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  • 29 May 2018 4:44 PM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)
    Wednesday, May 23, 2018 

    love the Olympics. I love that Olympic athletes have been toiling away in relative obscurity for much of their lives, training for the ultimate moment. I love seeing them finally get their recognition when their amazing talents are brought into the light for the world to see.

    For Olympic athletes, the quest has never been about money, as most of them never see a dime from their sport. Their drive is simply wanting to be the best. And I completely get it.

    I've been an amateur athlete my entire life, most recently in an ultra-endurance team sport called adventure racing. In adventure racing, we never won more money than it took to cover our plane ticket to the race. But over 17 years, my teammates and I competed in more than 40 of these six- to 10-day, nonstop, multistage gruel-o-ramas.

    As you can imagine, the question I’m asked most often when I speak to corporate clients about the teamwork and leadership skills we learned from adventure racing is, Why? (Or really, “Why the hell?”).

    And the answer is the same as Olympic athletes: Because we were inspired to be great. To be the best in the world at something. To cross the finish line with and for each other.

    We have similar challenges in the corporate world. We're always trying to find ways to motivate our employees to greatness. But what if we could tap into the employee’s internal inspiration instead of relying on external motivation? We often talk about compensation plans—but what about inspiration plans?

    The Pay Paradox

    Yes, we all need and appreciate money. But for consistent peak performance, money can’t be the sole driving force. You’ve probably noticed that simply throwing more money and bonuses at people can be a short-term motivator, but not a long-term driver of performance or results. In other words, increased pay is not completely correlated with increased performance.

    You probably also noticed that there are certain people in your organization who will never, ever stop striving to be the best they can be, regardless of whether they see a bonus check or not. They simply want to be great for the sake of being great.

    How do we light that kind of fire inside our team members? I think the Olympians and amateur athletes of the world can offer us a few insights.

    Here are three important ways we can inspire our team members:


    1. Work With Their “Why”
    As leaders, we have to tap into our team members’ “why.” That’s the most powerful and consistent driver of people’s action. What inspires each member of your team to come to work and be great every day?

    You’ll have as many answers as you have people. You might hear, “I need to send my daughter to a great school.” Others may say, “I’d love to move into leadership someday.” For some it might be, “I genuinely care about our customers” or “I just want you to be proud of me and recognize my contributions.”

    Even if people answer with something related to money, it's rarely, if ever, for money’s sake—it's always to buy or do something that’s important to them or someone they love. In other words, they need the money to get their why.

    The more you know about your team members’ why, the more creative and powerful your incentive plans can be. Help people get closer to their why through their work, and you’ll have a fully engaged employee.

    2. Prepare the Path Forward
    Part of what inspired us as kids in school, athletics, art, music, or whatever our chosen endeavor was the drive to get to the next level.

    For example, in a sport like gymnastics, you have Levels 1-10 to chase: State Championships, College Titles, and maybe even the World Championships or the Olympics. The drive to get to the next level is inspiring; it proves to us and the world we’re making progress, and it’s a genuine source of pride when we achieve that next milestone.

    To engage our employees, we can create a similar path forward, with different levels and skills to be achieved, big milestones to celebrate, and lots of recognition along the way. If we build it, they will rise to achieve it.

    3. Create a Culture of Coaching
    Most of us will recall someone special in our lives who believed in us growing up, someone who saw our latent skills and talents and helped us achieve success to the best of our abilities. In the corporate world, leaders are often reticent to play coach and mentor, believing that, as adults, we don’t really need that kind of inspiration. But we do.

    Inside every adult is a kid who wants and needs to be recognized, believed in, and inspired to reach our full potential. And just as much as we want a mentor, we also want to share the knowledge we acquire in a leadership role.

    Can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be if each person in your organization took someone under their wing and helped them fly? When you create a culture of coaching in which each employee is inspired to teach, you will have not only more engagement but also a truly world-class team of people who will cross the most challenging finish lines—not only with each other, but for each other.

