Trainer’s Guide to GoToMeeting

Last week we released A Trainer’s Guide to Adobe Connect. At the end of 2020 TLAC brought you A Trainer’s Guide to WebEx, A Trainer’s Guide to Zoom, A Trainer’s Guide to GoToTraining, and a Trainer’s Guide to Microsoft Teams.

Sample from the Trainer's Guide to GoToMeeting

This week we are pleased to release the Trainer’s Guide to GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting is probably a platform that you have found yourself in already for meetings. But is it a platform that you have considered conducting a training session in? The Trainer’s Guide to GoToMeeting will show you how you can easily conduct your next training session via the GoToMeeting platform.

Here at Endurance Learning, we like to give the people what they want. And this year that means virtual training tools! The best virtual training tool to try in 2021 is Soapbox. Simply tell Soapbox that you are planning a session via GoToMeeting (or any of our other compatible platforms) and Soapbox will build you a lesson plan, handouts, and slide deck in 10 minutes or less. Take advantage of the 14-day free trial to experiment with creating new training sessions or spend a few minutes asking Soapbox to convert a pre-existing in-person training session to a virtual training session. We know, we’re making your job so easy!

Make 2021 a Breakout (Room) Year

We’ve arrived in 2021 and I think it’s safe to say that virtual training is here to stay. Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to become comfortable with one or two virtual training platforms over this past year.

If Adobe Connect is your organization’s platform of choice, (or perhaps you’ve been considering it for yourself) you’re in luck. The Trainer’s Guide to Adobe Connect has arrived!

Step-by-step directions for how to set up and run breakout rooms in Adobe Connect.

The thing that sets Adobe Connect apart from the other training platforms in the field are the impressive breakout room capabilities. A poll of TLAC readers showed that breakout rooms tend to be the scariest virtual training tool for trainers and participants alike. While participants fear being “sucked out” never to return again, trainers fear losing people in a deep unknown void. Once you have mastered the functionality of breakout room capabilities, you will see how it can exponentially benefit your virtual training programs (and that fear factor will fade away). Breakout rooms are unmatched in their ability to allow participants to collaborate and participate in discussion. If you’re not incorporating them in your sessions, it’s time to start!

Breakout room features that make Adobe Connect a standout platform include:

  1. File Share During Breakout Rooms. Share files and handouts with participants within a breakout room. Bonus: each breakout room can have unique files!
  2. Create Stations. Rotate groups through different breakout rooms (as you would have participants rotate through stations in a training room) with the click of a button. Each breakout room can have its own PowerPoint and handouts for download.
  3. Easy Group Presentations. Take advantage of the ability to share content created in a breakout room, such as a whiteboard, with participants in the main room. If you use breakout rooms as a collaboration tool for groups to create something that they will be presenting to the large group, you’re going to love this feature!
  4. Expansive Tool Options for Participants Within the Breakout Room. Participants in a breakout room have access to a group chat, screen share capabilities, whiteboard, and file sharing. Additionally, a host can drop into a breakout room and poll that specific group using the polling feature!
  5. Use for Large Groups. Adobe Connect offers Capacity for up to 200 participants to participate in 20 breakout rooms.

If 2021 is looking like a breakout room year for you, click here to download the Trainer’s Guide to Adobe Connect to help you navigate the platform like a pro.

convert classroom to virtual training using Soapbox

Do you know what else is great? Soapbox is completely compatible with Adobe Connect! Sign up for a 14-day free trial and give it a try.

If you’re looking to expand your skills with a different training platform, check out one of our other Virtual Training Guides:

A Trainer’s Guide to WebEx

A Trainer’s Guide to Zoom

A Trainer’s Guide to GoToTraining

A Trainer’s Guide to Microsoft Teams

Virtual Training Lessons Learned

I have been trying to get my family to do a Zoom meeting for holidays for years now. Every year prior to this one, I have seen a lot of resistance to holiday gatherings via a webcam. Many arguing that if we weren’t actually together, why should we sit in front of a computer and stare at each other. Fast forward to 2020, and I have regular Zoom happy hours with friends, I met my sister’s new puppy last week via Zoom, and I have helped my in-laws pick out a webcam so they can see their granddaughters more often.

Many of us who have worked remotely had little to get used to with the new virtual meeting culture. Fast adapters are common with any technology, and those adapters will sing the praises, and even write books on the application of these tools before they are heavily used by everyone. Kassy LaBorie is one of the early adopters for virtual tools like Zoom, Teams, etc… as a remote training tool. On this week’s Train Like You Listen podcast, Kassy joins us to share some insights on virtual instructor-led training after a year where many of us were unexpectedly thrust into adopting these tools.

