COVID-19 Presents a Need and Opportunity for L&D to “Step Up Their Game” — Talking with Dr. Stella Lee

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I recently caught an article our friend Dr. Stella Lee wrote about how the COVID-19 pandemic presented a need and opportunity for learning and development departments and professionals around the world–and certainly in Canada, where Dr. Lee lives, and in the US, where Vector Solutions is–to “step up their game” to help workers reskill and upskill.

There’s nothing new about L&D having an opportunity to help people reskill and upskill. That need has been going on for quite some time due to major changes in our national economies. We’ve got older workers retiring and possibly moving into consulting roles; we’ve got younger workers coming in to take their place in the workforce; we’ve got large numbers of workers who recently migrated to their new home countries; and we’ve got a lot of people who’s old job doesn’t exist or isn’t as in-demand in our modern economies who need to develop newer, more in-demand job skills.

But Dr. Lee’s right: COVID-19 did heighten this issue even more, and in that sense created an even greater opportunity and need for L&D to step in and help out. In some cases, people lost their jobs, perhaps permanently, and they need to develop new skills to step into new jobs. Likewise, in some cases people lost hours or are otherwise underemployed. In yet other cases, people have moved into different positions already but need help developing those skills (Dr. Lee tells a good story about librarians making a change like this). A LOT of us at work could use some help learning to use a lot of the new digital communication and collaboration tools that we’re using more effectively. Classroom trainers could use some help becoming better virtual trainers. And of course a lot of folks need new digital job skills for new careers.

For repeat readers/viewers here at the Convergence Training blog, you may remember earlier discussions with Dr. Lee about Hackathons and Digital Disruptions in L&D, both of which I really enjoyed. Check ’em out if they’re new to you!

And with no further ado, please enjoy our recorded discussion with Dr. Lee, below.  We wanted to publish this discussion now, but check back and we’ll begin adding some links to resources mentioned in the video and a transcript as well (busy, busy, busy!).

Many thanks to Dr. Lee, of course. Check her company out at Paradox Learning. 

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Instructional Design Basics: What Is ADDIE?

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Many people who wind up having training creation as part of their job roles have never had a full opportunity to learn about the basics of instructional design, how people learn, and how to develop training.

One of the things people in this situation sometimes don’t know if that there are processes, models, or methods that already exist that make the process of creating training more orderly, more effective, and more systematic.

One of those, and in fact the most commonly known one, is ADDIE. ADDIE is an acronym that stands for each of the steps of the model–analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluation (or you might see it listed out as analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation). ADDIE’s not the only model for the creation of training–there are others. And ADDIE’s not without its imperfections and it’s critics.

But if you’re new to training, it’s definitely worth your time becoming aware of ADDIE. Even if it’s only your introduction to the idea that there are systematic, formulaic methods or models you can use to develop training. And even if you ultimately wind up using a different method.

But there’s also a chance that you’ll find ADDIE very helpful, that you’ll use it a lot in your job as a trainer or training developer, or that you’ll develop and use your own, somewhat-custom version of ADDIE over time.

So let’s cut the introduction at this point and explain the ADDIE instructional design and/or training development model for you below in some more detail.

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Free Infographic: Analzying & Solving Workplace Performance Problems (the Mager & Pipe Flow Chart)

Workplace Performance Probably Analysis Flowchart

One of the key tenants of human performance improvement, or HPI, is that there can be a variety of causes for workplace performance problems and therefore also a variety of potential solutions.

A corollary to this is that workforce training, while it CAN be a great idea, isn’t always the best or even an appropriate solution to a workplace problem.

Creating the RIGHT solution (or intervention) to a workplace performance problem, therefore, begins with correctly analyzing the cause of that problem (this is covered in a little more detail in our article on the ATD’s six-step HPI model).

