Over the past several weeks, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations with a variety of organizations about overall learning strategies, and the role that online learning should play in a more comprehensive strategy. Following are my thoughts on components that need to be considered when developing a more comprehensive strategy for online learning: Continue reading
Savvy learning and development professionals keep their eyes out for tools and technologies that can help make the learning process easier. Each year, Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4PLT) publishes a list of the top 100 tools for learning. Curious how many of these tools you’re already using? I’ve made a little calculator to help you quickly add them up.
I love exploring this list from time to time because it points me toward new technologies I’ve never heard of and otherwise wouldn’t think to test out.
It was from this list that I got inspired to use PowToon (#46 on the list). I also spent a little time exploring Socrative (#72) and Kahoot (#81) in hopes of finding an alternative to PollEverywhere (#70). In the end, it seems PollEverywhere is the best solution for my needs.
Overall, I’ve used 46 of the technologies from this list in some way, shape or form. I’m looking forward to examining many of the other 54 tools to find out what they might be able to do for me and my learners.
You may also want to take a look at Brian’s picks for new training tools from the 2017 list.
How experienced are you with these tools? Use this calculator in order to add up the number of Top 100 tools you’ve been using, then drop a line in the comment section to let us all know your count!
As a side note, if you want to have a say in which tools make the 2015 Top 100 list, go here and cast your vote.
“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).
Putting together a short, fun online activity can do several things for you:
- Creates intrigue as learners get a small taste of what’s to come.
- 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”.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more information.
Last week I wrote about how a well-designed classroom training experience can change long-held beliefs and practices. I began to wonder if an eLearning experience could change hearts and minds in a similar way. I was skeptical.
I discussed this idea with eLearning instructional designer extraordinaire Kirby Crider.
What do you think? Can eLearning ever provide a powerful, life-changing experience that some people may find in the training room? We’d love to see the conversation continued in the comments section below.
Brian: I’ve seen some amazing eLearning design from folks like Michael Allen and the Articulate community. They’re fun. They’re engaging. But I’m skeptical that eLearning is a tool to change hearts and minds for something like diversity training or change management. You’ve spent more time designing eLearning than I have. What do you think?
Kirby: Plenty of classroom sessions don’t change hearts and minds, and the same goes for eLearning. I do think it’s possible to break out of the standard way of doing things in the self-directed eLearning world, just like how you’ve shown on this blog that it’s possible to break out of the reading-off-a-PowerPoint-slide way of doing things.
Brian: A lot of what I write about is based upon what I’ve seen working in practice. I just haven’t seen an eLearning module in practice that I’d consider powerful or life-changing.
Kirby: Describe for me what makes those in-person experiences so powerful for you. You recently wrote about a white privilege checklist activity that made a big impact on you. Why did it resonate so much?
Brian: The checklist itself was interesting, but it wasn’t enough on its own to change anything for me. The ensuing conversations with a diverse group of other participants crystalized this concept of privilege. It was eye opening for me to be able to see and feel the passionate, incredulous reaction of an African American colleague when I confessed to never having through about my privilege. How do you replicate that intensity online?
Kirby: Of course there will be certain things that can’t be replicated online, but have you ever watched a TED talk that profoundly changed the way you behave? I have. Imagine if you combined the storytelling, the surprise and the utter relevance of a killer TED talk with reflection questions that promote asynchronous discussion via an integrated message board with other users!
Brian: Interesting. Video can be more engaging than looking at clip art or even photos of real people on the computer screen. I definitely find webinars more engaging when the presenter uses a video feed. But it’s so easy to misinterpret tone in an online discussion. Any suggestions for how to mitigate misinterpretation of tone for anyone interested in designing a social component into their eLearning design?
