Gillespie Associates

Bridging the Learning Gap

When there's a learning gap between where your employees are and where they need to be, Gillespie Associates designs training solutions that keep them moving forward. We're experts in training needs analysis, curriculum design, instructor-led training, eLearning, blended learning, mobile learning, virtual instructor-led training, and more. Contact us today to see how we can help bridge your organization's learning gap.

Gaps in First-Time Manager Training

There are an incredible number of demands on the adult worker today. These demands leave only about 1% of a typical workweek available for training and development—that’s about 25 minutes a week! Some of the fault rests with the technology that’s supposed to make life easier. It also makes us more available to an overload of demands and responsibilities.

That same technology, however, presents an opportunity to utilize those 25 minutes in a new way. Before we talk about that, however, let’s quickly discuss how most training works now.

Generally, training on how to be an effective manager is non-existent. When it does exist, it’s usually online and on-demand, which is great for working it into a busy day, but it’s also usually something that just allows you to “check the box” that you offered something. It doesn’t change or improve behavior. Here’s why:

  • It lacks specific tools that reinforce key skills.
  • It lacks activities that help learners integrate the new skills into their day-to-day.
  • There’s no coaching aspect that addresses the individual needs of each learner.
  • There’s no relationship to the real world, through either real-life scenarios, or discussions where learners share their experiences.
  • It’s a one-time event with unrealistic expectations: ”Take this one-hour course, and you’ll be able to perform the skill on the job!”

This kind of “hey, we offered something!” training does more harm than good. Learners who seek out training to improve effectiveness in their new role do so because they actually want to succeed. Giving them ineffective training can be demotivating, as well as being worthless.

Now that we’ve talked about how bad most training is, let’s talk about what you can do about it. When you’re searching for or thinking about developing a program for your new managers, look for a program that includes:

  • Downloadable resources and tools that learners practice using during the training, and afterward on the job. This provides handy job aids to transition new skills to the real world.
  • Lots of practice activities to get them using their new skills on the job. Scenario-based activities within the courseware enable learners to practice new skills in a safe environment. Supplementing those with activities where learners collaborate with their teams, and reflect on the experiences with other course members or a coach, help to further transfer the new skills onto the job.
  • Coaching. Find a program that provides coaching interactions between the facilitator and the learners, and offers additional guidance to the learners’ managers on helping learners adopt their new skills. New managers shouldn’t feel alone while they’re learning their jobs!
  • Learning experiences, not a solitary learning event. A new manager isn’t “created” after a one-hour eLearning course. It happens over time. Look for a program that supports learners as they flex their new manager “muscle.”

Don’t let your new managers fall into the gaps left by poorly-developed management training. Give them the support they need with a training program developed with all these considerations in mind.

Our New Manager Jump Series provides learners with a cohort of other new managers to learn with, one-on-one coaching with the course facilitator, relevant practice activities and on-the-job skills application assignments, and an abundance of resources to reinforce key supervisory skills. Take a look at one of our most helpful resources for first-time managers. Download our FREE time management strategy worksheet today!

How Much Technology Does an Instructional Designer Have To Master?

Today’s job descriptions for instructional designers (IDs) require the following: Basic HTML and Flash programming familiarity. Solid knowledge of course development software and at least one LMS. Visual design skills (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator).

Whatever happened to the good old interviewing, storyboarding, or writing skills? Is the pure instructional designer role a thing of the past? Exactly how much technology does an ID need to master in order to be a “good” ID?

The Purist vs. Technology

When I pursued a master’s-level Information Technology degree 20 years ago, my concentrations were in Human Performance and Multimedia Design. There was no convergence of the two disciplines relating to instruction. The part of the curriculum that dealt with usability had us design on paper, never touching a computer. And the technical courses had us programming games and branching stories, but never designing a course.

