12 Days of Best Practices

In honor of the holiday season, I want to share 12 Best practices from a variety of resources. Some are generic to all learning and development and some target specific areas. Please feel free to add your own Best Practices in the comments below.

Delivered via a multi-media approach – using a blend of delivery methods to suit learning preferences and learner’s needs.

From Roberta Gagos on the eLearning Industry

Different media and types of training allow us to leverage different advantages. Bring together several strategies to create a well-rounded (like our friend Santa) approach.

In total: high-impact L&D professionals need to continuously train themselves.

From Bersin by Deloitte

In the modern world, things are always changing and if you want to continue to compete in the market place, learning and development programs need to be evolving to deal with an evolving workforce.

Learning by doing and establishing shared accountability.

From Mark Thomas on Training Industry

It is important to bring learners into the process. Let them help determine training goals, learn by doing tasks, and encourage them to have accountability.

Recognize the importance of veterans in your ranks.

From Workforce.com

Our veteran employees represent a wealth of knowledge. It is key to leverage and capture that knowledge to pass on the newer employees to stay on a flight path of growing success.

70:20:10—a blend formula

From Kineo

When creating blended learning, remember that research shows that 70 percent of learning occurs on the job, 20 percent from other people (social learning) and 10 percent from formal training classes. Keep this in mind when designing a blended learning program.

Begin early

From Emily Bates on The Evolllution

Training should begin from the moment an employee is hired. You want to immerse them in the company culture and establish a culture of learning.

Adults are Just-in-Time Learners

From Frontline Learning

Adult learners gravitate and retain learning that is relevant to their current situation. It is important to tie learning into current needs and make sure learners understand what is in it for them.

In gamification: Use a story context

From Karl Kapp on ATD

When implementing gamification, a story context is a powerful motivator and gives the participant a reason to interact with your content.

For Development: Code (or courses) should be written to be reviewed.

From TutorialsPoint

If you are a developer, course and code should be written so that developers in the future can easily open up the course/code files and understand what is going on and be able to make revisions.

In Virtual Classrooms: Engage People Often

From Randah McKinnie on eLearning Guild

When you deliver virtually, you lose the ability to communicate through body language. Therefore, you need to pump up the engagement. Incorporate activities that will require the learner to actively engage in the session. Use polls, ask questions, involve them in annotating solutions on whiteboard slides.

For Succesion Planning: Assess performance and potential

From Dan McCarthy on IvyExec

When thinking about employees and their future, don’t just rely on past performance. You need to develop strategies for assessing their potential as well. Just because someone is an excellent salesperson, does not mean they will make an excellent sales manager. You need to determine where their potential lies.

Performance Improvement: Training is not always the best solution.

From James Simers

As learning and development professionals, we need to analyze a situation to determine the most effective solution. The best solution may be a job aid for a task that is complex and done infrequently, it may be a change to the environment that will resolve the issue or any of a number of performance improvement strategies. Don’t start with the assumption that you need to develop a training class and make sure you have selected the best solution to the problem.

I wish you all a peaceful and blessed season as you celebrate life, love, and family!

Set Impossible Goals and Achieve Innovative Change

Do you want to have impact? Achieve big changes for your company or industry? You need to set an impossible goal.

How Do I Set an Impossible Goal?

optimistic thinkingThere are two keys to setting an impossible goal, empathy and optimistic thinking. Both of these need to be done in a place that is beyond your comfort zone and fall into the extremes of your thinking. Empathy is what will help you feel the pain of the struggles of the problem you want to solve. You need to be able to dig deep into the problem and understand it and feel the pain of it. With that passion for the problem, you next rely on your optimistic thinking. This lets you dream big to brainstorm solutions and believe they are possible. Use this to set your impossible goal.

This thinking is what will breed innovation and change. If you can engage in this thinking as a part of a team, you will be able to harness the different strengths across the team to optimize your ideas and solutions. To learn more about developing a team click here.

How Do I Achieve the Impossible

While the brainstorming happened in the extremes of your thinking, the planning needs to move towards your comfort zone of thinking. You need to start by considering the solution(s) from a perspective of being possible. Analyze the solution and figure out how to make it happen. Now you may not be able to come up with a way to make the solution happen in its current state but this will help you find parts of it that are possible or see places where it is possible if you scale something down. As you discover these possibilities, spend more time fleshing out the goal and set measurable objectives.

Now you want to move to the middle of your comfort zone and plan how you will achieve the goal and objectives. At this point, you want to be realistic about your resources and time. Taking these into account, layout specific plans to achieve the goal. At this point find a way to step away from you optimistic thinking and come up with everything that can go wrong. Identify potential obstacles and develop contingencies to meet them.

Present these plans to people who were not a part of the brainstorming and goal design. These may be stakeholders, company leaders, clients, depending on the situation. Get a sense of their buy-in. This process provides a “reality check” and makes sure that the plans to achieve the goal are realistic given the resources and time schedule you have. If necessary, adjust the plans to make sure you have the necessary buy-in and support.

Now it is time to put things in motion. Throw all the passion that you had in the brainstorming phase into the implementation and take the steps necessary to implement the plans you have set. If you have done a god job presenting your plan and getting buy-in others will be throwing their passion alongside of yours. And the result…you create change and innovation.

Remember to find the problems and to brainstorm outside of your thinking comfort zone and then do your actual planning and implementation based in realistic thinking.

Interested in learning more? Check out these links.

Does Training Need to be Concerned about Diversity?

A couple of months back, our department was updating a photo on the dashboard of our LMS. Our company is over 80% white males but the previous picture included a mixture of males and females both white and Latino that showed more diversity that the company. While discussions were going on, my boss paid a visit to a branch and ran into some new employees that were just getting into our LMS for the first time. Interestingly one of them noticed the picture and commented that while it showed diversity, there was no one “like him”. This was a great reminder that an understanding and use of diversity is important to training, just as it is to all areas of a business.

Employees want to feel connected. Employees want to see people who are “like them” when they go through, training courses and materials. Seeing other people like them help them feel more connected to the company.

Empowering a diverse workforce also can develop creativity and innovation. Honoring diversity develops an openness to others and differences which leads to idea sharing, new ways of thinking and innovation which is a business advantage.

Building a diverse workforce helps the company connect with a diverse client base. Just as employees are drawn to training that involves people “like them”, customers are also drawn to a workforce that has people “like them”. Building up this diversity can increase your client base and build your bottom line.

The conversation we had about what picture to use on the dashboard of our LMS was an important one, one that can have consequences that are company wide. A picture that may just make one employee feel more connected can lead to so much more. What conversations are you having about diversity in your training department?

Looking for more information, check out these resources: