Webinar Review: Online Learning 3.0 is Happening and You Are Probably Behind

I attended a webinar presented by Edward Daciuk, Principal Learning Strategist at Extension Engine. This is an overview of what Edward covered. The webinar can be found here.

First, Edward reviewed “where we’ve been” in terms of online learning, with Online Learning 1.0 and 2.0.

Online Learning 1.0

This is where the learning was still in-person, but the learners accessed materials which were made available online (PDFs, videos, etc.).

Online Learning 2.0

Online learning was recognized as a way to get to scale, boost profits, and go global and Online Learning 2.0 was born. This type of learning is what the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) of today look like. The format resembles in-person learning, where you still have content, navigation, and tests. It is directed from from the instructor’s/course creator’s view and it produces online learning that learners do not like because it is not engaging, efficient, or efficacious.

Online Learning 3.0

Today, instructional designers and developers are working toward the Online Learning 3.0 model, to make learning experiences that are engaging, efficient, and efficacious. Online Learning 3.0 is online, self-serve, and optional – the way that today’s learners naturally interact with online tools and resources.

Think about it: When you want to know how to do something – like cook corn on the cob in a slow cooker – how do you learn how to do it? You probably Google it (self-serve and online). It’s optional – you go get it when you want it, at your point of need – you aren’t required to take slow cooker training when you get your first Crock Pot.

Online Learning 3.0 presents learning in a way that makes the learning experience palatable to the learner by incorporating the following into online learning interactions:

  • Personal Help and Feedback
  • Projects
  • Peers
  • Application of Knowledge
  • Energy
  • Fun

^^ These things are hard to do and that is why they’re missing from Online Learning 2.0.

How Do you “Do” Online Learning 3.0?

To produce learning experiences that are engaging, efficient, and efficacious, you leverage existing systems, but tactically upgrade. Some of the tactics you can employ to “upgrade” your learning design to Online Learning 3.0 include:

  • Modern User Experience
  • Competency-Based
  • Learn-by-Doing
  • Asynchronous
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Video Cohorts
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Mobile
  • Gamified
  • Social
  • Rich Analytics
  • Personalized
  • Adaptive
  • Integrated

The ultimate goal of developing a great (engaging, efficient, efficacious) learning experience is to use a combination of the tactics listed above to provide these things:

  • Personal Help and Feedback
  • Projects
  • Peers
  • Application of Knowledge
  • Energy
  • Fun

Examples of Online Learning 3.0

  • Fitch Learning’s Chartered Financial Analyst Prep course is Personalized and Adaptive. It utilizes a knowledge graph and tracks the learner’s competency, ultimately assigning a confidence level of how well the learner knows each chunk of content.
  • Harvard X’s Super-Earths and Life course is Personalized and Adaptive. It is data-driven – you can see the results of the efficacy of the course on the website. Learner proficiency using this course is equivalent or slightly better than previous course versions, but the time to efficacy is less.
  • The Codecademy’s Learn the Watson API interaction is an example of Learning by Doing. It teaches the learner how to use the Watson API. It does not provide content and then a quiz, the learner just DOES it and it tells you if it is correct.
  • Harvard’s HBX Course Platform is an example of Learning by Doing and Collaboration. Learners access the platform in groups and interact. There is lecture and content and then the learners can practice what they learned against the computer and then against peers.
  • Domino’s Pizza Maker course is an example of Gamification. It is Domino’s internal training on how to make a pizza. It provides immediate feedback when the learner is making a pizza (which is a timed interaction).
  • Japan Airlines’s use of Hololens to provide augmented reality training to their flight crews is an example of Personalized and Adaptive. Hololens superimposes instructions while the learner is looking at things in the environment.

How Do We Get There from Here?

