Catching the Wave

This week’s post comes from Dr. Greg Ketchum. Dr. Greg is a former clinical psychologist-turned CEO and media workplace and career coach. He presides over an executive talent firm, providing coaching and recruiting for executives and Fortune 500 companies. A unique mix of psychology and coaching expertise gives Dr. Greg a great understanding of people and what it takes for career success. You can find him at 
TalentPlanet® |, and on Twitter @drgreg. You can also find him in his KPIX & KRON TV Workplace & Career Segments on YouTube and his Workplace and Career Talk Shows from CNET & XM Satellite Radio.

Catching the Wave:

How to Catch the Wave of Massive Change Happening in Enterprise Learning and Development


Summarized from webcast delivered with Andrew Bateman at Human Capital Institute July 14, 2015

View the PDF of Webcast slides here: Catch the Wave or Get Left Behind

Rapid Development of Learning Technology:

The rapid development of technology enabled learning is driving major changes in how learning happens inside the organization and in the role of the Learning Professional. This evolution is causing learning leaders to confront and examine a number of questions about the future direction of learning within their respective organizations. Here are some of the questions that we will examine today.

  1. Traditional Vision of the Role of Learning: The traditional view is that the learning
    function assesses the learning and skill development needs of the organization and
    then either creates or acquires the appropriate learning resources to fulfill those
    needs. In this view the business leaders and their business goals are the main
    customers of the learning function.
  2. Emergent Vision of the Role of Learning: The emergent view of learning is that your employees are your main customers and that the role of learning is to help them maximize their potential. It’s best summed up by these quotes from Bridge’s

    1. “Rather than shaping your employees into a particular mold that achieves an
      organizational goal, L&D now focuses on helping employees reach and discover their potential — it’s about growth and personal aspirations.”
    2. “L&D now focuses on helping employees with personal growth and aspiration.
      Developments in collaborative, blended, and social learning help make learning
      interesting, engaging, fun and continuous.”
  3. What is Your Vision? Given these two starkly different visions of learning what is
    your vision of the role that learning plays in your organization now and in the
    future? Without clarifying your vision of the role and goals of learning in your
    organization both now and in the future no amount of dazzling learning
    technology will help you. This is the bottom line.
  4. You’ve Got Your Vision and Goals: Now What? Once you’ve nailed down the
    vision and goals of learning how do you make those key decisions on what kinds of
    learning technology, content, and programs you’ll deploy to drive your goals?

    1. The Fundamentals of Learning: With all of the advances in learning technology it’s easy to lose sight of the enduring fundamentals of learning. That is, how does the best learning happen, what role does learning play in each of our lives, why do we seek learning, do we learn better alone or in interaction with others, etc. These questions aim to look at how we’ve evolved as creatures and what role learning has played in that evolution. If we didn’t learn that certain plants are poison, or that lightning can kill you, or other things like that we would have never survived as a species. From this perspective learning is what has kept us alive as individuals and a species and that suggests that the drive to learn is as strong as any other native drive such as for food or shelter. This is a rich and deep area to explore: How do we learn? Why do we learn?
      • Darwin quote……“I believe there exists, & I feel within me, an instinct for the truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the instinct of virtue, & that our having such an instinct is reason enough for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from them.” — Charles Darwin.
    2. Mix of Modalities: What mixture of technology, in-person, classroom, social,
      self-directed, crowd sourced, casual, on the job, and other learning modalities
      will you employ and for which groups and individuals?
    3. Laying the Ground Work: Before you bring in any new learning technology
      what ground work do you need to do to ensure that the solution you’ve chosen
      is right for your organization and that you’ve set yourself up for success?
    4. Realistic Expectations of Learning Technology: What can learning technology do and not do? What’s realistic to expect as to the benefits both to the individual and the organization from technology enabled learning? What role does human interaction still play as an essential element in learning?
    5. Leadership Development, Bench Strength, Succession Planning: If learning is increasingly becoming an end user, self-directed exercise how do you achieve your goals for these three areas?
  5. The Big Question Remains – Engagement: Given all we’ve discussed, one of the
    biggest questions remains as to how you get your employees to engage with any of
    your learning solutions whether they be technology, classroom, person-to-person,
    virtual, or group based?

    • Our View: Building an engaged audience for your learning solutions starts with
      having compelling content, and with understanding the natural role that
      learning plays for us as individual human beings. Without either those building
      an engaged learning audience just isn’t going to happen.

So, what do you all think? Do you agree with these steps as a process to “catch the wave” of change?