    Read More: https://www.td.org/insights/how-to-create-a-winning-culture-of-engagement


  • 01 May 2018 8:20 AM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

    Poll Everywhere welcomes Richard Eason from evaluationfocus.com as the guest author of this post.


    Why should we bother to evaluate our training? Well, it seems to me that we would effectively be blindfolding ourselves by not doing so. When I’m asked why we should evaluate corporate training, I respond with my three principle reasons for training evaluation:

    • It will help you improve training for future participants.
    • It will help you confirm that you’re getting your training right.
    • It will help you prove that the training is adding value.

    Training evaluation enables you to identify ways in which you can improve your training

    Gathering feedback and data on what participants thought of the training, how they performed in the assessments that were part of the training, and how they were subsequently able to transfer that training into the workplace, will enable you to identify ways in which improvements can be made.

    We all have a drive to continuously improve the way we do business.

    This applies to training as much as any other area. Trainers can contribute towards the bottom line by developing the training we deliver. Conducting effective training evaluation enables us to gather data upon which we can base our decisions for change – ensuring that the way we develop training enhances its value.

    Training evaluation enables you to determine whether it’s aligned with business objectives

    Improving the training that we deliver is one thing, but are we 100% sure that we’re delivering the right training? Evaluating the training that our personnel receive enables us to check that we are effectively equipping them with the right skills and knowledge to carry out their respective roles.

    Continuing to train people on processes or systems that are now obsolete (and I have seen this in big organizations) is simply a waste of time. Letting people leave training with gaps in their skills and knowledge can, at best, limit productivity. And, at worst, it can be dangerous.

    In order to ensure that your training remains aligned with your business objectives, you’ll need to measure its output in some way. There are a range of training evaluation techniques that enable you to achieve this.

    raining evaluation enables you to demonstrate the value that training is adding


    In 2008, the UK collectively spent £38.6 billion on training. I’m not sure exactly what has happened to that spend over these last few years, but the fact is companies spend a huge amount of money on training.


    You might intuitively know that you are getting your training right, but can you prove it? In increasingly tougher financial times company leaders will want to ensure that all areas of the business are offering value for money. They’ll probably base budget allocation decisions on the information they are presented with.


    Do you have management data that you can use to convince others within the company that the training department offers value?


    Providing a strong body of evidence in the form of training evaluation results can help prevent short-term thinking when budget cuts are required. Significantly reducing training budgets has the potential for negative impacts on the company further down stream. Of course, the impact of budget cuts may affect more than just the company. Reductions in budgets often mean a reduction in personnel. If, in a reduced-budget environment, the training department is now conducting less training, presumably it needs fewer people?!




    Those are my reasons why. What about why not?


    Even if you agree with all the reasons why you should be evaluating training, you might find that you are still prevented from doing so. Does anything in this post ring true for you: 5 common obstacles to conducting training evaluation.


    It is undeniable that training evaluation needs resources to be conducted effectively. You should be intelligently focusing where you commit your resources and as such you may conclude that there are valid reasons why you will not evaluate certain elements of training. This post may help with deciding were to allocate your resources: How to prioritize training for evaluation.

      Read More: https://blog.polleverywhere.com/why-bother-with-training-evaluation-2/  

    • 15 Feb 2018 1:21 PM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

       February 5, 2018    By Rick Lepsinger

      Businesses that invest in the training and development (T&D) for their leaders are investing in the future of their company. Not only can training employees enhance their performance in their current job, it also can help drive employee retention and engagement.

      T&D is a key part of any succession management plan because it helps ensure that high-potential employees have the right skills, improving rates of future success.

      Since training and development is so important to the future success of a company, it shouldn’t be surprising that many organizations want to maximize the ROI of their T&D programs.

      But, what do the most successful T&D programs focus on?

      Some highlights include:

      1: Emphasis on Developing Future Leaders

      Many companies are concerned with their succession management strategy—which is why leadership development is one of the biggest topics in training and development today.

      Organizations of all sizes in all industries need to have a solid pipeline of leadership candidates in place to fill the shoes of leaders who may be preparing to leave. This leadership pipeline provides a safety net for organizations that helps ensure the continued smooth operation of critical business functions.