Edward recommended the following steps to get to an Online Learning 3.0 environment:

  1. Develop learning experiences from the learner (NOT the producer/designer) perspective.
    • Minimize the amount of time the interaction will take
    • Make it highly engaging and enjoyable
  2. Create a Strategic Roadmap
    • Plan 18-24 months to get to 3.0
    • Prioritize – do what will have the most immediate impact FIRST
    • Connect the dots to get to where you want to be in 18 to 24 months
  3. Pilot
    • Start small (but high priority/show impact!)
    • Think long-term
    • Gather data to prove that what you’re doing works better than the old way – arm yourself with evidence and results that will warrant continued investment in the 3.0 model
    • Show what is working!
  4. Modular Content Strategy
    • Knowledge Graph – learners need to focus on things that are hard for them or important to them – requires tagging/modular tools to get to this.
    • Granular
    • Tagging
    • APIs
    • LTI
  5. Wow! in every version!!!
    • Prioritize each version
    • You want to show impact EVERY time so they’ll continue to invest.
  6. Don’t compromise on data!
    • Run AB tests
    • Collect learner satisfaction data
    • No compromises
    • Data will help you make good decisions (Harvard X example of data collection)
    • Get funded

Trust Me. I’m a Professional. Part 2

In Trust Me. I’m a Professional. Part 1, we explored client expectations of instructional designers and challenged clients to really expect more so their training and performance solutions will be designed to have a bigger, measurable impact on business goals.

So, what should clients be looking for when outsourcing issues related to performance (I like to call these “human factor issues.”)?

Here is what I’d be looking for (in the form of a Request for Proposals) if I were looking for someone to provide advice on how to resolve my organization’s performance issues:

Client Request for Proposals

Our company has a performance issue and the issue is two-fold:

  1. Our customers are having trouble setting up our product in their home. Seventy-five percent of the customers who buy our product have to call tech support to set it up. Once they’re set up, things are fine – if customers make it through the set-up process, 98% of them continue to use the product with no complaints or issues.
  2. Of the 75% of customers who have to engage with our tech support employees, 30% of them return the product in frustration before they are able to get the product set up in their home.

We are looking for a performance improvement / instructional design professional to help us identify the root cause of our issues and recommend performance solutions that will increase our initial customer satisfaction from 25% to 90% (i.e. instead of 75% of customers calling in for help with set-up, only 10% or fewer will need to call in). Additionally, we’d like someone to help us identify the root cause of our customer support issue in order to decrease returns from 30% to 3%.

We expect this performance improvement professional to be well-versed in:

  • Project management for perfromance solution development
  • Performance improvement processes
  • Front-end analysis
  • Root cause analysis
  • Gap analysis
  • Identification and selection (recommendation) of performance solutions including, but not limited to:
    • Learning
    • Performance Support
    • Job Analysis / Work Design
    • Personal Development
    • Human Resource Development
    • Organizational Communication
    • Organizational Design and Development
    • Financial Systems
    • Leadership Commitment
    • Feasibility
    • Sustainability
  • Performance solution implementation, including (but not limited to) the use of:
    • Partnering, networking, and alliance building
    • Process consulting
    • Employee development
    • Communication
    • Project management
  • Planning for evaluation
  • Evaluating performance solutions and programs to track impact and return on investment
  • Change management

We also expect the candidate to be able to design and develop any training solutions identified as part of the performance solution. In order to do this, the candidate must possess the following knowledge and abilities:

  • Project management for training development
  • Adept understanding of instructional design theories, such as:
    • ADDIE
    • SAM
    • Action Mapping
    • Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
    • Adult Learning Theories
    • ARCS model of motivation
  • Adept understanding of training evaluation theories, such as:
    • Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation
    • Thalheimer’s Performance Focused Smile Sheets
    • Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method of Evaluation
  • Adept understanding of change management theories, such as:
    • Dormant’s Chocolate Model of Change
    • Kotter’s Leading Change and The Heart of Change
    • Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations
  • Scenario development
  • eLearning development using tools, such as:
    • Blackboard
    • Articulate Storyline
    • Adobe Captivate
    • Lectora
  • Course implementation, management, and maintenance using a learning management system, such as:
    • Absorb
    • Plateau
    • Blackboard
    • Litmos

What is NOT in the RFP is as important as what IS

What’s not in here?

Remember the scenario of the homeowner hiring an electrician?

