Fun with Storyline: A Man’s Guide to Holiday Party Attire

For the longest time, when I opened Articulate Storyline, I felt I needed to create an entire course. I’m not talking a read-all-this-content-then-click-next-through-50-slides-of-text type of course. I’m talking choose-your-own-adventure, multiple branching scenarios course.

While that type of course development is fun and exciting and allows for a lot of creativity, it also takes a lot of time to put together.

Storyline is also a great tool to create simple job aids. While there’s certainly a time and place for building entire courses, there’s also a time and place for simple, just-in-time, on-demand job aids to help people look up information when they need it.

In the spirit of the holiday season, when holiday parties abound, I put together the following job aid to help men with their choice of attire Continue reading

Stop Participants from Saying “I Hate Icebreakers”

The phrase “Let’s get started with an icebreaker” will inevitably be followed by groans and mumbles or shouts of “I hate icebreakers!” from your participants. Yet, breaking the ice at the beginning of a workshop or presentation is an essential ingredient to building rapport between audience members and establishing a relationship between the audience and you.

Choose an Icebreaker Related to Your Content

The first step is choosing an activity that is related somehow to your content and sets an appropriate tone for the remainder of your time with your audience. Here is a list of sixteen icebreaking activities that you may keep you from screaming ‘I hate icebreakers!

Five Questions About Your Icebreaker

Once you think you have an icebreaker that’s going to work for you, here is a list of five questions you’ll want to ask before you finalize your choice of an icebreaker.

 

I Hate Icebreakers Bracket Challenge

I hate Icebreakers Challenge

In the spirit of the Sweet 16 stage of the NCAA basketball tournament, I’ve concocted a little game – a bracket challenge – if you’d like some help narrowing your selection of icebreaking activity.You can fill out the I Hate Icebreakers Bracket here. If you do decide to take me up on this bracket challenge, I’d love to hear which ice-breaking activity would be your champion. Drop a line in the comment section.

Do you hate icebreakers? Do you have a preferred ice-breaking activity that didn’t make it to my Sweet Sixteen list? Let’s hear about it in the comment section below.

Using eLearning to Promote Classroom Sessions

“What’s in it for me” is a common mantra for learners, especially because they probably have more pressing things to take care of. Your upcoming training session is competing for their time and attention.

In order to grab potential attendees’ attention for an upcoming face-to-face workshop, I recently used Articulate Storyline to create a brief online quiz (click this link if you have 3 minutes and want to take it for a test drive).

eLearning Promo

Putting together a short, fun online activity can do several things for you:

  1. Creates intrigue as learners get a small taste of what’s to come.
  2. Creates a greater sense of urgency for your content, especially if learners take a quiz like this and realize their New Employee Orientation program (or whatever your content might be) is simply “average” or “needs some work”.
  3. Gets your learners invested in your content before you session even begins (“how exactly can I go from “average” to “world class”?).

Even if you develop in-house training sessions that people are required to attend, creating a sense of intrigue and urgency can help your colleagues get excited to set aside some time for your next workshop.

Have you found other creative ways to engage your audience and promote your training sessions? Let’s hear about them in the comment section.

Know someone who might be need a little inspiration to promote their training sessions? Pass this post along to them!


Interested re-imagining and revising your New Employee Orientation so that it can truly be world class, inspiring your new employees as they begin their journey with your organization?

Join phase(two)learning’s Michelle Baker and me in Indianapolis on March 9-10 for a New Employee Orientation re-design workshop that will be one part networking event, one part learning lab.

Contact me at brian@endurancelearning.com or click here for more information.

 

A New Tool to Help You Decide how to Spend Professional Development Dollars

Budget season has descended upon my organization. While we try frantically to meet the deadlines set forth by the finance department, we’re also trying to pay for as many 2015 expenses as possible by spending 2014 funds prior to December 31.

If you happen to be in the same boat, I spent some time this weekend inventing a cool new tool (at least I think it’s cool) to help you decide how to spend some of your “leftover” 2014 funds.

I’m assuming most readers of the Train Like A Champion blog are in the training or human resources field, which explains the limited nature of this tool. If you have 3 minutes, go ahead and check it out. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Cover Page

Click here to launch the “How-to-Spend-Your-Professional-Development-Dollars” wizard.

If you know of someone in the training or human resources fields who might need to spend down their professional development dollars by the end of this year, please pass this along to them!

5 Tips to Become an Expert Storyline Developer

Articulate Storyline may be the greatest thing to sweep through the learning and development field since the creation of the action-oriented, learner-centered objective. Why? It’s insanely intuitive to use, and the Elearning Heroes online community is a place where you can instantly learn how to do anything you ever wanted to do in an eLearning environment.

