A Word Cloud from 147 L&D Professionals’ 6-word Memoirs

Word Cloud - Blog Post

Above: This blog post as a word cloud

Last week I was having coffee with TD magazine editor Alex Moore and I was telling him about the 6-word memoir post I had published in February. He suggested it might be fun to see what everyone’s 6-word memoirs might look in a more visual format, like a word cloud.

I loved that idea!

The post itself featured 6-word memoirs from 25 L&D professionals and there were a dozen or so comments with additional memoirs. I also posted this particular blog in the ATD LinkedIn discussion forum where more than 100 other L&D professionals added their own brief memoirs.

Here’s the word cloud (I created it in the shape of an apple since we’re all teachers in one way, shape or form):  

6 Word Memoir - Word Cloud

Not only was it a fun idea, but with a sample size of over 800 words, it’s interesting to see which themes emerged.






If you look at the stem, the word “changing” is prominent.

Before having coffee with Alex, I hadn’t thought much of the idea of word clouds. Beyond just an interesting image, I’m starting to see real value for L&D professionals when it comes to the use of word clouds.

Uploading a lesson plan or training manual to a word cloud generator such as WordClouds.com can offer insights into concepts that may be most often emphasized. If the biggest words aren’t aligned with your overall learning objectives, you may need to re-visit your lesson plan.

A few other ways to take advantage of word clouds could include:

  • Uploading post-training evaluation comments to quickly identify trends from participant feedback.
  • Entering brainstormed ideas during a meeting to develop organizational values, behaviors or even a mission/vision statement.

Have you seen other effective ways to use word clouds? I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comment section!

5 thoughts on “A Word Cloud from 147 L&D Professionals’ 6-word Memoirs

  1. I find it interesting, especially as it was gathered from the ATD LinkedIn group, that I cannot see the word “talent”. In fact, “training” has as much importance as “development”, and both are head and shoulders above “develop”. This is truly a fascinating word cloud. Thank you for sharing!

    • That’s a great observation. I pulled up the actual png file of the word cloud to look for “talent” and I’m not seeing it, even in the areas of white text. Perhaps it means that when people think of their own memoirs and legacies, that PEOPLE and LEARNING and PERFORMANCE and HELPING OTHERS are more important than talent?

      It really fascinating to sift through all this!

      • Exactly. I wasn’t happy with ATD’s name change because, in my experience, no one is focused on talent development. We’re focused on people and performance and learning. I find this so fascinating! Kudos to Alex for coming up with this idea

      • Agreed – very interesting! Talent is just a word – a squishy, jargony, trendy word…a word that we now have to define for people. For many of us “in the business,” it’s never been about “talent” – it’s about learning, growing, connecting, evolving and performing…and creating environments (live, virtual, etc) that enable others to do the same. {so sayeth the girl who wrote the book with “talent” in the title – ha!}

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