Join in and discuss these and other questions during #chat2lrn this week on 28 January, 2016 at 08.00 PST/11.00 EST /16.00 GMT. Hope to see you there!

Is L&D a real profession?

This month is #chat2lrn’s 4th birthday!  Our conversations together started in January 2012.  We spend our working lives supporting others….helping our colleagues develop skills that will improve their individual skills and impact on organisational and business performance. So to start the year, lets first take time to reflect and ask a very basic question…..

Is L&D a real profession?

This week’s post comes from #chat2lrn crew member, Judith Christian-Carter B.Ed (Hons), M.Phil, FLPI, Chartered FCIPD. Judith is a Director of Effective Learning Solutions, a UK-based learning services company. You can find her on Twitter @JudithELS

chat2lrn judith image

I imagine to some people, the very question “Is L&D a real profession?” is nothing but akin to sacrilege! However, as the term ‘L&D Professional’ or ‘Learning Professional’ is used a lot these days, the time has come to ask whether L&D is a real profession and, if not, then should it become one?

The importance of being a professional

Many occupations and trades have their own professional organisations, such as architects, engineers, lawyers, doctors and nurses. The reason for this is simple; it helps to make them an established, recognised and respected group of people. Anyone, in any area of business, usually wishes to be recognised and respected for what they can do, and my guess is that L&D is no exception in this regard.

Recognition is probably the key aim in terms of being regarded as a true professional. Others are naturally drawn to those whose professionalism is recognised, and are prepared to put their trust in them and to use their services. The term ‘cowboys’ is often used to describe unqualified, non-professional people who require payment for their services. Whilst there are those who are quite prepared to take a risk and employ such people, most migrate naturally to those who have professional qualifications and experience, even with the knowledge that they will have to pay more for the latter’s services.

What of L&D?

In all probability, the need for L&D to be seen as a real profession has never been more needed or important than today. With changing organisational structures and functions, with greater demands on budgets and financial spend, and with an increasing emphasis on workplace performance, this all means that the role and achievements of L&D are continually under the spotlight. If L&D is to have its place at the top table then it has to show that it is a real profession and to behave like one.

But what, exactly, does this take to achieve? Accredited and relevant qualifications (of which there are many), membership of a recognised organisation (such as an institute or an association), postnominal letters, conformance to standards/an official code of conduct, appropriate knowledge, skills and experience? Some of these, or all of these?

The current state of play

So, how do you think the land lies today? Does L&D need to be a real profession, is it one already and, if not, what needs to be done to make it one that is recognised world-wide? 

Join in and discuss these and other questions on 14 January, 2016 and let’s kick-off our 5th year in true #chat2lrn style!  08.00 PST/11.00 EST /16.00 GMT

Trends, Goals, and Professional Development…Planning for 2016

“Ajay is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Training and Development Professional but considers himself a Workforce Revolutionary. Ajay is a 3-time published author with John Wiley & Sons recently publishing his third book titled, “The Trainers Balanced Scorecard: A Complete Resource for Linking Learning and Growth to Organizational Strategy” ( He is also a multi award-winning writer receiving the 2014 and 2015 prestigious Readership and Editors’ Award for Editor’s Choice and the Top 10 most read articles. Ajay regularly appears on the #1 Montreal Talk Radio morning show discussing workforce performance issues.”

Visit his (uncensored) workforce performance blog, Workforce Revolution

The 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death just passed but his words remain…“So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over. And a new one just begun.”

Yes. Another year is over and what have you done? If you are unable to fully answer this question don’t worry, you are not alone. The end of a year comes upon us quickly and it is often difficult to reconcile considering the promise a start of the year offers.

Each of us begins every year with renewed vigor and energy then in the end, which we believed was so long away, comes upon us with little notice. If you feel deflated from the passing of another year I have bad news…another one is around the corner. But here’s the good news. If you don’t want to experience disappointment the same time next year then do something about it now.

Moving Forward By Looking Back

The first step to achieving your end of year expectations is to first take a moment to reflect upon the past year. Learning only takes place if you are able to recognize what you can learn from past experience.

Begin by taking inventory of your experiences in the past twelve months. Human nature is to focus on the mistakes rather than successes. Both provide valuable learning lessons and it is essential that you not repeat the failures and attempt to leverage the successes.

When reflecting, take note of everything you observed/experienced in the past twelve months. What were the fads disguised as trends? What were the trends that meant well but never delivered on their promise? What did you learn from them? What experiences did you take away? Answering these questions is key to achieving your next twelve months objectives.