If you’re using Storyline and haven’t been taking advantage of the Elearning Heroes online community, here are five reasons to start:

  1. Adding and displaying a learner’s name throughout your module. Want to have a learner input text – whether it’s their name or some other text – and then have that same text come up later in the module? Nicole Legault’s handy tip walks you through an easy way to set this up.
  2. Create custom characters for your eLearning. Sick of looking through free image sites and not finding exactly what you’re looking for? This post from Tom Kuhlman walks you through the steps it’ll take to help any non-graphic designer modify existing clip art images to create custom characters.
  3. What are other people working on? Every week, David Anderson posts an “Elearning Challenge”, asking Articulate Storyline developers from around the world to come up with creative ideas or share work samples around a common instructional design theme. This is a fun way to put your own skills to the test and to see what kinds of amazingly creative ideas other Storyline developers can come up with. What is perhaps the most stunning thing about this particular series of posts is that many of the people who take on these weekly challenges will gladly share their source files.
  4. Free Assets! Looking for free clip art, images, fonts, and other visual assets? Create an account on the Elearning Heroes site and you get access to lots and lots of free assets and templates.
  5. Share your module without uploading it to an LMS. Want to have other people check out your latest eLearning module or preview your most recent creation without having it go live on your LMS? Mike Taylor walks you through the several simple steps you need to take in order to upload a course to Google Drive.

There are a lot of other tips, tricks, and tools that are available – FREE – through the Articulate community. If you’re trying to build your Articulate Storyline developer muscle, check it out.

Want to see Storyline in use? Check out this post which includes an eLearning demo which allows you to solve “The Crime of the Century” and identify which meeting facilitator(s) could have been responsible for boring an audience member to death.

Know someone using Storyline? Be sure to pass this along.

5 Questions to Ask before Sending Someone to Training

I’m going to share a dirty little secret with you. Please don’t tell my colleagues in the training field that I shared this with you. I’m a training professional. When people need training, I have job security.

The secret is this: training isn’t the solution to every performance problem or skills gap. There are time – a lot of times actually – when training is not an appropriate solution.

How can you know when training might be appropriate? Below, you will find a link to a series of five questions. A complex algorithm will then calculate the probability that training will be an appropriate solution.

Here is a preview of what you’ll find when you click the link (note: the following photos are just sample screen shots; if you’d like to find out if training is the right solution for you, you must click on the link below):

Is Training The Right Solution

Is Training The Right Solution Q5

Click here to find out if training is the right solution for you.

Know someone who might need some help deciding if training is the right solution? Pass this post along.

Want a steady stream of tips, techniques, tools and insights into training, learning and professional development? Subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “Follow” button above.

I think I’m engaging, but why doesn’t my audience seem engaged?

As a presenter, I have my favorite techniques and strategies to engage my audience. Ironically, the more I attempt to engage an audience with some of these techniques and strategies, the less I’m actually able to engage them. As I’ve reflected on this over the past several years, the issue seems to be related to people’s preferred learning styles.

You may be familiar with the three basic learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic.

I’ve found that the techniques that I favor are generally presentation strategies that appeal to my own preferred learning style. I’m a visual learner, and when I present I spend a lot of time working on visual aids which I think are clever and engaging. And of course they are clever. But those in my audience who may prefer to process information through things they hear or say (auditory learners) and those who prefer to roll up their sleeves and experience the learning by doing something (kinesthetic learners) may feel a bit neglected.

If you’d like to learn more about the three basic learning styles or if you need help coming up with some activities to engage all of your learners during your next presentation, here is a link to a short elearning module I spent some time developing this weekend.  Here’s a sneak preview:

Learning Styles (Auditory)

Learning Styles (Visual)

If you have any feedback on this elearning module or if you think it can be improved, drop me a line in the comments section.

If you know someone who might find this program helpful as they gear up for their next presentation, pass this post along to them.

And if you want a steady stream of tips and techniques on learning and development, I invite you to hit the follow button at the top of the screen I order to subscribe to this blog.

5 Gifts for that Trainer in Your Life

In the United States, the holiday shopping season kicks off with “Black Friday” at the end of this week. If you’re looking for gift ideas for that special trainer in your life, here are five suggestions at various price points:

  1. Table Toys

Putting a koosh ball or a stress ball or some other type of toy on the tables helps break the ice as learners enter the room, sets a more playful tone for the day and gives kinesthetic learners something to do with their hands as they process the information you share with them. Click here to browse a selection of table toys available through The Trainers Warehouse.

