• October 12, 2017 7:16 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Guest Blogger, Mark Brewer, Experienced Talent Development Professional and 2018 SEWI-ATD VP of Special Projects.

    Do you listen to yourself?  Our family of professions is sometimes (rightly) accused of using jargon, HR-speak, Consultant-speak or psycho-babble. I suspect it doesn’t exactly open our clients’ hearts and minds to us. I saw an example this week. A bullet in a training slide read “Cognition precedes behavior.” The audience was a mixed group of managers from a variety of professions.  One of a hundred bullets on dozens of slides, I’m betting that one flew right over their heads.  Not because they aren’t smart enough to get it, but because the author made it unnecessarily difficult to get it. A simple and important idea fell by the wayside.  Why throw up barriers?  I’d like to think I would have gone with “Thinking precedes action,” or maybe even “We think before we do.” But I’m better at critiquing others than myself.

    Big words don’t impress. They build walls. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.  Just use little words please.

    (Oh yeah, and turn off the lights when you leave!)

  • September 12, 2017 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    Today we continue the theme on budgeting. 

    How do executives see the learning and development budget? Is it a cost, an investment, or a combination of the two?

    Find out here what Jack and Patti Phillips recommends to do when the "gorilla" shows up and you're in a precarious position.

  • September 09, 2017 3:09 PM | Anonymous

    Please join us September 14th for The Next Big Thing!, a mind-expanding event where you'll hear from experts in the talent development field who share some leading-edge applications and best practices, as well as their thoughts on technology and learning in the future.  Register here!

    In preparation for the event, review the top facts you should know about training reinforcement from the makers of Mindmarker, one of the applications you’ll see at The Next Big Thing!

  • September 06, 2017 5:43 PM | Anonymous
    It’s tough to ask for money if you can’t clearly articulate how it fits into the overarching learning strategy. Before building your budget, account for the various projects, deliverables and initiatives that are in progress and on the horizon along with their anticipated ROI. For additional tips, review the Chief Learning Officer article here
  • September 04, 2017 8:32 PM | Laura Chartier
    You might see the mindfulness boom as a fad or as a corporate revolution. Although it’s a practice commonly hyped for having the ability to improve leadership skills, some research suggests that leaders would do well to consider the intricate connection between mindfulness and broader emotional intelligence competencies as they seek to develop in their careers.

    In the Harvard Business Review article, "Without Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness Doesn’t Work," Daniel Goleman and Matthew Lippincott expound upon how they believe this to be true.

    Want to learn more about Mindfulness & Learning? Attend our October 6th event, hosted by Wheaton Franciscan.

  • September 01, 2017 3:02 PM | Laura Chartier

    Building a strong, standardized strategy and examining your e-learning to ensure that it has universal design and source material that is easy to translate and localize, is essential to any training department seeking to educate international learners and can add up to an engaging experience for all.  Click here to read The Impact of Words is Felt Beyond eLearning, by Pamela Hogle for Learning Solutions Magazine.

  • August 30, 2017 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    Please join us for an insightful session with Susan Lubar Solvang and learn to integrate mindfulness practices into your talent development process on October 6, 2017.

    In preparation for the event, learn more about mindfulness in the workplace by reading this Forbes article which highlights "With workplace stress, self management, work-life balance and leadership burnout becoming increasingly focal, the benefits of mindfulness are likely to produce better leaders and managers of talent."

    Register here!

  • August 14, 2017 1:47 PM | Laura Chartier
    Written by Guest Blogger, Whit Shiller, Stick at Fish Sticks Comedy; Faculty Member at Fish Sticks University; and Executive Director at Comedy With Impact

    The Power of Expectations in Training & Development

    Expectations are set around us and by us all the time. They can be positive. They can be negative. Some expectations from childhood continue to weigh us down or lift us up years, even decades, later. Despite their prevalence, most expectations are unspoken and usually unrecognized. That generally gives them more power than they deserve, which also means that calling them out or recognizing them can have more of an impact than you might expect.

    With a focus on training and development situations, let me suggest three mind shifts that will positively impact your learners’ results:

    1. Reset Low Expectations
      We tend to “over-focus” on those who don’t perform well. That means there’s a natural drag on expectations over time if we don’t course correct by re-focusing on what people have accomplished. Further, the pressure trainers face to achieve results creates disincentives to set the goals too high. Low, easily achievable goals, while good for stats, creates boredom and artificially caps growth.

      As you approach your next session, gives some thought to whether you’ve set difficult, but realistic, objectives. Evaluate whether lower achievers have been overly impacted by how you think your learners will do and adapt as necessary in your next session. Because your expectations of your learners impact their results, you’ll find achievement and interest levels will be higher when making these adjustments -- and that’s good for everyone involved.

    2. Reduce the Stakes
      High expectations are great as people tend to rise to the level that’s expected of them. But pursuing those high expectations with high consequences of failure during training and preparation can lead to poor outcomes. Ultimately, your learners will have to perform when the stakes are high, but if struggles with training and preparation are over-emphasized, it becomes more likely that your learners won’t thrive during live action. There are 100’s of sports analogies here, but I’ll leave those to you to consider on your own time.

      Many learners, when given appropriately high expectations, will be overly self-critical or express self-doubt. Nip that in the bud as soon as it presents itself. Coach them back to the reality of where they’re at in the process so they don’t short circuit the growth that’s coming.

