Instructional Design Lessons from the State Fair

Over the past several years, my kids and I have started a tradition of going to the Washington State Fair on “opening day”, which has turned out to be the Friday before Labor Day. As we rode rides and won stuffed animals and ate fried food, some parallels between the state fair and instructional design began to emerge in my brain. Continue reading

The One Word L&D Resolution (2019 Edition)

“Start a blog” was my New Year’s Resolution for 2012. Almost 7 years and 650 posts later, I’m still here (full disclosure: my colleague Heather Snyder has written a good portion of those 650 posts since she joined Endurance Learning in mid-2017).

For the past six 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 and my prioritization was going to need to be ruthless. For 2018 I chose joy, and I was joined by my colleagues Heather (who chose the word growth) and Tim (who chose the word focus).

Heading into 2019, my head is wrapped around the word Continue reading

The One Word L&D Resolution (2018 Edition)

For the past five years, I’ve shared a one-word resolution that I’ve chosen to guide me personally and professionally into the new year.

In 2013 it was momentum as I pondered the single most important 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 and my prioritization was going to need to be ruthless.

My one word resolution for 2018 is a little lighter, but no less serious. And I’ve been joined in one word resolutions by my Endurance Learning colleagues.

As I head into 2018, the one word resolution I’ve chosen this year is joy. I’d like to be more intentional in the ways I incorporate joy into all aspects of my craft – in my instructional design process, in my facilitation, in the way I work with others, in the way I show up every day.

What are my Endurance Learning colleagues thinking about with their one word resolutions?

Heather Snyder

My one-word resolution is growth.

This last year brought a lot of changes to my career and Endurance Learning has been at the core of that. After six months of being on this team, I want to focus on all sorts of growth in 2018.

I plan to aid in the growth of our mission to eradicate poor learning experiences, grow in my role as an instructional designer, take on more opportunities to grow client relationships, grow my presentation skills as I speak at two major conferences, and aid in the growth of our company as we add more members to our team.

Tim Waxenfelter:

My one-word resolution is focus.

There are so many things I can be doing to help Endurance Learning grow. I’m a proud generalist so I love being able to touch every part of the business. 2018 is going to be a year of accepting help from my colleagues so that I can focus on what’s most critical. Endurance Learning has some amazing stuff in the works, but without focus they will remain great ideas.

How about you? Want to join in with a one word resolution? We’d love to hear in the comment section about what’s on your mind as you set your sights on 2018.


This will be our final post in 2017. Thank you so much for reading our musings and for commenting from time to time. We will be sharing some of our favorite posts through social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter). Pick your poison!

If there are some topics you’d like to see more of in the new year, please drop us a line and let us know what you’re curious about.

In the mean time, have a fantastic holiday season, stay safe, be creative, draw inspiration from everywhere, and we’ll see you back on Train Like A Champion in the new year!

Imposter Syndrome in L&D

Imposter syndrome

Photo by Denise Johnson on Unsplash

Do any of the following sentences describe you?

  • I am not a perfectionist. If I was, I would be more perfect.
  • I stay late at work or send after-hours emails to reassure my team I am committed.
  • I am where I am because of good luck or good timing.
  • I procrastinate to the point where I can’t possibly do my best work.

In other words, do you have a specific set of reactions to the thought that you may not be worthy of who you are as an L&D professional? Continue reading

42 L&D Wishes

42 candles

Yesterday I celebrated my 42nd birthday, which meant a lot of candles on my cake. I grew up being told that each candle represented a wish.

Here are the 42 wishes I made as I blew out the forest fire that appeared atop my cake yesterday:   Continue reading

Critical Moments in Beer and Learning

Farm restroom

A few years back, a couple of my friends made the decision to leave the big city of Helena, MT to move back to the farm to continue the family business. I am not going to pretend I know much about farming, but I do know that the arid lands east of the Continental Divide are a great place to grow barley. Yes, my friends are beer farmers, and visiting their farm is one of my favorite fall activities. Every year after the hard work of harvest is complete, my family visits the farm to enjoy everything the land has to offer. We hike, fish, watch wildlife, catch crawdads, and harvest as many vegetables from their garden as we can fit in our cooler to bring home. I enjoy knowing where my food comes from, and at the farm, I feel more engaged in that aspect. Continue reading

Hmmm. Maybe it is actually a training problem.

Riding a Bike

Written by: Heather Snyder

Like many parents before me, I have spent several hours running next to my daughter shouting words of encouragement as I try to teach her to ride a bike. We have spent a lot of time preparing for this goal. We have practiced on tricycles, strider bikes, and even training wheels. There are several techniques to teaching a child to ride a bike, as I have learned by scouring the internet for less frustrating ways to train her in this rite of passage.

This summer’s goal is to finally ride on two wheels, although I have forgotten if it is her goal or mine at this point. As we meander up and down my sidewalk, I reach deep into my bag of tricks to say the right words, demonstrate techniques on my own bike, show her the right picture or video on my phone, or have her visualize herself successfully riding to the end of the road.   Continue reading

“Best day of my life!”

Best Day

Tomorrow I’ll take my children to a coffee shop in front of their school where we’ll enjoy “Tully’s Friday.” Each Friday we leave the house a little early and we’ll go to Tully’s and order pastries and look up questions to some of life’s most difficult problems (recent examples include: what do you do if you work in a crane and need to go to the bathroom; why can’t we just throw all of Earth’s trash into a volcano) using Google and YouTube.

On these Friday morning outings, we also tend to run into a gentlemen who serves as an usher at church on Sunday mornings. The first time we ran into him, I asked how he was doing and he responded: “Best day of my life!”

A few weeks ago we ran into him again and I asked how he was doing and again he replied: “Best day of my life!”

As I reflected on this later, it got me wondering: at the end of a full day training program, how many of our training participants would respond: “Best day of my life”?   Continue reading

L&D Professionals Need to Work Hard, Play Hard

Road trip to Cheyenne

Spend 5 hours working on my laptop at the airport before flying home, or take a quick road trip to a state I’ve never visited? Even with deadlines looming, it was a no-brainer.

Last week I was in Colorado to observe the pilot phase of a new training module. I had a travel day followed by a 17-hour workday and then up early the next day for the actual presentation.

I’ve had a lot of projects to work on lately, which is a great thing, but it’s also led to a lot of long days without much rest. As I was digging through my computer bag during this recent trip, sifting through a tangled mess of power cords in a frantic search for the right one, I came across a card that a colleague had given to me on the last day of my previous job.

This colleague said that some of the most important lessons I taught her were some of the day-to-day things. These day-to-day lessons included: never eating lunch at your desk, sometimes you have to take the time to watch a full-length movie during work hours (and then be inspired to turn that experience into something groundbreakingly amazing), and we should put plenty of weight on the “fun” factor as a way of increasing quality.   Continue reading

Guest Post: Collaboration to Light Up Your Day

Light Up My Day

As many of you know, I recently launched a learning and development company named Endurance Learning. My co-founder, Tim Waxenfelter, shared the following story with me a few weeks ago and I thought it would make an excellent guest blog post.

When it comes to instructional design, having someone to bounce ideas around with generally leads to many, many better outcomes than if I’m just sitting by myself thinking through the design of a session. Following are Tim’s observations and thoughts on the idea that two heads are better than one:

I’m very lucky to be able to have my whole family together every night for dinner. It is one of my favorite parts of the day. We have a tradition where we ask “what lit up your day?”   Continue reading