In an attempt to bring it all together, I added the Mager certifications in criterion referenced instruction and instructional module development. Technology was almost a dirty word in that classroom. The professor was adamant that instructional design fundamentals stood firm, immune to the dizzying pace of computer evolution.

And I think, to a degree, he may be right.

So, forget the technology?

I am not saying that in today’s marketplace an instructional designer can rely solely on organizational and writing skills; employers are looking for more. However, those skills traditionally associated with our profession prop up and validate the final deliverable. They don’t merely inform the process; they drive it.

Of course, good instruction can be delivered virtually technology-free in a classroom. Ask Thiagi, whose GameBlog provides scores of free, no-tech training games and activities on a monthly basis.

We know that when you are talking eLearning, technology is intrinsic.But whether the programming is being done by the ID or a dedicated multimedia developer, the fundamentals of instructional design have to dominate. One of the best examples I’ve seen is Cathy Moore’s needlestick injury course. (You can find a reference to it here.) With its basic graphics and lack of special effects, what’s so great about it?

  • An immediate request for the learner’s advice
  • The real-world consequence of the learner’s choice
  • The job aid support at the learner’s fingertips

That’s great instructional design. Did Cathy do the programming? Probably, but the point is that her organization and presentation of content shines through and delivers the learning.

So how much tech knowledge is the right amount?

Depending on your position within the organization, I don’t feel that you necessarily have to be fluent in authoring software. But you can’t operate in a vacuum, plopping your finished storyboard on the programmer’s desk. It’s your responsibility to find out if a specific tool can accommodate your vision for the course. You need to at least be familiar with or ask to what degree the tool offers or supports:

  • Animations
  • Simulations
  • Open navigation
  • Character images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Knowledge checks
  • Responsive design
  • Output formats
  • LMS integration

I’ve had situations where probing these topics with a programmer has opened their eyes to new possibilities, coaxing the authoring tool to bend and perform in unexpected ways.

My personal knowledge of Storyline and Camtasia has not made me a better instructional designer. Yes, it has made me aware of the possibilities or limitations of my designs,but in the end it’s those solid instructional design principles that prevail and enable me to deliver value to today’s modern learners.

Download our tip sheet, “7 Ways to Engage the Modern Learner.”

 

Change Management is More Than a Written Plan

“Change? We won’t be doing any of that, it’s way too hard!” Over the past 20-plus years of helping organizations change strategies and cultures, I have not heard this statement said out loud. Yet I can guarantee you that at some point in the change process, every CEO has had this thought! I see it showing up in the form of excuses to a variety of suggestions. For instance I will ask, “How will you make sure the breakthrough mindset will stick beyond the workshops?” I get back: “I realize we could do more, but look, we just spent all this time and money on these workshops. I will make sure my leaders support this mindset. We’re all set—thanks.”

Make the time, effort, and money worth it

No doubt change is hard. Study after study shows that a lot of change efforts fail to bring about results. No wonder the top suite is reluctant to jump into these activities. They know it takes time, effort, and money. How does a company whose leader envisions a new or different future make it happen? Cultivating that change, especially when you want to change behaviors and hearts, doesn’t happen just by decree, or project plan, or following an 8-step outline. It happens through relationships between and among coworkers.

Use the power of the network

What exactly does this mean? To understand what it takes to change a culture (values and norms), you also have to understand that culture is made up of a network of relationships. Everyone is constantly in connection with and has an effect on everything and everyone around them. This understanding is remarkably different from the traditional linear view of organizational change that many of us have been taught. That world goes something like this: Analyze where employee mindset is, form a strategy to change it, roll out the plan to management, leave them to it, meet monthly to follow up, and one year later, question management why things have not changed much.

Define your starting line and finish line

Acknowledging that I have left some assumptions on the table, my point is that changes in values or mindset requires more than a strategic plan for anything of significance to take place. As a matter of fact, having a plan is only the start of the process. Unfortunately, this is where most organizations start and finish.

