Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Accidental Designer: Book Group Discussion Guide

Looking to develop your team's ID skills? Want to have a good starting point for a team meeting discussion? At the request of a client who was starting a discussion group for her team on The Accidental Instructional Designer, I created a Book Group Discussion Guide. You can download the guide for free from the ATD Press page:
The Accidental Instructional Designer covers nearly every aspect of the e-learning design process. It’s perfect for the learning professional or instructional designer who is just getting started—or the practitioner looking for new ideas. Delve into instructional design, creating scenarios, building interactivity, designing visuals, and working with SMEs. Read a sample chapter
Get the conversation flowing with The Accidental Instructional Designer Book Group Discussion Guide. Download the free guide from the book page. 
If you start a book group in your organization, let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rubber Ducks and Instructional Design

If you haven't already figured it out, there's this duck meme thing going on in my life.

Real pet ducks.

Book covers with ducks on them.

At Christmas this past year, a friend sent me a box of rubber ducks. All colors. 50 of them.

In my twenties I even had a hair cut that my friends joked looked a little bit like a duck's bottom.

Like any good meme, these ducks have a life of their own, and I no longer have any control over them.

My book, The Accidental Instructional Designer, features a bunch of black rubber ducks with one shiny yellow one standing out from the crowd. The yellow duck, instead of the black sheep.

One of my clients recently told me that she had bought copies of my book for her entire design team. She's running a reading group with them, focusing on my book! Along with my book, she gave each of her team members a rubber duck to put on their desks.

She says she keeps a rubber duck on her desk to remind her that although she was an accidental instructional designer, she knows her stuff and practices with passion and intention. She wanted to share that message with her team.

I love that the duck meme has spread.

I have a few extra rubber ducks at my house these days. What color would you like?

Pick up your copy of the Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age on Amazon or through ATD Press.




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Kineo Blended Learning Webinar Series

Join me and Chip Cleary, Kineo's VP of Solutions & Consulting, as we  introduce a new webinar series focused on blended learning in different solution areas. 
30 minute sessions, we'll keep it tight and focused, with real-world examples to get you inspired.
The series launches Thursday, April 2 with Make Blended Learning Work for Leaders. Learn more and register today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Responsive Design for eLearning [Article in @learningsolmag]

"It’s a fact: we live in a multi-device world. I’m currently sitting at a desk with my laptop open, my phone next to me, and a tablet within reach on the counter. What about you? How many devices do you have going at this very moment? Chances are it’s more than one..."

This is our new reality. So how do we design eLearning that fits into this new world order? Read the full article Responsive Learning Is a Must-have, Not Just Nice-to-have, featured this week on the eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions Magazine.

Interested in more points of view on Responsive Learning? Check out this article by James Corey-Wright, Kineo UK's Head of Learning Design, "Responsive Digital Learning - All for One, One for All".

And then go visit the Adapt Community site, for information and demos of the open-source Adapt Framework.

How are you going to respond to a responsive world?

Monday, February 09, 2015

Session Notes: Breaking Down Silos @JD_Dillon #TrainingMag

These are my live blogged notes from the Training 2015 Conference and Expohappening this week in Atlanta. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

JD works in the higher-ed space, but is a corporate training guy. He supports the guys who work for Kaplan. JD was at Disney for awhile, AMC entertainment, and 5 years at Kaplan.

JD's slides for this session if you want to follow along...



In 45 minutes, he's going to tell us a five year story.

How Kaplan applied social and how that has changed the way work gets done.

From topical discussion to enhanced collaboration to structured sharing to community engagement.

So JD started at Kaplan...and then had to build e-learning. He's starting to look for the content and can't find a darn thing on the SharePoint site -- just loaded with docs and decks and stuff. That no one can find.

So he said, wouldn't it be amazing if we had Wikipedia for Kaplan? And wouldn't it be amazing if the guy in Phoenix could help the guy in Orlando, and the training department never had to be involved? People helping people across landscapes and time.