What’s not in this RFP is an initial assumption that training is the answer.

This RFP leaves the door open for the instructional designer to analyze the client’s needs so any solution(s) recommended and/or developed will most effectively solve the client’s biggest problems.

It’s quite a beautiful thing, really, when an instructional designer can walk a client through a problem and realize that instead of costing $15,000 to develop an online training course (not to mention the time and cost associated with deploying and tracking it), a simple “just in time help guide” could be integrated with the application to help learners where they need it, when they need it. Or a simple job aid with links to resources and references might do the trick and produce better results than a full-fledged training. But, you’d never figure this out if you go into the ring thinking a course is the only solution.

What’s not in this RFP is “Here’s the content we have. Develop a course.”

This RFP allows the instructional designer to perform appropriate analysis to determine what actions the client wants the learners to do once they’ve completed the training or engaged with the performance solution.

Instead of being a well-crafted, clickable information dump (as content-based courses tend to be), the instructional designer is able to design something (training or otherwise) realistic that the learner can engage with in the right place, at the right time for maximum transfer of learning, so they can do what the client wants them to do on the job.

So, What Do You Think?

You may be thinking, “Wow! There is a LOT of background knowledge, experience, and expertise bundled up in there!”

You’re right.

You may never have considered that an instructional designer would or could have such a wide variety of skills and tools in her arsenal, but now that you know, I hope you consider the impact a performance-focused instructional designer can have on your program and your organization.

All the expert graphic design or eLearning development expertise in the world cannot replace the impact of savvy performance-focused design, wrapped in a warm blanket of change management with a strong thread of evaluation woven throughout.

Strong graphic design and eLearning development skills can make pretty, shiny courses, but, like most pretty, shiny things, they are very costly and without excellent instructional design, they could just be a sinkhole for your money, producing negligible – or negative! – results.

Trust me. I’m a professional. Part 1

Have you ever hired a professional to do something in your home that you didn’t have the expertise to do yourself? Maybe you’re remodeling your basement and you need an electrician to run the wires. When your electrician comes to your house, do you:

a. Tell him about your problem. Tell him your desired end-state. Rely on his expertise to resolve it in a manner that is within standards, safe for your home and the inhabitants in it, and visually pleasing (i.e. he doesn’t leave gaping holes in your walls).

…or do you

b. Invite him into your home and provide him step by step instructions on how you would solve the problem if you were a certified electrician.

Most people would stick with choice a. After all, that’s why we hire out these kinds of projects – because we don’t have the expertise, right?

Why is it, then, that so many clients outsource their training projects using the tactics described in choice b?

My guess is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

In this case, they don’t know what they should expect of a seasoned instructional designer and they don’t realize the benefits of hiring someone who can look beyond making an information dump (also known as death by Power Point) more palatable to their poor, drowning, bored learners.

If your instructional designer starts your project with:

“Give me all your content and I’ll make an interesting, engaging, interactive e-learning course for you,”

then you’re likely to end up with your good, old death by Power Point jazzed up a bit with a knowledge check here, a branching scenario there, possibly some “gamification” to make it more “fun” and, of course, the all important FINAL QUIZ to prove that “learning has occurred.” (Really? A quiz is proof that someone has learned something? And if it does prove that they’ve learned something, so what? If they don’t apply what they’ve learned on the job, does it matter?)

What SHOULD I expect?

A lot of instructional designers prefer to just “get the content” and “make it fun to navigate.” I’d caution clients that

developing training from content without doing an initial analysis is a breeding ground for ineffective training.

The initial analysis is key and too many instructional designers (and clients) skip it to “get to the good stuff,” because the development part is much more “fun” to do than the analysis part. Unfortunately, this method of creating training is costly and will not result in the performance improvements that the client was anticipating. If no initial analysis is done and the client has their prescription for training already written, the resulting course is likely to be garbage in, garbage out.

So, what SHOULD you expect from your instructional designer? Check out Trust Me. I’m a Professional. Part 2 to look at an ideal request for proposals that would catch highly qualified instructional designers with performance improvement experience in your talent net.

