4 Writing Tips for Better Learning Content
AUGUST 14, 2014
A SME hands you their source material for a critical training project. Well, neither will your audience. So now what? How do you turn wordy corporate speak into compelling, purposeful content? 1. Speak to the individual. Imagine yourself in a conversation with one person and use that language convey your ideas. Ask SMEs to paraphrase wordy corporate speak. Use the “we-we” test. Avoid superlatives.
Repeat After Me: eLearning is a Technology Solution
MAY 3, 2013
Dear clients, In my 3+ years as a freelancer, I’ve worked with many different types of companies and organizations – everything from huge Fortune 500s with a global audience to small, local businesses with less than 20 employees. Helping small businesses gives me an opportunity to collaborate and design affordable, scalable learning solutions and lay a foundation of good practices. Working with my larger clients generally gives me access to more resources and budget, but usually with more creative restrictions. Spend money on good design. The visual design elements (i.e. Rush job?
Call to Action: 3 Big Reasons You Need a Portfolio
NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Dear Reader, I hate to be a nag (even though I'm awfully good at it.) but now that DevLearn is done and the year is coming to a close, you really need to get your act together! Where's your portfolio? Why aren't you sharing your work with the world yet? With all of these changes, it's time to started asking ourselves: 1. How can I demonstrate what I'm capable of doing? Win and win. Think. Repeat.
You Are Not a PowerPoint Monkey
OCTOBER 10, 2011
In Brian Dusablon's and Judy Unrein's recent ' The Toolbar ' podcast they talked about the features of their dream elearning authoring tools, and I was really struck by the point that most elearning authoring tools aren't designed for 'designers'; they're designed for people who aren't designers. Does that mean I'm against prototyping? Let's first start with the word 'design'. Got it?
New Brandon Hall Group report forecasts major shift in 2016 online learning trends
Companies are increasingly dissatisfied with online learning tools, prompting many to reinvest in technology that supports a modern training approach. Download the report from Brandon Hall Group to see how new investments are bringing real business results.
Stop Trying to Make Training Memorable
AUGUST 9, 2011
I don't know about the rest of you, but my memory is shot. Something about the transition from my mid to my late 30's (likely parenthood) has forced me to abandon any pretense of being one of those highly organized people who never writes stuff down. But my reliance on tools isn't respected, appreciated, or even tolerated by some. The Visual Design Myth. Of course not. Design Featured
3 Lessons I Learned from a (Lousy) 4th Grade Teacher
JUNE 30, 2014
Overly Punitive: Drew a few army men on the back of your math homework? Big mistake. Now you’ve been assigned additional homework as punishment. It’s probably easy to see why my husband and I were left feeling annoyed, aggravated, and alienated. The result is the learning geek equivalent of a “ Burn Book.” ” It’s raw. It’s sarcastic. My Lessons Learned. 1.
Confessions of an Occasionally Lazy Instructional Designer
JANUARY 16, 2012
On occasion I've taken design shortcuts that resulted in mediocre (maybe even some lousy) eLearning. There, I said it. In some more recent cases, the design shortcuts I took seemed necessary because of the timeline for the project. Sure, you could say that I chose to pick my battles, but the honest truth is that - at least in a few cases - I chose to take the easy way out. Going with Your Gut.
Design Perspectives from Ira Glass
SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
In the world of NPR Geeks Ira Glass, host of “ This American Life ,” is utterly revered. Because I was fortunate enough to see him in person at a recent NPR event in Tampa I got to learn, first hand, why he’s so revered. Through a series of audio samples from traditional media (CNN, etc.) Broadcasting Content vs. Storytelling Storytelling with Content. Information is reported.
Feeling Creatively Blocked? Try Consciously Procrastinating
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011
I've never been shy about my love/hate relationship with the corporate training video. Most suffer from a serious lack of authenticity and all but the rarest few come across as contrived, over-wrought, or just plain silly (case in point: " Grill Skills "). Instead, the client requested that I write a scripted video with actors, a task I've undertaken dozens of times before.
