Training in the 21st Century

About admin

My work background has been as a consultant in Organization Development and Training. In that capacity, I’ve consulted to organizations in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, including IT, manufacturing, healthcare, academic and social service organizations. I’m currently enjoying the frontiers of e-learning: working with techniques that expand and enhance the effectiveness of self-paced e-learning workshops and real-time Webinars as well exploring the use of 3D environments (with the sense of being present with others that they offer) for meetings and training sessions. Much of my work has been to develop and expand collaboration within organizations in order to enhance organizational effectiveness. This has included conducting organizational assessments, designing and facilitating processes to enhance communication and collaboration, and developing and presenting training programs for a wide range of topics tailored to client needs. I attended The Evergreen State College, where I participated in a 2-year immersive program, “Japan and the West,” and subsequently earned a BA degree in Cross-Cultural Communications from San Francisco State University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organization Development from the University of San Francisco.

Strategic Tuition Assistance

Guest Blogger: Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice

While there are many potential benefits of tuition assistance programs (or TAPs), the challenge for business leaders is to manage investments in employee education in a way that maximizes returns–both for the employer and the employee. Not only does a TAP need to encourage the development of specific skills in your workforce, it also needs to empower employees to pursue their educational goals.

For companies who want to launch a new TAP—or revamp an existing one—it’s hard to know where to begin. To that end, I connected with John Zappa, CEO of EdLink to identify a few key steps to get you started.

1. Identify Goals, Support with Investments
Work with your senior management team to set quantifiable, measurable goals. Address the question of cost early on, using your goals as a guiding compass. The more critical a goal, the larger your investment in a TAP. Alternatively, you can follow industry standards for less-than-critical goals.

You might consider breaking qualifying coursework into groups. Here is an example:

 


 

 

 

 

 

2. Establish Guidelines, Communicate Expectations and Opportunities
Clear guidelines and qualifications will help to ensure a TAP supports your business goals. As such, they Continue reading →

Getting to the Heart of Gamified Learning Development

Guest Blogger: Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice

Employee engagement and participation in learning and development programs has always been a challenge. With the rapid development and deployment of new tools and technology in the workplace, though, there’s more to be learned and mastered than ever. Leaders are now looking for methods to tackle this issue head-on and driving demand for changes in learning management. Enter gamification.

The use of game mechanics in non-game environments to improve user experience and participation is rapidly gaining interest as a solution for improving learning management. We’re told it can fundamentally change an organization’s learning and development processes, but many still aren’t sure how—and have questions around what gamification really is.

The Truth About Gamification

Let me be clear: Gamification is not about turning work into a game, or making work fun. As Andrzej Marczewski of Capgemini explains, employees won’t be sitting at their desks, “with Call of Duty-like games on their screens, shooting at reports and running around 3D spreadsheets.” At its core, gamification is a tool for motivating your people to show up and perform to the best of their ability. Continue reading →

Reflections on Colloquial “Bandwidth”: What Does It Mean for Us?

“I just don’t have the bandwidth to go to that meeting tonight,” I said to a friend/colleague at the end of another hectic week. After commiserating, my friend noted that the term “bandwidth” is being used a lot these days to describe our everyday condition. “A few years ago,” she said, “everyone talked about taking things ‘offline.’ Now, everyone talks about ‘bandwidth.’” What does the change in use of terms tell us about shifts in our thinking and concerns, and what do we really mean by “bandwidth”?

Thinking back, the phrase to “take it offline” became widely used at a time when we were realizing that electronic communications could not be counted on to remain private. E-mails could be accidentally, or purposely, forwarded to the wrong people. And with the onset of information overload, it was becoming clear that not every communication needed to be shared with everyone. For trainers, “let’s take that offline,” became a new way to respond to topics that threatened to sidetrack a workshop into subjects that were not relevant to the learning goals.

Today, I rarely use or hear “take it offline.” But I use and hear the term “bandwidth” often—it offers a pithy way to say a lot of things in one word. Continue reading →

Mentoring – Making Beautiful Music Together

Guest Blogger: Kris Schaeffer, CPLP, Kris Schaeffer & Associates

I used to share office space with Titus Dickson.  He was an opera coach and one of his students was the famous soprano Ruth Ann Swenson.  Titus described how opera singers coached each other and passed along their techniques and tips.  He said that the notion that opera singers are high-maintenance competitive performers may be true for only a handful of the most notorious divas.  It’s not the ethic of the profession.  “Opera grows as an art only when the masters are willing to pass along their learning to the next generation.”  With each opera, the cast of singers becomes a team. They help each other master their parts.  They’re all looking for the same things – the critique’s rave review and a packed house.