Webinar: The Overwhelmed Worker

I took a Training Industry webinar called Training for the Overwhelmed Worker: Three Steps to Curb the ChaosIt was very informative and helpful, as it quantified the dilemma experienced by today’s workers when faced with the veritable firehose of information and training opportunities while managing fast-paced and demanding work.

Are Today’s Workers Overwhelmed?

  • Trend #1: Working to prove a return on investment means today’s workers are operating at an incredible pace. If it doesn’t  contribute to the bottom line, fuggedaboudit.
  • Trend #2: The half-life of newly learned skills is getting shorter and shorter. Keeping up and staying ahead is very difficult.
  • Trend #3: Hyperconnectivity = no line between work and home. No down time. Today’s employees are “always on.”
  • Trend #4: Companies want to decrease costs and increase productivity. They’re looking toward performance improvements, lean org structures, and give less time for development of employees.
  • Trend #5: The number of regulations is increasing. Complexity is increasing. Example: Dodd-Frank Act (456 rules since 2010 – more on the way)

The Reality

Eighty percent of organizations believe employees are overwhelmed with information and activities.

Sixty-five percent of executives rated the overwhelmed employee as an urgent, important trend.

— BUT  —

Forty-four percent of them are NOT ready to deal with it.

What is the Impact of Being Overwhelmed?

  • Employees need to know a lot more
  • Processes must be lean
  • Regulatory compliance may suffer
  • Supervisors need to learn how to manage other overwhelmed workers
  • To maintain baseline competence, workers need to continually acquire new skills and knowledge
  • More than 70 percent of organizations cite “capability gaps” as one of their top five challenges.
  • The idea that there is “too much to learn” feeds the perception of critical skills shortages and can accelerate burnout.
  • Workers are overwhelmed and under-trained.
  • Companies are impacted:
    • Operationally
      • Increased regulatory risk
      • Decreased productivity
      • Decreased quality
      • Reduced decision-making
    • Organizationally 
      • Increased pressure on managers and teammates
      • Decreased morale
      • Negative work environments
    • Financially 
      • Increased training costs
      • Increased opportunity costs associated with employee burnout
      • Decreased revenue
      • Inefficient training
      • Learners can’t absorb training

Tactics to Reduce Pressure on the Overwhelmed Worker

  • Active employee management of their own development and careers
  • Helping employees manage information and schedules
  • Helping leaders manage demanding schedules and expectations

How Can Training and Education Professionals Help the Overwhelmed Worker?

  1. Curate your training NEEDS, not CONTENT
  2. Align your performance solutions around the highest impact needs
  3. Help learners better integrate learning into their day to day activities

Step One: Curate Training Needs

  • There is an imbalance between training needs and learning and development professionals’ capacity to satisfy those needs.
  • Training departments have finite time and resources to address training needs.
  • Workers have finite time and cognitive resources to close the knowledge/skills gap.
  • Training professionals must select which needs to address and which to leave and set limits on what is offered and what is shelved
  • To prioritize needs:
    • Corral your internal customers using a recurring, regularly scheduled process to solicit and prioritize training needs
    • Assemble the list of needs
    • Pull stakeholders together to prioritize training needs to meet the organization’s strategic objectives

Step Two: Align Development Around Highest Impact Needs

This gives a framework for all the stakeholders to look at training needs objectively.

  • Matrix 1: Impact/Urgency
    • This matrix is developed with your internal customers
    • Every need is rated on an Impact/Urgency matrix
      • If the knowledge/skills gap is closed, what impact will it have on the organization’s strategic objectives?
      • How quickly must the learner acquire this skill?
      • THEN focus on the upper right-hand quadrant
        • If this filters your list down to a manageable list, then you don’t have to do Matrix 2.
  • Matrix 2: Complexity/Time Requirement
    • This matrix is completed within the training department
    • Complexity considers the time, effort, and cost of delivering the course
    • Time Requirement is an estimated amount of time it would take for the learner to master the knowledge/skills. If the skills will no longer be needed at the end of the mastery cycle, then perhaps the intervention is not worth developing.
    • Don’t exclude the other three quadrants, but you’re likely to prioritize in the lower left quadrant – quick wins (that meet organizational objectives, as decided in the first matrix).