      Keeping this pipeline full of high-potential candidates, however, is often challenging for organizations without a leadership development process in place. To make the most of their leadership development process, businesses need:

      • Competency Models and Assessments. The organization needs to define what success looks like for a given role, and create a set of tools to measure a leadership candidate’s potential against those criteria—including personality tests, feedback from the candidate’s direct reports and managers, and even simulations of real challenges faced by leaders in the desired role.
      • A Customized Program Based on Desired Outcomes. Every business’ needs are different, and each leadership role may have unique demands as well. So, a “one size fits all” leadership development solution may not produce ideal results. Customizing training based on desired outcomes—i.e. that the candidate possesses specific leadership competencies and technical skills—is key for maximizing training ROI and preparing leaders for success in their new roles.

      2: Flexibility and Adaptability

      Being able to successfully adapt to new situations is a must-have skill for many leaders in today’s ever-changing business environment. In fact, one OnPoint survey of hundreds of managers revealed that the ability to “continue to learn and gain competence is a characteristic that often sets exceptional leaders apart from their counterparts that hit a ‘performance plateau’ earlier in their careers.”

      Leaders who can keep growing and adapting to new circumstances are more likely to excel in their role over the years than their less adaptable counterparts. So, many organizations are beginning to focus on adaptability and continuous learning as core competencies to be developed in their T&D programs.

      3: Mobile-Friendly Training

      Self-directed learning, or SDL, is a major focus of the employee training and development industry. It empowers employees to complete training on their own time while focusing on the subjects of greatest interest to them—which helps improve engagement with the training. 


      Read more at https://www.business2community.com/human-resources/4-hot-topics-training-development-02003699

    • 22 Jan 2018 4:08 PM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      Here’s wishing all our readers – ‘A Happy New Year’. The beginning of a year is a great time to take stock of the year gone by and plan for the year ahead. In this blog post, we will have a quick glimpse of what we believe would be some of the key trends in workplace learning this year.

      AR and VR

      Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – these two topics have been on a number of technology trend lists for the past four to five years. But it was 2017 when the AR and VR bandwagon really got a big push with technology companies providing affordable VR/AR accessories. Innovative AR and VR solutions are helping medical students become qualified surgeons and trainee engineers become qualified aircraft maintenance engineers. AR- and VR-enabled learning solutions are beginning to make a mark in workplace learning as well. With a steady decrease in the manufacturing costs of AR- and VR-enabled devices and smartphone apps simulating the learning environment on the phone screen itself; exciting times lie ahead.

      Artificial Intelligence

      Did you notice the smart reply tags that are getting auto-listed in your Gmail service? Did you spend some time to check how Facebook prompts you to set up a reminder for an event when you are having a chat on FB Messenger? Well, these are some of the simplest forms of AI in play today. Full-function chatbots have been built using AI. We have Google and IBM building programs that can help predict weather trends. Programs are beating people at games like Chess and Go, predicting top-performing stocks, and making tougher and complex jobs in the manufacturing sector easier by streamlining activities. Imagine a scenario wherein your corporate LMS has an in-built bot/learning wizard that guides you to pick up a certification when you are assigned to a specific project? Yes, this is possible and it is the way forward as data-crunching, project-mapping, and resource management unite to power learning at the workplace.

      App-Based Learning

      Who would have thought that Nokia the ubiquitous market-leader in telecom would be relegated to an ‘also-ran’ and Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android OS would completely change the game? If someone would have predicted that one could book a train or movie ticket by fiddling with a phone a decade ago it would have evoked laughter. Today ‘apps rule us’, be it travel, food, cinema-tickets, stock-market tips, GST, fitness tracking, mindfulness, or yoga; there’s an app for every conceivable task. In such a scenario, it is inevitable that a major chunk of workplace learning moves fully to smartphones and tablet devices. Yes, the LMS will not die; it will continue to exist but the mobile learning ecosystem will keep growing. Stay tuned for mobile-only learning content!