Goal Setting Isn’t Goal Achievement

Reflect upon the goals you set. Did you set any at all? Disappointment is only measured based upon the goals you initially set. Otherwise your disappointment is a waste of time…the only disappointment you experience is why you never set goals in the first place.

If you did set specific goals at the beginning of the year then measure how well you’ve achieved them. I assume you’ve achieved some to your complete satisfaction, you achieved others to the extent to say you met them (but not to your complete satisfaction) and then there are the remaining ones that you didn’t achieve at all. Focus first on the ones you didn’t achieve and then the ones you could have done better achieving.

If you failed to set goals then you are solely to blame for your end of year ineffectiveness. But don’t wallow in the disappointment learn from the experience. Set specific goals for the next twelve months but be sure to set them up so you can track your progress throughout the year. And, never make it a shopping list of goals. Plan too many and you will set yourself up for certain failure this time next year.

Professional Growth Is Not Optional

Finally, take care of your own professional growth. It simply amazes me how so many learning practitioners I come across don’t place any effort into their own learning. How can you not practice what you actually preach unto others?

The second error many practitioners make is to be myopic in their development. Stop focusing on what you actually do. While it is relevant to maintain your expertise it is equally important to develop holistically. To be taken seriously by your leadership, think about complimenting your skills with learning that lifts your value and expertise to be more inclusive of ancillary concepts and roles.

Give Yourself a Year-Round Present

Christmas is around the corner. Why not be kind to yourself. Plan your 2016 with learning events and opportunities by subscribing and/or registering for courses and conferences throughout the year. This will guarantee your professional growth and lead you to reflect favorably when 2016 comes to an end.

We hope that the past twelve months have been good to you. What I mean by that is not only in successful attempts but also if you didn’t achieve your objectives. You must be able to look back on both experiences to add to your personal growth. My wish for you is to take these experiences and leverage them for a more fruitful and exceptionally successful 2016.

Please share your experiences from the past year with the #Chat2lrn community. What are the fads or trends that you believe added value or were a waste of time? What was your wish list from last year that you achieved or wanted to achieve? What is going to inspire you to achieve your goals in twelve months? Join us on December 17th, 8:00am PDT, 11:00am EDT, 4:00pm BST for a #chat2lrn discussing these and other questions.

Allow me to leave you with a closing John Lennon thought and my sincerest wish to you that seems appropriate for this post:

“A very merry Christmas, And a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Without any fear.”

Please take this Poll:

Skills for Informal Online Social Learning

Anchal is the owner at Design Storm, an e-learning company that provides innovative, simple, and effective corporate learning solutions.

Informal online social learning is “of the learners”, “by the learners”, “for the learners”. Where technology is owned by the learners, we tend to assume that if they’re interacting on online forums, they must be learning. Is it this simple?

According to Marshal McLuhan, while technology augments certain aspects of our lives, it also truncates other facets. So as technology augments connections with people, does it reduce “depth”? As it multiplies access to information, does it lessen “focus”? When it increases the ability to contribute to a subject, does it reduce credibility of information? When it makes it easy for us to learn on our own, does it take away the concept of “linearity” in learning?

If technology affects these aspects, do we then need special skills while learning informally online? What could these skills be? Here’s a probable list:

Forming a Network

Connectivism theory suggests that “learning is a process of building networks”. To be able to learn online socially, we need to actively create a network of amateurs, experts, and enthusiasts who interact with us to create a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts. Learning to create a focused network that feeds into our knowledge base is a skill we need to develop.

In the tweet below, Professor Alec Couros reaches out to his network on Twitter to help his students learn the power of a network.twit_blog

Going Beyond Lurking

Most interaction on social media sites is said to follow the 90-9-1 rule. According to this, 90% of the users on a social networking site are lurkers, 9% are contributors, and 1% are creators of content.While some learning researches believe that lurking itself is a large part of learning socially, we surely can learn more if contribute and create content.

Mindcasting Instead of Lifecasting

Lifecasting is sharing information about what we had for lunch, where we went vacationing and so on. If this is what we do with our network, chances are we’ll not learn much.

Mindcasting, a word coined by Jay Rosen, involves adding value, contributing original ideas and thoughts, sharing experiences, vocalizing tacit knowledge, stating the previously unnoticed obvious points, and so on.The more we learn to mindcast, the more we get a chance to clarify our own thoughts and to run them past a peer group.