Maintain a reliable and healthy system

I mentioned earlier that change happens in relationships. Let’s refer to these relationships in the organization as a larger “system.” When people see that their behaviors have consequences intended and unintended, they are beginning to understand systems. When they understand systems they, in turn, acknowledge that all actions they take affect the rest of the system. Consequently, they are likely to become more responsible for their actions or perhaps more thoughtful. This is not a guarantee, but it does become a point of leverage when initiating change.

Let me share an example that’s grounded in both research and my personal experience about the way significant culture change happens:

I had once entered an organization where top management was ready to fire the entire team and start over—a knee jerk reaction, granted, but their best solution to what they thought was the problem. They blamed the ineffectiveness of the team on personality issues and infighting. While it did exist, that was a limited view and solution. What was happening was a systems issue involving multiple departments.

Key actions where the system contributed to the failure of the project:

  • Some department managers were unaware of the team’s current initiatives
  • Department managers kept adding projects to the team’s already full plate
  • Lack of prioritization of requests
  • Finance was reluctant to address requests for increases in the already overspent budget to hire the additional staff
  • When update reports were sent to the C-suite, those members requested more meetings to explain the situation again

Key steps to building a fluid system:

  • Look at the bigger picture to see the problem as a whole rather than individual parts
  • Empower team members to give regular input and feedback
  • Problem-solve in a way that honors others’ perspectives
  • Develop a change process by goal setting as a team
  • Regularly measure performance and adjust as necessary

Envisioning that next phase of your organization and looking to build a healthy and reliable system? We want to help you sustain that system for many years to come. Gillespie Associates is your organizational development partner. Learn more today:

Gillespie Nimble Creator Michelle L. Wescott Earns the CPLP® Credential from the ATD Certification Institute

Gillespie Associates is pleased to announce that Michelle L. Wescott, CPLP has earned the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance® credential from ATD CI (the Association for Talent Development Certification Institute). Earning the CPLP certification means Wescott possesses the knowledge and skills to be a top performer in the talent development field.

Wescott is currently the Director of Learning Products at Gillespie Associates and is the lead curriculum developer of the new Gillespie Nimble, a comprehensive, packaged training program. Gillespie Nimble recently launched its first program, New Manager Jump Series, to train first-time managers. Wescott applies the rigorous standards of ATD and the CPLP certification to this multi-faceted training program, leading participants through:

  • Three modules over a 9-month learning period
  • Cohort engagement, with web-based interaction between fellow first-time managers and Wescott, who serves as the group facilitator
  • Spaced learning, where the learner receives problem-solving scenarios outside of the course to extend the learning and practice skills acquired

Becoming a CPLP provides credibility by recognizing that an individual has an overall understanding of the ten Areas of Expertise for Talent Development as defined by the ATD Competency Model™, and can apply this knowledge in the workplace. To earn the CPLP certification, Wescott acquired industry-related experience and successfully passed a knowledge examination and skills application examination.

“The CPLP certification process is rigorous and challenging. Employing CPLP credential holders brings respect to an organization’s talent development function and helps to ensure successful learning programs and organizational impact,” said Jennifer Naughton, ATD CI’s Senior Director of Competencies and Credentialing.

More information about the CPLP program may be found at td.org/cplp. Additional questions should be directed to: certification@td.org.

About ATD and the ATD Certification Institute
ATD is the world’s largest association dedicated to talent development professionals. ATD started in 1944 when the organization held its first annual conference. To support members’ ongoing development in the field, ATD formed the ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI) to take the lead in setting professional industry standards and certifying talent development professionals.

About Gillespie Associates 
For 27 years, Gillespie Associates (http://www.gillespieassociates.com) has researched, analyzed, discussed, and pondered the unique ways in which adults build knowledge and skills, providing product and custom training in organizational development and workplace learning. Gillespie has worked with a broad client base, from Fortune 500 companies to local nonprofit organizations, enabling them to reach their goals. Their team of executives, instructional designers, and IT specialists brings immense experience, award-winning talent, and a defined sense of customer service to each project, working to tailor learning strategies, methods, and content to your organization's unique needs.