And so he started to say "I'm going to be a learning professional" and he started tweeting and going to conferences...

How am I going to make these people share, so that Phoenix/Orlando thing will happen? He was thinking, if you build it they will come. But they didn't.

He thought social was about the technology. Doesn't everyone just want to do this?

But they didn't...

So he started looking around and scrapped the need to start with a strategy. What's the landscape? How is the work being done at Kaplan? How do you know how to do things and who do you go talk to when you have a problem?

Instead of creating a grand strategy, how can I help you do what you're doing?

Sharing isn't new - people were already sharing, but in a way that wasn't advantageous. It was happening in email. And it was happening at home -- people were using platforms at home that were working for them, but once they got to work, they weren't there...

This whole social thing has nothing to do with technology. It's about mentality.

Someone may be constantly sharing things on LinkedIn, but at the workplace, they're not doing that behavior. How do we spread that value so they can do that behavior in the workplace?

Biggest barrier - information ownership. Ultimately, info is power. "If I tell you how I do this, I won't be sales person #1 anymore..."

In silo-based organizations, my department OWNS that.

Location is big. How often do people have to go to your LMS to do their job? Never. Don't ask people to add something to their life? How do we integrate this with the meaningful work people are doing.

No one gets hired to learn; everyone gets hired to DO A JOB.

So where do you start?

Topical Sharing

Let's find out what people are talking about and where. What's the information people need every day to do their work? So JD asked, how can I help them check their lists more effectively? Don't worry about this grander thing about sharing, but instead getting into the workflow.

With no toys and no budget. How do I enable sharing at scale without a technology platform? Cuz we didn't have the toys...

How can we do this and slip in under the IT radar?

What flexible technology is out there, cheap, and could serve a group of people. So he got a Wiki (Confluence). He asked a group what they needed -- he spent $500 and he loaded all of their SOPs...

Social = ability for people to engage and share. Confluence has a commenting box, which made it social.

But the lawyers were concerned about the comments. "The content was approved, but what if people say...?" The answer is, they're already talking and now we can see what they're talking about. And he's never had to escalate anything.

When people's names are tied to it there is accountability. They behave well. If someone has the wrong answer, the people come in with the right answer.

Installed Community Management as a function. They check that people are being nice and are around. So this helped get that buy-in.

Enhanced Collaboration

Confluence is now at 72,000 pages three years later.

So now they started using Google Docs. Effectively killing the email attachment.

Introduced HipChat. Enables topical chat rooms. His team no longer emails each other. They have rooms for projects in HipChat.

Within Confluence, started Project Blogs. So you can document decisions made and the whys behind those decisions.

Structured Sharing

So how can you enable the conversations that are starting to happen and spread it? Teams were very location focused -- Orlando people got help from Orlando people; phoenix from phoenix.

As part of onboarding/new hire groups, he added a Confluence comment thread. He gave those 15 new hires a page. Anyone else could come in and say hello. Here people were talking about whatever. Kind of like a news feed. And the amazing thing, the new people who didn't have silo mentality kept coming back.

Started to leverage this sharing concept into formal trainings. Went after Leadership Training first. They were more accepting of the concept.

Trainers didn't like this, but now more than half of this type of training is now taught virtually.

Then took it to the next level. Started inviting people in to video booth based on what's the big thing in the org right now. Asked them each a question. Instead of making training on it, we got the people who were doing it well to share what they were doing. "How do you do your job?" -- not what they were doing.

People had a hard time sharing this in written form.  Writing takes awhile and people get into perfection mode. When people try to write, it gets too formal.

So we went YouTube on them. People shared on camera. Specific and tactical. 90 seconds.

Community Engagement

Learning and development is in a good place because of that shared services mentality. So JD can start a question thread. But how do we get out of the way now?

Started with forums that were very focused. Now they have more open forum -- "The Writer's Forum". People come in and have meaningful exchanges about better.

So more discussion forums where people take control.

People started to contribute.

