Learning and Development Thought Leader: Will Thalheimer

In this age of social media, where anyone with a computer and Internet connection can post something online and proclaim themselves as a “thought leader” in their industry, it can be difficult to find the true leaders in the industry.

This is the first in a new, periodic series from the Train Like A Champion blog that will highlight L&D professionals who have proven effective in moving the industry to better results and higher performance.

Thought Leader #1: Dr. Will Thalheimer

Will Thalheimer leads Work-Learning Research and is simply on a quest to cut through all the noise and questionable research that’s out there in order to help L&D professionals be aware of evidence-based practices and well-conducted research.

He has the gall to question the effectiveness of Kirkpatrick’s 4 levels of evaluation (and the research to back it up). And don’t even get him started on learning styles.

If you have a sliver of interest in the research behind what truly works in training and presentations, you should be reading his blog, Will At Work Learning.

Two Resources from Dr. Thalheimer that You Should Check Out ASAP:

Research Study: While there’s a lot of good stuff on there, one blog post I found particularly helpful revolved around a study titled The Science of Training & Development: What Matters in Practice. The Science of Training & Development. In my day job, I work with a lot of medical professionals who insist on the science behind things. While facilitation is indeed an art form, having research-based best practices lends necessary credibility to conversations about why lecture and didactic delivery of content isn’t effective.

Slide Design: I’ve never liked the idea of slide templates. I never had a very good argument against them until I watched this 10-minute video:

In Sum:

I could write a lot more about Dr. Thalheimer and why he’s someone you should be listening to. But then those would just be my words. And the Train Like A Champion blog hasn’t (yet) declared me a thought leader in the L&D field. So, check out some of these resources and discover for yourself why you should be paying attention to his work.

 

5 Haikus about Learning and Development

I’ve been in Japan for the past two weeks – a combination of an industry conference and some R&R. I like it here. And to give you a taste of my experience, I’ve decided to give each of you a gift. The gift of a blog post in traditional Japanese Haiku.

Instructional Design

What do they need most?

How will you know they “get it”?

Let them show and tell

Classroom-based Training

Please use Mr. Sketch

Booooooo for the sage on the stage

Yay for engagement

Blended Learning

Flipping the classroom

Learning content on your own

Then show your mad skillz

Elearning

Scenario-based

Simulating real life stuff

As fun as a game!

Learner Experience

They are the reason

We all get a nice paycheck

Always respect them

How about it? Feeling inspired? If you have a learning and development-based Haiku, I’d love to read it in the comments section below. Writing Haikus also make a great ice breaking activity. For more on this idea, click here.

One final Haiku (sorry, I can’t stop today!):

Know Haiku lovers?

Pass this link along… and hit

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In Order for Corporate Training to Improve, L&D Practitioners Need to Lose their Snobbery

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?

Training Snobbery 1

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:

Training Snobbery

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.