      Bite-Sized Learning

      “Small is beautiful!” This applies to learning as well. Learners need precise and crisp just-in-time learning solutions that can be accessed with ease. A combination of instructional video capsules and mobile learning has ensured that the popularity of bite-sized learning keeps increasing. Easier to build and deploy and requiring a smaller budget to create; organizations around the world are actively incorporating ‘bite-sized learning’ into their learning strategy. The added advantage of using these ‘learning nuggets’ is that one can update them easily.

      Are you ready to tap into the benefits of bite-sized learning?    

      The Video Revolution

      The 2017 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report states that “7 out of 10 organizations are starting to incorporate video-based online training into their learning cultures.” This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. In sync with app-based learning, a number of organizations are creating video-based learning nuggets that employees access via mobile devices. With ‘YouTube’ becoming the ‘go-to resource’ to learn by seeing how things are done; video-based learning has a great future in 2018. There is room for innovation wherein interactive video simulations can be used as an effective training tool to boost learning outcomes.

      Podcasts

      Podcasts continue to fascinate us with their ease of setting up and the sheer amount of knowledge that gets disseminated through them. Thought leaders across industries are using podcasts to build a steady fan-following and are creating an online brand identity of their own. This interesting infographic from Concordia University – Saint Paul shared on the MarketingProfs website shows that educational podcasts make up to 40% of podcast listeners in the USA.

      Organizations can use podcasts to share product training, marketing insights, and best practices knowhow effectively. Podcasts are seen as an extension of mobile learning. Being relatively less expensive to set up, L&D teams around the world are looking to harness the power of podcasts effectively. A number of BPOs in the Asia-Pacific region have used podcasts effectively to improve the English speaking skills of their employees. Podcasts are here to stay!

      Read More at https://www.elearninglearning.com/2018/trends/

    • 05 Dec 2017 11:11 AM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

       Five Tips for Success When Using Games in Training by: Rachel Miller 

      Studies have shown that the use of games in training serves two purposes:

      1.            Resetting participant concentration and energy levels. The human mind can only absorb so much information at one time. Successful training is commonly segmented into blocks of approximately 20 minutes followed by group problem solving, open discussion, and games. Using games in this way increases knowledge retention and keeps attention spans high.

      2.            Reinforcing the practical application of new skills. The effectual execution of games plays a large role in knowledge retention. When used during training, games provide an enjoyable way of reinforcing knowledge and skill use. And when used after training as part of on-the-job reinforcement, games provide a quick and fun refresher of what was learned during training.

      Games break the ice, energize, and most importantly, reinforce and review learning. Game-based learning activities build confidence, lift morale, spark enthusiasm, and ultimately, achieve results. When you’re considering whether or not to use a game in training, ask yourself if the game will do one of the following:

      • provide social interaction
      • energize the group
      • reinforce learning.

      If a game you are considering does not meet one of these crucial requirements, rethink your selection.

      Why Social Interaction Is Important

      When employees are gathered together for classroom training, they are often meeting face-to-face for the first time. Beginning class with a game that encourages social interaction can create common bonds between employees and make them more comfortable, which promotes open speech and increased sharing.

      A simple, effective, game to encourage social interaction is the “Penny Date” activity. It requires very little preparation–simply hand-out a penny or other small coin to each participant. It is helpful if the dates on the coins are in a suitable range for participant ages. Group participants into pairs and ask them to exchange basic information and share a favorite memory from the year stamped on the front of their penny. After a few minutes, ask participants to share their partner’s information. Sharing creates an immediate bond and assists participants in feeling comfortable in the group training environment.

      Energize Class Participants to Reset Focus

      Mixing in a game or two during extensive class time is an ideal way to rejuvenate employees and get them back on track and focused on the important material you’re teaching. Games that allow participants to stand up and move around–perhaps even laugh a little–are great ways to keep everyone fresh and focused.

