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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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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Recorded Webinar: Evidence-Based Training Practices

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Our friends at RedVector once again had Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training over at their webinar series, this time for a discussion of evidence-based training methods and learning myths. We’ve got a recording of the webinar below for ya.

Kasey of RedVector and Jeff discuss the following in the evidence-based training webinar:

  • What is evidence-based training
  • How people process information
  • The difference between training delivery methods and instructional methods
  • Blended learning solutions
  • Evidence-based training practices (a partial list)
  • Learning myths
  • Where to learn more

We’ve got the recorded webinar for you below. It clocks in at about an hour and eight minutes. Please enjoy it, let us know if you have questions, and please leave suggestions for future webinar topics if you have any.

Also, feel free to check out the previous webinars in this ongoing series, which have dealt with:

And now, with no further ado, our recent evidence-based training practices webinar, below.

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Skills for an Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

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The era of Advanced Manufacturing is coming soon. Industry 4.0. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Great, right? Sounds good, huh?

Except, who’s going to do the work during this era (other than robots and computers)? What skills are they going to need?

There are going to be some skills that are specific to industries, and skills that are specific to sites, and skills that are specific to job roles. But there are also going to be some skills that are required in general. And those are going to be the skills we’ll discuss in this article.

And before you get too far down the page, don’t forget to download our free Manufacturing Training Guide before you go!

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What Types of Training Can You Import Into an LMS?

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If you’re looking to get a learning management system (LMS) to assist with workforce training at your organization, one question you might have is what kinds of training materials can you import into the LMS.

It’s probably obvious that you can import elearning courses, although even that answer isn’t quite that simple, as elearning courses come in different standards (or formats)–more on that below.

But you’ll also probably want to import things like video files, audio files, internet links, SharePoint links, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, and more.

We’ll give you a quick rundown of the types of training materials you should be able to import into an LMS in this article, and we’ll give you a few additional tips about the importing process to boot. Plus, don’t forget to download the free LMS buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article.

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Features to Look for in a Compliance-Based LMS

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Organizations get a learning management system, or LMS, for a number of different reasons. Often, for some combination of reasons.

One very common reason that organizations get a learning management system is to stay on top of and document compliance training requirements.

In this article, we’ll give you a few key features to look for if you need an LMS to comply with mandatory training requirements.

And be sure to download the free LMS Buyer’s Guide from the bottom of this article, which has even more helpful information for you. And if you’re interested in compliance for safety training, check out our free Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist and/or our Guide to MSHA Training Compliance Requirements.

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How to Use Storytelling in Training with Anna Sabramowicz

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We always enjoy an opportunity to talk about learning and developing materials to help people learn. And we always enjoy the opportunity to talk about using storytelling and scenarios to do that. And of course we always enjoy talking with our friend Anna Sabramowicz, an elearning developer who excels at all of this and who generously and freely shares advice and tips on doing this stuff and doing this well.

You may recall we’ve spoken with Anna about scenarios, stories, and training in the past. She’s been nice enough to “stop by” for a chat again, and we’ve included a transcription of that conversation below. We hope you enjoy the conversation and we thank Anna for time and experience.

Also, know that this discussion with Anna, in which Jeff Dalto interviewed Anna, was part of a longer discussion that begin with Anna interviewing Jeff.  You can click here to see that earlier discussion at Anna’s YouTube channel.  Thanks to Anna for that.

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Instructional Design Opportunities In Energy Generation, Transmission & Distribution

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Dr. Tom Baer is an instructional designer with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in the Seattle, WA area.

Faced with changes in the industry, PSE has recently doubled-down on their investment in instructional design and training at their organization. Tom was hired to perform instructional design work as part of that increased emphasis on instructional design at PSE, and he was nice enough to take some time and explain some of the instructional design opportunities in this industry.

We’ve got a recording of the discussion with Tom immediately below. And if you’d prefer to read, we’ve got a transcript below that.

We’d like to thank both Tom and Puget Sound Energy for their contributions to this discussion and tip our hats to them on their hard work. Hopefully, we’ll touch base with them again at some future point for an additional conversation (fingers crossed).

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Learning Myths

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You’re probably familiar with the concept of an urban myth. And perhaps you’re familiar with the Mythbusters TV show, which often takes a look at urban myths and other things people believe might be true and puts them to the credibility test. (Before you go on, feel free to check out this fun list of the “Top Ten Urban Legends” if you’re so inclined.)

In the same way, you’d probably be willing to agree that many professions and fields of study have their own version of urban myths that people new to the field–or even those who have studied, practiced, and worked in the field for a long time–believe even though there’s no evidence to back the idea up or in fact there’s evidence that disproves it. (For example, we’re going back a bit here, but you may be familiar with the idea that the body has four different “humors” that govern our health and behavior).

Well, the sad fact is that the training/learning and development worlds aren’t immune to these kind of urban myths embedded into their own professional beliefs and practices, either. In fact, many people have mistaken ideas about what training methods are truly effective and which ones are just–well, bunk or even marketing hype.

In this article, we’re going to debunk a few of the most common learning myths for you, as well as point you toward some resources where you can learn more. In a future article, we’ll write about some solid, evidence-based training methods that DO improve learning. So watch out for that companion piece to this article. And you may also want to quickly review how people learn, since the way we learn is a big reason why some training methods help us learn and some training methods don’t.

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Psychological Safety & Learning Organizations

Psychological Safety and Learning

Why would you want your workplace to be a learning organization? Because learning is the key to your future success, and being a learning organization gives your company a better chance at continued or new success.

(Side note here: Check out our What Is a Learning Organization? article and Becoming a Learning Organization recorded webinar with Michelle Ockers to learn more about learning organizations). 

Amy Edmonson is one of the acknowledged gurus of learning organization theory, and in fact she contributed to the very well-known Harvard Business Review article Is Yours a Learning Organization? More recently,  she’s focused in on one key aspect of learning organizations. In fact, you could call it a bit of a pre-requisite. And that’s what Edmonson and others call psychological safety.

It’s Edmonson’s claim, and a claim she backs up well with data in her book The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, that you can’t truly have a learning organization unless you’ve first got psychological safety.

We’ll give you an introduction to psychological safety and Edmonson’s thoughts on it, including how psychological safety contributes to learning, growth, and even innovation at an organization, in this article.

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