is quite tenured, then advanced skill building would be in order.

What happens when you’re not quite sure who is planning to show up (for example, when you have to design for a conference session)? What happens when you’re told that your audience will have a broad range of experiences?   Continue reading

Is it really a train the “trainer” session? Or is it a train the “SME” session?

sme-vs-trainer

Last week I was talking with a colleague who made a distinction between what she perceives her team as doing compared to what some other teams do. She said: “We really view our team as educators, while there are other teams that get out into the field and don’t even care about who the audience is, they simply have a slide deck and they’re going to walk the audience through the slide deck. We call them presenters, as opposed to educators.”

I normally don’t get too caught up in language and vocabulary and semantics, but this was an important point. Perhaps more importantly, this was coming from an operational manager, not someone in the L&D department. This wasn’t just “inside baseball” talk among training geeks. Continue reading