Four Ways to Make Thought Diversity the Future of Your Business

It’s crunch time at work and you’re reviewing an important plan for your supervisor who asks, “What do you think?” You secretly hate a certain part of his plan. Your experience tells you that there’s a better way to achieve what your supervisor is trying to achieve. You think that giving your honest opinion, though, could go one of two ways: You could hurt your supervisor’s feelings or you could paint yourself as a difficult team member. Neither result is good, but the problem is that we think those are the only two potential outcomes.

In many workplaces, it’s dangerous to disagree with the boss. Doing so signs you up for every crappy task and unwanted assignment possible until your boss forgets or forgives your transgression. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Differences of opinion can help you build a competitive advantage. As a leader, you have the power to change the way your organization works in this regard.

Build a competitive advantage through differences

Diversity of thought encourages differing approaches and ideas to solve problems and create forward-thinking strategies for business growth. Focusing on individual contributions to the workforce is what will ultimately fuel growth.

We need to move beyond thinking of “diversity” as limited to things like race, age, sexuality, and gender. There is little value to having a workplace full of people of different ethnicities, gender identities, and ages, but who all think alike or at least pretend to think alike.

We need to surround ourselves with intellectually diverse people by encouraging thought diversity and differing opinions in the workplace. This can open doors to new ways of doing things, close gaps between departments, and influence each member of the organization to bring something unique to the table.

Welcome the idea of differences

Here are four ways your team can make thought diversity the future of your business:

1. Build partnerships that lead to innovation.

Work with others—clients, stakeholders, other companies—to meet people who have different perspectives on your industry. Their way of thinking about and doing things will be different from yours. That will only enhance your problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to develop unique strategies.

2. Hire diverse characters.

No one wants to work on a team of people who are exactly alike. Employ and work with diverse people. When you are filling out your team, look for people with different experiences, from different backgrounds, who will have different insights into the issues of your team. Diversity of character is often more valuable than the perfect skill set. Skills can be trained; character is developed through experiences and over time.

3. Change the culture.

In order to encourage your diverse workforce to draw on individual experiences, you need to make any necessary changes to the culture of your organization to ensure that it’s a safe place to take risks and share differing opinions.

4. Develop people.

Providing employees with professional development opportunities will give them the confidence to make individual contributions that benefit the growth of the organization. Professional development empowers workers to improve their role within the team.

The Gillespie Nimble New Manager Jump™ Series provides training that helps you encourage diversity of thought. The series provides a collaborative, cohort-based experience that explores the skills needed to lead a team and challenge the status quo. New Manager Jump helps new managers not only understand the difference between compliant employees who toe the line and committed employees who take risks and innovate, but it also teaches new managers the skills needed to move their team from compliance to commitment. As a leader, you set the tone for the environment. Encouraging diversity of thought within the workplace creates an environment of collaboration and inclusion, giving team members the motivation to contribute and do well.

To learn more about the skills needed to encourage a workplace of thought diversity, download our tip sheet “Seven Leadership Skills for Forward-Thinking Growth.”

My Mistakes as a New Manager: Part 2

Last week I shared with you my own mistakes and lessons learned as a first-time manager. I lacked the fundamental leadership skills needed to be in a management role, which caused a lot of difficulty for own job, my team, and my organization. We’ve opened this topic to the public to share mistakes they’ve made as a new manager, in order to reflect on how leadership development may have been useful for them.

“My biggest first mistake as manager was to allow a negative person to stay on too long. Firing someone does not feel nice, but in some cases has to be done. To fire your first person is probably the most difficult thing any manager will ever do.” — Insurance CEO

Firing certainly isn’t a fun thing to do as a manager, new or not. But the task can be more difficult for a new manager, who may be learning how to make decisions and have difficult conversations at a professional level. Training and mentor support during this process can enable the situation to go smoother for both the new manager and the colleague involved.