Acquiring Knowledge Non-linearly

As Marshal McLuhan said, “People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.” It doesn’t matter from where you enter the hot water bath or from where you exit it. Similarly when we dip into our network, we learn non-linearly with little structure. We need to learn to create our own structure and our own connections. Learning non-linearly is a special skill that today’s workforce needs to develop.

Cutting through Clutter—Filtering information

We receive a barrage of social information. Not all of it is relevant. One of the key skills is to quickly filter out the noise. Those who do this will be able to successfully use the online medium for learning informally. We need to learn to be active gatekeepers of our own learning feeds.

Discerning Correct Information 

With the power to contribute to the knowledge pool of our peers, also comes the risk of picking up or sending out information that may not be accurate. We need to develop the awareness to cross check, and the ability to discern reliable resources from unreliable ones.

 Avoiding Distraction and Dealing With Shortened Attention Spans 

“We shape our technology, and thereafter our technology shapes us.” – Marshall McLuhan

We quote reducing attention spans of millennials as a pet peeve. It is an active result of the technology where reading lengthy articles has been rendered obsolete by short video clips, 140 characters and pithy feeds.

Not getting distracted by a friend’s birthday pictures may not sound like a skill, but it is one we will need to soon actively start developing. For example, being able to read through an article and analyse the depth of its contents is a skill that needs to be fiercely defended and developed.

Curating Content

Content sharing and curation is a natural result of online social learning. To use curation to find the correct information for the correct purpose is a skill that will help us develop a personalized ecosystem for learning.

Creating and Maintaining an Online Portfolio

Our online interactions are available for all to see. They become a social portfolio of who we are, and where we’re heading. It’s a skill to create a strong online portfolio, with appropriate representation of the people that we are.

Do you agree with this list? What other skills can you think of? Should we, as learning professionals, help build these skills, or should we let learners build these skills on their own? Let’s discuss this Thursday, December 03, 2015, at 4pmGMT/11amET/8amPT in #chat2lrn.

Audience Analysis, Critical for Instructional Outcomes

Written by Patti Shank PhD, CPT
It may not reflect all of the chat2lrn moderator opinions.

Audience analysis is part of the need analysis process during instructional design. The purpose of audience analysis is to help us understand who we are dealing with (including the organizational system) and how to serve them most effectively.

What Happens During Audience Analysis?

Some of the things considered during audience analysis:

  • Target audience: Who is the target (primary) audience and any secondary audiences? What are their expectations and needs? What problems are they experiencing? What is their level of experience? How much will they participate? How much time do they have? How will we respond, with instructional and non-instructional interventions?
  • Environment analysis: The entire environment people operate in. Leadership, learning, performance, business, competitive, work, tools, the entire system…
  • Instructional analysis: What tasks are needed to learn? Do people all know the same thing? How quickly does the information change? Is this declarative or procedural information? Is this information that people need to memorize?
  • Technical analysis: Does this involve technology? Hardware/software?  Will it be changing? How does it tie into company infrastructure? Who will deal with the hardware and software? Does the audience have the ability and capacity to deal with the technology and keep up with it? Who will build and maintain it?

Why Should We Perform Audience Analysis?

In “The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice,” Eduardo Salas and his fellow authors proclaim that “decisions about what to train, how to train, and how to implement and evaluate training should be informed by the best information science has to offer.”

I write about the critical nature of needs analysis for good training outcomes, according to Salas and fellow authors research in my ATD Science of Learning Blog article, Science of Learning 101: The Latest Research on Needs Analysis and Learning Climate (

Below is Table 2 from the Salas paper (, which shows that needs analysis is the key factor for maximizing training outcomes before training.

Table 2



Below, Table 3 of the paper, the needs analysis items that are most critical are clarified.

Table 3


The very first item, Conduct training needs analysis, includes (emphasis is mine):

Determine what needs to be trained, who needs to be trained, and what type of organizational system you are dealing with.

Wearables and L+D

This post was written by Holly MacDonald of Spark + Co, one of our chat2lrn crew.

The internet of things is coming and in some cases it’s already here. Wearables are everywhere. It behooves us in the training field to track these technology changes and consider how they might influence our own practices. As with many technological advances, the potential for change is huge. Wearables create equal parts of fascination and fear for many people in general. And while it might seem far-fetched or sci-fi, it is not a movement that will go away.

First of all, what is a “wearable”?

According to

The terms “wearable technology“, “wearable devices“, and “wearables” all refer to electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body.

