Lets talk about the strategic advantage of Instructional Design
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With COVID-19 disrupting the economy, I thought it would be helpful to provide a list of resources that fellow learning professionals can use to build, maintain, and enhance their skills while on furlough, looking for work, or if you have extra time. The following lists provides access to application free trials, recommended books that have helped me with my own career growth and development, links to some blog posts that you may find helpful, and other resources.
Please note, I'm not an affiliate reseller so I'm not making any money off of the following.
Free Application Trials and Tutorials
The following authoring and video editing tools offer free trials that you can use to build, maintain, and enhance your skills.
Suggested Reading List
Here are some books that have improved my capabilities as a leader and learning professional. They're not all directly learning related but I've read each of them and found them to be great resources that I go back to time and time again.
Here are a few blog posts I've written that you may find helpful to develop your skills, read up on learning industry trends, achieve better training outcomes, and connect with other professionals in the learning and talent development field.
I've found the following sites to be useful in terms of providing me with consistent, quality, information pertaining to the learning and talent development field.
I hope that you find some value in these resources. If you have questions or want to connect, I'm happy to do so. Drop me a line!
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"I need an elearning created on our latest products that starts in three weeks. This is essential for our Sales Reps (SRs) to achieve their quarterly sales goals. I have approval from senior leadership to make this happen. "
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a request like the above? It checks a number of the boxes for a typical training project request, with some added urgency thrown in for good measure. The requestor knows the basics; audience (SRs), timeline (three weeks), why they think training is needed (Essential to SR goals), and how they want it trained (elearning).
It's tempting to start working on a project like this immediately and figure out the rest later. It is "essential", senior leadership seems to be onboard, and the timeline doesn't leave you with room for much more than getting the work done. What you may not realize is that you've just entered a negotiation. The results of this negotiation can determine whether this program is a failure or success.
This post is inspired by the book "Never Split the Difference - Negotiating as if your life depended on it" by Chris Voss with Tahl Roz. Using a series of tactics such as mirroring, labeling, and calibrated questions Chris is able to identify the underlying motivations of his counterparts to negotiate a favorable outcome.
Read on and I'll share how I'm addressing vague or demanding project requests using the art of negotiation.
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It's been tough to step away from work lately. My team and I are in the process of onboarding a small company's worth of new hires within the next few months. It's exciting, challenging, and thought consuming work. These are the kinds of challenges I love, a big hairy audacious goal where we get to bend the limits of what we've been able to achieve in the past.
I did however, get the opportunity to step away for a moment to see Celeste Headlee speak at the 2019 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. She kicked off the Workplace Summit with a great keynote entitled "We Need to Talk: How to Have Better Conversations". Her presentation was inspiring and based off of her insight, I've been practicing a few of her tips. My daily interactions with friends, family, and co-workers have improved.
Interested? Read on!
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Quick post this week due to a well deserved vacation to the Jersey shore with my family. While walking the beach with my son, I found myself picking up some small pieces of garbage out of habit. It got me thinking about something a friend of mine passed on to me while teaching me how to fly fish. "Leave it better than you found it". In a nutshell, while you are out enjoying nature do what you can to clean up after those who have come before you.
I started thinking about how this saying applies to different aspects of my life. In the context of this blog, it touches on how I've left the various companies, roles, projects, and teams throughout my career. How have I left them better than I found them?
Some examples would be implementing Kirkpatrick's methodology for evaluating projects, creating highly rated tutorials and courses for an educational university site, successfully onboarding a new Instructional Designer, running a learning hackathon, or helping to build and support a great team of learning professionals.
Even though I was on vacation I couldn't resist checking my feeds and it was a great two weeks for articles and posts shared in the Talent Development field. If you are looking for ideas on how you can add lasting value to your organization, read on!
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A few years ago I was given some feedback that I really took to heart. I was told that If I wanted
to influence change and affect or set strategy within the organization that I would need to be seen as a thought leader. At first I wasn't sure what to make of that feedback. My immediate thought was something akin to "Great, now I have to become the next Josh Bersin or Richard Branson if I want to make a real impact".
Steppping out of my fixed mindset, I did a little research to see what being a thought leader was all about. What I found is that it's not just about popularity or fame, there's much more to it than that.
"Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success." Denise Brosseau of Thought Leadership Lab
The first step in becoming a thought leader is to be informed about what's going on in the learning industry. To that end, I've compiled a list of five free reports on industry trends from 2017 to 19. Read on to get informed!
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My wife planned an amazing get away to Ocean City NJ this weekend. We spent two whole days on the beach relaxing and soaking up the sun. It was a sorely needed break from our normal day to day activities with our kids, chores, house and work projects. Lucky for us, on day two we happened to set up our chairs on the beach designated for surfing. We observed class after class of new surfers learning how to surf. The instructors gave direction, then brought their students into the water to practice and apply what they learned. Every time a student caught a wave the instructors enthusiastically cheered them on.
As we watched, I told my wife that I loved watching people learn new skills. That I had a real appreciation for these students as they would fall off the board and then swim back into the surf and keep trying. It reminded me of some research that I had done on having a growth mindset and using the 70/20/10 model to craft a development plan. She reminded me that we were supposed to be on vacation. Fair point. =)
If you're not on vacation and are interested in learning how to craft a solid plan to achieve your development goals (surfing or otherwise) read on! As a bonus I'll include a development goal of my own as an example so you can see the process in action.
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You've invested time in finding the right Instructional Designer (ID) for your team. Don't make the mistake of thinking they'll be able to hit the ground running without some support and direction. Taking the time to onboard a new team member to your organization can pay off in higher levels of engagement and productivity. In fact, research compiled by SHRM from clickboarding.com states that:
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Leverage the power of a hackathon to inspire cross functional teams to develop some truly great learning solutions.
In 2018 I led Accolade's Talent and Development team to develop and implement our 1st learning hackathon we called the Designathon. As a result we came up with some truly inspiring solutions that impacted the bottom line. It's now a yearly event devoted to blue sky thinking, process improvement, and promoting change and innovation across our organization.
Here's how you can run your own!
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Sometimes even your best efforts don't produce the targeted behavior change or business outcomes your learning solution was created to solve. Not every project will be a rousing success so it's important to know what to do when things don't go as planned.
It can be tempting to point fingers and look for reasons outside of your control as to why things went wrong. Maybe you feel that you weren't given enough time, resources, or information to do the job. However, what's needed now is a level head and a willingness to work together across business units to fix any identified issues and turn things around. A deeper analysis can always be completed afterwards.
Here's how you can turn things around:
I had the opportunity to interview with Cornerstone and discuss how we use their Learning Management System at Accolade. For me the biggest benefits are it's reporting and curriculum management capabilities.
At Accolade, we make sure that the content we develop can be used across the organization. Instead of tying a module to a specific customer we do our best to make the materials generic so that they can be re-used within multiple learning solutions. We'll then address customer and role specific content in additional self-paced learning objects or during practical application scenarios. Having the freedom to leverage content across the organization has helped us to rapidly respond to learning needs without having to create multiple versions of materials.
Feel free to read the case study if you'd like to learn more about how we leverage Cornerstone's capabilities at Accolade.
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