Friday, May 30, 2014

What's your technology mix for learning? Take the poll!

For those of you responsible for designing learning solutions for your organization, what's your current mix?

Asking because I'm speaking at mLearn Con in a few weeks -- The Accidental Mobile Instructional Designer -- and want to share some real world stats.

If you want to go the extra mile, take a minute to describe what you're doing in the comments. Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Accidental Instructional Designer #ASTD2014

My session slides from ASTD 2014. Enjoy!

Designing Sustainable Behavior-Change with Habit Design (Michael Kim) #ASTD2014

These are my live blogged notes from a concurrent session at the ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Michael Kim is the CEO of Karios Labs.
Twitter: @michaelbkim

More research in last 10 years on neuroscience and habit formation (almost 1500 studies this year) – in a golden age of neuroscience. FMRI and more insight into the brain. But just because it’s published will mean it will work in the wild.

At Kairos Labs they partner with 100+ behavioral scientists.

So what do we know?

You can’t just say, you need more willpower.  What we now know: willpower is a muscle. It must be exercised often. It’s expendable. It goes up and down.

The fallacy is that willpower is every increasing.

In Switch – Behavioral Economics – motivation and willpower is like riding the elephant. Willpower is like an elephant that we’re trying to ride and steer.

But now we know even more than that – we don’t have just one elephant. We have many motivations.

Instead of an elephant, think of it as a pack of wolves. Each wolf is a different willpower/motivation.

We ride motivation waves. Motivation has a tide that comes in and out. You have to think about where someone is on that wave when you introduce training or behavior change. Can’t assume everyone comes with the same motivation.

“MOTIVATION is what gets you started. HABIT is what keeps you going.”

Habit = unconscious behaviors. How does your brain form unconscious behaviors?

Habits can be good or bad. But it’s the same neuroscience.

The habit loop
Cue > Routine > Reward…repeated over and over again.
(operant conditioning)

Cue = door to the maze opens; Routine = mouse scurries through the maze; Reward = mouse finds the cheese!

Repeated practice of this loops makes the habit.

“neurons that fire together wire together” (when we do things in close sequence, those neurons start to wire together)

Sequencing.  Small baby steps. You want to teach a series of small steps. “The science of small wins.” ~ John Wooden

If you put on your socks properly, you won’t get blisters and so you won’t get pulled out of the game. He also had a play for properly tying your shoes.

#1 Trigger:
You have to have a cue to start the habit.  A “hot” trigger. Something you can do right now – an ACT NOW button.

The hot trigger has to occur in the context for the user.

It must be an observable marker – audio of visual. Thoughts or emotions don’t make for hot triggers. “Every time I feel sad, I will write in my journal” is not a hot trigger. It won’t create a behavior change.

If you make the cue something that the person already does – e.g., put your toothbrush down in the sink will be your cue to floss. So the cue fits in easily.

Think about the context of the hot trigger.

#2 Babystep the routine:
First mistake people make – they make the routine TOO BIG.

Instead, babystep it. Communicate it in 5 words or less – like a bumper sticker.

It has to come right after the cue. You have to do it immediately.

Don’t ask people to keep track of time; don’t attach a time unit. Tracking time is a second cognitive process.

Use proximal and not distal goals. Distal = long term. Rewards are more quickly retained if they have a nearer return.

Make it too small to fail. “After I put on my running shoes, I will run around the block.”

#3 Conditioned Reinforcement = the reward:
You have to present the reward IMMEDIATELY after the routine.

If you give an annual reward, performance actually goes down. Give the reward right after the success.

It only means YES. The reward needs to be a clear indicator.

Make the routine its own reward. (After you run you get high – the brain rewards you with dopamine. The running creates its own reward. Some runners start to feel that rush when they put on their shoes. Neurons that fire together, wire together).