Wearables can have more than one function:

  • Accessing content
    • Google Glass
    • VR headsets (Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard)
    • Smart Watch
  • Trigger behaviour – these are “haptic touch” type of triggers. Your device or clothing buzzes you. This might remind you of something, or stop /start a behaviour.
    • Smart Watch/jewellry
    • Fitbit
    • Bands
  • Provide feedback
    • Typically a wearable device plus an app – e.g runtracker, biofeedback,

What are the implications for L+D?

  1. Delivering Training

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality devices and software can provide a very robust simulated environment or enriched environment for training. This is used already in medical training, the military and flight training. Eventually, it’ll be a possibility for other industries as well.

Location specific beacons and a wearable (or an app) could serve up context/location specific content for employee training. Imagine a new employee who works in a certain physical section and needs to learn product and process in order to do their job. Training would not have to be linked to a computer, but could be triggered when the learner enters a certain area. This is already widely used in museums and other tourist attractions.

  1. Performance Support

There are lots of ways that we can consider wearables as performance support tools.

Training can be reinforced and performance can be monitored to help our learners adjust and refine their performance. For example, in physical jobs, smart clothing can collect data to help reduce repetitive strain injury. Immediate and specific corrective coaching could help avoid a lifetime of pain.

A new employee could wear a go-pro camera to record their actions the first time they complete a task after training and analyze where they could do things differently. They could even ask a more experienced employee to review with them or coach them.

An employee could set their wearable to nudge them during task completion with reminders or immediate feedback to ensure that they are doing it right. This would be especially useful for job sites that are “field based”.

Knowledge workers might use “mood tracker” and device combinations to monitor their own performance, much like a high performing athlete does. The “Quantified Self” movement could be adapted to learning, where individuals use wearables to provide information and feedback about their learning goals.

Probably the biggest fear for people in L+D is the potential for employers to use the technology to spy, punish or otherwise manipulate workers. This is a valid fear, but still won’t stop the wearable movement from happening, so it’s better to get out in front of it and shape how it might work for good in L+D.

Come and join the chat on Thursday, November 3rd to learn more about wearables, share your experience, or feed your fascination!


For the keeners:

I wrote a number of posts about this earlier this year that go into more detail of the possible ways that wearables could play a role in L+D.

I also encourage you to read Donald Clark’s posts on VR, he always has insightful comments.

Julian Stodd also wrote a couple of posts that are really great and

Producing Videos for Training

Today’s post is written by Andrea May (@andreamay1), #chat2lrn crew member and Vice President of Instructional Design Services at Dashe & Thomson in Minneapolis, MN. Andrea is an instructional designer, project manager, wife, mother, Girl Scout troop leader and theater artist. 

video_IconOver the last decade on the professional front I’ve created my fair share of screen cast
videos with voice over for a variety of eLearning programs and provided script or other input for a handful of live videos. Traditionally, I’ve shied away from live videos unless in was a true necessity because of the rather large costs involved.

In my personal life over the same 10 or 15 years, I’ve seen the video cameras I’ve owned go from a clunky unit that weighed several pounds with fairly low quality, to a smaller, more streamlined unit, to a combination digital still and video camera, to just one of the many things we can do in fairly high quality with the smartphones in our pockets. Not only that, but we can shoot a video on the fly and have it uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo to share with the world in mere seconds.

For some training or eLearning programs, that type of video might be appropriate, but generally I think the preference is for high quality edited video with good lighting and sound, whether that is audio recorded with the video or added later as a voice over. Until the last few years, that often meant hiring specialists to light, shoot and edit the video. Now those lines have blurred. Low cost equipment is now available that can produce high quality results. Editing software is readily available and much more intuitive than it used to be. In short, amateurs with a little money, and some practice and good planning, can produce the videos they need for their training and eLearning programs.

At the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn conference a few weeks ago, I attended a session that opened up even more possibilities in my mind for producing training videos. The session looked at how GoPro cameras could be used to cheaply produce high quality videos for training, particularly in situations where it would be dangerous or otherwise impossible to get a camera crew in to do the shoot.

GoPro on Hard HatFor the last several years, I’ve been working on developing and maintaining both classroom and eLearning programs that train propane industry employees all over the country. I could immediately see a ton of applications for shooting video this way that would have been difficult and/or cost prohibitive before.  These amazing little cameras are cheap, easy to use, produce high quality video, and best of all, hands-free. I can see endless possibilities that I had never really considered before.

What about you? Do you use video in your programs, and if so, how do you produce them? How do you make decisions about when and how to use video? Have you ever used or considered using GoPros for shooting your videos? Join us on October 22nd, 8:00am PDT, 11:00am EDT, 4:00pm BST for a #chat2lrn discussing these and other questions.