Transcript of the Conversation with Kassy LaBorie

Brian Washburn: Welcome, everyone, to Train Like You Listen, a weekly podcast about all things learning & development in bite-sized chunks. Brought to you by Soapbox, the world’s only rapid-authoring tool for instructor-led training. Give us 5 minutes and we’ll give you a presentation.

We’re here with Kassy LaBorie today, who is a guest that we had here early on when we just started doing these podcasts [Editor’s Note: Check out Designing Webinars with Kassy LaBorie], and she has joined us again. Kassy is the author of 2 books focused on virtual training. One of them is called Interact and Engage, which offers a number of different activities that can help you interact and engage with your learners. And then she has a new book out called Producing Virtual Training, Meetings and Webinars. Kassy, thank you so much for joining us today.

6-Word Introduction

Brian Washburn: We are going to start as we do all the time by having our guests introduce themselves in exactly 6 words, with today’s topic being focused on virtual training and lessons learned over a year of virtual sessions. For me, my biography in 6 words would be “I’ve been preaching virtual for years.” How about you? How do you sum up your life and career in 6 words?

Kassy LaBorie: Oh my goodness. I’ve thought about this, but here we go, “Mama finally knows what I do”.

Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLING) Nice! It’s good. And it’s good to have parents that are really interested and, kind of, curious about what we do.

Kassy LaBorie: (LAUGHING)

Seeking Help With Virtual Training, Meetings and Webinars in 2020

Brian Washburn: Kassy, you have several books out now about virtual meetings and training and so I imagine that people are reaching out to you, or people have been reaching out to you all year long. What have been some of the most common questions that people have reached out to you to ask about this year?

Kassy LaBorie: After the “help me!” the first question is “how do I engage people?” But really we’ve just been in this survival mode. For two decades I’ve been hoping that people would finally notice what they’re missing out on. And then it was forced upon them. It was forced upon them and I have big feelings about that on their behalf, you know? And certainly enjoy helping and working with people so they can figure out how to be more comfortable. But the biggest thing is just “how do I do this and not hate it?!”

Brian Washburn: Yeah. I started with Webex like 15 year ago, and it was interesting that we didn’t have to get on an airplane and deliver training. So we could do it from the comfort of our own desk, but that said, it’s a challenge to be able to engage people. It’s a very different environment than being in the classroom.

Is Virtual Training Really That Different Than In-Person?

Brian Washburn: You know, people have been doing this all year long, or really since March, when the pandemic forced people away from their offices, stopped travel and people had to quarantine. But work and business still had to go. What have been some of the most surprising things that you have seen or learned with all of the virtual training that’s taken place this year?

Kassy LaBorie: I think beyond everyone finally doing it, (CHUCKLING)I think what’s been a bit surprising is just how challenging it is for people to see that it isn’t that different. I mean, like to your point right now, you just said “it’s totally different”. Well, it is but then once you figure out the technology and what it’s doing, which is admittedly quite overwhelming, it’s all of a sudden not the different. You know, how we relate to people and how people learn things and the types of things people need to do remain the same.

Brian Washburn: That’s true. The fundamentals are the same, right? For a learning experience it starts with the learning objectives. Although you do have some things that are fundamentally different. For me, as a presenter, I feed a lot off of the energy of an in-person crowd. And it’s a little bit more difficult with the virtual platform to figure out “are people paying attention? Are they multitasking?” things like that. That said, everything that you’re saying in terms of “the fundamentals are very much similar”, I think is spot-on.

The Virtual Environment is All About the Participant, Not the Presenter

Kassy LaBorie: Just I think that the virtual environment requires us to not be focused on ourselves…

Brian Washburn: Hmmm.

Kassy LaBorie: If we want engagement, if we want to be able to “work a room” –”work a virtual room”– we have to get over ourselves and learn how to make it about the participants and what they need to do and how they’re going to respond. Because us standing up there and performing and feeding off of that “energy” — the energy is them being part of it, not us performing for them.

Brian Washburn: That’s a great point, you know, because I think that a lot of people feel like they can get away with just, kind of, talking at people or telling stories in-person. You can finesse it or take advantage of the power of personality to do that. With virtual it’s very, very different, and so —

Kassy LaBorie: Yeah, so you need that. It’s like you have to start with that, because otherwise they’re not going to listen at all. But you can’t — it doesn’t carry it the whole time.

Brian Washburn: Yeah.

