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!!).


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

Well-designed training has something for a range of experience levels


A guiding principle for good instructional design is to be sure that you know your audience and design something that meets their specific needs.

If you know that your audience is relatively inexperienced, then you need to make sure the basics are covered. If your audience is quite tenured, then advanced skill building would be in order.

What happens when you’re not quite sure who is planning to show up (for example, when you have to design for a conference session)? What happens when you’re told that your audience will have a broad range of experiences?   Continue reading

What happens when we hold on to old beliefs (even when they’re not true)?

The answer is: we look foolish.

A few weeks ago at the Online Learning Conference, I sat in a room and I was amused by a question the keynote speaker posed to the audience. She asked: what color is a yield sign? I turned to the person sitting next to me and said: yellow! She smiled and nodded. Such an easy question!

The problem was: we were wrong.

Not such an easy question. And when the answer was revealed, there was a collective palm-slapping-forehead sound that rang out across the ballroom.

In case you were wondering, a yield sign you’d see on the road today (and every day since 1971) actually looks like this:   Continue reading

When the trainer becomes the trainee


I’m coaching my son’s first grade CYO soccer team this fall and earlier this week I attended four and a half hours of mandatory meetings and training. The morning after the training, my wife asked what I learned.

I paused, then said: “You can’t bring your vuvuzela to games this year.” In fact, you can’t bring cow bells or whistles either.

She asked if I learned anything else during these four and a half hours. I paused again, then began to panic. Continue reading

Is it really a train the “trainer” session? Or is it a train the “SME” session?


Last week I was talking with a colleague who made a distinction between what she perceives her team as doing compared to what some other teams do. She said: “We really view our team as educators, while there are other teams that get out into the field and don’t even care about who the audience is, they simply have a slide deck and they’re going to walk the audience through the slide deck. We call them presenters, as opposed to educators.”

I normally don’t get too caught up in language and vocabulary and semantics, but this was an important point. Perhaps more importantly, this was coming from an operational manager, not someone in the L&D department. This wasn’t just “inside baseball” talk among training geeks. Continue reading