Webinar Q&A | Coloring Outside the Lines of Your Learning Strategy

Learning is now part of our lifestyle, so continuously creating learning to fit within a standard model doesn’t work anymore. I recently presented with ATD as part of their webinar series and had the opportunity to discuss ideas and offer suggestions on how to color outside the lines of your typical learning strategies. These concepts included using video-based assessments to measure what our learners actually do during the performance appraisal process, applying gaming to take the complacency out of compliance training, and allowing your learners to take control using learning journeys!

You can view the full webinar session here. But if you’re looking for the abbreviated version, I’d like to offer a quick look at some of the key takeaways for coloring outside the lines of your learning journey:

  • Use video-based assessment tools instead of multiple choice when applicable.
  • Try out mini games before jumping feet first into gamification.
  • Add a “What’s In It For Me” benefit in your LMS with role- or topic-based learning paths.
  • Consider a video deployment tool for just-in-time learning.
  • Measure information that you are going to use to make key decisions.

During the session, a number of questions came up, and while we were able to address most of them, we weren’t able to get to all of them due to time. Below are those questions and our best answers. This is an ongoing conversation, so we encourage you to keep the questions coming in via the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Q: What technologies would you recommend?

A: We discussed three technologies in our session:

Q: Can you run into problems when trying to lump learners into categories?

A: Absolutely, but categories can be helpful to make decisions. The important thing to remember is that we may have multiple categories to consider in our organization. So it’s OK to consider a younger population and develop training that is targeted to their preferences, as long as we remember that we have other populations to consider as well. By taking all preferences into consideration, a well-rounded solution can be developed.

Q: We worked with role playing as part of a learning experience. What do you think of role playing?

A: I love role playing as long as it is in the context of a realistic scenario. This is a great way to encourage not only practical application of skills, but also to build team dynamics through the activity.

Q: Please explain what you mean by “portal.”

A: A portal is a location where a learner goes to access information. It could be in the form of an LMS, a tool like Brightcove, or a SharePoint site.

Q: How can soft skills be integrated into a training program?

A: Soft skills are best incorporated using realistic activities such as role playing. It helps to build the context while also having them apply these skills to where they are needed the most.

Q: How do you keep employees honest when it comes to training? In the past, I have had staff “helping” each other. One might go through the whole training and then give the answers to the rest of their department.

A: Honestly, that is more of a performance management challenge than a training challenge. While I recommend you talk to that individual about the impact they are having on the rest of their department, you can also use more hands-on or in-person assessments, where everyone has to demonstrate they understand the key concepts.

Q: How do you homogenize egos to develop team players in a learning experience?

A: That is an EXCELLENT question. It can certainly be a challenge. The key that I have found helpful is to ensure everyone understands their value and the value of each other. Often egos come into play due to feeling the need to make everyone know why they are important (which can actually stem from feelings of being unimportant or undervalued). Give everyone a role with an equal importance, and let them get to know each other better.

Q: Where does 70:20:10 come in?

A: Technically, that video tool is a form of 70:20:10. It is important to provide structure around the on-the-job training to ensure a consistent experience. Just because we are learning on the job doesn’t mean we don’t still need support to do so.

Q: What is the best way to track if the learning isn’t in the LMS?

A: I would actually encourage you to consider if you need to track at all. Not everything needs to be tracked. Consider what you will do with the information before deciding that you need to track it. For anything that does need to be tracked, I recommend using the LMS. That should become your system of record.

Q: Any recommendations for gamification vendors?

A: I do not have any recommendations. There are so many great gamification vendors out that it would be hard to pick just one. Make sure you check out my Webinar on gamification before diving in though!

Q: Can you speak to the potential impact of xAPI?

A: xAPI is going to open up a world of possibilities of tracking as long as your LMS supports it. Again my main caution is to track the data that matters. It will be a challenge when we can track everything that a learner does to keep it simple and track the information that will guide us to improving the learner experience.

Q: Do you find one approach works better versus another when your audience is an independent contractor?

A: It really depends on the content. One thing that I have found particularly helpful is to make the training flexible so that it can appeal to a variety of audiences in one solution.

Sheri Weppel

Sheri Weppel started her career as an art teacher covered in finger paint, clearly teaching people about out-of-the-box thinking (or at least off-the-construction-paper thinking). While working on her master’s degree in Instructional Design and Development at Lehigh University, she realized that we could learn a lot from the public-school classroom. Concepts like micro-learning, learning styles, gaming, and training on demand were common in grade school, but were considered new concepts in the corporate sector.

Because one degree is never enough, Sheri continued her studies at Lehigh with a focus on Gaming for Instruction. In her spare time, she spent her evenings losing to her husband in Scrabble and wanting to throw the letter Q across the room, making her realize the emotional attachments we can have to games. If we could harness that desire to succeed, compete, or win to a learning environment, what impact could we have on learner motivation?

Countless games of Scrabble later, Sheri started at GP Strategies as an Instructional Designer and was able to inject those concepts into solutions for her customers. This is often a challenge for customers that want to use gaming but often don’t believe they have the time or budget required to successfully launch into the gaming space. Sheri is driven to help these clients find a balance in embedding gaming elements into instruction in a practical manner.

In the past nine years, Sheri has held many roles within the organization, from instructional designer to sales lead for blended learning, and is now focusing on the off-the-shelf product GPiLEARN+, growing the product into a true blended learning solution. Regardless of her role, Sheri is always focused on working with customers to help build impactful training solutions that focus on the needs of all populations. She helps clients determine specifically when to incorporate gaming versus using hands-on, traditional approaches.

When she is not working, Sheri enjoys having adventures with her dog Olivia, attending barre classes, and learning new three-letter words that begin with the letter Q.

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