  1. Mr. Sketch Markers

Want a set of flipchart markers that last a long time, have a broad enough tip for everyone in the room to see what you’ve written, that don’t bleed through the paper and that have fun (and non-toxic) odors? Mr. Sketch is your marker. I appreciate these markers so much that I’ve written a poem about them! Order a 12 pack for $5!

  1. How To Be A Presentation God: Build, Design & Deliver Presentations that Dominate

Whether you’re looking for a gift for a novice trainer or an experienced presenter, Scott Schwertly has a book that offers value to facilitators at every level of skill and experience. Click here to take a look at a more in-depth write-up on Amazon.com.

  1. Snagit

If you want clean, clear screen captures for elearning, PowerPoint presentations or technical manuals, Snaggit is a $50 piece of software that will offer a much more crisp image that simply hitting “Print Screen” or using the snipping tool that’s pre-loaded on many Windows-baded operating systems. Click here to learn more about Snagit.

  1. Articulate Storyline

If your pockets are a little deeper and you’re looking for a gift for a serious learning and development professional, you might want to look in to giving the gift of elearning.  I’ve used other rapid authoring tools to develop elearning modules, but Articulate Storyline is by far the most intuitive, easy-to-use tool I’ve found. And perhaps the best thing about Articulate Storyline is the Articulate online community made up of Articulate staff and hundreds (perhaps thousands) of passionate and experienced Articulate users who pride themselves on being able to quickly post an answer to any question you can dream up when it comes to using this tool. Learn more about Articulate Storyline here.

Want someone to buy one of these gifts for you? Pass this post along!

If you want access to a steady stream of articles to help improve your presentation skills then you should probably follow this blog.

Involve Me And I Understand: The Boomerang

In my blog, I preach the virtues of getting creative and engaging learners in your training design. And it dawned on me that all I’m doing is telling you, I’m not involving you. It seems I’ve been a bit hypocritical. Over the weekend I threw together a short elearning module in an effort to begin making amends to everyone who comes to this blog.

Back in May 2013, I wrote The Boomerang: Answering Questions with Questions. While my post was full of sound adult learning theory and wisdom, it was limited because I told you about the concept but I didn’t involve you.

Today, I invite you to experience the power of the boomerang technique by completing a short elearning module.  Here are a few screen captures:

Boomerang 1  Boomerang 2

It’s a short program, and it’s not the most amazing visual extravaganza you might find in the world of elearning. But it is designed to allow a learner to not just read but to become involved in and to feel the impact of his or her choices.

Developing elearning doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t need to just be a series of click-through-and-read slides. And it can be created quite quickly (this one took a few hours to put together using Articulate Storyline). As one reader commented following a recent post about PowerPoint vs. Storyline, you can even speed the development of elearning modules by importing PowerPoint slides into Storyline (I imported the office-themed background from a PowerPoint template I downloaded from the Articulate community).

As the old proverb goes: Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand. I’m hoping to involve the readers of this blog a little more often, if that’s all right with you.

PowerPoint vs. Storyline (aka: Telling vs. Experiencing)

I imagine most training professionals and instructional designers are quite familiar with the old proverb: “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” Why, then, do so many elearning modules continue to tell content at the learners?

I recently posed this question to several training program managers from large, Seattle-area tech companies. Their answers made a lot of business sense: with so many training modules that need to be created in such a short amount of time, it’s faster and easier to put the content into a PowerPoint presentation, convert it to a click-through elearning module and make the content available to the intended audience. And the program managers report that they’re generally content with the results.

Still, I wonder: just because you can tell your content to thousands of employees around the world  via a PowerPoint-based elearning module, is that what training departments should do?

I decided to conduct my own, not-so-scientific test of this theory.  While I was in an airport on a layover, I gave myself 45 minutes to create a PowerPoint-based elearning module, and then I gave myself 45 minutes to create an elearning module using Articulate Storyline.

The Results

PowerPoint:

I put together the PowerPoint module in less than 45 minutes.  I probably could have spent a little more time on the actual graphic design of the module, but you’ll get the point.  Slideshare is my make-shift LMS for this…

Storyline:

I took just over 45 minutes to put this together.  I’m not an expert at Storyline by any means, but I’ve found it incredibly easy to transfer my PowerPoint knowledge into Storyline proficiency.  Here are several screen captures of the module:

Storyline1

Storyline2

Storyline3

Exit Question

It doesn’t take much more technical savvy to use Storyline than it does to use PowerPoint. It doesn’t have to take much more time to create something in Storyline than in PowerPoint. And while you can tell and show people using PowerPoint, Storyline adds a dimension allowing learners to be involved.

Going back to the old proverb: would you rather have your learners forget by telling?  Would you rather have your learners remember by showing? Or would you rather have your learners understand by involving?