Keeping Small Working Groups Motivated

Last weekend I had an opportunity to collaborate with another organization on a workshop in which we had participants develop an 80-item rubric designed to evaluate the competence of eye care professionals.

A big chunk of the time we set aside for this workshop was to have small groups work for 90-120 minute periods of time on rubric development. That’s a long time to request small groups to hunker down and focus on a repetitive, sometimes tedious task. As we designed the workshop, we kept asking ourselves: how can we keep people motivated to stay focused and productive during these long stretches? Continue reading

Instructional Design Inspiration from an Indian Restaurant

The waiter stopped by my table and dropped off a menu as I waited for a colleague to join me. As I flipped through the pages, I noticed that each section of the menu (appetizers, vegetarian options, non-veg options, desserts) was broken up by a page of random food history.

It struck me that there might be a lesson in here for training professionals and instructional designers. A lesson that could reduce the amount of time they spend delivering superfluous content. Continue reading

Two Words of Advice for Anyone who Designs Software Training

Computer Training

Over the past few years, I’ve been asked to help design a variety of training programs during the implementation of new software products and computer systems.

It boggles the mind how complicated software vendors have tried to make their user adoption training. Here are two words of advice for anyone who works for a company that is tasked with training clients on their software: Continue reading

One Word all L&D Professionals Must Take to Heart


Last week I had a chance to facilitate a presentation skills workshop. A colleague had helped me re-tool the lesson plan for the workshop and I was curious how it might turn out.

Instead of introducing a number of concepts and then asking participants to put together and facilitate a sample lesson plan, we instead introduced a lesson plan template and let people design a 15-minute lesson plan. Every 30-45 minutes we would stop participants to give them some content around adult learning, engagement strategies and how to tighten up the language they use (eliminate those uhs and uhms). Continue reading

L&D lessons from… a photobooth?


Last weekend I attended a fundraiser and near the entrance was a photobooth. And there was a long line to wait in order to get pictures.

It seems photobooths are en vogue these days – at wedding receptions, birthday parties, church gatherings, office holiday parties. Inside the photobooth, children and adults alike giggle, make funny faces, wear silly hats. The photobooth is an instant icebreaker for some, a must-do destination for others.

On the other hand, there’s training. I can’t say people line up for most training courses. There’s not much giggling or enjoyment that comes out of the training room.

Are there lessons that the photobooth can teach L&D professionals? Continue reading