Control the Flow of Training

Another big part of aligning development around highest impact needs is controlling the flow of training to your learners. As you manage your performance solution platform, new requirements and needs will pop up throughout the year. Randomly.

The learner should not be required to prioritize these needs; you need to manage them and present them as part of a personalized, planned training plan for each individual.

This is tactical-level training management.

  • Create personalized training plans.
    • Translate, prioritize lists of training requirements for each worker
    • Provide a learning roadmap
    • Organize per year/half-year/quarter
    • At any given time, learners should know what the organization wants them to learn and develop.
  • The training department must advocate for disciplined adherence to these plans.
    • This doesn’t mean being unresponsive to ad-hoc needs, but any training needs that are not part of the plan should be well-considered before deviating from the plan.
    • This requires an established process for amending learning plans.
  • Use a mastery-based learning method
    • Learners should focus on a single objective or manageable cluster of objectives at a time and should not progress until they demonstrate mastery.
      • This focuses the learner on a single skill.
      • This gives the learner time to practice the skill, which increases the likelihood that the new knowledge/skill will be learned and applied meaningfully – it will be “sticky.”

Step Three: Help Learners Better Integrate Learning into Day-to-Day Activities

  • Break learning into small chunks.
  • Push to multiple devices – this allows workers to take advantage of time where they may not be productive (lunch, commute, etc.)
  • Create space for learning.
    • Not necessarily physical space, but psychological space.
    • Learners should know that taking time for learning will not be chastised, but will be encouraged.
    • Ways this can be done:
      • Allocating a percentage of working hours that should be spent on learning
      • Blocking time on calendars (expecting people to be learning on certain days/times)
      • Building learning completion into performance evaluations, supervisor reviews, etc.
      • Make the learning process social – bring small learner populations together at certain times; working/learning together in the same room; facilitating conversations around the topic being taught/explored
      • Set up peer-to-peer mentoring/coaching/job shadowing
        • If it is a formal approach, learners are more likely to use it (vs “in name only”)



Microlearning Webinar

I just attended The Microlearning Transformation: Understand How Behavior Change Really Works webinar presented by Alex Khurgin, Director of Learning at Grovo. This was a particularly timely and interesting topic for me, as I am aiming to create learning programs that are there when the learner needs them, easy to digest and remember (and use!), and able to be applied on the job (sticky learning). This webinar provided another method of creating learning in just this manner.

In this presentation, Alex covered Grovo’s process for designing microlearning. This is my overview of his presentation.


Focus on transformation, not information transfer. When learning works, it changes our brains; it changes who we are as people!

  • We should be aiming to turn people into the kind of people for whom reaching a goal is easy; not making a goal easy to achieve.
  • We should be changing how people think about what they do, which includes changing how someone thinks and changing what they do.
    • To change what people do, you must provide continual support for them to continue to do what they learned.
    • When you change how they think, you’re ensuring they can be flexible in decision-making regarding that topic in the future (vs. needing more training to accommodate novel scenarios).

How to Change Behaviors: Traditional Ways


  • Hope vs. Fear
  • Pain vs. Pleasure
  • Social Acceptance vs. Rejection

A-Ha! Moments – can change behavior, bypassing motivation

  • Make you feel smart
  • Small hacks with maximum impact
  • Help you understand (instead of know)



The third way to change behavior.

Weapons of Mass Instruction – Massive, event-based instruction (lectures, workshops, traditional delivery methods)

  • Cognitively Oppressive
    • Too much information at once
    • Overloads working memory
  • Out of Context
    • Instruction happens so far outside of relevant performance context – not useful
    • No reinforcement afterward with practice (no skill transfer)
  • Information-Based
    • About content
    • Purpose just to transfer facts/knowledge, which ignores room for experience, feedback, failure, reflection, practice

Microlearning is

  • Digestible
    • Designed to minimize excessive cognitive load
    • Working memory = five +/- 2 items
    • Each microlearning event is self-contained, short as possible, covers one topic
  • Provided at the point of need
    • Accessible right when you need it
      • Checklist to review prior to a one-on-one
      • 20 second video on how to extract wins from a quiet worker
  • Action-based, not information-based
    • Creating resources that help the learner perform actions
    • Structure learning programs around real objectives
    • Surround objectives with resources that help people accomplish objectives

Start with a Campaign

Set of daily lessons 2-3 weeks (up to 8 weeks). Helps someone achieve a behavior/inspirational change.


