Instructional Design Ninja

My Client Was in Trouble

The Challenge

By the time my client called for help, they were in big trouble. They needed to secure another round of funding. But, they couldn’t prove that they had a reliable way to grow their business. They simply couldn’t fill their hiring pipeline with qualified workers. And, they couldn’t figure out why.

They had put their best people on the task of creating training to onboard and upskill new … Read More

Why Content Isn’t Training

I love ballet. So much so that I take ballet class three to four times a week. Because I live in San Francisco, the school I attend is able to attract top-tier teachers. This means that I often find myself dancing side-by-side with principal ballerinas from San Francisco Ballet. This is a little like finding yourself singing with Lady Gaga or acting alongside Meryl Streep.

Here’s the thing that I’ve … Read More

4 Simple Questions to Ask Execs to Plan Training for 2018

PlanIf your company’s fiscal year-end is in synch with the calendar year, then you are probably starting the process of creating a talent development plan for next year. Hopefully, you’ve got meetings with key executives scheduled to find out what the business priorities are for the coming year so you can plan learning initiatives to support them.

Executives are generally concerned with either solving business problems or achieving business goals. … Read More

Is Better Than Nothing Good Enough? How to Design Effective Training When Your Budget Is Tight

penniesI recently had a conversation with a prospect that rocked me back on my heels. He was looking for helping putting together product knowledge training for his sales team. As is often the case, serious budget constraints were in play.

On the one hand, he had a lowball bid from a vendor he had worked with before. He knew this vendor would create a poorly designed page-turner e-learning course. But, … Read More

What Does Work-Life Balance Mean to You?

work-2005640_640I was driving down Market Street in San Francisco the other day when I spotted a young woman, clad in shorts and a tank top, riding her bicycle with her dog in tow. I winced. This practice of towing a dog alongside a moving bicycle always seemed cruel to me. Regardless of whether the dog is tired, sore, thirsty, hungry, out of breath, sick, or even injured, it has to … Read More

How I Inadvertently Became Really Really Good at Work-Life Balance

balance-154516_640“I had no choice,” I told my client, Beth. “I am not good at work-life balance because I wanted to be or because I somehow got lucky. I literally had no choice.”

I’d called Beth to catch up after she’d been out of the office on medical leave for several months. We’d worked closely for many years on a variety of projects and I wanted to find out how she … Read More

RIP Workplace Learning

grave-2036220_640(1)I read this article, Fixing Workplace Learning – Inconvenient Truths, late Friday afternoon, and have been stewing about it all weekend. First and foremost, I completely agree with the author, Bill Sawyer: The workplace learning field, for the most part, lacks professionalism to an astonishing degree. And, from what I’ve seen, the quality of Instructional Design just keeps getting worse. We are mesmerized by the new; think mobile delivery,
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The One Critical Thing Missing From Most Training

doubt-2072602_640I recently reviewed a subject matter expert (SME) designed course for customers of a software vendor and noticed something absolutely critical missing.

The course was for casual coders; in other words, people who know how to code, but don’t do it all day every day. Not surprisingly, the course started with a lesson on remedial coding to ensure that everyone knew the basics to actually use the software. The course … Read More

4 Ways Gamification Makes Training More Effective

board-761586_1920How Gamification Makes Training More Effective

What do quests, boss battles, levels, and points all have in common? They are all game mechanics that can be used to gamify training. In this approach to Instructional Design, you structure the training around achieving an overarching quest. You can find examples of overarching quests in the game world that might include conquering the world, defeating the dark side, or saving a damsel … Read More

How Automaticity Is Messing Up Your Sales Training & What to Do About It

AutomaticitySometimes it sucks to be my husband. Let me explain. Alex is from a country that was part of the former Soviet Union. Apparently, manual transmissions work differently over there. We discovered this when I needed to hop out to shift my car into reverse before we slowly slid into a parked car while he was driving. Admittedly, it didn’t help that some not-too-helpful mechanic had gorilla-glued the knob on … Read More