• 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 | Brian Mason

    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 | Brian Mason

    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!

  • July 28, 2017 9:03 AM | Laura Chartier

    Doodle by @giuliaforsythe drawn during @grantpotter‘s presentation on Tinkering, Learning and the Adjacent PossibleOver-booked and exceedingly scripted days can be the norm in the today's workplace. Accordingly, learning leaders can learn a thing or two from The Tinkering School.

    In this TED Talk video, software engineer and founder of the Tinkering School, Gever Tulley demonstrates the important lessons his students have picked up during dedicated, unstructured time, with few guidelines and not much direction.  His example of how younger students use building and playing to increase creative problem-solving can directly translate to benefits for working adults and the organizations in which they serve.

  • July 26, 2017 8:59 AM | Brian Mason

    Click here to read the article from Lauren Dixon, Associate Editor of Talent Economy. 

    She writes, "The burden to repair the gaps between business and available talent falls on many parties, said Ravin Jesuthasan, managing director and global practice leader at Willis Towers Watson, a research and advisory firm headquartered in London. Educational institutions need to retool to move beyond merely providing technical skill development to developing the enabling competencies and mental agility that will increasingly be required of individuals, as technological advancement requires lifelong learning. Government needs to actively engage in providing the incentives and infrastructure needed to support and encourage companies to invest in reskilling, as no company can do this alone. Companies also need to provide transparency as to how their demand for skills is changing along with access to development opportunities, Jesuthasan said."

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

    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

    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!

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