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

Evolution

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

Is your training obsolete?

One of the little things that I enjoy about traveling for work is the opportunity to use the hotel gym. Last week at the Hilton Garden Inn in, I headed to the gym bright and early and I wasn’t in the mood to listen to music on my iPhone. I noticed that each workout machine had a docking station that could both charge my phone and allow me to play a movie from my phone on the monitor of the treadmill.

The only problem is that the docking station looked like this:

Treadmill_Obsolete_Training

It would have worked well if I traveled with my old iPhone 4, but it wasn’t going to work with any iPhone manufactured after 2011. Unless the hotel was planning to replace all of their exercise equipment, these docking stations offered zero value to hotel guests.

It got me wondering: how often do I produce training programs – lesson plans or elearning modules –  that have a “shelf life” and which have long-since expired?   Continue reading

The Exciting Conclusion: What happens when new employee orientation becomes a game?

A week ago, I wrote about a new and improved orientation program for incoming employees at my organization. The response to that post was unexpected, and amazing. Thank you to everyone who commented on the post or sent me an email or a LinkedIn message to wish me luck with the program and to hear more about how it turned out.

I’m happy to share our experience from our first session in two parts.   Continue reading

Should the development of training programs feel like work?

jumanji

It was a Tuesday afternoon in December. We had been huddled around a conference room table for two hours. The end of our scheduled time to meet had arrived and I needed to leave the office to attend another meeting. I bid farewell to the other two people in the conference room.

When I came into the office the next day, my colleague told me that she stayed in that conference room for another hour and a half, generating ideas and building the framework to overhaul our new employee orientation program. “When I thought about it,” she reflected, “it struck me that I didn’t even feel like I was at work yesterday. It was so much fun!”

It was such a simple, and at the same time powerful, observation. Why can’t we feel like we’re “not even at work” more often?   Continue reading

How ruthless can a learning and development professional be?

darth-vader

Happy New Year!

In my last post from 2016 I shared my one-word resolution that I’m hoping can center me as I try to make my work bigger and better in 2017: ruthless. As in: ruthless prioritization.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked to design several training programs in which the clients want big things achieved… and they’ve also given very limited time in which to achieve these things. My biggest challenge was to figure out how to deliver what the clients wanted while at the same time ensuring the training programs were what I’d consider to be fundamentally sound.   Continue reading

Checking the Readability Level of your Training Documents

Last week I had an opportunity to present at the Online Learning Conference in Chicago. After my session was over, I snuck in to several other sessions, including Julie Dirksen’s session entitled The Science of Attention, Willpower and Decision-making for Better eLearning. The facts and figures she presented were compelling (especially the way in which she dispelled the “human attention span is only 8 seconds” statistic), but it was a Microsoft Word trick she mentioned in passing that I found most interesting and couldn’t wait to try.    Continue reading

When the trainer becomes the trainee

trainer-as-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