Play in the Training Room has a Perception Problem. Let’s Fix It!

Play

Some feel that “play” is a four letter word when it comes to training and professional development. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with using play as an engagement strategy… as long as it’s an intentional design element.

This month I was asked by the folks at TD magazine to write an article outlining some specific ways that L&D professionals can incorporate play (with a purpose) into various delivery methods – from classroom-based to webinars to performance support.

It was an honor to be asked to write for TD’s “Fundamentals” section. If you have five minutes or so and are interested in how you can incorporate more play into your next training program, give it a read… and then let me know what you think.

Do you feel “play” is appropriate for the professional training room?

Better Trainer: Mr. Miyagi or Coach Norman Dale?

Better Educator - Both

Two of the best movies of all time, “The Karate Kid” and “Hoosiers“, featured plot lines involving strong leaders and the incredible transformation of their pupils. Mr. Miyagi, the aging, apartment complex handyman and Coach Norman Dale, the former NCAA Division III national champion basketball coach, had very different styles. From a learning and development perspective, which one of these immortal teachers was a more effective educator? Continue reading

What’s Your Go-to Move?

Go-to Move

We all have a “go-to move”. Danny Zuko had the old yawn-then-put-your-arm-around-Sandy’s-shoulders. Jimmy Superfly Snuka leapt from the top rope to head butt his opponents. A guy who lived across the hall from me in my freshman dorm had this irritating, unstoppable shot from just below the goal in Sega’s NHLPA Hockey ’93.

In the learning and development world, it’s that instructional strategy that seems to make its way into just about every one of our workshops or presentations.

Recently my go-to move has been an activity called “How I See It”. I first learned this activity as part of Casey Family Program’s training on racial and ethnic identity development called Knowing Who You Are (side note: this is the best diversity-related training I’ve ever attended). Here’s the activity in a nutshell: Continue reading

How do you “work out loud” across continents? There’s an app for that.

WhatsApp Home Screen

Imagine you were given the opportunity to restore sight to someone who was blind. And the better you did your job, the greater number of people who could see.

I work for an eye bank, and my colleagues and I wake up to this opportunity every day.

For those of us who work in the same office, the opportunity to share promising practices presents itself through a variety of every day interactions – sitting next to one another, in the lunchroom, at the water cooler, in weekly staff meetings or daily huddles. It’s less easy, however, to share new thoughts or ideas or ways to move past common problems for those of us working with colleagues around the world. To some degree, when colleagues are out of sight, they’re also out of mind. Continue reading

67 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Learning and Development Professional

washburnBrian2

In spring 1998, a young, brash bureaucrat at the United States Office of Personnel Management delivered a presentation on the federal government’s early retirement policy. It was his first presentation and as the room cleared out, someone pulled this young, brash bureaucrat’s boss aside and asked: “Who’s the asshole?”

It was me. And apparently I didn’t quite hit my first presentation out of the park. I’ve learned a lot over the past 17 years. Here are a few of those lessons learned, in no particular order: Continue reading

3 Questions to Ask Before Planning Your Next Training

Planning

“Begin with the end in mind” is a pretty common rule of thumb when mapping out training programs. It sounds like wise advice… but what does it really mean?!

What’s the end? The end for whom? Are we talking about the end of the training program? Are we talking about when mastery of the content has occurred? Are we talking about the end of days?

Over the weekend, I spent some time with the curriculum planning team for a new certificate program in Workplace Learning and Professional Development at the University of Washington, and we began our planning session with these three questions: Continue reading

If Organizations Espouse “Diversity” As A Priority, Their Conference Planners Need To Go And Look For It

Panel and Diversity

I have been a keynote speaker, panel participant, panel moderator, breakout session facilitator and I’ve also led pretty much every other high profile conference, meeting and symposium role you can think of. Ok, well maybe I haven’t personally done that, but plenty of people like me have – straight, white, Christian, (upper?) middle class men with no physical disabilities.

Over the past week and a half, I’ve noticed the topic of diversity has come up thrice with respect to conferences and conference faculty selection.

The first mention popped up in my Twitter feed Continue reading