      One quick note: while this is a mind shift for your learners, it’s also potentially a mind shift for you. While you’re in game time when training, you need to make sure that you haven’t raised the stakes too high for the learners just because you’re measured on their success. Be focused on what the stakes are for your learners and you’ll serve them better. If it’s helpful, think of it this way: the best tight rope walkers look more toward the platform on the other side then on the ground below.

    3. Believe in Your Learners
      I recognize that the three mind shifts I’m sharing here are all generally stated. This third one is probably that much more so, but stay with me. This one makes the most difference and makes the other two easier to implement.

      Great educators (and trainers) do not just impart wisdom and knowledge. They don’t just explain processes and techniques. They encourage. They motivate. They inspire. Then they watch with pride as their students achieve great things. How awesome is that? But you can’t encourage, motivate or inspire people that you’re convinced will fall flat on their face. You have to honestly believe they can succeed. If you don’t, your learners will intuitively sense it and they won’t be encouraged, they won’t be motivated and they won’t be inspired.

      So ask yourself: do I believe my learners can achieve all that’s asked of them and more? If the answer is no, figure out why and how to change that answer. If the answer is yes, follow it up with whether your expectations are high enough. If not figure out how to change that answer, too.

    Expectations don’t equal or guarantee results – but they do affect them. By resetting low expectations, reducing the stakes if they get too high, and honestly, and with conviction, believing in your learners, you give yourself and your learners a greater chance of success. Try all three, and I expect you’ll agree.

    About the Author

    Whit Shiller is an improviser – not just in life, but on stage and in the training room.  He’s performed in over 1,000 professional improv comedy shows from coast-to-coast, with the last ten years with the Milwaukee and Dallas based group, Fish Sticks Comedy.  In that time, he and some of the other Sticks have facilitated numerous improv-based workshops on topics as diverse as inter-generational communication to collaborative culture to inventive thinking.  Now under the branding of Fish Sticks University, Whit and the other faculty members offer some of the most engaging and fun workshop experiences while maintaining a noticeably high level of focus on client-identified business, personal and organizational goals.

  • August 11, 2017 1:33 PM | Laura Chartier

    Written by Guest Blogger, Jackie Zahn, Senior Instructional Designer at The Cara Group and past presenter at the June 2017 SEWI-ATD event, 10 Free or Cheap Tools to Make Your eLearning Courses Amazing

    As a seasoned Instructional Designer and admitted tool-junkie, I’m often asked to comment on new industry software and tools.  Every year a new group of ID graduates will link in with me and ask the same question, “If I learn this tool, will I get steady work as a consultant?”  My response of course is that it’s much more complicated and involves taking the time to learn about the client’s needs, what they are/ aren’t communicating, deciphering what they really need versus what they think they need and finding a way to keep the training material relevant and useful to the learners.  And this is the stuff you learn only through experience, right?  Bad news for the newbies. (Read on, there’s good news coming up.)

    Well, a few months ago I started developing a course centered on the book The Trusted Advisor. It’s not new and most salespeople have probably heard of it.   I approached the book as I do most business books (yawn), flipping back and forth, running google searches, and then I ran into this phrase:

    "The right to solve problems is earned by informed listening, which in turn is driven by curiosity."

    My interest was piqued -- I’m curious and I like to solve problems!  So I kept reading and learned about the 4 key components of building trust: credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation.  Winning trust requires that you do well in all four components.   

    How important is trust for an instructional designer?  Well, this book was written for salespeople.  However, once I discovered their self-assessment quiz with the following three questions, I quickly realized the parallels to instructional development consulting:

    1. Do people tell you they’re at ease with you?  (They have a good sense of who you are, they feel they know you, they know what to expect when they see you and deal with you.)
    2. Do people see you as a logical and clear communicator?  (What you say makes sense and people compliment you on it.)
    3. Is this true of you?  You don’t focus on blaming others when things go wrong:  you focus on the learnings, and move on easily from disappointment, without attachment to the past?

    I scored above average with a 9.9.  Is that good, I didn’t know.  That day I had my sister take it (score=4.9), my project manager best friend (score=4.8) and my Mom (score=7.6).  This is how I knew I was on to something.  After a few confirmation phone calls to clients, I learned I am a Trusted Advisor

    Trusted Advisors have contracts that keep renewing, are called upon for more complex strategic issues, and have clients that feel like friends.  Their recommendations are listened to because clients feel that the trusted advisor has their best interests at heart.  Trusted Advisors are driven by curiosity to learn about training audiences, client needs, future plans, and even the latest tools to bring things to life.

    Great news for the newbies:  3 of the 4 components of trust aren’t tied to experience.   Do you have a low self-orientation?  If so, you might be closer to success than you realize.

    Take the test for yourself:


    …and download the FREE whitepaper results.


    Jackie Zahn

  • August 09, 2017 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    An instructional design model is used to define the activities that will guide the development of eLearning projects. It allows you to communicate the purpose and reason behind a strategy. A framework gives you the birds-eye view of all the major components that have to be included in the course. Click here to read Karla Gutierrez's overview of four instructional design models. Add a comment to the blog post to share your experiences with these models and help out your fellow ATD members!

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