      Adding a competitive edge to a game is a surefire way to engage employees. “Alphabet Improv” is a variation of a popular party game in which participants have spontaneous conversations by beginning each statement with a particular letter of the alphabet. Divide the class into pairs and tell them to imagine they are in a typical work setting and are to have a conversation by alternating each statement with a consecutive letter in the alphabet. The pairs can practice and then play in front of all class participants with the winning pair receiving a prize or play less competitively in pairs. Be warned that there is usually a lot of laughing as employees struggle to begin conversations with the correct letter.

      Example:

      Advertisement

      Employee #1: All next week, our 2012 products will be on sale.

      Employee #2: Bet that will be a busy week!

      Encourage employees to play quickly and spontaneously and not think too hard about what to say next.

      Games to Reinforce Learning

      The use of role playing games increases not only knowledge retention but also understanding by a significant rate. Training that incorporates real life scenarios for the participants makes the class experience more relevant and more likely to assist in long term behavioral change.

      When creating role-playing activities, select story lines that benefit the majority of learners. Clearly state the objectives of the employees participating in the role playing exercise.

      One game to reinforce learning is Luck of the Draw. Ahead of time, prepare slips of paper with a question and answer related to the material covered (include a few trivia questions). Put the slips of paper in a hat, bag, or bowl. Be sure you have enough question and answer slips so that each team has an equal number of opportunities to score points. For example, if you have 3 teams, you’d want 15, 18, 21, or 27 questions. Determine a reasonable amount of time for teams to answer questions.

      Divide the class into the predetermined number of teams. Ask one member of the team to come to the front of the class and select a slip of paper. This person is to read the question to their own team. The trainer keeps score. If the team gives the correct response, they get 2 points. If the team can’t answer or answers incorrectly, the next team in rotation gets an opportunity to provide a correct answer for 1 point. This game is a fun way to both reinforce learning and energize the class.

      Five Tips for Effective Game Use in Training

      1. Make it relevant. Align chosen games with training goals, keeping all activities on topic and engaging to participants.
      2. Consider your audience. When selecting games, keep company policy and participants in mind. Will prizes add excitement and encourage participation or cause the class to segment and become unruly?
      3. Optimize the environment. Be considerate of how employees learn, and set up games accordingly. Maximize the opportunity to learn by tailoring game usage to make even the most timid wallflower flourish.
      4. Watch your timing. While it is important to watch the clock – do not overdo it. Allow time for 90% of participants to finish before officially ending the activity. Ending the activity too soon will lessen its effect and allowing too much time will give opportunity for employees to lose focus.
      5. Create movement. Keeping a room full of people engaged for hours on end is not easy. Choose games that require movement to rejuvenate the class and get them ready for more learning.

      To be proficient on the job, employees must not only understand what is being taught, they must be able to demonstrate their ability to use the knowledge in a simulated, on-the-job environment. Simple, relevant games enhance traditional training methods by creating a comfortable environment for learning, keeping participants energized, and encouraging early adoption of desired performance.

      Read More at: https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2012/10/Five-Tips-for-Success-When-Using-Games-in-Training

    • 09 Nov 2017 9:36 AM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      Think of a conversation that you need to have that scares you. Perhaps it is a conversation with your boss about something she is doing that is not helpful. Or a conversation with a peer about what you are noticing that is not working for him. Or taking it home, perhaps it is a conversation with your spouse or family member to discuss something that you do not feel the other is willing to talk about.

      Ok, do you have a conversation in mind?

      Does the thought of this conversation make you want to evaporate? Or run out the door? Or go on vacation? If so, that's a good sign. These are the conversations I am talking about.

      I do understand the fear. There are legitimate reasons to be scared about having these conversations. Some people do not react well when confronted, regardless of how eloquent and thoughtful you are. Sometimes, certain discussions are not career-enhancing, depending on your colleagues and boss. These are realities.

      What is equally a reality is that the cost of not having the conversation is much greater than the risk of it going badly. No one will die in this process. And your mental health and wellbeing are at stake here. These needed conversations weigh you down. You know this. Science tells you this. We all know this, yet we justify our way into carrying unneeded weight around.