Making it social. If you practice your habits in a social context (and not just online, but in the real world) – do a high five and physically touch each other to release oxytocin to further reinforce the habits. Teams that high-five feel better.
Endowment effect.  People who pick their own numbers believe they have a better chance of winning. When you STORE YOUR EFFORT (you fill out your own #s on the powerball form) you endow it.

We have conflated views of our expertise. As we invest in an activity or behavior, we seek to be consistent with past behavior. And we think we are better than we are.

Example: In Sweden, traffic speed monitor -- every time you go through the intersection BELOW the speed limit, you get a thumbs up on the sign in the square AND a lottery ticket. At the end of the month, the winner gets the money from all the fines that people who sped through the intersection had to pay.

At Starbucks, they aim to get customers in and out in three minutes. The cue = after the customer gives me their order and name, I announce their order and name out loud. The reward = they send in mystery shoppers who check how stores are doing with their three minute goal. If the store does well, they get a store bonus.  Baristas who do well get a black apron. That's their customer snapshot score. They saw astounding improvements when they implemented this.  (Kim's not enamored of the mystery shopping reward because it's often too delayed. Starbucks is working on improving this.)

Getting Russians to exercise. They created a habit loop in most people's daily routines. Ticket booths that you get your ticket for free by doing exercise! (a series of small tag points)

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." 

Creating a meditation habit -- "after we turn off the tv, I will take three deep breaths." The reward (for the parents) is that they get some quiet time. The routine has become its own reward. Every week, we do three more.

A training program and a technology platform at habit
what is the ideal habit loop for a walking habit? for a meditation practice? what really works in habits?

Become a Strategic Partner Through Effective Training Evaluation #ASTD2014 @Jim_Kirkpatrick

These are my live blogged notes from a concurrent session (W104) at the ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

James Kirkpatrick, Senior Consultant Kirkpatrick Partners

Sometimes we have to do the politically incorrect thing. We have to choose to take the disruptive, high road of business partnership instead of the easy road.

Three action points to help you take the high road:
  1. Gain agreement on the required level of effort for program success for key programs
  2. Seek the truth through training evaluation
  3. Speak the truth about the program

We need to know the truth so we can make adjustments.

In the new world, we start with Level 4 - we start with the results. To what degree targeted outcomes happen. The only way you get to level 4 is through level 3 (behavior) -- application on the job. And we need to know we have prepared them (level 2), and we need to make sure we've had a good experience (level 1).

We start at level 4 because it's where we want to go. It's our GPS. Traditionally people freak out about level 4 -- how can we possibly get to that flag way up on the mountain. We need to start with the end in mind so we can create a path to get there.

Why evaluate?

Execs need to see training effectiveness -- maximizing organizational results (that's level 3). 

Training effectiveness = maximizing organizational results and demonstrating program value.

Three stages of a training program: planning --> execution --> demonstration of value

The E (evaluation) should not only come at the end. It needs to be woven throughout. Making sure things are working as well as possible.

Learning is a journey and not an event. 
  1. Gain agreement on the required level of effort for program success for key programs
You need to talk about the coordinated approach the organization needs to take.  Instead of learning objectives, we need to talk about critical behaviors.  "Are you going to watch things happen or make things happen?"

What will be the ultimate business criteria for program success? What will they need to see from a business point of view that will allow them to say "job well done". (We need to increase profitability, etc.)

What will ned to occur before, during, and after training in order to maximize application and results? This is where the level of investment comes in - it's not just about writing the check.

Your customer says "we need better leadership training because we need stronger leaders" you, the training consultant, ask questions to dig deeper.

So you ask: What's behind the request for training? What are the business reasons? Are there numbers behind this request?


See the Brinkerhoff Study on the effectiveness of training. (I'm not sure which study that is, but here's Brinkerhoff on Amazon:

Seek the truth
Gather honest training feedback -- focus on learner-centered items rather than training
Measure and monitor critical behaviors and leading indicators

Get the whole truth in your evaluation data and what actions you may wish to take.