Then they started Google Plus. It sat there for three years. Needed to tie the social bit to the work. And now it's really open.

Used five different platforms. There's no one size fits all. As long as you think about the behaviors and how sharing can solve the problems of your organization, then you find tools that will solve those problems.

Let people pick how they share...

This constantly evolves. We need to be nimble.

Can you measure social engagement? Can you connect back to business outcomes?

JD's favorite quote: "Before, only the veterans knew everything. Now, everyone has access to the same information. Everyone has a voice."

For training guys -- how do we shift from creator to connector. Connecting people to ideas and info and each other.

Look for small wins and celebrate them. To help shift the culture.

Dig in. This has taken five years to get to this point.

Know your stuff. Know what Twitter is and Pinterest. Even if you're not a social person and don't want to share, do you see how others could use this?

Session Notes: "Driving Impact with Learning Analytics" Jeff Grisenthwaite #TrainingMag

These are my live blogged notes from the Training 2015 Conference and Expo happening this week in Atlanta. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Metrics that Matter with Jeff Grisenthwaite, VP of Client Success at CEB (www.executiveboard.com). 

Scrap learning -- on average across industries 41% of learning is considered "scrap" learning. ATD Research shows annual learning spend per employee is $1,195 -- so at 45% we're wasting a lot per learner ($537)!

So how do we reduce scrap learning and create more impactful learning experience? Our goal: reduce scrap, improve performance.

To increase the impact of learning programs, L&D need to ensure decision making and continuous improvement are supported by analytics.

Do you have these analytics in place?

Comprehensive Metrics

  • Efficiency (we've been good at reporting this, because it's what the LMS reports).  This is cost, volume, utilization, speed (time to market - how long does it take to get the learning solution out there in response to the need.
  • Effectiveness. How well are we doing the learning? Learning, impact, support, alignment (map the learning & dev portfolio to the business priorities of the org). Need to take a broader view of what's happening on the job. How are your vendors doing?
  • Outcomes. You need to be able to talk about the things that the business cares about. How your program is actually influencing business metrics.
We need to move from smile sheets to smart sheets. Broaden our view from L&D to what matters in the business. L&D focus is typically on instructor, content, learning environment, knowledge gain, support materials.  Business focus cares about manager support, or support, performance improvement, business results, ROI.

Multiple Sources

We do want to continue to get feedback from the learner. But we want to get more and get feedback from multiple sources.  
  • Learning Intervention: post event evaluation from learner AND the instructor (the instructors can let you know if the right people are attending the course). 
  • Measure Impact: learner follow up evaluation (are they better at doing their job), manager follow up eval (get the manager's perspective - has the learner's performance changed), business metrics follow up eval.
Good benchmark is 800:1 (# of staff: # of L&D team to support that). So what do you do if you're a one-person shop supporting a staff of 10,000? Go after one thing - he says that Learner Post-Event Evals are actually pretty reliable predictors -- if you ask the learner if they are going to apply it...

If you have to pick three - go with learner post event, learner follow up, manager follow up.

Remember, our goal is to improve performance within the organization.

Performance Benchmarks
  • External benchmark: How does your company compare to the competitors? Scrap learning rates, manager support for learning, delivering training at the time of need, increases in sales as a result of training.
  • Internal benchmark: Imagine a ranking of your courses, your vendors

Get the fundamentals right before you start embracing the next big thing.

Process Automation

Where does your time go in terms of analytics? For most orgs, 80% of the time is spent on the manual gathering and date entry and reports. This leaves very little time for Action. Let's look to spend the same amount of time but move the non-value added admin work to focus on action.

Automate as much of the process that you can -- for data collection and insights.

Each role will have different insights.

Instructor -- daily (what should I change before my next class), monthly (which courses could I facilitate better), quarterly (how can I improve my overall delivery).

Same patterns across different roles, although different questions.

L&D exec -- monthly (which vendors who'll we continue working with), quarterly (where should we allocate resources)

Teeing up for the Big Meeting
This is when you share your data back.

