How to Use Storytelling in Training with Anna Sabramowicz

Storytelling Training Image

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

Electrical Transmission & Distribution Instructional Design Image

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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How to Become a Learning Organization (An Interview with Michelle Ockers)

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We’ve written before about what a learning organization is and what are some of their traits, and we’ve even talked about how to integrate safety departments into learning organization efforts (see this Safety & Learning Organizations article or this recorded Integrating Safety into Learning Organizations ASSP webinar).

But we thought we’d shoot big and talk to an expert in the field to learn what organizations can do to become learning organizations: Michelle Ockers.

Michelle very kindly shared her time and knowledge to help us get up to speed. If you’re interested in knowing what a learning organization is, or if you’re looking for some simple steps to move along the path, this is a great place to start.

The video of the discussion is immediately below. We’ve also typed it up for you if you’d rather read–just click the MORE button to read on. 

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8 Ways a Learning Management System (LMS) Serves as a Risk Management Tool

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Risk management is an important tool in many different fields: finance, safety, and more.

Risk management is also central to your workplace learning and development efforts, even if you don’t think of workforce learning in that way. But stop and think of all the different risks you’d face if it wasn’t for your workforce learning programs. You might not be able to recruit as many good new employees without one and you might not keep the ones you do recruit as long. New employees would struggle to understand their jobs and it would be harder to teach them new job roles and skills in their career path. You might quickly run afoul of compliance challenges, and without an emphasis on learning, your company might drift into inefficiency, irrelevance, and ultimately out of existence.

One tool your learning program can use to reduce these risks is a learning management system, or LMS. We’ll discuss a few of the ways an LMS can help your organization reduce risk exposure in this article.

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Deep Learning, Deliberate Practice, and Desirable Difficulties: An Interview with Patti Shank

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In this article, we’re going to investigate how to help workers develop job skills through deep learning, deliberate practice, and evidence-based training methods known as desirable difficulties.

Sounds pretty exciting, no?

Well hold on to your hat, friend, because it’s more exciting than just that.

We’re going to do this by talking with Dr. Patti Shank, one of the most informed and generous learning researchers out there, and someone from whom we’ve learned a lot about learning over time. We’ll say it below as well, but many thanks to Patti for sharing her time and knowledge with us.

You’ve got two options for taking this all in. Read the article or scroll to the bottom and watch a recorded video of our conversation.

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Tips for Small L&D Departments: An Interview with Emily Wood

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Learning and development professionals, including elearning developers, have to wear many hats. That’s kind of true by definition, since it’s a field that incorporates a lot of different skills and tasks. But it’s even more true for L&D/eLearning professionals who work in small learning development departments. Maybe it’s a 3-person department, or maybe even a 1-person department. It’s pretty amazing what these hardworking professionals get done.

This article is an interview with Emily Wood, who is her own “elearning department of one” at a non-profit based in Portland, Oregon. She’s also the author of a new book by that same title–eLearning Department of One.

In this interview, she offers some insights into how she gets it all done and offers tips and resources for L&D professionals out there in the same situation. If you’re in a small L&D department, we think you’ll find this interview especially interesting.

We’ve got a recorded video of the discussion for you immediately below, plus if you prefer reading, we’ve typed up a transcript for you too (just click the MORE button to read).

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State of the Training Industry: Our Customers Tell Us What’s on Their Minds

State of Training Industry Graphic

Since Vector Solutions acquired Convergence Training last year, and we partnered up with our new sister company RedVector, we’ve each been borrowing things from one another to create a better experience for our customers.

One of the things that RedVector has been doing for a while, and that we at Convergence appreciated, was taking an annual survey of their customers that they called The State of the Training Industry. We like this idea because it gives us a great chance to see what our customers are doing and how we might be able to help them. And we also like it because it gives our customers a chance to learn from one another.

So below is a quick infographic drawn from the State of the Training Industry survey that we pulled together with questions asked of customers of both Convergence Training and RedVector. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section below.

For an even deeper-dive into this, you can download the State of Industrial Training 2019 white paper RedVector prepared.

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How Is an Academic LMS Different than A Corporate LMS?

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A learning management system, or LMS, is a great tool for education, training, and learning and development. If your organization is looking to streamline these, an LMS can be a great place to start.

But to get the most benefit out of your LMS, you’ll want to get the LMS that’s best suited to help at your workplace. Although there are many, many different learning management systems to choose from, and no two are exactly the same, it’s very helpful to know that in general terms, we can separate learning management systems into two different broad categories: academic LMSs and corporate LMSs.

We’ll tell you a little more about what an academic LMS and a corporate LMS are in this article to help you find the right LMS for your organization.

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What Is a Learning Organization?

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In today’s economy, it’s important for organizations to support learning. Without doing so, they risk losing market share or even going out of business due to increased competition or by being disrupted in the way that streaming video services such as Netflix disrupted the brick-and-mortar videotape rental business model of companies like Blockbuster.

While all or most organizations try to learn and use the results of that learning to adapt, some organizations do this better than others. Those at the “good” end of the spectrum, who use learning well, may be known as learning organizations.

In this article, we’ll talk more about learning organization theory, learning organizations, and the characteristics of a learning organization.

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Your LMS is NOT a Learning Strategy

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A learning management system (LMS) is a great tool for compliance and workforce learning.

But it’s just that. It’s a tool. It’s not a silver bullet, it won’t address every learning challenge your organization faces.

Use it well, and you’ll get lots of benefits. We’ll review some of those for you below.

But don’t think that getting an LMS is the same as having a learning strategy. Because your organization needs to develop, implement, and maintain a learning organization–and an LMS can be a tool that helps your organization act our your learning strategy.

Continue reading to learn more about LMSs and their role in your organizational learning strategy.

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