If we can increase the amount of loans by 20% will your stakeholders be satisfied? Get as high up as you can and get that validated.

Ask - does the training meet expectations? If not why? take action to correct it.

Speaking the truth means:
  • initiating conversations with stakeholders to share the good and the bad
  • speak the truth about the future

Case study with the Emirates Group
Leadership felt that the cost of running the 157 person training department was more than the value they were providing.

The training team took a hard look at where and how they were adding value. They realized they needed to go beyond the classroom and get in to the workplace.

They realized they needed to do something completely different. 

Partnership Principals:

The end is the beginning. 
Everything they did had to yield increased performance in the business

Return on expectation (ROE) is the ultimate indicator of value.
Needed to explain what we could do as a training support.

Business partnership is necessary to bring about positive ROE.
Then we had to tai about what we were going to do to bring about results.

Value must be created before it can be demonstrated.
Can we impact the bottom line? can we impact performance?

Chain of Evidence.
Finally, connecting it all together. What evidence can we now show that the value we're contributing makes impact to business.

The end is the beginning. a non-negotiable. Where are we going. How will we impact the business. Only then would we apply a resources.

We need to have the difficult conversations. We needed to iron out the issues and decide who was going to do what.

MOU -- Memorandum of Understanding
Reaching agreement about what we're going to do collaboratively for the good of the organization. And it would help us gather evidence.
It forms the foundation; defines roles, responsibilities, timelines; helps reach agreement...

Moving beyond comfort zones out of the classroom and getting closer to the business.

Pilot Case
They had inconsistency in customer service experiences across their different call centers.  They decided on their level 4 first -- to have 90% satisfaction scores. What were the core behaviors they wanted -- demonstrated empathy, being calm and assured, knowing your job, being counter-cultural.

SOAR -- "Service Over and Above the Rest" - coach to perform -- This was  a change management program.

So they watched their customer complaints and they were going down.

They linked to performance management behaviors (empathy, cosmopolitan, etc.) - they could show they were adding value.

They could look at their Quality scores across locations and they were all going up.

Now they are converting those leading indicators into that flag on the top of the mountain -- revenue. 

Become a strategic business partner.

More at

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

General Stan McChrystal, #ASTD2014

These are my live blogged notes from the general session keynote at ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

A four-star general, he is the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military's most sensitive forces. He is also the author of the bestselling leadership book, My Share of the Task: A Memoir. (Read more...)

He shares the story of a tragic plane accident -- the landing gear had failed...eventually the plane crashed and lives were lost because the plane ran out of fuel.

Technology can increase rather than reduce complexity. Technology brings its own challenge.

In this case, the crew failed to adapt.

The rate of change has crossed over our ability to learn. There's an adaptability gap. Change keeps getting greater, we can't close that gap. And yet we know we need to deal with the unexpected.

Individuals and organizations need to be able to adapt organically, on the move.

Sudden, forced adaptation. These are often the times we learn the best.

In war: adapt or fail. And in war, when you fail, people die. And that's not an option.

Three ideas today:

  • Predictive hubris (the pitfall of)
  • Organic adaptability (the importance of)
  • Shared consciousness & empower execution (the necessity of)

We can't predict the future. We don't know what's going to happen. What happens if the game of baseball changes? The curve ball doesn't curve, the ball hits a bird, the pitch goes at 150 mph...

Captain Sulley landing the USAir flight on the Hudson. He landed the plan on the Hudson like he does it twice a day. Crew Resource Management (CRM) - focus on building teams.
situational awareness, self aware, leadership, assertiveness, decision making, flexibility, adaptability, communication).

% wise the # of commercial airline fatalities has gone down GREATLY since CRM has been implemented.

In 2011, getting Osama Bin Laden...two helicopters went in and one of the helicopters crashed. The situation room at the White House was tense. But not everyone understood who was in the helicopters -- Navy Seals.

