Looking for some training inspiration? Try these sources…

Lightning in a bottle

I’ve been on the road a lot recently, and I realized I’ve been recycling a lot of my go-to ideas for a variety of projects. The airline miles, the steady diet of fast food, the jet lag, the unnecessary late nights flipping through tv channels instead of going to sleep just because I have access to a tv with HBO, the simple busy-ness of being on the road – it can all conspire to wear me down after a while and leave me looking around desperately for some fresh, new ideas.

Following are several sources of new ideas that have given me a boost over the past several weeks. Hopefully you can find some inspiration in here somewhere, too!   Continue reading

If you’re not following these 18 people in order to help hone your L&D trade craft, you should.

Last week I had coffee with a learning executive from another organization. We’d exchanged a few messages via social media (which is how we originally met), but this was the first time we were having a face-to-face conversation.

As our conversation unfolded, I kept asking him: “Do you know so and so?” or “Have you read so and so’s work on that topic?” He hadn’t heard of any of the people I was mentioning. It dawned on me that sometimes I assume everyone I interact with is familiar with everyone else I have personally found instrumental along my path to developing my professional skill set.

It’s an erroneous assumption.

Until now.

You, dear reader, have an opportunity to learn from the following 18 people who I’ve found have a lot to offer when it has come to sharpening my own L&D tool set. If you’re not following these people, you should be. Continue reading

My Top 10 Tools for Learning

Last Thursday I shared the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ (C4LPT) 2015 list of the top 100 tools for learning.

If you want your voice heard for 2016’s top 100 list, there are several ways to do it: 1) you can vote here, 2) you can email your choices to C4LPT’s Jane Hart at jane.hart@c4lpt.co.uk, or 3) you can write a blog post about your top 10 choices.

By way of this blog post, I’m casting my votes for the 2016 list. Following are my top 10 choices (in no particular order):  Continue reading

L&D Lessons to be Learned from Rand Paul’s Silly #StandwithRand Selfie App

“The internet is where things go to go wrong.” So wrote NPR reporter Sam Sanders last weekend as he wrote about Republican hopeful Rand Paul’s #standwithrand selfie feature embedded in his campaign app.

Of course, it immediately made me think of L&D and our use (or mis-use) of social media as a learning tool.

In the #StandwithRand selfie campaign, the idea is to have people use an app to post a bunch of “selfies with Rand” to Twitter and show the world how fun the campaign is. It actually yielded some nice, supportive tweets like this:  Continue reading

Using Your Downtime to Increase Skills and Knowledge

Today is President’s Day in the U.S. and many of us do not need to work. At least officially. I find that using downtime to read an article I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to read or play around with a new skill that I’ve been wanting to try using Articulate Storyline can be surprisingly invigorating.

I’ve also found Twitter to be a great source of articles or videos I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to as well a place in which people from my network are forever sharing new tips or tricks or work-arounds.

If you’re looking for some new sources of inspiration or just some places to begin finding new information during your downtime, here is a list of ten people you may want to begin following on Twitter:

1. David Anderson: If you’re looking for new inspiration for an eLearning project, David facilitates Articulate’s Weekly eLearning Challenge. Check it out. Heck, if you’re inspired, go ahead and submit your own eLearning experiment to share with Articulate’s online community.

2. Clark Quinn: Clark focuses on technology, learning and brain science. He’s the author of a book called Revolutionize Learning & Development: Performance and Innovation Strategy in the Information Age and you’ll also find him participating in various Tweet Chats.

3. Lauren Hug and HugSpeak: Looking to up your game when it comes to how you’re using social media and applying your own communication strategy? These are the things Lauren tweets about. She shares helpful tips and interesting articles. She’s also the author of The Manager’s Guide to Presentations.

4. JD Dillon: JD is the author of the Just Curious… blog and just seems to have his hands on the pulse of learning and development – in terms of technology, classroom and personal knowledge management.

5. Will Thalheimer: Will is a first class myth buster when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in learning and development. I’m not talking about fads, I’m talking about research and science. Will has a passion for sifting through peer reviewed research in order to explain in plain English why things like learning styles have little impact and how learning objectives should actually be framed. He just launched a new website called debunker.club. His learning audit website is also super helpful with things to keep in mind while designing learning experiences.