Kirby: There’s a body of research that suggests conversational language and first person language (“you” or “I” instead of “one”) increases retention, and things need to be memorable in order to change hearts and minds. Art Kohn has a nice article about selecting language on the Learning Solutions magazine site. Honestly, we need to stop taking our scripts so seriously in the asynchronous world. When I design an eLearning module, I like to take chances with an activity like this: “Alright, by now you’re probably tired of listening to my voice and clicking on the next button. I’d like to challenge you. Take what you’ve just learned, and go find a colleague. See if you can explain it to them!”
Brian: Bringing the online world into the real world, I like it! Any final thoughts about how to reach a learner’s heart and mind?
Kirby: My father-in-law teaches an online class. In order to build a sense of common ground, he has his students ship dirt from their yards to each other and then asks each person to make a sound effect out of the dirt they receive. We have so many tools at our disposal – Twitter, wikis, discussion boards, plain old email, Padlet, even the US postal service – I’d like to challenge all eLearning designers to use them. You change hearts and minds when you can build community and create spaces for discussion and growth.
What do you think? Is eLearning a tool that can change the hearts and minds of learners? Add your thoughts to this conversation in the comments section.
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.
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!
Each year, the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) puts together a list of the top 200 tools for learning. This year, I decided to vote for my top 10.
When I read the voting requirements – that I had to list ten tools in order for my vote to count – I started to wonder if I would be able to complete my ballot. I have several go-to tools, but I’m not sure that I have ten tools that I consider essential to my role as a learning practitioner.
Throwing caution to the wind, I began completing my ballot. Seven minutes later, I realized that there are more than ten tools that I use and my ballot was complete.
I then clicked on this link and started perusing how other people completed their ballots. It was interesting – many others use the same tools as I do. However, there were some tools that I’d never heard of and which I plan to check out in the very near future. And there were some tools I’d used in the past and then forgotten about, which I plan to begin using once again. And these last two points, I believe, hold the power to this list: an opportunity to be exposed to new tools and a reminder of old tools that have long since been forgotten.
If you have ten minutes, I encourage you to fill out your own ballot by clicking here. I’d also encourage you to see what kinds of tools others are using – perhaps you’ll be exposed to something new (and life changing?), perhaps you’ll simply be reminded of an old favorite.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Have you ever wondered what the future of workplace learning will look like? As I look around, here are five things I think will happen within the next five years:
Xbox will transform classroom-based delivery
It’s been several years since I first saw this TED Talk and it unleashed a million ideas for me in how it could be used in the classroom. Can you imagine harnessing the power of augmented reality in the classroom? Simulations! Case studies! Even role plays would be fun.
Of course, I’m sure some presenters would smother this technology’s potential by simply throwing a bunch of augmented reality bullet points at their audience, but I think overall this type of technology will benefit classroom-based learning (and even webinars!) by replacing rote lecture and theory with more content based in real-world applications. With photo and video apps for smart phones, tablets and PCs becoming more interactive each day, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see this at an ASTD conference near you.
Storyline will be the PowerPoint of the future
Unfortunately, as I look ahead, the future isn’t completely bright. Rapid elearning authoring tools have been around for a while, but I’ve never seen anything as intuitive or easy to use as Articulate Storyline. This software is exciting because individuals or teams responsible for an organization’s learning and development initiatives can now produce professional quality elearning at a fraction of the cost.
Storyline’s ease-of-use and intuitiveness, however, also turns my glass half empty as I look ahead. I see organizations rapidly loading up their learning management systems with bullet point-laden, click-through elearning modules. Yes, way too many of these exist now. In the future, they will be so easy to produce and clog up an LMS that the “good old days” will be a time when learners only had to spend 3 hours in the classroom, sitting through a presentation with 152 slides and 537 bullet points.
You won’t be able to discreetly check your email during a webinar
In the early 90s, I remember a commercial for some company (GE? AT&T?) that talked about fiber optics and the future and it had images of an American college lecture hall and toward the end, the professor called on someone in some distant land, and the camera panned out to see a bunch of students on the projector screen, and then there was a shot of a whole other classroom someplace in Asia that was attending this lecture.
