What are the elements of amazing learning experiences? There’s a periodic table for that!

If professional development experiences are a sort of lab, in which learners can test new knowledge and skills and instructional designers and trainers can concoct new and engaging ways for people to learn, I wonder what the basic elements for this lab would be.

Being inspired as the son of a science teacher, I put together this periodic table with elements of amazing learning experiences organized by solids, liquids, gases, radioactive elements and interactive elements.  Continue reading

“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”

Recently I took my kids to The Strong National Museum of Play. As we walked through the seemingly endless interactive exhibits, I looked up to find this sign:

Play

There may not be any hard science behind this statement, but we don’t always need empirically-tested data to be inspired by an idea. When it’s integrated into a learning experience with intention, play isn’t just a gimmick. Play can engage participants’ hearts and minds which in turn can capture their attention and can allow them to explore and navigate complex concepts on their own terms.

Here are a handful of ideas to bring play into your next session. Continue reading

No Stupid Questions

Training is expected to yield change. How does change make people feel? I don’t know that we can expect everyone to react consistently when they react to change, but there is a tendency for most of us to ask how changes affect our own lives when we are faced with them. Continue reading

How can your storytelling be more effective?

On Saturday, I attended a memorial service for my 101-year-old grandfather. The stories that my aunts and uncles and cousins shared were phenomenal. Storytelling is such a powerful means of communication, especially when you can picture what’s happening in the story.

But what happens when you aren’t quite as familiar with the subject matter or situation in the story?

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina writes: “Vision trumps all other senses… we learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words.” So how do we add the sense of sight to our storytelling?   Continue reading

Poll Everywhere Leaderboard Review

This week, Poll Everywhere released a new poll option with leaderboard functionality.  If you are unfamiliar with Poll Everywhere, check out this post. This week I reviewed this tool, and I am excited to share what I found.

Before I get to that, I should say that leaderboards are one of those gamification terms that I have to intentionally not roll my eyes when I hear. Continue reading

Organizing Training Groups

In his TED talk, Seth Godin argues that Humans are Tribal and that we assemble based on interests. I was led to this TED talk by my Crossfit Coach in an email titled Find Your Tribe.  While the email was about finding a class with people of similar interests and goals, it struck me as an interesting way to think of how success is influenced by your tribe. Continue reading

Why does it matter how long it takes to design a presentation?

When it comes to designing an effective presentation or training program, there are some fundamental questions that need to be asked.

  1. What will success look like? (Specifically, what will success from the participants’ perspective look like?)
  2. How much time will it take to put together the presentation?
  3. Will investing more time to put together the presentation mean that it will be a better presentation?

A recent ATD study suggested that it takes between 28-38 hours (on average) to develop one hour of training. The amount of time spent on presentation design matters for several very important reasons.   Continue reading