Kassy LaBorie: And in a virtual, live environment if you’re wanting to “be able to read the room” you have to let them be read. We don’t do that. We just perform, and then wonder “why aren’t they responding?” And they’re sitting there going “should I respond? And if I should, how? And in what way will they even see me if I do? What should I do?”

Fundamental Ways Trainers Can Ensure Participants Are The Focus

Brian Washburn: Yeah. So there’s been a ton, a gazillion articles out there, since March, about how to be effective in the virtual environment. But how do you, through all that noise, what are some of those fundamental things that you would suggest in order for anybody who’s listening to really be able to put learners front and center? What are some of the things that people can do to make sure that learners are front and center and that’s where the energy can be found?

Kassy LaBorie: So not to diminish that you have to have an excellent internet connection.

Brian Washburn:  (CHUCKLING)

Kassy LaBorie: I just moved into a new space and you know I’ve spent extra time getting hard-wired, which it sounds very old-school but WIFI — I can’t cut out while I’m trying to connect with people. Having an excellent connection, having excellent audio – whatever way you go about doing that – great lighting and a non-distracting background, that matches your audience’s expectations. You know you start with all of that so that you can be seen and heard in a way that’s professional and — you know, professional within the definition of who you’re presenting to and what you do, ok, and your brand. And also comfortable for people. So you have to start there, with this — for lack of a better word, “perfect connection”, ok?

Brian Washburn:  Yep, yep.

Using The Tools of Virtual Training

Kassy LaBorie: Then, from there, it’s no longer about me, it’s about you. So I have to do things like making sure I really know how to use the tools of the platform that I am in. That I can comfortably share over to whatever presentation materials that I have, that I know how to make those look great. That I know where people can chat, that they can poll, how they can give feedback beyond just smiling on a camera. I need to know how to use all of those features in a way that is as natural as possible. Because I’m going to use all of those features to replace that nonverbal communication that I’m oh-so-used-to in person.

Once you learn to use feedback, chat, annotation, polling — once you learn to use those things and see them as valid ways of communicating and in natural, spontaneous ways, it is better than trying to discern or believe or understand what people are giving me nonverbally.

Brian Washburn: So much better, yeah.

Kassy LaBorie: I officially no longer believe you nonverbally. I’m like “chat that and then I’ll know what you’re really thinking”.  You know? (LAUGHING)

Using Webcams During Virtual Training

Brian Washburn: (LAUGHING) And what’s your philosophy around webcams? Some people say “oh, I require people to have them on.” Other people say “ah, I let people choose”. What’s your philosophy?

Kassy LaBorie: Oooh, thanks for asking. And you need to know I’m an actor and a performer. (LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: (LAUGHING)

Kassy LaBorie: But here’s a funny thing. In my first book, in “Interact and Engage”, I was like “only be on camera when you need to and it serves the learning objectives”. You know, now fast forward, and it’s been 5 years since that book was published, I’m on the camera all the time. And I’m having fun on the camera. I love being natural. I do not stare into it and perform monologues for people. I don’t think I have to do that. I look at chat, polling, whiteboards. I look at all the things going on and sometimes I come close, and move far away, and I make faces. And I try to act as normal – if that’s normal – as possible. I want them to see me for who I really am and I really like the camera now.

Brian Washburn: And do you require your participants to have their cameras on or is it just yours?

Kassy LaBorie: I don’t require anything of participants other than “hey, what do you need?” and “tell me”. I require you tell me what you need. Otherwise I cannot meet whatever you need me to help you do. So if participants want to be on camera I highly encourage it because it’s great and wonderful. And I will highly encourage it very persuasively for at least introductions. But then I think what’s most important is for people to be comfortable – what works best for them. And I certainly do not expect them to be staring into the camera and looking at me the whole time because i’m not doing that. And I don’t think that someone staring into a camera is any kind of indication as to whether or not they’re learning what we’re doing.

Using a Producer During Virtual Training

Brian Washburn: And, so, do you use a Producer when you’re doing your sessions?

Kassy LaBorie: I always use a Producer when I’m doing my sessions, And, in fact, that’s what my 2nd book is on – the topic of producing virtual training and the recognition that all the technical and logistical aspects of running a virtual training are just as important as all of the content and all of the meaning that we’re helping to make when we share it. And if we’re expecting one person to do both of those things, something’s gotta give.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. That’s a great point. And people ask me all the time, “you know, what happens if I don’t have a Producer?”. And you can do something without a Producer but it may not be what you want it to be or it may not be the experience that you want your participants to have.

