In search of: The greatest instructional designer in North America

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set out on the ship Endurance with a mission to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent on foot. It was an journey that nobody in human history had ever accomplished, and with good reason. It was hard.

In order to recruit a crew full of people he felt would give him the best shot at success, legend has it that he placed this ad in a newspaper:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”

Shackleton’s Antarctic adventure became one of the most amazing true-life stories of exploration and survival ever told.

In this spirit, I joined with my friend and fellow learning geek, Tim Waxenfelter, several years ago to create an organization called Endurance Learning. Our vision is that every presentation given will be engaging and lead to change.

We’re now in search of someone else who’s like-minded and interested in embarking on perhaps one of the most ground-breaking adventures in the history of professional learning and development.

Here’s our ad:

Help Wanted

Is it possible that our ship will get stuck in the ice, leaving us cold and lonely at the bottom of the world? Yep.

Of course, it’s also possible that if we’re successful they’ll be writing books about us and featuring our journey in IMAX movies.

Want to change the way presentations are done? Send us a note.

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):   Continue reading

Finding Instructional Design Inspiration and Creativity from Unlikely Places

Inspiration

Walking through a lava field in Hawaii a few years ago, I turned to my wife and told her that this was such an inspirational experience… I was getting all sorts of ideas of how to connect this amazing hike with my learning and development projects. She shook her head and told me I had a one track mind.

Are some people naturally more creative than others? Perhaps. But I think like most other things, creativity is a skill set that can be developed over time for anyone who is interested in making their training programs more interesting, engaging, fun, unique and memorable.

If you’re truly interested in building your creative muscle, here are five exercises that might help.

1. Stop and look around. Seriously, stop whatever it is that you’re doing right now Continue reading

5 Icebreaking Activities that can be Connected to Your Content

Earlier this week, as I was traveling to the east coast, I was texting back and forth with my wife about icebreaking activities. She had to do an icebreaker for a meeting and it needed to be connected to the content on which she would later present (yes, our text exchanges are extremely romantic!!).

Texting

I asked about the content she was presenting. Her meeting was going to focus on working across departments, which would represent a major culture shift.

I suggested that she open by asking everyone to Continue reading

A Series of Effective Just-in-Time Training Videos Made by an Unlikely Source

“I got an email saying that the IT department had disabled my mobile phone account. I have no idea what I did wrong.”

IT

My wife recently started a new job and earlier this week she showed up to work to find a new iPhone sitting on her desk. That evening she ripped open the box like a kid on Christmas morning and started getting it set up. She woke up the next morning to find a message from the IT department saying that her account had been disabled.

IT departments, always sticklers for superfluous stuff like network security and prevention of hacking, are just no fun. They seem to like rules. A lot. Unfortunately, most of us lay people don’t really understand these rules.

As I was making dinner later that same day I heard my wife watching something on her phone and chuckling. “Brian!” she called, “you’d appreciate these training videos.”   Continue reading

Learning how to peel an orange has made me a better L&D professional

Orange

When I was growing up, my father would chop off the very top of an orange, then he’d score the peel vertically with a knife, cutting lines about an inch apart around the circumference of the orange. Then he’d use his thumb to remove the orange peel, section by section.

This is how I learned, and it’s the only way I knew how to peel an orange. When I found myself in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, a friend handed me an orange one day. I took out my handy Swiss Army knife, scored the peel, and spent several minutes determinedly trying to remove the peel. These oranges didn’t peel as easily as the oranges back home.

When I finished peeling the orange, my hands were sticky and the peel was all over, but I was ready to dig in. I looked up and saw my friend staring at me in amusement. She had finished her orange already.

“Why do you peel your orange like that?” she asked.   Continue reading

Want to be creative in your next presentation? Try Pecha Kucha-style!

Pecha Kucha-style presentations involve 20 slides that advance every 20 seconds (automatically). There’s no chance for a presenter to dilly dally. It’s fast-paced, visual, and the best ones capture the audience’s attention.

I wrote about Pecha Kucha-style presentations in the past, but when looking over the agenda for an upcoming retreat for a client recently, I noticed they had Pecha Kucha presentations on the agenda! It’s reignited my interest in the style.

Are you looking to do something a little different with your next presentation? Here are a few Pecha Kucha presentations that can offer some inspiration…   Continue reading