A tool to track 1-on-1 and self-paced training programs

I began my instructional design career in the classroom, as a GED instructor. Later I moved into corporate training where working with groups of 20, 30, 40, 100, 250 people in a room was the norm. I thrived on the energy in the room. The more people, the merrier!

Several years ago I was asked to take on a project that involved one-on-one instruction. There was no group on whose energy I could feed. There were no opportunities for small or large group discussion… not even opportunities for a pair-share! It made me uncomfortable. In the end, I didn’t do a very good job designing the program.  Recently, I made a discovery. Continue reading

Book Review: Will Thalheimer’s Performance-focused Smile Sheets

Performance-focused Smile Sheets

102-word Summary: “The ideas in this book are freakin’ revolutionary.” So Will Thalheimer begins chapter 9 of his book. It’s hard to argue against the statement. In a world where the vast majority of training is evaluated on a 1-5 Likert-style post-training evaluation form, Will Thalheimer proposes a different way to perform a basic-level assessment of a training program. His thesis: while “smile sheets” aren’t the be all and end all of training evaluation, they’re the most common type of evaluation, so if we’re going to have our learners fill them out, we may as well get some good, useful, actionable information from them.  Continue reading

PowerPoint Tricks: Free Jeopardy Game Template

When used well, PowerPoint is a presentation tool that can engage and dazzle your audience. PowerPoint holds the potential to facilitate a give-and-take between the presenter and the audience.

Your Projector and Screen are Actually a Jeopardy Game Board

One example of how a presenter can involve his or her audience is by turning the projector screen into a giant game board. Click here to download a Jeopardy-like quiz game template.

Jeopardy Game Board

The instructions are on the first slide, but feel free to contact me if you have questions or need any help bringing this to your classroom or training room.

Looking for a different PowerPoint-based game? You can turn your PowerPoint presentation into a Family Feud-like game board.

Think someone else might enjoy this Jeopardy game template? Send this along.

How Do You Know If Your Training Is Effective?

“How do you know if your training actually has an impact?”  It’s a question I hear often, especially regarding soft skills training.  It all starts with a needs assessment.  When I’ve led teams, the easiest way I’ve found to assess needs, recommend training and then measure results is through a professional development plan (PDP).  If training isn’t tied to a need, if it’s not written down and if an employee isn’t held accountable for improved performance, the impact of the training will not be fully realized.

Here is a generic version of a professional development plan based upon one that I’ve found to be quite effective.

04292013 - PDP

I like this PDP format because it illustrates how metrics and key performance indicators should be directly tied to soft skills.  Metrics and numbers tell a story, but what is that story?  Are performance numbers down because of team dynamics and dysfunction?  Then perhaps a focus on teambuilding skills would be appropriate.  Are quarterly results suffering because team members haven’t established the correct priorities?  Perhaps time management is an area that needs to be improved.

Identifying baseline performance metrics, identifying appropriate learning opportunities (training on hard or soft skills) that should impact those performance metrics, then monitoring those performance metrics and results to identify if there has been improvement in those metrics is how I can feel confident that training is effective.

I’ll write it again: if training isn’t formally tied to a need, however, its full effectiveness will not be felt.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.