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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.
The last entry in my series of instructional games is Lyrical Genius. Learning a new language can be difficult, this game attempts to inject a little bit of fun into the process. Players are asked to listen to a clip of a popular song and match words on the screen with the correct lyrics.
Game number two on my series of instructional games is Mathlock. Growing up I loved watching the Matlock T.V. show. The main character inspired the plot of this mobile game intended to help children learn how to solve word problems.
As part of my Instructional Technology Masters program at Bloomsburg University I attended a class on instructional game design. Throughout the class we were challenged with developing a series of proposals for instructional games that could be developed for a variety of devices and needs. It was an absolute blast and one of my favorite classes out of the entire program.
Over the next few months I'm going to post the top three games that I proposed for a few reasons. First, I enjoyed creating the proposals and want to share them. Secondly, in the interest of sharing if you're reading this and interested in creating non-commercial work based off of them...feel free. Thirdly, I'd like to hear your feedback. What could I have done better or included?
With the exposition taken care of...let's get started.