Heading to #ATD2016 this month?

2016-ATD-International-Conference-and-Expo

It’s May – are you heading to Denver for ATD’s International Conference & Expo (ICE) this month? I am – and I couldn’t be more excited! ICE is the biggest event of the year for L&D folks, and I’m ready to absorb every possible idea or nugget of wisdom along with 10,000+ of my fellow colleagues. Plus, I’m on the docket to present this year, which is such a tremendous privilege. 

I'm-speaking-at-ATD-ICE-2016

If this is your first time attending ICE, you should know that this is not an event you just show up at, sans-plan. With so many session options, it’s important to map out some options ahead of time. I’ve been working on my game plan for the past few days. While it is definitely subject to change, here are a few of the sessions I’m considering:

Sunday, May 22

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Chapter Leader Breakfast, Chapter Leader Day

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – (SU205) Flip & Drip Approach to Leadership Development: Accelerating Learning Transfer

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – (SU314) The LeaderShift: How to Engage & Develop the Next Generation of Leaders

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – (SU408) Keys to a (Really) Successful New Supervisor Training Program

Evening – ATD-Central Indiana Member Meetup!

Monday, May 23

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – (General Session) Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don’t

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Chapter Leader Power Hour

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – (M212) Cracking the Code for Kirkpatrick Levels 3 & 4

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – (M3318) Creating and Launching Sales Onboarding in 90 Days or Less 

Evening – TBD

Tuesday, May 24

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m – (TU200) Redefining the Future of L&D with 70-20-10 and Beyond 

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – (TU416) 70-20-10 Onboarding: How to Engage, Empower & Develop New Employees (My session – join me!)

Evening – TBD

Wednesday, May 25

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. – (W201) Keeping Learning Alive Through Social Media & Learning Communities

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – (W304) Ending the ROI Void: What You Should Measure Come Monday

There are still several open spots on my agenda…this is why careful planning is necessary! There are so many intriguing sessions being offered, it’s tough to play the Sophie’s Choice game to decide which to attend. I’ll be narrowing the list over the next week or so, but I still fully expect to call a few audibles here and there.

First time at ICE?

Fear not! The conference website has a handy session planning tool that will let you review the session lineup and bookmark your favorites. Some folks in the L&D blogging community have also shared their own tips for a successful ICE experience. Here’s a great one by JD Dillon – 5 Tips for Making the Most of #ATD2016. He’s also shared his #ATD2016 schedule – check it out!

Will I see you there?

What’s on your must-see list while at ICE? Share your can’t-miss sessions in the comments below! 

Looking for some good conversation while you’re in Denver? Let’s catch up and talk shop over a cup of coffee! Drop me a note – let’s meet up!

The easiest tweak you can make to your training and orientation programs…

stocking-up-on-classroom-candy
How many of you put out candy for training attendees? I know we do at the day job…in fact, the photo above is a shot of my cart on a recent stock-up trip at my local Sam’s Club. Even when the cost of doing business continues to soar, this is an expense that we have curbed, yet kept.

Why?

Because people like candy.

Before the workplace health and wellness fans start to worry, we also provide fresh fruit and some considerably less-exciting snacks like granola bars and trail mix.

Until I attended a recent conference, however, I didn’t give much thought to the bowl of candy that graces our training tables. Then, a tiny little tweak transformed a simple snack into a learning tool.

I promise you now, whether you are a long-time phase(two)learning follower or this is the first post you’ve read, this is worth the price of admission. Which, frankly, is free…so what a deal, amiright?

Check this out:

tech-tip-on-candy-wrapper

Whoa! Mind. Blown.

How simple is this? All that is needed is candy or snacks, a package of printable adhesive labels and some tips or ideas to share to your participants.

Granted, I’m sure I’m not the first person to “discover” this little nugget, but in over 20 years of teaching and facilitation, somehow it’s new to me. Regardless, it got me thinking….how else could we use this easy tip in training or Orientation programs? Here are 8 beyond-simple ideas:

  1. Provide the URL for your organization’s intranet, wiki, or other learning sites.
  2. Share the Twitter handles for influential, must-follow people in your organization or industry.
  3. Post can’t-miss dates – like when your benefit paperwork is due.
  4. Distribute your company’s IT Help Desk email or phone number.
  5. Share interesting trivia about your organization’s history. (Bonus: Have participants piece together the trivia into a timeline!)
  6. Introduce your company’s mission or purpose statement. 
  7. Solicit simple, one-sentence quotes from other employees – tips on how to be successful at your organization
  8. Share “Fact or Fiction” statements about your industry, organization, products/services, etc. Have participants stick (literally!) the wrappers under one of two columns on a flip chart (“fact” or “fiction”). As the candy is consumed throughout training, the columns will grow. On the last day of training, see how accurate everyone’s guesses are!