“A big mistake is not carrying a full load. Some new managers when they are promoted think that now that they have ‘made it,’ it is time for them to relax and not work as hard. Nothing is as demoralizing to subordinates as a slacker boss. As a manager you must model behavior that you want your subordinates to have. They will follow your lead. If you slack off, they will too. If you want employees to show up on time, you need to show up on time. If you want employees to work hard, you need to work hard.” — Small company manager

There is a lot to growing a business, so delegation is a skill a new manager absolutely must learn. That includes delegating to themselves. It’s important to carry your share of the load as much as those working under you. This sets expectations for the workplace and can help colleagues to respect a new manager.

“My worst mistake was not giving clear feedback to direct (reports). In my first management role I had a direct that was often late in the mornings, talked constantly, and was regularly late getting work done. Instead of talking to them about my concerns, I assumed that they would work it out for themselves. I sometimes dropped hints or finished their work myself. After many months I finally confronted them in a bad mood. They asked, ‘I didn't know any of this was a problem. I thought we got on well, why didn’t you say anything before?’ At that point I realized I was wrong. How can people get better at their job if nobody tells them what they need to improve on?” — Healthcare Services General Manager

In order to improve someone’s performance, it’s important to give positive and negative feedback on a regular basis. Balancing positive feedback along with the negative can help you avoid making your direct feel like they are consistently doing a poor job. It can be hard sometimes to explain these concerns, but difficult conversations are part of the manager’s job.

How do we prepare new management to make fewer mistakes?

Making mistakes is inevitable as a new manager, but there is training and guidance available to build a foundational set of leadership skills. As a new generation of leaders transitions into management roles, it’s important they have the leadership development opportunities that some of us didn’t have.

Prepare yourself or your first-time managers by downloading “Tips for Getting Started as a New Manager.” This tip sheet is brought to you by Gillespie Nimble’s New Manager Jump Series.

My Mistakes as a New Manager

I can remember how excited I was to get my first office as a new manager. At 21 years old, I didn’t even care that the office came with a drain in the floor, or that it was a converted first aid room nestled between the men’s and women’s restrooms.

I worked for a biotech manufacturing company, and I was given the supervisory position because my manager said that I was good with people—exactly in what way, I never knew. He assumed that because I was good at my previous research job, I should be good in a supervisory role.

My first assignment was to oversee a worker who was probably 30 years my senior, who had been doing this job for at least 15 years. I had no coaching, no mentoring, and no real leadership skills to offer him. The conversations I had with my manager focused only on the product we were making and the process needed to make it successfully.

Here are some of my mistakes and lessons learned as a new manager:

1. Caught in a power struggle

I can vividly remember standing in my manager’s office along with one of my direct reports. I was having some sort of conflict with this direct report that I felt needed my manager to sort out. I was shocked and hurt that my manager didn’t side with me on the issue. Later I realized why; I was wrong. However, at the time I was too insecure to see it. All that mattered was having my way in front of the employee— even if it was the wrong way.

One of the real tensions that new managers experience is being positioned between your direct reports and your manager. There is a very strong desire to choose a side. Who am I going to please: my manager or my direct reports? This leads to arbitrary decisions that are not in the best interest of your team. I eventually learned that the world won’t come to an end if I am wrong occasionally. In fact, when I am ready to admit it, my team’s respect for me usually grows.

2. Modeling the wrong behavior

It took me awhile to figure out that as a manager, everything I said and did was noticed and examined, for good or bad. If I joked around with one employee, but not another, people would wonder why. If I was in a bad mood on a certain day, it was assumed that this was related to something going on at work. If I said something disparaging about another colleague, this sanctioned similar behavior in the team. I eventually learned that my words and actions mattered, and I needed to be aware of their impact on the team.