  • Getting into the Manager Mindset
  • Getting to Know your People

Campaigns are marketed: Launch video gets learners excited.

  • Introduces aspirational outcome.
  • Includes a trailer about what’s coming/what to expect.
  • Can also tell people not involved in campaign because everyone will benefit – gets everyone excited and on-board and expecting behavior changes.

Create Objectives of Campaign

You have an aspirational outcome – single, big behavior for campaign…

  • Objectives are actions/sub-behaviors someone would need to perform to indicate that the campaign goal is happening.
  • Completion of objectives = transfer of learning to real world.
  • Must be small enough to to measurable and large enough to be meaningful.
  • Easily interpreted by c-suite. Concrete measurement. Not subjective.

Getting to know your people = meaningful, but not small enough to be measurable.

Meaningful and measurable objectives to meet campaign objective (can say “Yes” or “No” to each objective):

  • Have weekly one-on-one conversations with all your direct reports = meaningful and measurable.
  • Have a “love and loathe” conversation with all your direct reports = meaningful and measurable.


Develop Learning Resources

Once you have campaign objectives, develop learning resources surrounding each objective using the KESHA model (if you’re not “in” with new-ish music, KESHA is a contemporary artist).

  • Knowledge
  • Environment
  • Skills
  • Habits
  • Attitudes

If the objective is for managers to have one-on-ones weekly, you need to develop learning resources for each of these:

  • Knowledge
    • Weekly
    • Longer than 45 mins (prob an hour)
    • Rough flow (start with wins, move to frustrations, projects, feedback)
    • Happen in certain place
    • Schedule it this way, etc.
  • Environment
    • May need a Google calendar to schedule
    • Manager must have time available consistently
    • Make available a performance report
    • Make available a checklist for time of need (when the manager is ready to conduct the one-on-one)
  • Skills
    • How to get someone to think positively/talk progress vs frustration
    • A few scenarios spaced out over time
  • Habits
    • 1 on 1 useless unless done regularly
    • Reminders
  • Attitude
    • For the continued psychological safety of each of your reports.
    • They have an hour of your time each week…not gonna bother you throughout week…not ad hoc because that can be invasive
    • Provide attitude WIIFM at beginning – here’s why important

Daily Lessons (5-10 Minutes)

Focus on objectives in daily 5-10 minute lessons.

Daily lessons:

  • Emphasize experience of learning/making progress everyday
  • Practice, reinforce, reference

How Objectives are arranged into lessons

  • Start with A-ha! lesson
    • Have right attitude
    • Initial knowledge
  • Elaboration
    • Examples
    • Counterexamples
  • How to
    • Concretely showing how to do
  • Guided Practice
    • Start practicing with some guided scenarios
  • Practice (Lessons 5, 6, 7)
    • Try scenarios
    • Use performance support to try new skills in variety of situations

Natural spacing/flow of lessons:

  • Introduction
  • Review previous lesson
  • Give current lesson
  • Preview next lesson

Everything the learner gets is seen three times.  This gives the learner time to sleep in between and consolidate memories.

Each lesson ends with cue card:

  • Small action.
  • Takes less than 2 minutes to do.
  • Feels like a win.
  • Reinforces learning.
  • Transfers lesson to real-world immediately after.
  • Cue (trigger) – behavior – reward = value to learner in the learning experience.
  • Example: E-mail one of your reports right now. Praise/recognize them for something they did last week.

Stories Supercharge Your Campaigns

Stories help us remember things better. Our brains react differently to stories than just “information.” We understand them better.