There are many different methods or models you can use to analyze the cause of a workplace performance problem. At the bottom of this article, we’ve provided a free workplace performance problem analysis flow chart you can use for this. The flowchart is drawn from the famous book Analyzing Performance Problems; or, You Really Oughta Wanna by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe (if you’re not familiar with the flowchart, the book, or with Mager & Pipe, we encourage you to study up on all of them–start by reading our article here and then run, don’t walk, to buy and read the book).

Of course, there are other methods for analyzing workplace problems and improving performance, and we’ll being writing about some of them in the future as well (actually, this article on systems thinking for performance improvement and this article on the value of thinking slow, not fast at work are good places to start), but this is a pretty solid place to start.

Enjoy the free downloadable flowchart, let us know if you have any questions, and good luck improving the performance of workers at your workplace.

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7 Industrial Training Tips: Get Better Job Performance from Better Training

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Industrial employers want excellent performance, including efficiency and even innovation, from their work forces. And robust, well-designed industrial training programs give employers a better chance of getting just that.

In this article, we’ll share some tips for improving your industrial training program. By following these tips, you’ll help employees acquire necessary knowledge, develop necessary job skills, perform more effectively on the job, be better prepared for their next job positions with your company, help turn your company into a learning organization, and maybe even create innovations that help your company stay ahead of the competition or avoid failure.

In addition to the industrial training tips offered in this article, you might also enjoy our articles on Building Industrial Employee Training Programs and Key Industrial Training Topics and Moments of Training Need.

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Free Guide to Blended Learning Strategies

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Traditionally, blended learning has meant using both instructor-led (or similar face-to-face) training along with online learning (typically in the form of elearning). And there’s evidence to show that blended learning leads to improved learning outcomes.

For example, consider the following summaries of meta-studies on the effectiveness of blended learning:

“Evidence from hundreds of media comparison studies…suggest[s] that blended learning environments are more effective than pure classroom or pure digital…”

— Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark, Evidence-Based Training Methods 

“Overall, these meta-analyses found that eLearning tends to outperform classroom instruction and, blended learning (using both online and classroom instruction) creates the largest benefits…”

–Dr. Will Thalheimer, Does eLearning Work? What the Scientific Research Says! 

“The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes…was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught purely face-to-face.”
— US Department of Education, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning 

More recently, people have begun using the term blended learning not only for mixing instructor-led training with online training, but for the general idea of mixing training of different delivery formats. So, for example, your blended learning solution could all be delivered through technological means–an email, plus a video, plus a webinar, followed up by microlearning courses delivered to mobile devices.

So blended learning solutions are effective. Which means you’ll probably want to begin using them at work. But that raises the question–what’s the BEST way to create a blended learning solution?

The truth is, there is no single best way to blend learning. You’ll find the best results by stepping back, considering the performance and learning problem you’re trying to solve, considering what you want to help employees learn and perform on the job, selecting the learning activities that are most likely to help workers learn to perform on the job in the desired manner, and then selecting training delivery methods that you can use to deliver those learning activities.

In the attached guide below, we’ve given you a few frameworks to consider when designing your blended learning solutions. We’ve included ideas drawn from learning researchers and professionals such as Guy Wallace, Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark, M. David Merrill, Dr. Patti Shank, Bob Mosher & Conrad Gottfredson, Arun Pradhan, and more (hat tip and thanks to all of them).

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Free Guide: Writing Learning Objectives for Workplace Learning & Performance Improvement

Learning Objectives Guide Image

Learning objectives are a key part of effective training materials. Create and use them correctly, and you’re well on your way to helping your employees learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need.

Neglect to use them, or misuse them, and you’re setting yourself at a serious disadvantage right out of the gate.

At the bottom of this page, you can download a pretty-near-definitive guide that covers a lot of the basics about learning objectives. If you’re new to training or looking for a refresher, the guide may be helpful.

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Tips for Writing Instructional and Training Material

Tips for Writing Training Graphic

It’s not easy to write well. Or, as Ernest Hemingway put it, “Easy writing makes hard reading.”