The 3 Things ‘Draw Something’ Can Teach Us About Being Better Designers
APRIL 10, 2012
A friend of mine introduced me to ' Draw Something ' last month and I must admit - I'm addicted. I've always been a doodler but this app really ups the ante by challenging me to illustrate a wide array of concepts - everything from simple words like 'cow' to people like 'Lady Gaga' or 'Madonna' - so they can be guessed by a friend who's also drawing words for you. Animate vs. Illustrate. Probably.
You might be misguided if…
DECEMBER 17, 2012
2012 was an “interesting” year (yes, with air quotes). In my 2nd year as a freelance instructional designer, I learned a lot about myself and my industry. While I see great promise in technology and, a good deal of momentum for change in how we foster and measure learning and performance in the workplace, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Between debunked learning theories that resurface with zombie-like persistence (hello learning styles !) Your “performance” objective for a compliance course is that people click an Acknowledgment button. What were yours?
In Praise of the Humble Click & Read
MARCH 20, 2013
Let’s face it: a lot of us have a huge guilt complex where eLearning design is concerned. I’ve noticed that whenever you put a bunch of designers into a room, someone eventually admits that they’re not doing “interactive” eLearning. In fairness, I’m usually an enthusiastic participant in these kinds of purge sessions. After all, design frustration is a fairly common condition in the world of L&D. But now I’d like to assume a more radical position. I’m going to stop playing design therapist or frustrated fellow designer. Of course not.
The Real Problem with Instructional Design
MAY 24, 2011
I'm attending ASTD's 2011 ICE in Orlando this week and in every session I hear the same things from my fellow IDs: "Learner's don't want to do mobile learning.". "My organization won't allow us to access Social Media.". "Our company isn't ready for informal learning.". "My management doesn't have a tech infrastructure.". There's no way my company will ever let me do edgy/cool stuff.".
Authenticity: The Secret Sauce of Learning?
JULY 13, 2011
The following is a real outtake over-heard from an actual training class: "It's important when you speak to customers that you use your own words and feel comfortable in what you are saying. I've prepared some scripts that will help.". In the language of today's 140-character driven society, I'm going to label this one as an #authenticityfail. Authenticity as the Secret Sauce.
Top 5 So-Bad-They’re-Good Training Videos
JULY 20, 2010
I'm not sure which fatal flaw put the following videos over the top. But somehow they've actually transcended the training video genre to become purely entertaining. . #5. Nintendo's 1991 Customer Service Training: What happens when you depict customers as stereotypes and then add in a dose of smug superiority? If Don't worry about it! Just climb on up there and grab those boxes yourself! #1.
Storyboarding for eLearning
Storyboarding is a very important step for creating eLearning courses. But don’t you feel it’s a waste of time to start creating the courses from scratch and copy-paste text and other objects from the storyboard to the eLearning tool for course development.
A Memo to the SMEs of the World
MAY 9, 2011
From: The Training Team. To: Subject Matter Experts. RE: 5 Tips for Avoiding SME/Training Team Communication Breakdowns. In times of rapid change in the workplace, the members of the Training Team feel it' s important to address and correct matters that impact cross-team workflow and impede organizational progress. The training team isn't psychic. Psychotic? Paranoid Schizophrenic? Sometimes.
The Evolution of E-Learning Adoption
JULY 29, 2010
I was responding to a comment on one of my recent blog posts for Mindflash , when the idea hit me: maybe all of us are struggling with the same basic (often baffling) challenges with the adoption of eLearning because we're treating it like a technology shift when, really, it's an idea shift we're after? The bigger question is: where is your organization in the evolution of eLearning adoption?
A Fairytale about the Art of Storytelling
JANUARY 23, 2012
Once upon a time there lived a wise man named Ed. Because he was so wise, the town elders appointed Ed to teach the other townspeople how to perfect their skills so the town could grow and prosper and perhaps, one day, merge with a bigger town to become a glistening, bustling beacon of a city. And the elders were happy. One you MUST attend - or else!". showing the pathology of the virus. See?".
Breaking 3 Bad Design Habits
APRIL 19, 2012
Being a designer presents us with daily opportunities to challenge ourselves, push boundaries and create solutions that make our businesses successful, our clients happy, and our audience more effective. But sometimes our work isn’t very inspirational and it’s really hard to get ourselves psyched-up to change the world. starting with annual compliance training.