6. Jim Kelly: Need I say more? I’m not all about learning and development, after all. Plus, he’s the only quarterback to lead a team to four straight Super Bowls. What’s not to like about this guy?

7. Jane Hart: In addition to passing along interesting articles throughout the week, I especially appreciate Jane’s “Not to be missed” compilation of articles at the end of the month.

Jane’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies also publishes the annual list of Top 100 Tools for Learning.

8. Matthew Guyan: eLearning is at the center of Matthew’s posts, so you’ll find samples of his eLearning work (via eLearning Challenges in the Articulate online community) as well as a smattering of information he’ll pass along from other authors. Plus, he’s in Australia, so if you’re in the U.S. and hit with a bout of insomnia, you can read his tweets all night long!

9. Jane McGonigal: Definitely the smartest person on gamification I’ve followed. She’ll post research about game design from time to time, she’ll post about her successes and struggles in writing her next book, and she’ll remind you who’s still in the mix during major tennis tournaments. Jane also has several TED talks to her credit and is the author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

10. TED Talks: Perhaps there are times when you’re not in the mood to read another article. I find TED Talks valuable not just because of the fascinating mix of topics I can learn about, but also the way in which the speakers deliver crisp, engaging presentations. Finding a newly released TED talk in my Twitter feed is a handy reminder that I don’t always need to read an article to be exposed to a new or interesting concept.

And if you think this blog is pretty good, you should also give me a follow on Twitter.

Think someone else might find this list of resources handy? Why not send it along? Or hit the Twitter button below and Tweet it along to your followers!



Want Direct Access to Like-minded Professionals on a Regular Basis? Try a Tweet Chat.

Biding your time until you can attend another conference? Looking for ways to connect with other learning and development professionals from around the world?

Twitter just might cure what ails you.

Tweet Chats are the lowest cost, most impactful professional development opportunities I’ve stumbled across over the past year. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a Tweet Chat is a Twitter-based, moderated dialogue about a range of hot topics and current trends and generally lasts for 60 minutes.

Four benefits I’ve reaped from participating in these discussions include:

  1. Easy development of a Personal Learning Network
  2. Easy introductions to people you’ll bump into at a conference (never feel awkward trying to find someone to have lunch with during a conference again!)
  3. Direct access to scores of like-minded professionals and industry thought-leaders on a regular basis
  4. Exposure to questions, practices and industry trends you may not otherwise have thought about

Following is a short list of Tweet Chats that learning and development professionals may be interested in:

  • Chat2Lrn (every other Thursday at 8:00am Pacific/11:00am Eastern)
  • LrnChat (Thursday evenings at 5:30pm Pacific/8:30pm Eastern)
  • GuildChat (Fridays at 11:00am Pacific/2:00pm Eastern)

Participating in a Tweet Chat can be oddly intimidating the first time. Your brilliance needs to be distilled down to 140 characters at a time. Plus, jumping into a Tweet Chat can feel like trying to break into a clique.

Fear not. I’ve found that regulars not only embrace new participants, but it’s a huge ego boost the first time one of your responses gets re-tweeted.

Know someone else who might want to engage with learning and development professionals on a more regular basis? Please pass this article along!

I hope I’ll find you participating in a Tweet Chat soon… maybe even tonight’s LrnChat or tomorrow’s GuildChat. In the meantime, feel free to connect with me on Twitter today.


18 Places for Training Professionals to Sharpen Their Skills

Training other people is an art form that, if done well, can change the world… and if done poorly, will not only have an adverse impact on your own session, but can turn your audience cynical about the value of any future training opportunities, too.

Friend and fellow blogger Michelle Baker recently raised the concern that training professionals in some organizations are like the “cobbler’s children who have no shoes” – they take care of others’ learning needs but often don’t have opportunities to develop their own skills.

Do you happen to suffer from the Cobbler’s Children syndrome? Here are 18 ideas and resources for training professionals to brush up on their own skills:


1. Reading others’ blogs. This is where I get fresh ideas and energy to try new things every week. Five of my favorites include:

2. Write your own blog. I’ve found that by getting into the routine of writing a blog post twice each week, I’m forced to stay on top of what’s happening. And when I’m not on top of what’s happening in the industry, a reader will often gently remind me of more recent research and findings. I’ve also connected to a number of other thought leaders across the training field through my blog.