      So, here are three tips to overcome the scary nature of some exchanges: 

      1. Embrace the nervous energy. One of my prior bosses once told me that the butterflies you feel before a tough conversation are an indication of how much you care about the person. I like to think of it that way; put a positive spin on it. Ultimately, if you don't care about a relationship or a person, you wouldn't bother having the conversation. So come to terms with the way you feel and expect some nervousness. See it as a good sign instead of wanting to flee.
      1. Prepare accordingly. Whether it is a feedback or confrontation conversation, preparation is key for having the conversation align with your intention. Here at fierce we teach the preparation piece for various conversations, and oftentimes, people tell us that it is our magic. The goal is to make your conversations authentic and drive the results you want. So, prepare by scanning some of the tips from this blog. Set aside some unadulterated time to focus and think through the conversation. Take some notes.
      1.  Practice with someone. Many conversations do not go the way we want them to, because we are not clear and direct. Once you have done some preparation, find a friend or partner to practice with. Ask the person how they felt with your delivery. Ask for feedback. It is not necessary to do a role play situation, but rather, use the practice time as an opportunity to make sure you are not laying blame or using inflammatory language that could trigger just about anyone.

      These tips definitely can help you stay focused. Ultimately, though, you are the one that has to make the choice to have the conversation. 

      And for your own sake, I really hope you do. You have more to gain than you can imagine.

      Do you have any tips for our audience about dealing with fear around  conversations?

      Read More at: https://www.fierceinc.com/blog

    • 27 Jul 2017 12:33 PM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      Check Out This Session hosted by ATD of North Louisiana                     

      "Bite Size Learning Program"   Presented by: Howard White 

        August 10th 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
      WK INNOVATION CENTER - 2105 AIRLINE DR BOSSIER CITY LA 71111
                               
      https://atdnla.wildapricot.org/event-2543232                      
    • 08 Jun 2017 8:05 AM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      By Michael Hackett, LogiGear

      Training has to be fun.  Simple as that.  To inspire changed behaviors and adoption of new practices, training has to be interesting, motivating, stimulating and challenging. Training also has to be engaging enough to maintain interest, as trainers today are forced to compete with handheld mobile devices, interruptions from texting, email distractions, and people who think they can multi-task.

      Many trainers cringe at the term edutainment, the necessity of education to be entertaining.  But the fact is: if class time is boring – regardless of how important – your efforts will fail.  Regardless of the content, to boost interest and retention, training has to be interactive.

      Today, there is great innovation going on in classroom practices – and not only from online delivery.  In class, I use as many games, exercises and examples as I can to engage and challenge students.  It takes longer than a lecture, but it’s much more effective.

      What is clear about training adults is that lectures alone do not work. The content is easy to create and most efficient in terms of delivery time.  But, in my experience, the retention rates are just too low!  It’s essential that there be learning activities – and the more the better.

      There must be learning activities to:

      • Verify the content delivered was received
      • Get feedback and replay to gauge the level of understanding
      • Challenge adults with having them immediately apply the information – a key achievement for adult learners.
      • Make the training more diverse and interesting to keep attention and increase retention
      • Entertain, make training more interesting and fun

      This does not have to be complex, time-consuming or a big event.  At a minimum it can be an instructor-led walk-through of a testing example.  It could be relating a past project experience.  Although an instructor-led walk-through will have less interaction, telling effective stories can expand thinking and application.  It could also be a testing simulation applying a newly learned process from start to finish.  Knowledge needs more than one method of delivery for retention and application.

      It has become increasingly popular in recent years to have corporate classes designed as simulations.  Within this format, the classes are conducted with numerous activities and learning games, which have proven to be the key method to learning and applying job skills.

      Read More at logigear.com


    • 25 Apr 2017 8:29 AM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      Thursday, April 20, 2017 - by  Randy Thompson 

      When I started my CPLP journey, I really didn’t know what the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification was. I was familiar with ATD and had taken several classes and webcasts from them over the years. At that point in my career, I was looking for something to further develop my skills. CPLP seemed as if it would help me do that. My employer had set aside some money for my professional development that year. I looked on ATD’s website and came across information on the CPLP and a workshop in Denver. I attended the workshop thinking that I would get a certificate at the end, and life would be good. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.   

