Hmmm. Maybe it is actually a training problem.

Riding a Bike

Written by: Heather Snyder

Like many parents before me, I have spent several hours running next to my daughter shouting words of encouragement as I try to teach her to ride a bike. We have spent a lot of time preparing for this goal. We have practiced on tricycles, strider bikes, and even training wheels. There are several techniques to teaching a child to ride a bike, as I have learned by scouring the internet for less frustrating ways to train her in this rite of passage.

This summer’s goal is to finally ride on two wheels, although I have forgotten if it is her goal or mine at this point. As we meander up and down my sidewalk, I reach deep into my bag of tricks to say the right words, demonstrate techniques on my own bike, show her the right picture or video on my phone, or have her visualize herself successfully riding to the end of the road.   Continue reading

“Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”

Elephant in a Tree

It’s grilling season in Seattle. Last weekend I was at my sister-in-law’s house for a cookout and over dinner my niece and nephews decided to play a round of: “Who can actually get Uncle Brian to laugh?”

From the sound of this game, I started to get the impression that I don’t laugh enough around them. Then my niece asked: “Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”   Continue reading

Instructional Design Lessons from a Stupid Parking Ticket

Ticket

I walked out of a meeting that ran 10 minutes long yesterday and I found a parking ticket on my windshield. I now owe the city of Seattle $47.00.

The thoughtful people at the Municipal Court have offered me a variety of ways to make sure I can pay. There’s a website I can go to. I can call a phone number. I can pay in person. They even left an envelope (though it’s not a postage paid envelope, so I’d still need a stamp) in the event I wanted to mail a check.

Basically, they’ve made it super easy for me to pay. And this is an important design element for anyone developing a training program.   Continue reading

After a training session, are your learners left to sink or swim? (Here’s a free form to help with post-training support)

Sink-or-Swim

I spent this past weekend at my daughter’s swim meet in Wenatchee, WA (which is the Apple Capital of the World!).

It was one of the first meets I’ve been able to attend. After her first race, I saw her grab her towel and walk toward where I was sitting in the bleachers. I wasn’t sure she knew exactly where I was sitting, so I stood up and made my way toward the pool deck. Then she stopped. It dawned on me she wasn’t walking to meet me.

What she did is what every person who attends a training program or professional development session should be doing.   Continue reading

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.

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