Use stories at beginning of campaign to tell what’s going on in the campaign.

“I used to be a terrible manager…but one thing I learned is that…management is a skill just like any other thing…there’s a set of things great managers embody that enables success are: modeling growth mindset strategies, using motivation strategies, and as people are growing and are motivated, knowing how to talk to them and give feedback along the way…”

Helps engage people; bring them in; help them connect/relate.

Feature role models in your organization. Tell their stories. Allow them to contribute as an example (or non-example). This helps people see role models everywhere.

  • A role model is someone that excels at a particular behavior, not someone who is perfect at everything.
  • Focus in on the behavior when looking for role models.
  • Natural social learning will happen when you know someone in your org is good at a particular behavior – you can seek them out for guidance/insight on that specific behavior.

Microlearning Boosters

Fold motivation/A-ha! moments into microlearning:

We give learners objectives to accomplish and this, when done well, will increase their interest/engagement, but this only gets you so far…s

In order to truly engage and create effective learner, we need to be there with campaigns at the moment people are MOST motivated – when they NEED and are LOOKING FOR resources and are willing to change behaviors:

  • When they start new job,
  • become a manager,
  • interview a candidate for the first time,
  • give their first presentation, etc.

When they need to learn something, they are already motivated and vulnerable, and are willing to change a bunch of behaviors at once. This is a very clever motivation hack.

Additionally, be mindful of a-ha! moments. These should be at the center of instructional content.

  • Identify one most interesting perspective on a topic. Tell a story on it. Have an expert passionately explain it.
  • Surprise learners with unusual scenarios.
  • Create tension.
  • Create puzzles and conundrums
  • Have experts give a different perspective
  • Tell stories that may not relate at first, then A-ha! that’s the connection.

New mindset

Microlearning can help create a new mindset for your learners:

  • Gives learners a growth mindset:
    • A framework/way of thinking about topic
  • Gives learners confidence in their incremental progress toward objectives that make up big aspirational goal
  • Provides learners a mindset about learning itself
    • Provides metacognitive skills
    • Lets them be aware that there’s a way they’re learning
    • Allows them to model better learning strategies, become a better learner


CEU credits: HRCI: 285666 SHRM: 17-QT5KL

Developing an Education and Training Plan: Environmental Influences

As I was developing the Education and Training plan for the National Glass Association, I was researching the environment in which we exist. I found many factors that could influence or have an effect on our curriculum and our courses.

EPA Compliance

One major concern for our members is compliance with a relatively new EPA ruling on the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program. Essentially, I found that the EPA was certifying training providers to create and administer courses on the LRRP program. This was out of scope of what we could do with the resources we had, but it is something that could potentially be a big seller for the NGA and further its credibility and relevance as the knowledge hub for the flat glass industry. This curriculum, if developed and approved by the EPA, could also be a major source of income for the association and could generate even more memberships from the learner population.

Other Partnerships

There are many other glass-related trade associations and I found myself wondering how our association tied in with them. I was happy to hear that it was our CEO’s goal to foster relationships with those associations and partner with them on education and training projects, even though the process would likely be time consuming and politically sensitive. Other associations are more focused on technical issues relating to glass and our association was (is) in a good position to be the knowledge hub, with the support and technical expertise of the other associations.

I also researched the American Institute of Architects because they had a pretty robust education and training program and found that we could become an “AIA CES Registered Provider,” which I thought, similar to if we’d developed the LRRP program, would be a major source of networking and marketing and could improve the revenues generated by the education and training program.

Finally, I also wanted to partner with association members who already had robust training programs in-house as a potential source of content and materials. Thus far, we are working on partnering with the Australians, but I think there are other potential partnerships that could be mutually beneficial.


Developing an Education and Training Plan: Planning for Evaluation to Prove Your Worth

In planning how to evaluate the success of our program, I considered the association’s training goals and business outcome as well as the industry’s training goals and business outcomes.

Association Training Goal

To meet the knowledge and skill gap identified by our members.