Evaluating Training - Capturing the Benefits Aspects of ROI
Training evaluation is necessary and, in many ways, critical to the success of a business. But because short term priorities always seem to take precedence, it is typically something we plan to do better in the next course, or maybe next month, or even next year. After all, we’ve managed pretty well up to now, so surely another year can’t hurt!
Fabulously Retro Customer Service Training
JULY 15, 2011
In my quest to add some creative spin to a customer service leadership program I'm developing for a client, I turned to YouTube for inspiration. While I didn't find anything particularly helpful with my current project, I did find a new addition to my every-growing list of so-bad-they're-good training films/videos. Gender stereotyping. The role of social learning in the workplace.
Stuck in a job that sucks? 4 Ways to Get Over the Suck in Stuck
APRIL 3, 2012
Last fall, the NY Times ran a great article - "Do Happier People Work Harder?". In it, the author cited results from The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index which indicated that Americans feel worse about their jobs — and work environments — than ever before. Not too surprising. This assessment coupled with my own casual observations and conversations with frustrated friends and colleagues allows me to draw many conclusions about myself, the fate of the modern worker , and ultimately the fate of the L&D function. But How do you thrive when you're stuck in job that sucks? Resist! Period.
A “Dear John” Letter to Corporate America
OCTOBER 14, 2010
Like most of us, I cringe whenever I hear the latest unemployment statistics. I have so many friends and relatives who've been looking for months and even years - without any luck. I know how completely devastating job loss can be. As I was reading this morning's AP headline about unemployment claims , I couldn't resist reflecting back on my own, bitter confrontation with worker disillusionment.
Mobile Learning: Is it Time for Some Reality Checks?
AUGUST 6, 2012
Despite being an amazing multi-tasker my smart phone isn’t good at everything. Taking a photo? My phone rocks at being a camera. Want to read that latest Vanity Fair article? My phone is a pretty lousy e-reader. Watching the funny video my friend shared with me? YouTube’s mobile app on my phone is, in my opinion, far superior to their cluttered website. Filling out an online form? My phone is a terrible data entry device. All the zooming in and out, while trying to click inside teeny-tiny text fields and then type on my teeny-tiny keyboard is agonizing. carrying out a WOW raid ).
Seven Simple Secrets to Off-the-Shelf Course Success
Off-the-shelf elearning is applicable for a wide audience, but it won’t address your organization’s unique situations or distinctive content. So are these courses all that helpful? For sure! Read on for 7 secrets to make off-the-self learning your own.
MAY 21, 2011
When I come across training that's trying too hard to be all things to all learners I sum it as "both a floor wax and a dessert topping." Now, for those of you over 35 this pop-culture reference will likely yield a knowing, nostalgic grin and for those of you who don't get it, thankfully there's the internet: Floor wax - sure! Dessert topping - why not? Combined? Um, not so much. Suspect your training is headed into "Shimmer" territory? Here are a few warning signs: Your audience includes everyone. You're removing language about how , in favor of why.
Create Compare & Contrast Exercises in Articulate Quizmaker
AUGUST 31, 2010
Several years ago I worked for a company that used their LMS vendor's proprietary course authoring tool for all their in-house development. This presented a few problems: The tool wasn't a big seller for the LMS vendor (more of a "free gift with purchase"). This This means it wasn't well-designed or well-maintained. Thankfully, there is! . Have any Articulate tips you'd like to share?
3 Big Ideas: Mashing-up Substance with Style
JANUARY 1, 2013
Big Idea #1: Repurpose the Substance. love to write. Over the past few years my blog has given me a convenient, creative outlet for sharing my ideas, exploring the potential of other people’s ideas applied to my own challenges, and poking fun at the little ironies that make up this “industry” we call Learning and Development. Big Idea #2: Refresh the Style. Brilliant!
