What Is a Hackathon?

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As a company focused on helping companies improve workplace performance, we’ve got a lot of interest in techniques intended to help solve problems, be more creative, and innovate more. For example, check out our articles on learning organizations, design thinking, facilitating change, learning teams, and innovation.

And that’s why we asked our good Dr. Stella Lee to have a discussion with us about hackathons (you may remember Dr. Lee from our earlier discussion on disruptive technologies in L&D).

Thanks to Dr. Lee for telling us what a hackathon is, sharing with us some reasons to hold a hackathon, and giving us specific tips on how to hold a hackathon based on her own personal experiences doing so (pus she shared some great resources for learning more!).

You can listen to our recorded discussion immediately below or, if you’d prefer, we’ve typed up the transcript below that.

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Free Portable Ladder Compliance Checklist (General Industry)

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If you’re a safety professional, you probably know that ladders are involved in a lot of safety incidents at the workplace. And that’s why we’ve created a free portable ladder OSHA general industry compliance checklist for you to download at the bottom of this article.

In addition to the free portable ladder checklist at the bottom, you might also find some benefit from these materials we’ve got for you related to portable ladders:

And we’ve got more free downloadable checklists on other topics here.

Continue reading to download the portable ladder compliance checklist (it’s at the bottom of this article).

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Commonly Used Training Evaluations Models: A Discussion with Dr. Will Thalheimer

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Dr. Will Thalheimer is of the most respected learning researchers out there. And that’s especially true when it comes to issues regarding learning evaluation.

We were excited to be able to talk with Dr. Thalheimer about four common learning evaluation models, and we’ve got the recorded video for you below. If you prefer your learning evaluation information in written form, just scroll down for the transcript of our discussion. And if you’d like to read other discussions we’ve had with Will, click these links to learn more about spaced practice, the effectiveness of elearning, smile sheets, and learning myths v. learning maximizers.

Many thank to Will for participating in this discussion on learning evaluation and for everything he does. Please be sure to go off and check out his other materials and offerings at his website. And when you finish this discussion, know that we had a follow-up in which Dr. Thalheimer explained his new LTEM learning evaluation model as well.

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Vector Solutions Monthly Blog Roundup: October 2019

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As they do every month, our parent company Vector Solutions just published their round-up of blog articles published in the previous month by their different business units and brands.  This includes an article from your friendly neighborhood Convergence Training.

These articles, all originally published in the month of October, 2019, include:

  • Vector Solutions on the value of using EHS management software for improving workplace safety (this is a nod to our new safety management software, Vector EHS, created by new acquisition IndustrySafe)
  • IndustrySafe announcing the upcoming arrival of version 6.0 of the IndustrySafe/Vector EHS safety management software just mentioned
  • RedVector with a list of resources for the recent Manufacturing Day celebration
  • SafeSchools on launching a list of vaping prevention resources
  • SafeColleges announcing a recorded webinar on positively influencing campus culture
  • Exceptional Child on understanding ADHD and helping students succeed
  • TargetSolutions on the role of clean PPE in preventing cancer in firefighters
  • And your friends here, Convergence Training, with a recently recorded webinar on evidence-based training practices

If we’ve sparked your interest, check out the October, 2019 Vector Solutions Blog Round-Up.

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What Is Design Thinking?

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If you’ve never heard of design thinking, you might find this brief introduction of value. If you’re already using design thinking, we value your additional insights and contributions in the comments section below.

So what is design thinking, those of you who’ve never heard of it before may be asking? Tim Brown, the president and CEO of IDEO (who played a big role in the development and spread of design thinking), puts it this way:

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

You can use design thinking to help create better products, services, and experiences for your customers; to help improve workplace conditions for your employees; to improve workplace processes and procedures; or to fix other problems. In that sense, it’s a bit of an all-purposes problem-solving tool with a focus on empathy, being human-centered, and the user’s experience that includes a healthy dose of collaboration.

We’ll provide a quick overview of design thinking in the article below. We’ll also provide links to resources where you can learn more. If you’ve used design thinking yourself at work, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

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Facilitating Change for Performance Improvement & Innovation: A Discussion with Arun Pradhan

The one constant in the universe is change. Or so the great philosophers say.

Given the possibility that this is true, it makes sense for all of us to be better prepared to acknowledge the inevitable nature of change, prepare for it, and learn to benefit from it when possible.

To help us wrap our heads around this, we touched base with L&D guru and change agent Arun Pradhan (you may remember our earlier discussion with Arun on lifelong learning and learning agility). A million thanks to Arun for sharing his thoughts with us on change.