Honestly, I could probably come up with a dozen other ideas…there are so many creative possibilities for this one!

Your turn: Have you used this type of interactive element in your training sessions? What tips have you communicated? And most importantly, what is the must-have candy in YOUR candy bowl?

Pinterest for Learning Professionals: A Starter Kit

Pinterest-for-Learning-Professionals

Are you on Pinterest? While this addictive, visual social platform has certainly made its mark when it comes to everything from home decorating ideas to recipes to hairstyling tips (and SO much more), it is also a terrific resource for training, instructional/eLearning design and talent development professionals.

I’ve been pinning for a couple of years now. Alongside creatively-titled boards, like “Food My Picky Family Might Actually Like,” “Champagne Wishes and Louboutin Dreams,” and “Clothes Before Bros,” you’ll find my “Learning and Development Playground” board…a repository for awesome infographics, links to helpful articles and dozens of other great nuggets.

Pinterest might not seem like a logical source for professional resources, but I can assure you that I have gained a number of ideas through this social media channel. So, if you are new to Pinterest, consider this post your starter kit. Check out these 10 boards, chock full of L&D nerd-approved resources:

1. Creative Learning

(Shannon Tipton)

Pinterest_-_Creative_Learning

 

2. Blogs I like

(Shannon Tipton)

Pinterest_-_Blogs_I_Like

 

 

3. Work Life: Using Pinterest

(Dawn Mahoney)

Pinterest_-_Work_Life_-_Using_Pinterest

 

 

4. ID/eLearning Books

(Tracy Parish)

Pinterest_-_ID.eLearning_Books

 

 

5. Learning Design

(Enzo Silva)

Pinterest_-_Learning_Design

 

 

6. 70/20/10

(Corey Maddux)

Pinterest_-_70-20-10

 

 

7. Blended

(Corey Maddux)

Pinterest_-_Blended

 

 

8. Checklists & Job Aids for Trainers

(Langevin Learning Services)

Pinterest_-_Checklists_and_Job_Aids_for_Trainers

 

 

9. Training & Talent Development

(Association for Talent Development – ATD)

Pinterest_-_Training_and_Talent_Development

 

 

10. E-Learning Examples

(Articulate)

Pinterest_-_eLearning_examples

 

There you have it. Whether you’re just getting started on Pinterest, or if you’re just looking for some creative, inspiring boards to follow, these 10 examples have a little something for everyone…regardless of your focus along the workplace learning spectrum!

 

Your turn: Do you follow any boards that other learning professionals would find interesting? Share the board name and/or link in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow Learning & Development Playground!

 

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Interesting Things I Learned from DevLearn 2014

good-ideas-spread

Last week, there was a pretty large Learning Technology conference taking place in fabulous Las Vegas – DevLearn, hosted by eLearning Guild. Were you there?

I took away some good nuggets of information from this conference…I’m summarizing three of those nuggets, courtesy of some interesting people I know through Twitter:

 

1. Agile project management/development – Many Learning professionals are ditching traditional content development and project management methods in favor of Agile. I’ve been reading a lot about this lately, so I thought this post was an interesting, easy-to-implement strategy based on Agile methodology:

devlearn-tweet-1

 

 

2. Work smarter, not harder – A great part about conferences is walking away with poignant, shareable words of wisdom from passionate, like-minded professionals. This one resonated with me…why do we make things more complicated than they need to be?

devlearn-tweet-2

 

 

3. Naturally, the humor – First of all, can I get an amen for this particular slide?  When you get a group of L&D geeks in a room (brick-and-mortar or virtual), there will be war stories. There will be a splash of snark. There will be jokes. And, in Devlearn’s case, a breakout session with content created entirely from memes. (nicely done, @LnDDave – and thanks to @tracy_parish for sharing the tweet)

devlearn-tweet-3

 

 

So, here’s a little confession: I wasn’t there. You read that correctly – I did not attend DevLearn. Yet I feel like I learned several things. How? It’s all about the backchannel, baby. I saved the #devlearn hashtag as a stream in Hootsuite so I could follow along throughout the conference. I actually felt like I attended sessions along with a number of good people who faithfully tweeted interesting points throughout the conference. So, to all of you who contributed to the DevLearn Twitter stream, I thank you for providing such interesting commentary! (Bonus: Since I wasn’t in Vegas for the conference, I didn’t lose any money at the roulette table!)