How to evaluate:

  • Survey members now to find where the knowledge/skills gap is using an Annual Training Survey to provide year-by-year comparisons.
  • Develop courses based on that gap.
  • Survey annually to check progress.
  • E-mail Kirkpatrcik Level 3 surveys to learners’ supervisors a month after they complete a course to check whether the course changed the learner’s behavior.

Association Business Outcome

To increase membership and increase the use of MyGlassClass (and, in turn, increase Association revenue).

One-year goal: Max out the current LMS capability of 2,500 active users.

How to evaluate (Kirkpatrick Level 4 Return on Investment):

  • Compare membership numbers now to membership numbers a year from now.
  • Compare number of MGC users now (327 active users) to MGC users a year from now.
  • Compare percentage of members who use MGC now to percentage a year from now.

Industry Training Goal

To quickly on-ramp new employees, provide continuing education for seasoned employees, and to maintain training records for all employees.

How to evaluate:

  • Survey members now to find where the knowledge/skills gap is (for new and seasoned employees) via the Annual Training Survey.
  • Survey members now to find out how long it takes to on-ramp a new employee and how organizations record and manage training.
  • Develop courses based on that gap.
  • Survey annually to check progress.
  • E-mail Kirkpatrcik Level 3 surveys to learners’ supervisors a month after they complete a course to check whether the course changed the learner’s behavior.

Industry Expected Business Outcomes

These are Kirkpatrick Level 4 evaulation methods to see if our courses met their intended business results.

  • Decrease the amount of time it takes for a new employee to be ready to work.
    • How to evaluate: Survey members now and in a year to find out how long it takes to on-ramp a new employee.
  • Increase revenues through improved sales techniques.
    • How to evaluate: Compare revenues in organizations who use or begin using MGC now to revenues for those organizations in a year.
  • Improve project management skills for PMs to result in more projects on time and on budget.
    • How to evaluate: Compare project statistics in organizations who use or begin to use MGC now to statistics for those organizations in a year.

Project Management for Course Development

I’ve taken my fair share of project management courses (a-la PMP) at The Graduate School in Washington, D.C., but I never pursued a PMP certificate. While the concept of project management as outlined in the PMP program makes project management seem pretty objective and almost scientific, managing instructional design projects is, go figure, a little more “wishy washy.” What I’ve found is that it’s critical that you have a project plan for designing performance improvement activities and that you ensure the client and all stakeholders understand the plan and their involvement in it. Here’s the plan I created based on the Successive Approximation Model for the National Glass Association.

  1. Based on Curriculum Plan, client provides initial proposed course objectives (to be refined as part of the instructional design process) and any existing content and research opportunities on course topic.
  2. Send Backgrounding Questionnaire to stakeholders/Subject Matter Enthusiasts request responses in a week.
  3. After Backgrounding Questionnaire deadline, provide updated course learning objectives to appropriate stakeholders/SMEs. Meet with stakeholders/SMEs via teleconference to discuss and approve learning objectives within three days of initial draft of learning objectives is provided.
  4. Begin to develop the CCAF Matrix (or other course design products) for each of the Learning Objectives (3 days). Request additional information or clarification using a Content Gathering Document sent to the SMEs involved on the project. They will have two days to respond. Use SME responses to fully flesh out the matrix (or other course design products (2 days).
  5. Use the matrix (or other course design products) to write the content for one of the interactions (1 day) and get feedback from the SME group (which should include a recent learner or two). SME group review – probably via teleconference – should answer the following:
    1. Is it accurate?
    2. Is the language/tone/voice appropriate?
    3. Will the style resonate with the intended learner audience?
    4. Is it too verbose or too technical?
    5. Is it too conversational?
  6. Once the first interaction is fully fleshed out, write the content for the rest of the interactions and the transitions of the course. (May take a week.) SME group will review/provide feedback (3 days).
  7. Storyboard the course. Once stakeholders approve storyboard, send to developers.
  8. Send prototype to the SME group for review. They will respond to the User Review Questionnaire. This group should include a few more actual learners. They will have three days to provide their feedback.
  9. Send updates to developer. Within three to four days, course is updated and complete!