      Within the first few minutes of the workshop, I quickly realized this was going to be more than a workshop. It was going to be a very long and challenging task of passing two exams . What had I gotten myself into? Being the type of person who doesn’t quit, I decided to pursue the certification. I immediately began networking with the people in my class because I knew I was going to need some help. We formed a study group, which ended up being tremendously helpful in my study regimen. I also took and retook all the practice exams I could find or buy. I studied like I had never studied before. 

      With a degree in education and more than 20 years in the learning and development profession, I thought I had mastered everything there was to know in our field. Boy, was I wrong. After four months of studying, even while on my 20-year anniversary trip to Hawaii with my wife, I took the Knowledge Exam and passed. First hurdle cleared.  

      When I prepared for the CPLP, the second exam was a Work Product submission which has since been replaced with the Skills Application Exam (SAE). I decided on instructional design. This area of our profession is something I have experience in doing, but I have never had the title of instructional designer. I wanted to prove to myself that I had the knowledge and skills needed in this area. Thankfully I had a project in progress with my employer that was perfect . My company had asked me to develop a training program for new contact center trainers. I needed to prove to the CPLP raters that I not only had the right skills for designing curriculum, but also was teaching trainers how to be trainers. It was a unique dynamic. But, in the end, it worked out perfectly.  

      Waiting for the results was horrendous. I am not a patient person, and this part of the process tested me to the very core. The week I was expected to receive the results, I was on a business trip. The week quickly passed by with no results. Friday came and I was on a plane home, anxiously watching my email. Upon arriving home, I had still not received the results. My mind started racing with thoughts of doom and destruction. ATD was going to tell those who didn’t pass last. I fired up my laptop and did some work for a couple of hours. Then, it happened. I finally got the email containing the news I was looking for. My heart raced and my hand shook as I clicked the on the email. But after a quick scan, I saw the word I was looking for: passed! Tears of joy quickly started flowing. I could now celebrate my accomplishment. I had planned a trip to Las Vegas that weekend with my two older boys to attend the 50th birthday celebration of the Ford Mustang. I still have fond memories of Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” from my car radio and the growl of my 2013 Mustang GT 5.0’s engine as it tore down the highway through the Mojave desert while I relished my CPLP accomplishment. 

      Going through the CPLP process, I learned that there was a lot about the learning and development profession that I didn’t know. In all the training and formal education I have received over the years, I learned the most from my CPLP journey. I am the first person in my organization to receive the CPLP certification. My employer watched me go through the certification process and recognized the value this certification brought to the business. 

      In a way, the CPLP was not a journey I meant to take. But I’m grateful I did. It has boosted my confidence and increased my prospects for a brighter future. 

      Learn more about the CPLP Certification.

       
    • 31 Mar 2017 4:01 PM | Carolyn Sutton (Administrator)

      Unrealistic deadlines, small budgets and other eLearning challenges can be crushed with these tips

      By Paul Leavoy

      Posted October 12, 2016

      Life is full of obstacles, but eLearning professionals have a unique set of eLearning challenges that come with the job title. In fact, there are some hurdles that we must leap over on a regular basis. From difficult clients and bland subject matter to shoestring eLearning budgets that need to be stretched, we have to use every trick we know to get through the day in one piece and persevere. Here are the top 10 headaches that eLearning professionals face virtually every day:

      1. Unrealistic Deadlines

      We’ve all had to deal with next-to-impossible deadlines that made us lose sleep and deal with unhealthy amounts of stress. No matter how many times we tried to shift things around and reallocate our resources, we just couldn’t seem to make the timeline work in our favor. The secret to overcoming unrealistic deadlines is full transparency and honesty. Make the client aware of every step involved in the process so that they know just how much work goes into creating effective eLearning deliverables.