I’ve mentioned before that people in our industry are often like the “cobbler’s children who have no shoes” when it comes to professional development. We spend our days creating an environment for others in our organizations to learn, collaborate and grow….but when it comes down to brass tacks, we sometimes neglect our own interests and development goals. Following an event’s Twitter stream (“backchannel”) or joining a Twitter chat can be a wonderful (not to mention, free) way to reap many of the benefits of networking and social collaboration, without the travel expense or time away from the office.

If you’re unable to attend a conference or event, check out their website – you will often see the official event hashtag prominently posted. Follow it – it’s the next best thing to being there!

For regular interaction, Twitter chats are a great way to connect with others. Here are a few active chats for Learning and Talent Development professionals to check out:

#lrnchat

#chat2lrn

#tchat

 

Your turn: What is your take on event hashtags? Do you follow/contribute to the backchannel at conferences? Use the comments to share your thoughts!

 

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Early bird registration is OPEN for the newest phase(two)learning workshop!

Looking to give your New Employee Orientation program an overhaul? Join us March 9-10 for Orientation Overhaul: Re-imagining the New Employee Experience in your Organization – if you are responsible for creating or delivering content to new employees, this session is for you!

Click here to learn more

ANNOUNCEMENT: Does Your New Employee Orientation Program Need an Overhaul?

Orientation Overhaul Logo JPEG format cropped

 

We’ve been hinting around at a big announcement for the past few weeks, and here it is!  By popular demand, we are excited to announce the newest public workshop offering from phase(two)learning!

Join us March 9-10, 2015 for Orientation Overhaul: Re-imagining the New Employee Experience in your Organization!

New Employee Orientation is often a lackluster rite of passage for new employees – consisting of little more than paperwork, policies and procedures. Unfortunately, many programs fail to grasp this unique opportunity to connect with their newest associates, harness their natural new-employee excitement and ignite their passion for your organization…which fuels employee engagement, learning and long-term retention.

So, let’s give it an overhaul! By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the design and delivery of your current New Employee Orientation program
  • Define success for your New Employee Orientation program
  • Identify the essential stakeholders across your organization who should be involved in your New Employee Orientation program
  • Incorporate strategies into your Orientation program proven to increase engagement and to make sure your new employees “get it”
  • Compare and contrast what you’re currently doing with successful practices from industry-leading organizations with an inspiring Onboarding Luminary discussion panel
  • Differentiate between must-have and nice-to-have elements in your New Employee Orientation program
  • Use concepts learned in this workshop to immediately implement changes to your current Orientation materials in our unique Design Lab session

Who should attend?

  • HR & Talent Acquisition leaders who are responsible for their organization’s New Employee Orientation program
  • Learning & Talent Development professionals who are involved in developing or delivering New Employee Orientation content
Learn more and register here

If your New Employee Orientation could use a reboot – we can assure you, this session is for you. And trust us, it will not be a passive, boring, lecture-laden session…this will be an intensive, roll-up-your-sleeves opportunity to immediately work on your own Orientation materials. The workshop will conclude with a unique Design Lab, which will allow you to take advantage of ideas from other participants, as well as receiving coaching and feedback from your facilitators to begin your own overhaul before you leave – and before you get distracted back in the office!

Seating is limited…reserve your spot today!

Yes, I keep saying “we” – so, who’s helping me with this?

This workshop is a joint venture between myself and Brian Washburn, the voice of the popular Train Like a Champion blog. Brian has been working in instructional design and workshop facilitation for over 16 years. He is the co-founder and managing director of Endurance Learning, an organization whose vision is for every presentation to be engaging and lead to change. Brian has worked with organizations across North and South America, Asia and Africa in order to help improve the engagement and interactivity of their training programs. He has served as the national training director of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) and the Global Learning & Development manager for SightLife, the world’s largest eye bank. In 2011, Brian was named a Top Young Trainer by Training Magazine in recognition of his contributions to the training field before the age of 40. You can read more about his philosophy on training design and delivery at his blog, and you can connect with him on Twitter at @flipchartguy.