Kassy LaBorie: Well, and, honestly too sometimes I am on my own. But what I’ll do is I have people around me. I have people around me via instant message or text and if I was in a situation, even if I was on my own because somebody wasn’t available to produce with me, I could still reach out. And I have, probably, a good dozen people that would jump into my session in that moment and help me.

Brian Washburn: Mmmhmm. Nice. It’s good to have people, especially in this day and age.

Keeping Participants Active and “Alive” During Virtual Training

Brian Washburn: Now for people who have never attended one of your sessions, your sessions are often characterized by these little zombies. Can you tell me more about your zombies?

Kassy LaBorie: (LAUGHING) Yeah, these little zombies. It’s funny i’ve been using them slightly less since the pandemic, you know, just because of the connection. I didn’t want people to feel nervous.

Brian Washburn: Sure.

Kassy LaBorie: But I still love them so much. They’re these little — they’re cute. They’re not real. They’re not real. I don’t really believe in them. (LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: (LAUGHING)

Kassy LaBorie: But they’re just these little guys, little toys, and they just serve as a reminder. People can win them. And they serve as a reminder of, hey, if you’re keeping people active and “alive” during the sessions, through activities and through making the session about them, they won’t be members of the “walking dead” as it may feel when you are presenting online.

Brian Washburn: That’s such a great — I love that as the metaphor.

Get to Know Kassy LaBorie 

Brian Washburn: We’re wrapping up here and so let me just ask a few speed round questions so that people can get to know you a little bit more. Now you live in Rochester, New York, which is also my childhood home.

Kassy LaBorie: Yay!

Brian Washburn: Do you prefer the snowy winters or the hot, humid summers?

Kassy LaBorie: (CHUCKLING) I prefer the fall, so I guess you could say i’m right in the middle.

Brian Washburn: (LAUGHING)

Kassy LaBorie: But I will tell you this, when I was a little girl dreaming of the wedding, blah blah blah, it was always an ice castle with everything white and glistening and glittery.

Brian Washburn: And you can get that for, like, months at a time, which is awesome. (LAUGHING)

Kassy LaBorie: (LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: So should anyone visiting Rochester actually try a garbage plate?

Kassy LaBorie: I cannot speak to that because though I have lived here for 8 years I’ve actually never tasted one —

Brian Washburn:  Oh noooo!

Kassy LaBorie:  — because I cannot bring myself to do it. I know, it’s horrible, hence the pause.

Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLING)

Kassy LaBorie: However, I think that you should try — there’s a lot of versions now. There’s even veggie versions, there’s healthy versions. I know it’s a travesty. I haven’t tried it but I just can’t bring myself to do it!

Brian Washburn: And for those who are curious what a garbage plate is go ahead and Google it. It is a Rochester delicacy that lives up to its name.

Kassy LaBorie: (LAUGHING)

Brian Washburn: How about anything you’ve read or listened to recently, you know, could be podcasts or whatever, that other folks in the field should be paying attention to.

Kassy LaBorie: Oh my goodness, well I have to be honest, I have been listening to you and also Betty Dannewitz, who always makes me very excited. And then I love what Brent Schlenker and the team at the Learning Train are doing as well. I tend to be wanting to connect with people live and so I’m following people that are doing those types of things, and really reading and paying attention to what people are posting on LinkedIn that are very “in the moment”.

Brian Washburn: Yeah, and so for those who are listening, if you’re curious about Betty, her podcast I believe is called “If You Ask Betty”. And Brent Shlenker has a webcast series that you can check out if you Google “Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee” or IDIODC for short. I think that you were just on an episode of IDIODC not too long ago. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Kassy LaBorie: Yeah, sure. I’m excited that I had a chance to be there. It’s always an engaging group and we are always supporting each other too. I can’t tell you how many times I might start the day off just feeling not motivated or sort of wishing I was around more people and I’ll get an email from that group that’s going live. And all of a sudden I go in there. Like, I had writer’s block the other day and Carl Copp was speaking and I went in, wasted some more time not writing I thought. But then I went in and got exactly what I needed and busted out that whole article that afternoon.

Brian Washburn: And Kassy, before we go, any shameless plugs that you have for us?

virtual training her top #20

Kassy LaBorie: Yes, thank you. I know that you mentioned my books in the beginning of our time together today and that 2nd book on Producing Virtual Training, Meetings and Webinars is coming out at the end of December. So it’ll be “hot off the presses” right around the new year. And then one other thing that I’m working on, I have been posting tips about the virtual training hero — she’s my superhero —

Brian Washburn: Yep, yep.