You HAVE to operate as a team. It's hard and painful and if you don't do your job, the group fails. You build bonds of shared values: trust and common purpose.  And so in spite of the helicopter going down, the mission was accomplished.

On a small team, you finish each other's sentences. You have that shared purpose and trust.

The problem is that problems and teams are often not that small.

And so you need shared consciousness and the power of execution.

April 24, 1980 -- failed mission in Iraq, helicopter crash, eight American lives lost.

How do you deal with failure? How do organizations deal with failure?

They formed the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) with a mantra: Never again. We'll never not be ready.

Since then, this organization has performed amazingly.

Strong organizations can be matrixed and siloed. Tribe of tribes -- each tribe has it's own culture, but they don't play well together.  Today we have more complex challenges. We need more cohesive teams. We need to cross lead.

Al Qaeda didn't make demands, they made statements. They didn't take hostages, they crashed planes into buildings. The world has changed.

We had an adaptability gap. We had to change.  There was a gap between what Al Qaeda is and what the JSOC needed to be.

We had great small teams. But we needed teams of teams.

How do you get marketing, product development, etc to be a team of team?

Shared Consciousness. COMMUNICATE.  Let's share everything we've got. Put what you have together. You don't need more weapons, more planes. You need to communicate. (He tells the story of getting a chief Al Qaeda leader - they had all the information, but the intelligence groups weren't sharing information. Once they did, they had a successful mission).

Empowered execution. Sometimes, when the teams went to General McChrystal to make a decision there was enough of a delay, that the opportunity was lost. So he changed the operation. "You have the power to make that decision. I still have responsibility. But you are empowered."  When he gave them that power, they took that responsibility and they owned it.

When people own something, they act very differently. They take more pride and more caring and more focus.

Give them the ability to do that well.

And it's not just in the military:

Study in Scotland - patients given more control over their recovery, they recovered twice as fact.

Plant workers given control over uniform choices and schedules --> 20% more productivity.

It's about the talent you bring together and that you give opportunity to. Creating an environment for them in which they (your people) grow.

Shen you put together shared consciousness/empowered execution, common purpose/trust, and get ORGANIC ADAPTABILITY.

This is about people. It takes leaders, and it takes a lot out of you.

"Managing is about working with what's there. Leadership is about creating something new."

What can you do?

We tend to do what we're comfortable doing.

As a leader, you may have to do things you hate, but you're the only one who can do them.

Things you can do for your team:

  • Identify purpose
  • Will to change
  • Create vision
  • Set external environment

Being part of a team -- helping people be better.

Martha Soehren on Career Development #ASTD2014

These are my live blogged notes from the Tuesday morning general session at ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Martha Soehren was elected to the ASTD Board of Directors in 2010. She serves as the Chief Talent Development Officer and Senior Vice President for Comcast University and Comcast Cable.

Martha shares some advice on career development…

If you want something different, do something different.

Love what you do.

Set specific career goals – make sure they are YOUR goals and not your mentor’s, your boss’s, your spouse’s.  Make small, actionable goals for yourself. Set dates for those goals. Reaching goals gives us such a sense of accomplishment.

Take calculated risks.  Do volunteer work to get new skills.

Sheryl Sandberg’s book – Lean in and take control of your own career. All of us, men and women, need to stretch ourselves and ask for what we want.

Finding out that people think you lack experience should push you to gain more experience.

If you want to move into a leadership role in talent development, demonstrate team building skills. Focus on preparation.

Be flexible. Balance between work and life doesn't exist in a lot of jobs. Be efficient at your job. Make time for your personal goals. Plan for it. (She has had a date every Friday night for over 20 years with her husband. She plans one weekend a month to visit her grandfather).

Four lessons:
  1. Take charge of your career
  2. Set achievable goals
  3. Be bold and take calculated risk
  4. Be flexible (about achieving work and life balance)

If you’re thriving, your organization will thrive.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Arianna Huffington, Opening Keynote #ASTD2014

These are my live blogged notes from the opening keynote at ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, Author of Thrive

Everyone has a personal story about change.
Our society has defined success as money and power. But this is like a two-legged stool that just falls over.  We need a third measure of success.

