Know something? Say something!

I’d bet a gazillion dollars that every single person who is reading today’s blog post has something they could share with the rest of the world that would help other people do something new or differently or better.

I also bet that a few people who are reading this today have written a blog post or presented at a conference. A huge thank you to those who have. That’s a big way of how I’ve gotten to where I am today. I began just reading TD magazine cover to cover every month.

In today’s podcast, I share some thoughts about what may make for good content to share, why you might want to share it even if you don’t think anyone else would be interested, and where you might be able to share your thoughts, ideas, discoveries and practices.

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Is “understand” really a 4-letter word?

When I was first learning how to write learning objectives, I was instructed that I should be very careful about the verbs I choose, especially verbs such as “know”, “understand” or “recognize”.

The thought process behind this warning is simple. When we create learning objectives, we’re not just putting words on paper. We’re outlining what our learners should be able to do, and if we’re holding up our end of the bargain as trainers, then we should be able to observe people doing whatever we said we wanted them to do in those learning objectives.

When we use words like “know” or “understand” or “recognize”, how can we actually observe those things happening since those happen mostly inside someone else’s head? Therefore, avoid those kinds of verbs and choose something more observable.

I would still say that’s 100% correct*. (With an asterisk.)

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What does it feel like to work on an eLearning project as part of a team?

Some people have the opportunity to work on a larger training team with many colleagues who may also be involved on the same project, or at least colleagues to bounce ideas around with. Others in our field work on small teams or are even working as a “department of one”.

Unless we’re creating elearning for ourselves, there will always be someone else who can be part of the elearning development team: the client who asked for the elearning.

In today’s podcast, the Endurance Learning team takes some time to reflect on the benefits, challenges and lessons learned when it comes to a work culture that always joins the eLearning designer and the client together as part of a single team.

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5 Reasons L&D People Should Be Listening To Industry-specific Podcasts

All of us have “clients” – people who ask us to help them develop learning programs. Some of our clients are internal to our organizations. Some of us are contractors whose clients are external to our organizations. Just about all of us develop learning programs for clients who are not in the training industry. We work or partner with human resources or finance or tech or early childhood development or construction or… the list goes on.

While we should be at the top of our game when it comes to the most current trends, research and best practices in learning design, we should also have a decent understanding of the industry in which we develop learning programs.

Here are five reasons I think it’s essential for us to spend some time listening to industry-specific podcasts:

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Working with SMEs

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will be some of the smartest and most capable of people we have the fortune of working with. Sometimes those SMEs will be experienced in working with people on developing training programs and are used to distilling their expertise into bite-sized chunks for learning purposes. Other times, SMEs will want to make sure that everyone learns everything about a topic.

In today’s podcast, I’ll briefly talk about what an SME actually is and how we can partner with them to make sure everyone’s time is used well, including some sample questions that may be helpful in getting us more quickly to the right information.

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“Let’s timebox this”

Last week, I was in a meeting with two colleagues talking about the visual design of something we wanted on an elearning project.

Our graphic designer said: “I’ll spend some time on this.”

My other colleague suggested that she “timebox” the amount of time she spent on playing with the visual design.

I don’t know that I’d heard “timebox” being use this way before. Maybe it’ll soon become an office buzzword in the same league as other hated terms like “let’s circle back” or “let’s think outside the box” or “let’s hold the space” or “let’s take this offline” or “synergy”… you get the point. But, before it gets to the point of annoying buzzword, I wanted to highlight how it’s actually quite an important concept that training designers would be well-served by using.

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What is “Instructional Design”?

The terms “instructional design” and “instructional designer” get thrown around a lot. But what do these terms really mean? Is anyone who develops training an instructional designer?

In today’s podcast, I’ll dive a little more deeply into some ways to define “instructional design”, “instructional designer”, and I’ll also walk through some pros and cons of perhaps the most well-known instructional design model: ADDIE.

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Diary of an Ultra Successful Training Workshop

Last week, I had been asked by a client to offer a training design workshop for some of their presenters. It was a different kind of workshop than I’ve ever had to design because I would not own the entire two days of the learning experience. In addition to the training design elements, the vast majority of the 2-day workshop would include a series of technical presentations.

Further adding to the challenge was the fact that my audience was made up of people who had been presenting for years, and they were both subject matter experts and people who saw themselves as seasoned presenters.

Here is how the workshop played out, in diary form:

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5 Engagement Strategies for Training

On last week’s podcast, I made the point that there is a big difference between “engaging training” and “effective training” (and I suggested that “effective training” should always be the goal). Today, I’m re-visiting the concept of learner engagement, because engagement (with intention) is an essential element to training that ultimately proves effective.

In this 10-minute podcast, I share 5 different strategies that can be applied at various points in time during your presentation – from even before your presentation begins to the waning moments of your training program.

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Learning Program Priorities (through the eyes of your learners)

We all have our reasons for creating learning programs. Sometimes (hopefully most of the time) the learning programs address business needs. Sometimes they’re mandated for compliance reasons. Sometimes a stakeholder requests that we build them a training course.

While we (generally) know our reasons for building these programs, what happens when we try to look at the program through the eyes of our learners? What is it that they find most important?

Seriously.

It’s not a rhetorical question.

What do you think?

I even prepared a poll for you. I’d love to know your thoughts. Through the eyes of our learners, what do you think is most important?

Which of the following is most important to your learners?

I’ve talked with many trainers who get excited when they get feedback such as: “That was so engaging!” or “I had so much fun!” or “That was the best training session I’ve ever attended!”

And who wouldn’t want feedback like this?

However, something we all need to ask ourselves is: Is this meaningful feedback, or is it what I’d call “vanity feedback” (feedback that makes us feel good, but tells us little else)?

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