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

Can you admit when you’re wrong?

soccer.jpg

My daughter’s final spring soccer game took place last Sunday. As the game was winding down and the score was tied 3-3, one of her teammates took a blistering shot and found the back of the net.

My daughter’s team went up 4-3. As the referee ran back to mid-field to set up for the kick-off, my daughter caught his attention and said: “Sir, the ball hit my arm before it went into the goal.”

The referee waved off the goal and the score reverted to 3-3.

That was a gutsy sign of maturity and sportsmanship. Do we have the same guts when we do something wrong in the training room?   Continue reading

“But he’s a heading west from the Cumberland Gap to Johnson City, Tennessee”

Map_Johnson_City_Cumberland_Gap

When I was in Birmingham, AL, last week, someone re-introduced me to Darius Rucker. I loved listening to his band, Hootie and the Blowfish, when I was in college, and I’d heard he’d “gone country” but I hadn’t kept up with his music.

The song Wagon Wheel was played for me. It was a catchy tune. I liked it. It sounded like it was about some guy hitchhiking, but I couldn’t quite figure out what all the lyrics meant, so I Googled the song. I found something very, very wrong…   Continue reading

Sometimes even the most powerful, seemingly stand-alone experiences need some facilitation.

I visited the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, last Wednesday.

16th_St_Baptist_Church

In the Lyft ride from the church to a business meeting, I was so overcome with emotion that I had to tell myself aloud: “Get it together, Washburn.” Twice.

Something happened in the 30 minutes between the time I started taking a few photos and the time I hopped into the Lyft that was a good reminder of the important role of a training facilitator during even the most powerful learning experiences.  Continue reading

Game-based Orientation (or: Why I strive to get published in a magazine even though I have my own blog)

Recently, I was fortunate enough to work alongside Miranda Greenberg and Marci Morford on one of the most creative and fun projects I’ve ever worked on in my career. I wrote about it several times in blog posts this past spring (here and here).

After speaking with Alex Moore at the Association for Talent Development, we were also given an opportunity to share a brief write-up of the project, which was published in this month’s TD magazine.

Game-based Orientation

Why should L&D professionals (or any professionals in any profession) seek to have their thoughts and perspectives and experiences and case studies published in industry publications when they could simply share these things on their own blog or website? Here are 5 reasons 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