As for you, you’ve got two choices–watch a recording of the video discussion immediately below, or scroll down further to read a transcript. Either way, we hope you enjoy this.

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ANSI/ASSP Z490.1 & Z490.2 Discussions at ASSP Podcast Webpage

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The first of two discussions about the Z490 series of ANSI/ASSP standards for EHS training is now available at the ASSP Safety Standards at Tech Publications podcast webpage.

Find the podcast about Z490.1, the standard for all EHS training, here.

Find the about Z490.2, the standard for ONLINE EHS training, here.

Both discussions feature Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training/Vector Solutions, who was on the sub-committee that created Z490.2 and is on the committee to update Z490.1. Read Jeff’s last update on the creation of Z490.2 here.

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Intro to Systems Thinking for Workplace Performance Improvement

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It’s common to hear people talking about the importance of systems thinking in the workplace these days.

The point that folks make is that if you want to really solve problems, or really grasp opportunities, you’ve got to think of issues systemically.

I’ve heard this same basic point made by people in different work circles: learning and development, safety, operations, maintenance, HR, and more.

And beyond that, the point is often extended with some helpful advice: think of connections instead of disconnections/silos; think in circles instead of in a linear manner; think in wholes instead of parts; think of synthesis instead of analysis; think of relationships instead of about things in isolation. Be big-picture. Be holistic.

And that advice is good, to a point. But I also find it somewhat vague and hard to act on.

As a result, I decided to do a little reading on systems thinking to learn more. I’m hoping that by learning about different systems archetypes, different components of systems, and the different ways systems grow/decline, it will make it easier to identify systems at work, determine how they work, and then try to change them when I want to.

I’m doing this as a bit of a “learning out loud” project, not entirely knowing where this will go or how useful it will be. As a result, even though I always invite your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, that’s especially true for this article. If you’ve got your own favorites sources about systems thinking, your own thoughts about systems thinking and how to apply it at work, or if you can begin to point out how to apply some of the lessons below in specific contexts, please do share! NOTE: Here’s one by Steven Shorrock on Systems Thinking for Human Factors that just got published.

In the credit-where-credit is due section, I should note that this article is largely based on the first-half of the book Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows. We are deeply endebted to Meadows here and in no way do we think this captures all the great thought in the book. Please consider buying a copy of the book today, as it goes into much more detail and includes many helpful examples and illustrations. It’s our plan to return to some of the materials in the second-half of Meadows’ book in future articles.

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Vector EHS Software Demo: Linking Safety Data & Safety Training Webinar

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Our parent company Vector Solutions recently acquired Industry Safe, maker of safety management software. That means Convergence Training can now offer the Industry Safe safety management software to our customers–we call it Vector EHS.

Watch the recorded webinar below for a discussion of linking safety data and safety training and to see a demo of how to do this with Vector EHS.

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What Is Evidence-Based Training?

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Not that long ago, we wrote a blog article about learning myths, and in that article, we promised we’d cycle  back and write another on evidence-based training practices. This is the fulfillment of that earlier promise–an article on evidence-based training. (Note that in addition, you might want to check out this free, recorded webinar on evidence-based training and learning myths and this discussion about learning maximizers and learning myths with Dr. Will Thalheimer).

We’ll give you an introduction to evidence-based training in this article, explaining:

  • What evidence-based training is
  • Why we believe you should use evidence-based training methods
  • What are some evidence-based training methods
  • Where you can learn more about evidence-based training

Along the way, we’ll also link you to some other articles and interviews we’ve already done on evidence-based training practices, including interviews with some of the learning researchers out there.

We hope you’ll enjoy this and invite any questions.

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LMS Basics: What is a SaaS LMS?

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In this issue of our ongoing LMS Basics series, we’re going to take a little dip into the alphabet soup of the learning technology world by exploring what a SaaS LMS is. That’s a software as a service learning management system for those of you who still use words to communicate and think.

If you’d like to know what a SaaS LMS is or what some of the advantages are, read on.

Also, don’t forget to download our free LMS buyer’s guide either here or from the button at the bottom of this article.

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Implementing HOP for Safety Management in Oil & Gas

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Human and Organizational Performance, or HOP, is a new approach to occupational safety and health that’s becoming increasingly common at worksites around the world. HOP has some similarities with other forms of so-called new safety, such as Safety 2 and Safety Differently.

We recently had a discussion with safety consultant and HOP learning facilitator Helen Harris about her experiences implementing and using HOP for workplace improvements at two different companies in the oil and gas industries. Thanks to Helen for her time, insight and experience in the interview below.

Note: You can watch a recorded video of our discussion below or you can read a transcript of the discussion below that.

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