“Time can only be spent… it can’t be saved for later.”

This quote has been bouncing around in my head ever since I read these words in a letter that my father sent to me while I was in the Peace Corps. I must have written to him and alluded to the idea that I was already counting down the number of days I had left before I could come home… and this was after only about 3 months had been completed of my 24 month service.

It changed how I look at any project that I’m working on.

I’m reminded of my father’s words every day when I drive by a neighbor’s house:

Countdown

Like much of the country, they’re counting down the days until the Trump presidency finally ends. Every once in a while, I wonder if my learners ever feel the same way during a training session.  Continue reading

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

sme-vs-trainer

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

Using Color-coded Sticky Notes to Create Interactive Visual Aids

Last week I had an opportunity to pilot a training program for managers working with remote teams.

I didn’t just want to talk with the learners about the differences between working with teams that are centrally located versus teams that are dispersed. If this session was going to have any chance of leading to change, I wanted the differences to be so striking as to jump off the proverbial page.

One of the strategies I used to accomplish this was through the deliberate selection of colored sticky notes.  Continue reading