In the first scenario, we looked at the roll out/launch phase of a new product or service.Once the roll out or launch has been successful, we now have users and consumers who need to learn more about how to use the product, how to resolve issues, and how to have the best possible experience with the product.
The role of a learning professional is continuously changing with the world around us. As learning development professionals, it’s part of our job to keep up with the opportunities that this changing world presents us and find ways to leverage them.
Technology and the ways we interact with it are driving our behaviors. We don’t access information the same way we did only a short time ago. The Internet is a game changer: we have more access to information than we’ve ever had in the history of civilization. I remember having to spend hours in a library digging through multiple books in order to find one specific bit of information for a report. Today, this type of research could potentially be done in only a few minutes with one Internet search.
A repost from July 14 and another great video interview by Jeff Tillett, where he chats with John Delano of Saltbox Services about Experience API. This is a fascinating look into the future of learning, learning technologies and analytics; and how businesses will benefit from the evolution of the L&D industry.
I’ve spent the last 15 years focused on adult learning in the global corporate environment, and over the years, there has been increasing demand for more flexibility in the classroom. When I began managing training programs, a big part of the budget was spent on the traditional classroom environment, with an instructor and all participants in the same room. Then, over time, the audience for the training grew and was spread out geographically to the point that the biggest part of the budget was spent on simply getting people from A to B. This could get very expensive very quickly! I had to find new approaches to deliver training to vastly different locations simultaneously.
Here are some of the essential best practices I learned from these experiences:
In part 1 of this topic, I talked about my experience as a student. In part 2, I want to share how I manage potential distractions in the classroom as an instructor.
You see, there are different learning styles. To expect students to sit still during a course might be unrealistic. Some learners do need to take copious notes in order to track the content. Some need to do activities and are lost during delivery. Some need to be doing a few things at a time in order to stay focused. Some need to walk to the back of the room occasionally to get the blood flowing. I’d like to be able to trust my students to know their own learning style. But I also know that I can’t always trust that my students have assessed themselves accurately. So I have come up with an introduction that allows participants to work within their learning style, without shame, while giving me an opportunity to assess. Here’s a summary of what I share with my students:
Mobile phones, personal laptops – any distraction, really. How do you handle distractions in the classroom? In this two-part topic, I’ll share my thoughts on allowing students to use cellphones or computers during content delivery.
When I teach, I struggle with the idea of allowing participants to check cellphones or look at content other than the class content. I’d love to think that I’m so engaging that no student could be torn away from my voice. Or that the students are so invested in the course that nothing would entice their attention away from it. But then I think that it’s pretty judgmental of me to think that a student looking at a phone doesn’t care about their success in the course.
Almost 15 years ago, I traveled as a technical trainer for a large high-tech company. Having already spent 12 years in public education, I was very comfortable in front of a classroom. But teaching adults was a very different experience (as I noted in a previous blog post). My thoughts on managing distractions were influenced by my experience as a student during the 3 months of preparation. This is what my day would look like:
- 8:00 a.m.: I’d arrive in the classroom, take my seat, take out my computer, and chitchat with my neighbors.
- 8:15 a.m.: The facilitator would introduce the syllabus and take care of any classroom business.
- 8:30 a.m.: The facilitator would begin going through the slide deck and delivering content.
- 8:40 a.m.: I’d start to get heavy eyelids and need to do something to keep my eyes open.
- 8:43 a.m.: I’d sneak my cellphone out and check my Facebook for about 5 minutes. I was terrified that my facilitator could see me and I’d get in trouble.
- 9:00 a.m.: The facilitator would do a quick review, and I’d be able to answer all of the questions.
- 9:15 a.m.: Break time.
- 9:30 a.m.: We’d return to class and repeat the first six bullet points.
Let me make a couple of observations:
Whether you call it onboarding, orientation, or new employee training, the idea is the same: you have information that you need to instill in an employee, and you need to do it fast and efficiently.
If you’ve been a corporate trainer or an instructional designer for a while, you’ve created these types of programs. In some cases, it’s a simple course that you create to explain new processes or procedures. However, most onboarding or orientation programs can be very lengthy and detailed.
There are various methods for providing this information to the employee. We’d all like to be able to take an experienced employee and do a “Vulcan mind-meld” to the new employee to pass along all the information that the experienced employee has gleaned over the years. But since that technology isn’t available yet, we need to create programs or training sessions that will provide everything that the employee will need.
Best practices for these types of programs can include items such as the following:
My background is in education in the public schools. In fact, I spent 5 years teaching middle school – easily the most frightening educational territory I can imagine. Middle school students know everything: just ask one of them. They know EVERYTHING. This makes teaching a classroom filled with middle school students a special adventure. The key? Rapport. You have to build rapport with your students in order to get them to pay attention to you. If they’ve connected with you, they’ll listen to you.
Working with adult learners isn’t much different when it comes to rapport. The first 10 minutes of class are often the most important 10 minutes for me – I want to connect with my students quickly. In those first 10 minutes, it’s critical that I accomplish the following:
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend an Association for Talent Development (ATD) chapter meeting in Seattle. ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development, ASTD) is a network of HR professionals, trainers, instructional designers, and many other professionals from training organizations. At this chapter meeting, we were given a lecture on talent management scorecards by a leading author and speaker in the field, Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D. Dr. Schmidt has an impressive resume; her biography reads:
Lynn has 26 years of experience as a talent management and organization development leader in large corporations. Currently, she is a talent management leader at Group Health Cooperative and has responsibility for succession management, leadership development, coaching, leader onboarding, and performance management. Lynn has received her certification in ROI evaluation, served as the chairperson of the ASTD ROI Network Advisory Committee for two years, and was a recipient of the ROI Practitioner of the Year Award.
You might ask, “What does talent management have to do with instructional design?” At face value, maybe not a lot. When it comes to instructional design, I’m more concerned with managing the project (scope, delivery mode, audience, and so on). However, in the past five years, I’ve worked on no fewer than five quality attribute projects that were designed to evaluate an agent’s performance. Without even knowing it, I was creating a scorecard for talent management. After this lecture, I feel more equipped to guide my clients toward scorecards that will get the result that they’re looking for: service excellence.
I want to share the highlights that I took away from the talk and then offer thoughts on how this will impact my design and development of quality programs for support professionals.
Topics: learning and development, ATD, talent management, workforce planning, Lynn Schmidt,, ROI Practitioner of the Year Award, micro scorecards, succession management, engagement and retention, performance management, talent acquisition, ATD Seattle, macro scorecards, scorecards, ASTD ROI Network Advisory Committee, organizational scorecards
In the previous posts in this series, we discussed how to leverage Design Thinking modes to help create more effective learning experiences. In some respects, the Design Thinking modes (Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype) are similar to the traditional ADDIE process steps of Analysis, Design, Develop and Implement. We think the key differences between the two, however are quite stark. We’ve separated them into these elements:
- A more radical collaboration among the internal and external teams
- The ability to gain deep user insight
- Heavier reliance on prototyping
Too often, we fail to both effectively collaborate with our internal teams while designing learning experiences, and to foster a deeper collaboration with external stakeholders and the audiences we support. By conducting what we refer to as radical collaboration, you let go of the ego-centricity that many learning designers fall back on -- especially those of us that have many years’ experience doing what we do. We look at radical collaboration as “checking your ego at the door” and encourage people to provide input every step of the way on the solution being built. This is where you may consider adding elements of Agile into your process: daily stand-ups where you share what you’re working on with your team, granular user stories where you work out features and benefits, and constant feedback opportunities to ensure you’re on the right track.