 

Register NOW to reserve your seat and take advantage of Early Bird savings! 

Use up those 2014 training budget dollars, or start making plans for 2015 by registering today! You’ll save $100 per person, or even more if you take advantage of the group discount or table sponsor opportunity. Check out the registration page to learn more.

 

Here’s what we need from you, Phase(Two)Nation:

  • Please take a look at the registration page and consider attending the workshop on March 9-10, 2015
  • Share this post with colleagues and friends who are involved with their organization’s New Employee Orientation program
  • Join the phase(two)learning email list so you are in the loop about other upcoming events and updates!

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Got any questions about this event? Reach out to Michelle anytime to learn more.

How to Combat “Inspiration Overload” After a Conference

information overload

Fun fact about yours truly: I have the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for my local chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD – formerly ASTD). Last week, I was able to attend the organization’s annual Chapter Leaders Conference (ALC), where I was also able to present a session. The conference, in a word, was fantastic. Our team walked away with so many ideas and plans to grow and progress our chapter…so many ideas, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming now that I’ve been back home for a few days.

Have you ever been to a conference, workshop or other event like that?

How do you harness that positive energy when you return to the hustle-bustle of the routines and responsibilities in the real world?

Well, here are three strategies to try:

1. Follow the backchannel.

Most conferences and events have a dedicated hashtag to categorize tweets and tweeters. This is a valuable resource to not only engage in the online conversation that is running in tandem throughout the live event, but you can favorite, retweet and curate your favorite ideas and resources to review and access afterward.

2. Connect with attendees.

Nowadays, it’s not just about collecting business cards to stuff in your Rolodex and forget about. Use the business cards to connect with like-minded people, session presenters and other interesting people via LinkedIn, Twitter, email and other channels. Follow up with questions. Continue conversations. Share resources. Hop on a Skype call to share ideas over a cup of coffee. If you’re lucky enough to be geographically close, actually meet up in person for that cup of coffee!

3. Put your notes and ideas in an obvious, accessible place.

For me, it’s my Moleskine notebook. If it’s in my notebook, then it goes with me just about everywhere. For you, whether it’s a Moleskine or Evernote (or whatever your notetaking tool/app of choice might be), use it when inspiration strikes. Make a to-do list with your action items – I typically don’t take a lot of notes in the conference-provided booklet/agenda, because I don’t always have that handy after the event. If it’s something I want to explore post-conference, I need to put it in a place I know I’ll look at it.

Several months ago, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about how to have a bad time at a conference. After last week’s ATD event, I can say the same ideas hold true. You get what you put into it, folks. If you are fortunate enough to be able to attend conferences – even every once in awhile – then take advantage of the opportunity to learn, grow professionally and connect with others in your industry. What a privilege that is!

Your turn: How do you get the most out of conferences and workshops? How do you apply what you’ve learned (and keep the inspiration alive!) after the event? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

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Are you located in or near Indiana? Join CIASTD (ATD – Central Indiana) for our annual Learning Summit on Friday, November 7!

Learn more about the chapter’s premier event of the year, check out the impressive presenter lineup and REGISTER on the chapter website!

 

Stay tuned for a BIG announcement from phase(two)learning!

Don’t miss it! Click the button below to subscribe for email updates from phase(two)learning…you’ll be glad you did!

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Trick Out My PowerPoint: Episode 2

trick-out-my-powerpoint-episode-2

Every second of the day, PowerPoint is used in approximately 350 presentations around the world. To put that into perspective, there are more PowerPoint presentations born every second than babies.

If you’re planning to use PowerPoint (along with 30,240,000 other people every day), it’ll be important that your slides can stand out and be memorable.

Brian Washburn from Train Like a Champion and I are here to help! In this second edition of our Trick Out My PowerPoint series (did you catch the original post?), we’ve taken a look at an actual slide from a conference Brian recently attended and put our own spin on the design of the slide.

trick-out-my-powerpoint-original slide-goals of eye banks

While the presentation itself featured good, relevant information, here’s a sample of how Brian and I would have “tricked out” this slide deck for maximum impact on the audience:

Trick-out Artist #1: Brian Washburn

Brian says:

All the information is there on this slide, and I would have broken up the bullet points into four separate slides (when you list all your bullet points on one screen, your audience will be too busy reading the text on your slide to pay attention to what you have to say… the brain can’t do both things at once!).