3 Sales Training Tips From a Complete Sucker
JULY 26, 2010
It's a well known fact that I have no sales resistance and that I easily fall prey to the lamest of product pitches. This is of particular irony considering the fact that I’ve spent the past 10+ years of my career designing and delivering sales and service training. This combination of fear of conflict and extreme empathy for sales people results in me being a complete sucker. Yes.”.
Move Beyond Learning to Applying: A Modern Management Development Program
A better way to develop front-line managers !It’s well documented that people leave managers – not companies. Download this guide to learn how to shift the perspective from event to journey and how to take learners through Proficiency Journeys to get results.
Giving Job Aids a Makeover
JULY 19, 2010
As designers, it's up to us advocate for the learner by creating sensible, easy to use tools and resources. Unfortunately Voluminous Job Aids. If your organization uses job aids as a training vehicle, you might be operating under the "more is more" design philosophy. Do any of these alleged "job aids" sound familiar? Where do we go from here? The Quick Reference Guide. 2.The Jumbo job aid.
Why My 8-Year Old May Be Smarter Than Your HR Dept.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2014
Like many 8-year old girls my daughter Hayden is fascinated, even obsessed with horses. Because we live in the ‘burbs in a cookie-cutter master-planned no horses allowed kinda community, the odds of her getting a horse of her own are nil. Hayden understands the practical barriers to horse ownership, but the heart wants what it wants. These mini break-throughs were rare. For Featured
A Prescription for DevLearn
AUGUST 11, 2014
When thinking about your own professional development needs, does your brain conjure images of PowerPoint training slides and competency models? Do you suffer from feelings of isolation and frustration when trying to convey what it is that you really do on the job? Do you feel overwhelmed by new tools and technology? If youve answered yes to any of these questions, youre not alone. You may be suffering from PDD: Professional Development Depression; a contagious, but highly treatable form of ambition arrest. Read the rest of this post on The eLearning Guild’s Twist blog.
5 Unknown Ways You're Wasting Your Training Budget
In the US alone, companies spend over $70 billion on corporate training and about $1000 on individual employees according to Bersin by Deloitte. When it comes to training budgets, leaders struggle to pinpoint what impact (if any) their training programs are having. So what's the result? Companies end up wasting millions of dollars each year on ineffective training practices.
How NOT to Design a Sales Training Video
AUGUST 29, 2012
As part of my ongoing fascination with all that is cheesy and overwrought in the world of corporate training videos, I’m pleased to present this beauty from Pier 1 Imports which combines sales process training with rap. Yes, you heard me.
Keep it Real: Strategies for Adding More Authenticity to Your Training
MAY 16, 2012
Have you ever read a sales or marketing script used for training and thought to yourself, “Who actually says this stuff?” or “No caller is ever that polite and forthcoming.”? You’re not alone in being skeptical. Most of us are understandably reluctant to embrace words, processes or ideas that don’t ring true. Read the rest of my post on the Impact Instruction Group blog. Design Featured
Trend-spotting: 3 Learning & Development Movements You Need to Watch
MARCH 17, 2013
As most of you were busy putting away holiday decorations and making New Year’s resolutions, I was polishing up PowerPoint slides, booking hotels, and prepping for full-on L&D immersion. With nearly back-to-back conferences and professional development events scheduled for January and February, I went into 2013 armed with curiosity, caffeine, and a whole lot of Airborne ! If the downside of a packed schedule was the hectic pace, the up side was certainly all of the amazing conversations I’ve had with new and experienced learning practitioners. Featured
Workbook: Gamification and Your Enterprise Learning Strategy
This workbook is a response to your need to understand how to strategically incorporate gamification into your learning strategy, in order to drive real business results. It’s designed to be printed, written in and used as a guide.
Credibility and the Training Team – 3 Behaviors to Avoid
AUGUST 24, 2012
All too often, training teams are dusting off their superhero costumes in the quest to design and develop timely, relevant learning. Has this happened to your team recently? request for a full-scale project with little time and almost no budget. Rolling out a curriculum while new processes, systems, or products are still in development. change in business direction puts your training deliverables and deadlines into a tailspin. I’m sure you’re nodding “yes” at all of the above. Read the rest of this post on the Impact Instruction blog. Delight Featured Miscellany