Ask this -- "what are your business goals?" and not "what metrics do you want me to report on?"

Find the story in your data:
1. scan the data: -- review high level summary reports across all
2. analyze: use detailed reports to pinpoint wins, areas of focus and root cause
3. synthesize: combine summary data and detailed analysis to craft an insightful story

"We were expecting this and so far this is occurring and here's the data to back it up."
"Surprises -- we didn't expect this, but here's the data to back it up."

Focus on the future and not the past -- how do we build on this.

Present:
 your theme (elevator pitch), 
insights (surprises, validated hunches, forecasts), 
recommendations (address issues, expand impact, improve forecast), 
requests (ask for more resources, business data, support for program), 
broaden (next phase, expanded audience, don't just focus on l&d -- be looking at the business)

Don't just go into the meeting trying to prove value. Then you're in position of defense. Instead, you want to focus on how to improve results. You might recommend reducing scrap learning...

Opening Keynote: The Science of Happiness & Success #TrainingMag

These are my live blogged notes from the Training 2015 Conference and Expo happening this week in Atlanta. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

The Science of Happiness and Success (applied to the workplace)
Michelle Gielan, Founder, Institute for Applied Positive Research
with Shawn Achor (her husband)

How can we ignite and sustain positive change in society?

She was a news broadcaster with CBS. Decided she wanted to study research on positive change.

We're all broadcasters. We're constantly broadcasting news and info to other people. And this influence not only our own lives, but also the lives of others.

Can we tap into the power of people who are optimistic in the workplace but don't express it? 31% of people are positive, but not expressive of it. Can we tap into that 31% to transform the workplace at large?

The Happiness Advantage:  The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

We see productivity and mental agility increase with increased optimism.

3 points of inflection are the three greatest predictors of success:

  • How optimistic are we in the face of challenge? Do we see challenges as temporary or permanent and pervasive? Optimists take steps more quickly than pessimists.
  • Our stress response. Is it cortisol or dopamine?
  • How strong is our social support system? And how likely are we to jump in and help other people?

What work routines can we implant with our colleagues at work that bring out the best in everyone in relation to those three predictors in order to fuel their optimism quotient.

Positive Psychology is a relatively new movement. We're taught that we're our genes and our environment and that's it. But what we're realizing is that we can tramp our genes and our environment -- that we CAN move people from depression and stress and change them into optimists.

But we want to avoid sugar coating life with irrational optimism. We need rational optimism. You start with realism. You don't ignore the limits, but you're not stopped by them.

When our brains are positive, we are more productive, more likely to receive a promotion, we outsell the other sales people on our teams, we're more successful.

If we HIRE for optimism or bring neutral people up on the optimism scale, our organizations are more successful.

As a leader, how can you broadcast that optimism out to your people?

How can you create some of those corporate habits in people's lives?

We did a group experiment in the keynote: partners stare into each others eyes. One person smiles and gazes warmly into their partners eyes. The other person is told to show NO EMOTION. 90% of us failed this experiment and smiled back. Your mirror neurons are fighting against your brain. Dopamine kicks in. You can't help but smile.

Negativity, stress, uncertainty, anxiety -- we can pick these up like secondhand smoke from those around us.

Humans are not wired together, but we're wirelessly connected.

Individual habit changes can wirelessly change the brains of people around us.

At the Ritz Carleton staff are trained that if you get within 10 feet of them -- they smile and make eye contact with you. Within five feet, they verbally greet you (The 10-5 way). When this was implemented at a hospital, the hospital ratings went up

What's the social script that we use at our organizations to describe stress? Chronic stress turns our immune systems up to the highest levels it wrecks your body vs. a message that stress enhances us and can be used to our advantage.  By changing that social script, we can reduce the negative impact of stress.

Start all of your communications with something positive -- one line in an email. Don't take for granted those moments that foster social connection.

Globally, the triggers of happiness are the same everywhere. How you view change happening in life, how you view stress, your social connections...