• July 24, 2017 2:59 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Written by Guest Blogger, Alexis Fielek, Senior Operations Training Specialist at United Heartland and SEWI-ATD Member

    Innovation is one of those buzzwords, like “alignment” and “strategic initiative” that we hear all the time in the corporate world.  It’s a shame, because it really is one of the most essential survival tools a business can tap.  Without innovation, organizations become stagnant; things are done the way they “always have been” and the competition passes by, fueled by new technologies, efficiencies and approaches.

    I work at United Heartland, and I am lucky enough to serve as the chair of UH Innov8, our Innovation Team.  This role has really helped me experience the value of tapping into the diverse perspectives of coworkers and leaders across our company, and our sister companies. 

    It’s also reinforced for me the value of good information management.  When we first started soliciting ideas from employees, we used an Outlook inbox and I captured everything on a spreadsheet.  After our first Innovation Week yielded over 200 ideas, this became seriously unwieldy.  Ideas had to be entered manually, the team members researching had to remember to go in and add updates, then make sure they were keeping the suggestors informed – it was challenging to stay current.

    Then, we discovered the Idea Pipeline.

    With the Idea Pipeline, our employees click a couple of links and are automatically logged into a user-friendly idea management system where they can add their ideas for how we can maximize efficiency and cost savings, generate new revenue and increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

    Researching and tracking ideas is much easier too.  The five-star ranking and endorsement functions make prioritizing easy and objective; we can assign ideas to Idea Managers, track and post updates, sort by status and generate automatic emails to innovators.  Users can subscribe and receive updates on the ideas they choose, so everyone is in the loop.

    Because of the Idea Pipeline, we’ve seen an increase in the number and quality of ideas received, the turnaround time for research and response, and an overall rise in awareness about just how important the creative ideas of our staff are to the success of our enterprise.

    It’s made a huge difference for us, so I wanted to pass it on.  If you know of a business that would benefit from a streamlined, effective way to solicit, track and research the ideas of its employees, please spread the word, and check out the Idea Pipeline official website (www.ideapipeline.com) for more information.  Happy Innovating!

    About the Author

    Alexis Fielek, MLIS, CAWC, CC, CL, is Senior Operations Training Specialist, at United Heartland, has 20 years of experience in education and training, and is an SEWI-ATD Member. Alexis has earned her Master's Degree in Information Studies from UW-Milwaukee; Bachelor's degrees in Theater Education, English, and German; is a Certified Authority in Workers’ Compensation; and has recently acquired her Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Toastmaster's designations. Her passion is engaging adult learners by any means necessary, including relying on her Theatre Education background to bring new ways of learning to her audiences.

  • July 21, 2017 3:40 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    The Learning Management System has been renowned as an effective and responsive way for industry experts to create, deliver, and manage their content, as well as monitor participation and assess performance among learners. However, the LMS marketplace is ripe for change as older providers are being sidelined by new innovators.

    The methods we now use to learn and share knowledge with others has been largely effected by new technology. Over the past ten years, training methods and delivery have transformed dramatically. Accordingly, in the next decade we can expect the demands put upon our learning management systems to accelerate beyond current capabilities.

    What might the future hold for LMS technology? Read this article to find out!

  • July 17, 2017 9:33 AM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Written by Laura Chartier, Learning & Development Consultant and SEWI-ATD VP of Communications.

    Original article by Alison Beard, from the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review


    Do you have a role model or someone who's life's work you admire? I've been enamored with Alan Alda since I was an impressionable youngster watching M*A*S*H (and the reruns of the reruns of the reruns of the iconic series). No doubt his character, Hawkeye Pierce, was influential in the formation of my sarcastic/quirky sense of humor, desire to help people, and quest for peaceful resolutions in times of turmoil. Because everyone has flaws and faults, some of which are more fatal than others, I try not to regard anyone as my be-all-end-all hero.  With that said, Mr. Alda is about as close as they come. This man, celebrated for his talents as actor (TV, film, and theater), scriptwriter, director, nonfiction author, and science-show host, is also a philanthropist and the founder of two organizations designed to help people improve their communication skills.

    While this article, "Life's Work: An Interview with Alan Alda," is not specifically aimed at Talent Development Professionals, I read it from the perspective of a teacher, trainer, leader, and communicator. Much of what was conveyed is directly applicable to the many facets of talent development. Alda's commentary about using improvisation as a way to connect and engage with people seemed particularly apropos for interactions within our field.