Kassy LaBorie: –which I believe all of us trainers are superheroes, as you know, and I am currently in early stages of figuring out how to turn all of those into a downloadable — into an e-book, that I’ll publish myself.

Brian Washburn: And they’re really neat. They’re — so if you follow Kassy on LinkedIn she posts very regularly with these hero tips.

Kassy LaBorie: I love it. I can’t wait to share it and just get it all in one place because I keep sharing a tip or two a week and then it’s just turned into — I’m getting close to 50 of them and I think they all need to be in one place, so I can go back and enjoy them. I’m just figuring that out. So stay tuned for more, from the virtual training hero.

Brian Washburn: Kassy, thank you so much for joining us, and thank you all for listening to another episode of Train Like You Listen. If you would like to subscribe you can do so on iTunes, on iHeartRadio, on Spotify, anywhere where you get your podcasts. And if you like what you hear, go ahead and give us a rating because that’s how people find out about us. Until next time, happy training everyone.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Soapbox.  Sign up today for a free demo.

GIFs as a Training Tool

Now that my children do a fair amount of communicating on Microsoft Teams, they have discovered the little GIF button in the chat section. Using built-in short videos or animations, they can communicate with their classmates quickly, and in an interesting way.

GIFs are more than just funny reactions to a group chat or a clever way to say it is Friday. These short, looped videos can be used to communicate information quickly, in an accessible way. On this week’s podcast, George Hanshaw, Director of eLearning Operations at Los Angeles Pacific University, sits down with us to talk about the application of GIFs in training.

Transcript of the Conversation with George Hanshaw

Brian Washburn: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Train Like You Listen, a weekly podcast about all things Learning & Development in bite-sized chunks. I’m Brian Washburn, the Co-Founder and CEO of Endurance Learning and today i’m joined by George Hanshaw, who is the Director of eLearning Operations at Los Angeles Pacific University. He’s also a doctor of psychology. George, thank you so much for joining us today.

George Hanshaw: Thanks for the invite, Brian. I’m glad to be here.

Brian Washburn: Well, I’m super excited.  For those who subscribe to TD Magazine and who are members of ATD, I found out about you when I read an article that you wrote recently in the October issue, I think it was, of TD Magazine, about using GIFs for learning. And so that’s going to be the focus of our topic today.

6-Word Introduction

Brian Washburn: And when it comes to our topics we always like to have our guests introduce themselves by sharing a 6-word biography that, kind of, sums up their life or their career. For me, thinking about GIFs and using them as a learning tool, my 6-word biography would be “I really like quick learning experiences”. How about you, George? Is there a way that you can sum up your career in six words?

George Hanshaw: Yes. “I enjoy learning how people learn.” That’s me in a nutshell.

Brian Washburn: Yeah, and that sounds like it aligns with this whole idea of being a doctor of psychology and being in the learning space.

How Do You Pronounce GIF?

Brian Washburn: I want to jump in here and really– I think perhaps one of the most important questions we can get an answer to is– is it pronounced “giff” or “jiff”?

George Hanshaw: That is the million dollar question because no matter how I answer that question, I’m either right or wrong. (CHUCKLING) Some people aren’t going to like the answer, but Oxford Dictionary talks about both.  They’ll take either way.  They’re not concerned about it. And I actually looked up how many people pronounce it “giff” or “jiff” and 72% of people pronounce it “giff”.

Brian Washburn: Uh huh.

George Hanshaw:  So the other 28% pronounce it “jiff”. But the creator actually pronounces it “jiff”. But for me, my team likes to pronounce it “giff” so guess what? I’m going with them.

Brian Washburn: Perfect.

George Hanshaw: So that’s the way we’ll roll with–.

Brian Washburn: Let’s go with the people. Power to the people.

George Hanshaw: (CHUCKLING) Yeah.

What is a GIF and How Can GIFs Be Used to Reinforce Learning?

Brian Washburn: So in October’s issue of TD Magazine you published an article about the use of GIFs as a retention tool. I’m really curious about this. First of all, can you tell us a little bit more for those who aren’t really familiar with GIFs other than maybe what they have maybe seen on Facebook or whatever, what is it? And what gave you the idea of using these short little video clips to reinforce learning?

George Hanshaw: Well GIFs in a nutshell are just short video clips – I like to say 8 seconds or less – that just continually loop, so you’re constantly seeing the GIF refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh.

When it comes to learning it’s part a sprint and it’s part a marathon. And the learning of the content should be the sprint, so we want to learn that really quickly to move it from short-term memory to long-term memory. So that’s kind of the key that everything hinges on. The marathon piece is how we apply it. So we want to spend all of our time in the application of it.