3. Trying to be someone else

At first my only idea of how to be a manager was based on the limited number of managers I had experienced up to that point. Trying to mimic those people led to being inauthentic, which people could see through in a heartbeat. I naturally have somewhat of a laid-back personality, and for a while I attempted to show up as more authoritative. However, this was not me. What I did learn is to communicate what is important to me, what I am passionate about, so that my laid-back style was not misinterpreted as uncaring.  It took time, but I realized people were more willing to overlook my authentic flaws than the false persona I had tried to create.

4. Failure to delegate

It can seem like a luxury to have people to hand work to. But there are a surprising number of managers who don’t do a good job of delegating. Early in my career I was working on developing a large training curriculum as the leader of a small team. I found myself taking on most of the tasks that were needed, leaving the rest of the team to do somewhat trivial tasks. Not surprisingly, the project ended up taking much longer than it should, and the team was left with no real sense of accomplishment. It took me a number of years to uncover my own resistance to delegating. When I really examined my motives, I realized that it was a mixture of not wanting to be seen as “bossy” and avoiding confrontation if the delegated task was not performed correctly (in my eyes).

Finding My Way Through Training

As time went on, I eventually had the opportunity to participate in formal leadership training programs and interact with other managers. These learning experiences were invaluable and immediately applicable to my day-to-day work. In my present role as a business owner and leadership coach, I enthusiastically supported the opportunity to create a program for new managers. As I look back now, I wish I had had this experience early on. It would have been good for me, my team, and the organization!

Making mistakes is inevitable as a new manager, but there is training and guidance available for new managers to build a foundational set of leadership skills. Gillespie Associates has reached out to the public to hear common mistakes as a first-time manager or from working with one. Stay tuned for My Mistakes as a New Manager: Part 2 next week.

Prepare yourself or your first-time managers by downloading our tip sheet, “Tips for Getting Started as a New Manager.” This tip sheet is brought to you by Gillespie Nimble’s New Manager Jump Series.

The Myth of the Millennial Learner

When asked how he prefers to learn, an employee replies, “I need to be engaged! Whether the training is delivered in a classroom or over the internet, I’ll retain the information better if the course is interactive. And if I retain the information, I can succeed in my job and make money to support myself.”

Who said it?

(A)   Jim, a baby boomer and manager of 15 years

(B)   Nicki, a millennial and recent college graduate entering the workforce

The truth is that both employees have the same workforce training preferences and needs. Nicki may be a “digital native,” but like Jim, she prefers learning that involves collaborating with others, practicing real-world skills, and receiving substantive feedback.

We don’t have a millennial learner challenge; we have a modern learner challenge.

“The Modern Learner” Doesn’t Describe Just Millennials

modernlearner

This infographic(1*) illustrates the plight of the modern learner. Employees in every age bracket are overwhelmed by the pace of daily living, distracted by information overload, and impatient to accomplish what needs doing. With only 1% of the workweek available for training, they want interactive learning that’s just in time, microbyte-sized, and immediately actionable.

These factors complicate the path to management, which was formerly paved by earning an MBA. The time and resources needed for the MBA path are out of reach for many, which has given rise to online leadership training events, where retention can be as low as 5%!(2*)

This is where Gillespie Nimble’s “New Manager Jump Series” comes in. This comprehensive new training program caters to the modern learner by pairing heightened engagement with actionable results.

How Gillespie Nimble Engages the Modern Learner

Micro-learning

As workers retire and companies struggle to back-fill positions, modern learners have more demands on their time than ever. The Jump Series courses contain bite-sized modules and activities that take only 5 to 10 minutes each, or less. Timing for each module or activity is clearly listed so that learners can plan their training to fit within their busy days. And the experience is flexible to enable learners to complete as many or as few activities each day as their schedules allow.

Spaced learning

Modern learners require continuous application of skills to create reinforcement, build confidence, and assess how they can move forward. Learners are immersed in each topic for 30 days. Learning activities are spread throughout that time to provide constant reinforcement and time to practice and reflect on new skills. Once the bulk of the learning activities are complete, learners will receive Nibbles twice per week. Nibbles are bite-sized problem scenarios solved individually or in groups to extend the learning and practice the skills acquired.