To me, the word “goal” lends itself very easily to a sports metaphor. One way to trick out this slide deck, at least this particular section revolving around goals, would be to turn the slide into a stadium scoreboard, complete with jumbo tron screen for the image.

Trick_out_my_PPT_-_Goals_of_Eye_Banks_-_BW_SLIDE_1

The word “goal” also reminds me of the old “fundraising thermometer” whereby reaching one goal is a small victory along the way, but the ultimate destination is to reach every single goal.

Trick_out_my_PPT_-_Goals_of_Eye_Banks_-_BW_SLIDE_2_png

Finally, there are times when someone at a higher pay grade than I insists that a slide template must be used. There are so many reasons I don’t like slide templates, but the biggest one is because the slide template eats up valuable slide real estate. Nonetheless, if a slide template is required, it doesn’t prevent the visual imagery of your PowerPoint slides from being powerful. I might put together a series of slides that looks like this…

Trick_out_my_PPT_-_Goals_of_Eye_Banks_-_BW_SLIDE_3_Blurry

Followed by a series of slides with text that is not blurry:

Trick_out_my_PPT_-_Goals_of_Eye_Banks_-_BW_SLIDE_3_Clear

During the delivery, I’d make the point that without all four of these goals being achieved, millions of people would remain corneal blind and those blurry slides represent all they would be able to see.


 

Trick-out Artist #2: Michelle Baker

Michelle says:

Well, I took the challenge in another direction. Ordinarily, my gut reaction would have been to take the same approach as Brian suggested, to divide the content among multiple slides. But as I looked at the slide, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could actually communicate the point of the slide on one individual slide, without looking cluttered or forced?

As a reminder, here is the original slide:

trick-out-my-powerpoint-original slide-goals of eye banks

I transformed this slide three ways – here is what I came up with:

 

Option 1: Simple and Straightforward

Trick out my PPT - Goals of Eye Banks - MB SLIDE 1

On this slide, I specifically called out the two goals of eye banks, using a simple “bullseye” graphic for participants to identify these goals with the importance of achieving the goal.  Using a callout box in a contrasting color, I added the additional talking points. The box and color breaks up the text, and allows the participant to focus on “zones” in the slide, rather than looking at many text rows.  You could also utilize PowerPoint’s animation/transition features to have the text box float in after discussing the two goals, to make the slide appear even cleaner.

 

Option 2: Let SmartArt Do the Work

Trick out my PPT - Goals of Eye Banks - MB SLIDE 2

When used properly, SmartArt can be a very effective way to visually convey information on a slide without using too much text. It’s a wonderful, easy-to-use feature for non-graphic designers (like myself!) to add to their PowerPoint design arsenal.  For this slide, I used two converging arrows. This particular graphic clearly shows the relationship between the two goals of eye banks, and why they are so important to work in conjunction with one another. The ribbon-tied finger graphic at the bottom adds a bit of personality to the reminder of why this is important, particularly for new eye banks.

 

Option 3: A strong graphic can make all the difference

Trick out my PPT - Goals of Eye Banks - MB SLIDE 3

Leaning on the participants’ perceived passion around healthy eyes, I used a strong graphic of a stunning blue eye as the focal point of this slide. By adjusting the image size, the eye appears to fade directly into the blank, white canvas of the slide, which provides an ideal space to add my text – simply stated and clean.  Again, using basic animation/transition functionality, I would add the “What does this mean?” subtext after discussing the two primary goals.

On all three slides, I made sure to call out the source information, but notice that I used a muted gray color for the font in a smaller size – it is visible, but does not compete with the primary message the slide coveys.

Another point of consistency is the use of animation/transition functionality – subtle is key; avoid crazy twirls, spins and checkerboard effects! A simple float or fade will suffice, and use the same effect, speed and direction throughout your entire slide deck for a polished, professional look.

 


 

So, there you have it. Between Brian and Michelle’s unique approaches, you see 6 very different, tricked-out approaches for the same PowerPoint slide. Maybe give one of these styles a try the next time you’re faced with refreshing a text-laden slide?

What say you?

How would you trick out this slide? What is your preferred approach? Share your creative ideas in the comments below!

 

Need some help Tricking Out Your PowerPoint?

Let Brian and Michelle give it a shot! Send us a slide, and we might just feature it in an upcoming blog post on Train Like a Champion and Phase(Two)Learning!

 

Stay tuned for a big phase(two)learning announcement coming soon!

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