This third measure of success is made of four pillars:

1. Well-being
In our culture, we have come to believe that burn out is an express elevator to the top. But the truth is when we get enough sleep, meditate, move, we’re going to be more effective. More able to incorporate change. To see the icebergs before they hit. More likely to see new opportunities.

Athletes are now looking at sleep, yoga, etc. We now have sleep science that shows sleep deprivations reduces mental clarity, makes us less effective.  She describes how she went from 4-5 hours of sleep to 7-8 hours. This was her keystone habit. (just make one step first).  Start with getting 30 minutes more sleep a night. 

Men wear their sleep deprivation like a religious symbol.

At Huffington Post, she instituted a nap room. If you’re exhausted, there’s nothing better than a nap room.

We also need to find quiet time in our day. Our days are enslaved to making calls, catching up on emails…technology has enslaved us. We need to set boundaries. If we’re constantly operating from our inbox, we can never be truly creative. Everything becomes transactional. (Bill Gates’ Think Weeks; Steve Jobs zen mediation).

Start with five minutes of being quiet.

That voice inside of our head that takes us into the future…”there are many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened.” Evict that voice.

Time famine.

Multi-tasking is not real. Task switching is too stressful. Texting while walking has become a real hazard.

Allow silence in your life. That’s when we notice things that can be transformational.

Science is validating ancient wisdom. We need periods of pause, reflection.

When did it come acceptable to drag ourselves like zombies through our days?

It’s when you’re tired that you make the most mistakes.

Praising people for working 24/7 is like praising someone for coming to work drunk. A big part of our job is managing change and being creative.

2. Wisdom
Smart leaders with high IQs making terrible decisions. They lack wisdom, which is different from intelligence. Wisdom is when we have a vision.

Turn off your devices and leave them out of your bedroom. And don’t start your day by looking at your smartphone. Instead, breathe deeply and be grateful. Start your day by thinking about what you want to achieve in the world (not with what the world has to tell you).

We’re always tempted to look at our data. Which intrudes into our time of renewal and regeneration.

The one freedom we have is to choose our own attitude when bad things happen to us. How we deal with them will drive our success. In hard times, focus on what you’re grateful for…put on your own oxygen mask first.

3. Wonder
At the heart of science and religion. Connecting with the mystery of the universe.

People love coincidences. It gives us a feeling that there is a purpose and that we are connected.

Multi-tasking is an obstacle to wonder.

35% of American companies are introducing some form of stress reduction practice.

In Germany, one company issues company phones that are automatically turned off from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

We must give ourselves time to renew and recharge when we are healthy, otherwise we let disease in.

Well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

Stress impacts the bottom line. When your employees are stressed, mistakes are made.

Aetna brought in yoga, meditation, acupuncture to all employees. They saw 20%(?) reduction in health and an overall increase in productivity (like an hour a day more).  When we are more transactional, we make more mistakes. We overreact.

Rumi: “Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”

See the hidden blessings. Don’t hold grudges. Each night, forgive yourself at the end of the day for any judgments you hold against yourself, and then forgive others.

Give something up. You can complete a project by dropping it. Do an inventory of your projects. Decide where you’re really going to put your energy behind.

4. Giving
Our genes are wired for giving. It’s truly a short cut for happiness. Give your time, your money. Giving has the same impact on your happiness as an increase in household income.

Read the Good News section of the Huffington Post. Examples of compassion, generosity, giving.  We need to cover what is good so we can scale and replicate it. Share our recipes for thriving.

When we give, our inflammation markers (the precursors of disease) actually go down.

Start by making small personal connections with the people around us. Say hello. See everyone as a human being with no hierarchy.

Burnout is not the way to success.