    As I was reading, I used the free version of the digital tool, Diigo, (pronounced DEE-go) to emphasize and comment upon points throughout that appealed to me from the lens of one who coaches and presents, as well as someone who strives first to understand and then to be understood. If you aren't familiar with Diigo, it is a powerful, yet very easy online tool for you to consider. Once you sign up/sign in, you will be able to see my annotations embedded within the interview (pdf file I've linked above). 

    From https://digitalresearchtools.pbworks.com/f/Diigo+Description.pdf

    "Diigo is a free social bookmarking, research, and knowledge sharing tool created to mimic the ease of taking notes while providing a network for sharing and discovering information. Diigo allows you to take personal notes and highlight text information on web pages just as you would on a piece of paper.  You can then bookmark and save this information for further review, while adding tags to keep everything organized.  In bookmarking this information, you can also choose to share with colleagues and friends to allow them to access the web page, view your notes and highlights, and add their own annotations.  All of this information is also saved online and can be accessed by any computer or browser, including cell phones with browsing capabilities.

    It's my hope that today, you will learn something new, SHARE YOUR OWN ANNOTATIONS with us, and comment on this blog post so that all can capitalize on the collective knowledge of, and consider a variety of views from within, our amazing talent development community!
  • July 14, 2017 6:19 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Whether you're recent to the 'training' business or consider yourself a seasoned veteran it's incumbent upon you to hone your training skills not just for your professional capacity but to also exceed your audience's expectations. This article was originally published for ElearningIndustry.com July 2017, by Ajay M. Pangarkar CTDP, CPA, CMA.

  • July 10, 2017 6:40 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    The ever-increasing pace of change in today’s organizations requires that executives understand and then quickly respond to constant shifts in how their businesses operate and how work must get done. That means you must resist your innate biases against doing new things in new ways, scan the horizon for growth opportunities, and push yourself to acquire drastically different capabilities—while still doing your existing job. To succeed, you must be willing to experiment and become a novice over and over again, which for most of us is an extremely discomforting proposition.

    Over decades of work with managers, author Erika Andersen has found that people who do succeed at this kind of learning have four well-developed attributes: aspiration, self-awareness, curiosity, and vulnerability. They have a deep desire to understand and master new skills; they see themselves very clearly; they’re constantly thinking of and asking good questions; and they tolerate their own mistakes as they move up the curve. Andersen has identified some fairly simple mental strategies that anyone can use to boost these attributes. To find out more, read this article, "Learning to Learn" from Harvard Business Review.

  • July 07, 2017 12:00 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Free tools are always valued in today’s budget-conscious world. This post by Connie Malamed highlights 10 great free tools that every eLearning designer and developer should add to their portfolio of resources.

  • June 30, 2017 1:16 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Tin Can API, the successor to SCORM has been making news in the eLearning industry for a while due to its unique features such as offline tracking, tracking learner experience, reducing the need for an LMS, etc. In this blog, Godwin Vinny Carole of Swift eLearning focuses on things that most of us aren’t aware of – Demystifying Tin Can API.

  • June 26, 2017 10:25 AM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    Good mentoring is discipline-agnostic. Whether you’re a mentor to a medical resident or marketing manager, the same principles apply. The best mentorships are more like the relationship between a parent and adult child than between a boss and employee. In this article from Harvard Business Review,  Doctors Vineet Chopra and Sanjay Saint offer an informal set of guidelines for good mentorship — a playbook, if you will, for a game that is very much a team sport.

  • June 23, 2017 3:27 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

    When it comes to microlearning, think about targeted, timely, and actionable learning bites that can be delivered in a short time frame. Author of this recent article for Training Magazine, Shannon Tipton of Learning Rebels, was the keynote speaker for our August 2016 PD - "The 21st Century Toolbox: Restock It with Social Learning."

  • June 21, 2017 8:00 PM | Brian Mason (Administrator)

    Whatever the delivery for online training, be it virtual instructor-led or self-paced (which may or may not offer interaction with a subject matter expert), learners need to be set up for success. See what Richard Spires of Learning Tree International says about Getting More Out of Online Training to Drive Real Behavioral Change.

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