Cohort-based virtual classes

The modern learner likes to share experiences with others, values the opinions of colleagues, and prefers multiple channels to engage with the information. With Gillespie Nimble, learners are part of a cohort with 10–20 participants. They progress through the program together, learning from each other’s knowledge and background for a richer experience.

Online coaching

Modern learners value personalized information to help them make the best decisions. Each Gillespie Nimble program has a facilitator. This person provides individualized attention, feedback, and encouragement to every learner in the cohort. Customized scenarios enable new managers to effectively transition into leadership roles with a combination of resources and individual support.

To get the complete Seven Ways Gillespie Nimble Engages Learners, download our tip sheet!


To join the next cohort in New Manager Jump Series, enroll now! 

For more information on the New Manager Jump Series program, visit gillespienimble.com or contact Michelle Wescott at Michelle@gillespienimble.com or call 585-287-8192.


*Footnotes:

1 Bersin by Deloitte (2014).Meet the Modern Learner (Infographic).  Retrieved January 6, 2017 from https://www.bersin.com/Practice/Detail.aspx?id=18071

2 Burge, Joan. (March 25, 2015). Your Case for Training: Adult Learning Retention Statistics. Retrieved January 6, 2017, from http://officedynamics.com/your-case-for-training-adult-learning-retention-statistics/?hvid=3riNcP

Employee Learning Week is coming!

Part of the reason I love training and development is because I get to help people do their jobs better, and that makes them and their companies happy. And we see the results of our efforts through celebrations for teams and individuals exceeding sales quotas and customer service goals. These recognitions are important. They recognize focused, sustained effort, and inspire others to continuously seek improvement. 

Read More

Stop Virtually Useless Virtual Training

12:55 pm: The session starts at 1:00 pm Eastern to allow participation from multiple time zones. I received initial and reminder invitations and completed my pre-work. I have my New Hire Participant Guide in hand and log in. I’m ready.

I listen to the facilitator and producer chit chat. No problem, I’m a bit early; I’ll just work on my email and a couple of other assignments while I wait to get started.

Read More

Oh no! Not a role play!

Do you ever get this reaction when suggesting a role play? After a classroom training pilot, we asked sales reps what was their least favorite part of the training. The answer came back quickly and decisively: role plays! Next, we asked which part of training would help them most in the field. This answer came back slowly and reluctantly: role plays.

Read More

An Argument for Memory Aids

This weekend my four-year-old daughter and I were learning about the solar system and she wanted to learn all the names of the planets in order from closest to farthest from the sun. Sometimes, there is information that just needs to be memorized.

When we develop training, we often neglect to think of easy ways to help people memorize. Usually, we try to incorporate any information that needs to be remembered into a job aid or other resource. But we can also create easy ways to help our learners learn.

Read More

How I Hire an Instructional Designer

I had just asked the young man sitting opposite me in the interview to tell me about his approach to e-learning. He looked wide-eyed and suggested: “E-learning. That’s something you do with templates isn’t it?” This turned out to be one of the shortest interviews I had ever conducted. After suggesting some resources to help him in his development, I politely terminated the conversation.

Read More

Translating Your SME's Tech-Speak

A while ago, I was working on an incredibly complex training project. It involved training on processes and requirements used for contract setup and delivery. The audience consisted of hundreds of employees in a Fortune 500 company.

What made the project so complex was the sheer number of subject matter experts involved. Whereas I was used to working with maybe four or five at the most, this project required the input and approval of no fewer than 13 SMEs. There was no overlap – each was responsible for a distinct business unit, and brought unique content to the table. And some were C-level, meaning their time was at a premium.

Read More

Gillespie Associates   60 Browns Race   Rochester NY   14614   585-244-1331