      2. Inexperienced Clients

      In some cases, you may find that your clients are being unrealistic simply because they are inexperienced. They’ve never worked with an eLearning professional before. Hence, they aren’t aware of how difficult the eLearning design and development process can be. This is why it’s so important to sit down with them beforehand and explain what you’ll be doing, how you’ll be achieving the goals, and how often they can expect a progress report. If they know what’s going on behind the scenes they will usually be much more cooperative and understanding.

      3. Subject Matter Experts With No Prior Instructional Design Knowledge

      From time to time, you are going to come across a Subject Matter Expert who is new to the world of eLearning or doesn’t know much about Instructional design models and theories. They may have great personalities and a strong work ethic, but their lack of knowledge can pose a problem for your eLearning team. Before you hire your next Subject Matter Expert, conduct eLearning interviews to gauge their level of Instructional Design know-how. Carefully examine their eLearning portfolios and ask them why they took a certain approach. If you already have a Subject Matter Expert who doesn’t have any Instructional Design knowledge, provide them with a list of online resources that they can use to brush up on the basics.

      4. Lack Of Learner Motivation And Engagement

      Unfortunately, not every online learner is going to be 100% committed to the eLearning experience. They may be distracted, busy, or simply unmotivated. All of these hurdles prevent them from actively engaging in the eLearning experience. To counteract this you must provide them with an interactive and immersive eLearning course that includes their interests and aligns with their goals. They have to see the value in the eLearning course if you want them to actively participate.

      5. Balancing Tight eLearning Budgets

      Not all eLearning projects are going to come with unlimited eLearning budgets. In fact, most are going to have limited resources and you must work with what you’ve got. Before you begin any eLearning project you should outline a detailed eLearning budget that includes any and all expenses. Also, make sure to have a realistic estimate of what the eLearning project is going to require before you turn in your proposal to the client. Otherwise, you may have to dig into your profit margin in order to deliver an eLearning product that lives up to expectations.

      6. Transforming Dull Subject Matter Into Amazing eLearning Experiences

      Dry and dull subject matter is the bane of the eLearning professional’s existence. You have use a healthy dose of innovation, creativity, and every resource you have at your disposal to transform it into something engaging and exciting. eLearning interactivity is key here. If you can develop branching scenarios, simulations, and serious games that include the key takeaways, your learners might actually find the eLearning experience enjoyable.

      7. Whittling down the “Need To Know” Info

      There are instances when it seems like there is so much eLearning content that you don’t even know where to begin. However, bringing an experienced Subject Matter Expert on board and doing some audience research can help you determine the information that is relevant. It’s also important to consider cognitive overload when you’re creating your eLearning content. If it doesn’t align with the goals and objectives, then it may be best to just leave it out.

      8. Staying Up-To-Date With Modern Tech

      Every year brings with it new tech tools, gadgets, and software that you can use for your eLearning course design. But which technology is really worth the investment? Attend tech conferences, eLearning events, and trade shows. Read up on articles and watch video reviews of the latest and greatest technologies. This will give you the opportunity to stay up-to-date with modern tech for eLearning.

      9. Finding The Perfect eLearning Authoring Tool For The Task

      If you’ve had to choose a new eLearning authoring tool or Learning Management System in the past, then you already know how challenging the selection process can be. There are so many eLearning authoring tools and LMS platforms to choose from and so little time. It’s wise to narrow down your list of must-have features and then take full advantage of free demos and trials. Doing so can help you choose the tool that’s just right for the needs of your learners and your eLearning development team.

      10. Designing eLearning Courses For Different Generations

      Your audience is most likely comprised of at least two or three different generation, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. This makes it challenging to create generic eLearning experiences for all, since each generation has its own unique traits and needs. However, you can overcome this by learning as much as you can about your online learners’ goals, preferences, and backgrounds. After you’ve done your research, use this data to create learner personas so that you are able to customize the eLearning content based on their experience level and tech-savviness of each learning group.

      Fortunately, the pros by far outweigh the cons when it comes to being an eLearning professional. Sure, there may be many eLearning challenges that cause us stress and frustration from time to time, but giving people the gift of knowledge makes it all worthwhile, right?

      Read More At https://www.docebo.com/2016/10/12/top10-elearning-challenges/

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