Survey Says…

Most L&D professionals have heard of surveys, of course. Market research professionals develop them to gather data in order to help companies make informed decisions about what to sell to the public. As a result, the buying public has taken tons of them. But the average L&D person probably hasn’t give a ton of thought to using surveys in their own work. If you have, you’re ahead of the game.

We’re continually told that we need to use more evaluation and measurement methods in our work as well. But data collected by the Learning and Performance Institute through their Capability Map shows the field doesn’t have very deep skills in this area. The first 6 month Capability Map report showed that, out of the 983 people who completed a self-assessment, only 319 assessed themselves against Data Interpretation and the average competency score was 2.36. Compared to 738 assessments in Face to Face delivery which had an average score of 3.36.

Typically the reason to use a survey is to get information to help with decision-making. What kinds of decisions do we need to make that a survey might help with? Here are a just few:

  • What are the biggest skill gaps?
  • How do they currently fill those gaps?
  • What performance support tools do they build? Need?
  • Who are their best internal team trainers?
  • What instructional methods work best for them?
  • How would they “grade” our efforts?
  • What would we need to do to better serve their needs?

One of the problems with surveys, however is that that they look deceptively simple to build but it’s easy to write surveys that are poorly written, which means the data you gather is mostly useless. Poorly developed surveys yield poor data or worse, data that points to the wrong solutions. So it’s critical that surveys be developed and analyzed well. There are some great articles and books on the topic and it’s not rocket science. And once you know what you’re doing and if you use a survey tool that allows you to do good analysis, you can get some great data.

One of the chat2lrn facilitators, Patti Shank, wrote an article for CSTD on the topic, which recommends valuable articles and books on the topic, and provides some concise guidelines on good surveys. It’s on page 15 of


Design thinking: What does it mean to L+D?

Design thinking – what does it mean to L&D?

It doesn’t matter what learning theory or approach you follow, at some point those involved in the L&D world will have to…well…design something. Even if it’s informal or social, there is some kind of design involved, and there’s no denying that design thinking is a current media darling. It may show up as “UX” or usability/user design, which tends to live in the web development (or digital product development) world, or game design, fashion design, graphic design, behavior design…if you think of all the places that “design” can show up, it’s fairly ubiquitous.

What is design thinking?

“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.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO, who are leaders in design thinking. They’ve even produced a whole “Design thinking for educators” site: complete with free toolkit and helpful articles about design thinking. Their perspective is that design thinking is a mindset.


“…is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context. While design thinking has become part of the popular lexicon in contemporary design and engineering practice, as well as business and management, its broader use in describing a particular style of creative thinking-in-action is having an increasing influence on twenty-first century education across disciplines.” (

The d-school at Stanford uses this approach, which is summarized in this graphic:

design thinking process

They share their approach in this PDF:

Sam Burrough (@burrough) presented a great webinar for LPI – which you can watch for free here:

You can see more design thinking ideas, resources and suggestions in the “Scoop-it” Sam’s curated:

Learning Design thinking

More perspectives on design thinking

Think about design thinking and how it impacts your work. Come to the chat on Sept 19th and share your thoughts.

Motivating and Inspiring Learners

This post has been written by @andreamay1, #chat2lrn crew member and Vice President, Instructional Design Services for @dashethomson.

motivationOur past several chats have been very inward focused, on our industry on on ourselves, as we discussed skill gaps in our profession and how we might change that for ourselves. Then, two weeks ago we had an inspiring chat discussing what is inspiring us right now, both professionally and personally. I’m sure I’m not the only one who came away from the chat with loads of new ideas and resources to explore.

This week, we will turn our attention back to those who use the programs we design and deliver, the learners/students/participants/insert your own term here. What is motivating them to learn the skills we are offering? What inspires them? What part does learner motivation play in how we design, deliver and market our wares?

A 2009 paper by Roger Yap Chao, Jr. provides some interesting insights on this topic. He maintains that in order “to facilitate learning in adult learners, a thorough understanding of how they are motivated to learn, what and how barriers to learning are formed” is essential.

And Connie Malamed, the eLearningcoach, gives us the post Get Your Audience Pumped: 30 Ways to Motivate Learners. In it she provides some concrete strategies for motivating learners like providing a way for learner to test out and actively asking for feedback.

We’d like to know how you motivate and inspire your learners. What strategies do you use? What has been successful, and what has been a failure? Join us for #chat2ln Thursday 05/9/2013 at 16.00BST/11.00EDT/08.00PDT