But it started quite a while ago because I was in a soldering class, because I used to teach Solder so I had to be certified, to be a high-reliability solder instructor. And I was bored to death, was kind of what happened! (CHUCKLING) So when I took the material I was supposed to teach and brought it back to where I worked – at Lockheed Martin at the time. I looked up different videos and I stumbled upon GIFs that showed — like one showed how a soldering iron is supposed to connect — was supposed to hit — and the solder hit at the same time. And it was showing what they took hours to explain in like 5 seconds. And I thought it was brilliant because I still remember that GIF to this day and that was several years ago.

Brian Washburn: Yeah. I’m really so intrigued by this.

How Do You Make a GIF?

Brian Washburn: And, you know, using Facebook or texting, you can use different add-ons, like Giphy, or something like that to find something funny that you can send to people. I don’t  know how to make them. So can you talk a little bit about how this works? What do you need to do in order to create a GIF? Do you need special software? Do you need technical tools or technical skills? And how do you distribute it once you’ve created it?

Giving directions using a GIF

George Hanshaw: Oh, that’s the cool part because it’s all very simple! It starts with the design piece because when you say “ok, I’m going to make a GIF”. It’s actually a creative exercise to get you to focus and create great clarity because in 8 seconds you can’t have a lot of stuff that is “unfocused”, if you will. So it starts with the design. You pick the content or the concept that you want to show, and then you define the purpose – what would be meaningful for the audience. And then you move to the software. So I just — I do that, storyboard it and then I use Vyond, as the software, for me because it’s really simple, template-oriented. So the people on my team use some Adobe products because they’re much better than I am at creating these, so I need the simple, templatized ones that I can get out really quickly.

Brian Washburn:  So you can use things like Vyond, which is readily available. It’s a cloud-based tool. Some of your teammates use Adobe products. Can you use something as simple as, something like Camtasia or even just a built-in video tool that comes with Windows.

George Hanshaw: Absolutely. And that all just depends. You can use just about any video tool. The whole thing hinges on making it short, to the point, and something that’s memorable. So if you can do that using Loom, Camtasia, Screencastify, then absolutely go for it.

How Do You Distribute a GIF?

Brian Washburn: And do you distribute it as a GIF file? Is it an MPEG4 file? What –?

George Hanshaw: You know what I’ve found that works — it’s a GIF file – .gif. And if you put it in an email — so let’s say you’re using gmail, you just put it in the email so as soon as the email is opened they see the GIF.

Brian Washburn: Ok.

Providing specific instructions in a GIF

George Hanshaw: They don’t have to click anything. We use Slack so we just put it right in the workspace. So all of our training that we do in Slack is — well not all of it, but there’s quite a bit of GIFs that we use to prep people for training that’s coming up. If you use Microsoft Teams, you can just put it in Microsoft Teams, so whatever workspace or email that you use, so it’s very flexible.

How to Use GIFs as a Training Tool

Brian Washburn:  Now we’ve talked a little bit about the mechanics of how they’re created. We talked about how you use them or why you might use them. But can you paint us a picture and bring it from the conceptual to the practical? What are several examples of these that you’ve actually used with success?

George Hanshaw:  You know, one of the neatest ones is I was changing the brakes on my own car, right, this past weekend and i was looking at a YouTube video. You know, thats kind of like micro-learning, so that’s shrunken learning as well.

Brian Washburn: Sure.

George Hanshaw: But then I clicked on a link and it went to an actual GIF that showed me how to remove this certain type of screw that they had. And it was like 5 seconds and I looked at that and said “oh, that’s how you do it..ok”

Sharing a message about production value

So you can see how that can work in the manufacturing world, as far as directions. The fast-food restaurant – just a graphical way to show things and different trainings will work and it will stick. Leadership – if you want to go right directly into behavioral practices – you can create things like feedback or how to deliver feedback.

Things like that can be done in a GIF just to make one certain point.  So we kind of think of it as a campaign. The GIFs take one point of this larger training that you’re building and it places learners’ focus right on that piece. Whether it’s changing brakes or changing behaviors in a leadership role, it all works.

Brian Washburn: I love how you’ve framed this from the start. So you mentioned that you want to do, kind of, the sprint stuff. So that could be the eLearning module, it could be a class-based thing, it could be something that’s virtual. And then you have the marathon, which is the follow-up, and that’s where the GIFs can come in. So this is part of an overall learning strategy, which I think is fantastic.