3. Industry publications. As long as you can prove you’re in the training field, you can subscribe to the following publications for free:

4. Twitter. Finding nuggets of wisdom through 140-character tweets is still a hit-or-miss experience for me. I have been exposed to a number of articles and research papers through some of the people I follow on Twitter. (Click here if you need some ideas on a few people to begin following)

Low Cost:

1. Industry groups. It’s important to be a part of something greater than us as individuals, and it’s crucial to stay on top of trends and research in the field. Here are a few industry groups that training professionals may be interested in. Each of these groups carries a membership fee in exchange for publications and discounts on events.

Higher Cost

1. Professional development classes. I’ve found conferences and workshops in which I have an opportunity to be exposed to thought leaders and get my hands on new ways to create change through my training efforts while networking with others in the field to be the most energizing way to sharpen my skill set. Although these opportunities can be pricy. Some of my favorites include:

What am I missing? How do you avoid being like the cobbler’s children that have no shoes?

Icebreaker: The 6-word Memoir (and a Variation)

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway used six words to pen his shortest work of fiction: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Whether true or not (Snopes.com can neither confirm nor deny this is a true story), trainers and presenters have been inspired by this anecdote to break the ice by challenging attendees to write a 6-word memoir.

How a 6-Word Memoir Works

6-word memoir sampleIt works quite well. About a year and a half ago, I watched as the CEO of my organization opened a 2-day meeting of about 60 surgeons, medical professionals, and administrators from across the United States, India, Nepal, and Ethiopia with this very activity. Attendees wrote their 6-word memoirs on a flip chart, posted them around the meeting room and referred back to them throughout the 2-day meeting.

(If you’re interested, this is the 6-word memoir that I penned: “Love is cookie dough ice cream.”)

A Modern Take On A Classic Icebreaker

The 6-word memoir works as an icebreaker because it’s quick, it forces participants to be succinct as they introduce themselves, yet you can learn so much about someone in just six words.

your life as a tweet icebreaker templateFor those that want a fresh spin on an icebreaker that’s quick and forces participants to be succinct yet can say a lot about a person, you can look to Twitter for inspiration. Challenge learners to share their life story in 140 characters (or 280 if you are feeling super modern) or less. One note about this challenge: you can make this task a little easier on your participants if you give them a worksheet with 140 boxes so that they don’t spend valuable session time trying to count each letter (and space).

Have you used the 6-word memoir icebreaker? Looking for an icebreaker activity, but a 6-word memoir doesn’t seem to be the right fit? Check out this post for some great ideas. 

5 People to Follow on Twitter if You’re a Learning Professional

I resisted signing up for Twitter for a long time. How much can you actually get out of a series of 140-character messages? I’m starting to change my tune on this.

I’ve found that if you’re following the right people, it can be a pretty amazing professional development tool. The following five people are doing a lot of the legwork for me when it comes to finding articles and resources on training, learning, elearning, general human resources and professional development:

General Human Resources

Warren White posts about general human resources information, particularly from a recruiter (and job seeker) perspective.

New Hire Orientation and Onboarding

Michelle Baker shares articles (including content from her blog) focused on increasing employee engagement and how to put together a rockin’ new hire orientation and onboarding program.


Nicole Legault began blogging about e-learning several years ago and now posts a ton of content specific to Articulate Storyline. Whether you’re using Storyline or just looking for some good ideas on creating engaging elearning programs, you’ll get some great stuff.

E-learning (and a smattering of traditional learning, too)

Cathy Moore has some amazing ideas about how to design engaging learning experiences – mostly elearning but there are a lot of concepts that will improve traditional classroom-based learning as well.


“Gamification” is a trendy topic in the learning world these days. Jane McGonigal is the queen of all things game-related. I don’t think she likes the term “gamification”, but if you’d like to learn more about game design and how it can make a real-world impact, she’s an amazing resource.

If you’re on Twitter, I encourage you to follow them for these reasons:

  1. They post links to really interesting content.
  2. If you’re in the HR or learning and development field, their posts will often lead to resources that can solve a problem.
  3. They won’t overwhelm your Twitter feed with a million posts each day.

Are you following someone that posts good L&D content? Please share in the comments section!

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.