As a writer, you want to do the difficult work so your reader doesn’t have to. And while it’s true that all types of writing are difficult, it’s also true that each type of writing presents its own special challenges. That’s definitely the case when it comes to writing instructional or training materials. So, we’ve created a list of tips and resources to help you write better, more effective training materials.

We hope you find these helpful; feel free to contribute your own ideas in the comments section below.

Please note this article REALLY is about WRITING, so it covers just a small amount of designing, developing, and delivering training materials. If you want a bigger, bird’s-eye view of designing, developing, and delivering, you may find these articles helpful:

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eLearning Basics: Can You Make Your Own eLearning Courses?

In our ongoing “eLearning Basics” series of articles, we’re going to address the question of where you can get elearning courses from. And, in particular, we’re going to explain that you CAN make your own elearning courses and explain how.

Let us know if you’ve got other questions you’d like us to answer in future “eLearning Basics” articles, feel free to download our Blended Learning Strategies guide at the  bottom of this article, and contact us if we can help you with off-the-shelf or custom-made elearning courses for workforce training.

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Free Recorded Webinar: Getting Training Online Quickly Due to COVID-19

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There’s been a lot of interest about online training for work for quite some time, and of course that interest has increased recently due to COVID-19.

In this webinar, we’ll give you some tips for making the shift to online training quickly but still effectively. In particular, we’ll discuss:

  • What is online training?
  • What are some benefits of online training?
  • Does online training work?
  • Using blended learning
  • Tips for specific different types of online training activity types
  • Tips for getting started with online training now

We wish you luck if you’re either making the initial move to online training or if you’re maybe looking to add more online training to what you’re currently doing. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you out.

View our Getting Training Online Quickly recorded webinar at our Webinars page.

In addition to this webinar, we’ve been writing articles and holding recorded discussions with online training experts to get you some additional useful tips. We’ve listed those below:

If you want some more detailed information for training in different contexts, you might also find these recorded webinars helpful:

And finally, you might find these more in-depth free guides helpful:

Hope you find this stuff helpful! Good luck and stay safe.

 

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“Live Online Learning:” Webinars and Virtual Classrooms

Live online learning–meaning stuff including webinars and virtual classrooms–has been part of the workplace learning & performance improvement quiver for quite some time.

But, there’s a lot of additional interest in it as of late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with lots of workers working from home and with some reasonable concerns about holding face-to-face and/or classroom-style, instructor-led training.

Not that long ago, in our series of articles about getting training online quickly because of COVID-19, we profiled an interview that Shannon Tipton and Jo Clark had with Michelle Ockers, talking about this very same thing (full disclosure: we loved that “Disruption Series” of interviews Michelle Ockers had; we applaud Michelle and all the participants; it really helped kick-start us into learning more on this topic; and we encourage you all to check it out).

But with live online learning, including webinars and virtual classrooms being so important, we figured it would be great if we could get Shannon Tipton to talk to us about this stuff as well, and we’re happy she agreed to. So that interview is below–we hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Shannon for sharing her time and expertise.

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How We Learn (With Julie Dirksen)

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We wanted to learn more about how people learn so we could also learn more about how to create better training and do other things to facilitate that learning at our workplaces more effectively.

So who better to talk with than Julie Dirsken, author of Design for How People Learn and all-around well-informed person on issues related to learning?

Check out the interview with Julie yourself to begin learning about learning. We’re very grateful to Julie for joining us and sharing her knowledge on the topic, we hope to have her back for some follow-up discussions, and we encourage you to buy a copy of her book and read it (see the link below).

Here are some relevant links:

Thanks again to Julie!

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eLearning Basics: Flash is Going Away–Have You Checked Your eLearning Courses?

News flash for you (pun INTENDED!): Adobe is going to discontinue the Flash Media Player at the end of this year (2020).

Why should you care? For one reason, because some of your elearning courses at work may still use Flash video. You want to start planning and acting now to avoid a problem at the end of the year.

We tell you more in the article below so you can make it through this transition without major problems.

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