This kind of exists today with video conference services and Skype and Facetime the like, but I’ve seen it primarily used for staff meetings or meetings across geographic locations or friends talking to one another. There’s been a movement in the webinar business to make webinars more engaging by broadcasting a live video feed of the facilitator. I envision a web conference interface that will soon come along and make it much easier for everyone to see one another, creating greater facilitator-to-audience and audience-to-audience connections.
You’ll still be able to “multi-task”, but others will see you doing it.
The “flipped classroom” will be right-side up
While not a brand new concept, it’s still novel to find a training program in which learners are asked to learn the content on their own prior to an in-person training session, and then classroom time is spent in various activities challenging the learners to apply what they’ve learned. In higher education, however, this is becoming a more regular part of instructional design and recent graduates are much more accustomed to this style.
There have been a lot of not-so-nice things written about Gen Y (apparently there’s an entire generation of young adults Snapchatting naked selfies and Tweeting their lives from their parents’ homes where there is barely enough room for their adult children because of all their kids’ trophies cluttering up the place). When it comes to designing effective and engaging learning experiences, however, I think Gen Y has a thing or two to teach old school Corporate America.
50% of all presentations will be engaging and lead to change
In 2010, McKinsey released a study saying that only 25% of corporate training dollars actually led to anything being done differently or better following a training session. In the next five years I think that number is going to double.
While some current big names in the learning and development field spend their time Tweeting snarky comments about the fact that there is a transfer-of-training problem, I’ve met a lot of folks beginning to break into the thought leadership of the L&D professional who are action-oriented and patient enough to meet presenters and SMEs at a skill level where they need to be met in order to improve their presentation skills.
Presentations will be engaging and lead to change when people who don’t attend ASTD conferences (indeed, people who giggle at the acronym ASTD because it sounds too much like “an STD”) take an interest in how to engage their audience and how to move their audience to act. In the next few months, I’ll be sharing specific ideas (and maybe even an online tool or two) in how I plan to do my part to transform every presentation into something that’s engaging and will lead to change. Want to join me in turning this prediction into a reality?
Is your mind blown? Do you have doubts about any of these? Maybe you have a prediction of your own. Look into your crystal ball and let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Know someone who is interested in what the future may hold? Share this link with them.
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On a scale from 1-10, how much do you love to be informed that you’re doing something wrong by a cocky, snide, snarky, arrogant know-it-all?
There is so much work to be done when it comes to helping our colleagues and clients to improve their presentation skills. Over the past 15 years as I’ve worked in the learning and development space, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that we need to meet people where they’re at.
Some people will be ready to jump right in, assessing the needs of their learners, organizing their thoughts with a presentation plan, then selecting the most appropriate visual aids (maybe PowerPoint, maybe something else), practicing their delivery and finally executing an amazing learning experience.
Some decision-makers will identify technology as the best solution to deliver differentiated, on-demand learning experiences.
Most people will need to be eased into this process. Here is a reflection that was written last year by one of my colleagues who truly evolved from SME to engaging presenter.
I’m not a heavy Twitter user, but I do follow several of the “big names” in the learning and development field. It always makes me uncomfortable when I read a tweet like this:
Why do we need to be snarky when it comes to trying to describe the motivations and mind-set of non-learning and development professionals? This particular message was tweeted during a recent elearning industry conference. The problem is that the question (why do people want classroom training?) was being asked to a room of learning and development professionals whose livelihoods revolve around technology and elearning.
If we want a non-snarky, sincere answer and true insights into the mindset of the people who actually approve and schedule classroom-based training, then we shouldn’t be asking ourselves why people might want classroom training. We need to spend time asking and understanding line managers, HR professionals and executives who request training sessions.
What are you doing to get a better understanding of the mindset of SMEs and others who deliver presentations and training in order to truly help them succeed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
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:
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.
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