George, thank you so much for giving voice to another tool. And this goes beyond micro-learning, and it’s a micro-micro-learning. But it’s another tool in the belt that we should be using and exploring as long as it fits the objectives for our learning program. I really appreciate this.  Before we go we do have one last segment here, where we’d like to make sure that our listeners get to know you just a little bit more with a speed round of questions.  Are you ready for the speed round?

Get to Know George Hanshaw

George Hanshaw: I’m ready. Let’s do it! (CHUCKLING)

Brian Washburn:  (CHUCKLING) Let’s do it. So when it comes to presentations what is your go-to food before you do a presentation?

George Hanshaw: I love this one. Water or coffee, ‘cause a tiger only hunts when they’re hungry.

Brian Washburn: (LAUGHING) Nice. How about a piece of training tech that you can’t live without?

George Hanshaw: Knowbly software.

Brian Washburn: Oh, what is Knowbly software?

George Hanshaw: Knowbly software – its a very quick and easy way to make interactive content, whether it’s flashcards, hotspots, annotated video, whatever it may be. So I love Knowbly software.

Brian Washburn: I had not heard of it. Thank you for sharing that one. How about something that you’ve either read recently or listened to recently that other folks in the field should be paying attention to?

George Hanshaw: You know, I’ve had a lot. In terms of leadership, “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink.  “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace. “Beginner’s Pluck” by Liz Forkin Bohannon. And if you’re talking about learning, “Make It Stick” by Peter Brown and “Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Brian Washburn: Wow! You have a whole library there.

George Hanshaw: I love — I’m constantly reading and learning something. (CHUCKLING)

Brian Washburn: I love it. I love it. And before we go, do you have any shameless plugs that you’d like to share with folks?

George Hanshaw: Just if anyone is looking for degrees or professional development. And I’m at if anybody wants to reach me.

Brian Washburn: Alright, excellent. And when it comes to what you’re teaching at LAPU what kind of classes are you teaching?

George Hanshaw: You know we do either masters or undergraduate. We even have an AA degree but we’re also now into the professional development aspect so by the beginning of the new year you’re going to see a lot of materials coming for leadership, leading virtual teams, all sorts of that stuff.  We’re — you will see some GIFs in there too! (CHUCKLING)

Brian Washburn: (CHUCKLING) Nice. Bringing it back to the topic. Thank you so much, George, for joining us today. And thank you everyone else for listening to another episode here of Train Like You Listen, which is a weekly podcast that you can find on iTunes, on Spotify, on iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you like what you hear go ahead and give us a rating. That’s how other people find out about us. Until next time, happy training!

This week’s podcast about GIFs as a Training Tool is sponsored by Soapbox.  Sign up today for a free demo.

Taking on the Unexpected

Many of us are being asked to do things that we don’t normally do. Maybe it is working from home while the dog barks at the mailman or coaching children through school while taking online meetings. If you are in the L&D space, you’ve probably been asked to convert a classroom session to in-person delivery, deliver a session via an online platform, or support others in your organization to deliver sessions online.

If you are like me, the request to help others have come in more frequently. Even RFP’s are asking that we build in coaching on their chosen tool to get the presenters comfortable with a session they’ll have to deliver. It’s a great idea! And it takes time. To help us address this hurdle we’ve started building guides for trainers that speak directly to the challenges of using these tools and maintaining what we know to be best practices for adult learning. The latest guide is the Trainer’s Guide to Microsoft Teams.

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Top 200 Tools for Learning in 2020

Last week I shared several tools that I’ve found my children’s teachers using for online school activities that I thought could be helpful for those of us in the L&D field. Today I want to continue with the theme of tools we can use by talking about Jane Hart’s annual list of top tools for learning, which was released at the beginning of September.

New Technology in L&D

I’m always intrigued by Jane Hart‘s list because this is where I have a chance to see what technologies others are using, and I am sometimes inspired to bring something new into my daily practice.

miro whiteboard - top 200 tools for learningI was intrigued to see both Netflix (for documentaries) and Spotify (for podcasts) break onto the top 200 tools for learning. There are also a variety of new tools that made the list that may help with virtual staff meetings, strategic planning sessions and presentations, such as Mural and Miro, which are both online whiteboarding tools.

I’m kind of wishing I had written this post last week so that I could have discovered earlier. This is a quick and easy way to convert pdf files into editable documents such as Word, PowerPoint or Excel files with, as stated on their landing page, “almost 100%” accuracy.

There are also several new mindmapping, email and game/survey tools to check out as well.