An entire profession believes that they need to help each other to make beautiful music together.

That generous spirit reminded me of some sage advice I heard in my early years of ASTD – my professional organization.  Peter Lewis looked around the local Chapter meeting room and said, Continue reading →

The Importance of Being (Earnestly) Heard

Years ago, when I attended a 12-week course on Facilitation offered by Community at Work, I learned many valuable skills and techniques that I continue to use in both face-to-face and virtual meetings and training events. One of the most important and valuable insights I gained was something Community at Work’s founder, Sam Kaner, told us during the course, “It’s really hard for people to listen before they feel heard.” I came to realize how true, and how important, that statement was as I gained experience facilitating meetings for groups and teams whose members spent their time and energy trying to get their points across. And no one was listening. Continue reading →

Increase Your Effectiveness in Any Group

Guest Blogger: Sharon Mulgrew, http://sharonmulgrew.com/plays-well-with-others/

“Computer skills are expected on a resume; they are no longer a bonus; they are now considered necessary basic skills. However the skill of the future, the most sought after skill now, is the ability to work in a team, to work collaboratively, to play well others.”  (Kate Austin, Director of Simulation and Digital Entertainment Program at UB, 2006)

We sit through boring, frustrating or ‘resultless’ work meetings every day.

We think that nothing can be done. Yet there are actions that group members can take to make their meetings and collaborative work more focused, more fun, and more effective: There is a rhyme and reason to effective work groups, and the more members know and practice the behaviors that actually help any group perform, the better the experience is for all members. Continue reading →

Webinars: More (Information) Is Not Always Better

Last week, when I attended and presented at the Virtual Edge Summit in San Diego, I realized once again what odd and valuable experiences conferences are: People come from far away, sometimes at considerable expense, to meet and greet others as they rush from presentation to presentation. During this intense experience, they sample a smorgasbord of knowledge and information. Those topics that are most relevant to their present needs will likely stick with them. Less relevant information may be stored in their memories (and/or folders) as interesting tidbits, headlines, and key words that will enable retrieval and exploration later, when needed.

This process works for conferences. The short- and long-term value is proven each year as people put responsibilities on hold and head off to the airport to attend this or that annual meeting. Certainly, I learned many new and important things at VES, met new people, and encountered a few I knew from other events. But this year, the conference experience offered one additional insight: As I was leaving, I came to a realization that the way conference presentations are designed is a close match to the way many webinars are structured. And though it works for conferences, it’s usually a very unsuccessful format for virtual presentations. Continue reading →

Secrets to Successfully Introducing Change

As we transition from 2011 to 2012, we lay the groundwork that will help us realize our goals and triumph in our challenges during the new year.  Continuous improvement—learning from past experiences while scouting for new possibilities—gives us a solid stance from which to proceed. And with the fast pace of technological change, new opportunities for continuous improvement arise in varied and unexpected ways. But resistance from within our organizations can be one the biggest barriers we face in our efforts to make use of these opportunities.

Those whose work will benefit directly from the implementation of a new technology, a change to a process, or the introduction of new practices generally recognize the value of a proposed change quickly. But the value of the change may not be obvious to organization members whose work and responsibilities are not directly impacted by the change sought, and they may resist, impede, and even prevent the introduction of new ways of doing things.

One important way to gain the support and buy-in of people from all areas of an organization Continue reading →

Quick. Quick. Tell Me What You Think of Brainstorming. Want another way to get high-quality ideas?

Guest Blogger: Kris Schaeffer, Kris Schaeffer & Associates

We’ve all participated in a brainstorming session. A rapid-fire volley of ideas.  Ideas come so fast that it is difficult to record them all.

But what if someone in your group doesn’t like to compete for talk time?  Or what if you had an entire group that is reluctant to speak up, doesn’t like conflict, and defers speaking until others (elders and native-born) speak first?

That’s exactly what the Community Outreach Program (COP)* had to consider when designing three community meetings for San Francisco’s Japantown.  How can we get them to be involved and active participants in rezoning their neighborhood? Continue reading →

Blended Virtual Solutions to Enhance Training and Learning

The creation of the blackboard (or chalkboard) in the early 1800’s offered a huge new benefit for teachers: the ability to share drawings, writing and formulas with everyone in the classroom at the same time. Their use spread fairly quickly, given the speed of those times, and by the mid-1800’s blackboards had become standard equipment for classrooms throughout the United States. Just as this innovative breakthrough in the early 1800’s opened possibilities for new ways of teaching, today’s new technologies offer enormous benefits Continue reading →

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info@traininginthe21stcentury.com

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