Old Favorites

When you consider that this list of top 200 tools are tools used by both corporate trainers and classroom educators, there is nothing on highest ranked, most popular 20 tools that surprised me. YouTube, Zoom, Google Search, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, Word, Google Docs/Drive, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, Wikipedia, Facebook, Excel, WordPress, Google Classroom, Google Meet, Slack, Canva, Skype and Trello make the top 20.

Other tools that are still popular in use among the Top 50 (in case you were wondering if some of your old stand-by’s were growing out of date) include Kahoot (for games and quizzes), Prezi (this actually surprises me that it’s still so popular, coming in at #39), Snagit (for screen captures) and Vyond (for animated video creation).

Further down the list, at #182, you’ll find Pixabay. It’s a site I use every week when I’m looking for imagery for this blog or for my PowerPoint decks. If you haven’t stumbled upon it yet and you’re on the lookout for free stock images, definitely give it a look.

Tools for Learning I Plan To Try

mentimeter polling  in top 200 tools for learningMy favorite audience participation tool is PollEverywhere, though I was recently exposed to Mentimeter (which comes in at #26 on the list). I’m not sure if it’ll give me something extra, but I’d like to check it out and see why it’s so popular.

I mentioned Mural as a whiteboarding tool. When I’m in person, I love to use a flipchart, whiteboards, and sticky notes to help organize my thoughts and play with ideas during meetings. In this world of COVID and virtual meetings, this could be a handy tool.

I’ve also just downloaded Snip & Sketch, which appears at #86 on this list. It’s a free download if you have Microsoft Office on your computer, and is Microsoft’s replacement to their Snipping Tool.

If you have a chance to check out this list of top 200 tools for learning, I’d love to hear which tools you’re using, and which tools sound like they could help you with your learning and development programs!

Want to try out a tool that can help you generate training activities – whether you’re delivering virtual sessions or you’re returning to in-person training? Perhaps Soapbox will appear on this top 200 list next year.

Voice User Interfaces and Training

“Alexa, play the podcast Train Like You Listen from Spotify” .

Voice-activated digital assistants are household items for many of us. Smartphones, speakers, even watches can be voice-activated to help us with any number of things. My mom and her 81-year-old neighbor spent the weekend setting up and activating skills for several smart speakers in her house. They set up entertainment, reminders, asked questions, and set up some safety features. What else can we do with devices with a voice user interface?

On episode 30 of Train Like You Listen, Myra Roldan, author of Design A Voice User Interface, sits down with us to talk about how she leverages voice user interfaces as a training tool. In this short podcast, Myra helps us to understand more about what a voice user interface is and some examples of how they can be used to train in a variety of situations. For more information from Myra, be sure to visit her website


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Taking a Conference Virtual

Conference season is coming! What do conferences look like during the time of Covid-19? One of our favorite conferences, Learnapalooza, is taking things virtual this year and we sat down with Chief Innovator Erin Peterschick to hear what she and her team are planning.

This conference is typically set in the Seattle area and offers an affordable and engaging conference experience. Facing the disruption of Covid-19, Erin and her team have moved quickly to create a virtual experience accessible by anyone while still keeping the cost reasonable. To learn more about the speakers, panels, and engaging activities at  Learnapalooza, please visit LapJam 2020 or keep up with real-time updates on their Twitter feed.

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When technology attacks (Virtual Training Edition)

What happens if there’s some sort of technological glitch (or worse, a catastrophic freezing up of your computer) when you’re delivering a virtual session?

This week, my colleague Lauren Wescott offered a series of virtual sessions focused on the role of a producer (there’s one more session tomorrow in case you’re interested in signing up!). A producer exists to ensure your presenter can focus wholeheartedly on presenting information and engaging the participants.

One important way a producer can do this is by helping troubleshoot issues with the technology while the facilitator focuses on delivering a high quality session. Below is a guide that may help you identify some potential issues your participants are having specifically with Zoom (we’re working on a similar job aid for other platforms).

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Trying New Things with Mel Milloway (podcast)

In a post last week, Brian asked a variety of questions, including whether people are inclined to experiment with new technologies or if they’d prefer to use their old stand-by’s. 83% of respondents said they like to experiment with new technologies.

Recently, Brian had a chance to sit down with Amazon’s Melissa Milloway to discuss how she pushes herself and others to experiment and try new things. Mel not only falls into that 83% category of people who are interested in trying new things,  she takes it to an extreme. In today’s podcast, we talk about how experiments can lead to big wins… and sometimes big fails (but always big lessons), and the support system that is needed to keep pushing yourself further.

If you want to know more about Mel, check out her website Mel’s Learning Lab which contains a wealth of information about her adventures trying new technologies and best practices.

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