Ideas and Insights

  • 04/16/2018 10:57 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Those of you who attended January's flipped learning event may have been pleased to experience another opportunity to discuss flipped learning during this March's Learning Event, "Thinking Outside the Virtual Training Box."

    We haven't really been speaking too much about this, but our 2018 learning events program is not meant to be viewed as a series of exclusive events. Rather, these events are meant to build upon each other. Our March speaker, Corena Bahr, was excited to continue that discussion in her session, and to show how flipped learning could be implemented in a virtual training environment.

    We've excerpted that discussion below.  Click the image below to launch our video.
    Think of this as a mini course* on flipped learning.

    If you didn't attend our January meeting, consider viewing some introductory videos that help define flipped learning here:

    1. Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom
      This 6:26 video shows how we can apply the blended learning techniques we (may be) familiar with to the flipped learning model.
    2. What A Flipped Classroom Looks Like
      This PBS NewsHour report shows how a high school just outside of Detroit took a chance on flipping its curriculum, and the results.

    Got anything you'd like to add to the conversation?  Add your comments below!

    *Not micro-learning, mind you.  This discussion is a little less than 20 minutes.

  • 03/24/2018 11:14 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We started getting excited about this month’s Learning Event when we first spoke with Corena Bahr. We’d already viewed some of her web recordings on how to create engaging virtual training sessions. But in our introductory meeting, we learned that we had similar philosophies in web training design, saying: “Yes, and…” many times throughout the call.

    One of the key points we agreed upon:

    1. When designing virtual training, create each course as you would create any classroom-based course. Don’t start your design focusing on the fact that it will be delivered in a web training platform.
    1. Once the content is complete with activities meeting the stated objectives, sync your design with the platform.
    Keep your learners from doing this

    When designed with the platform in mind, virtual training often lacks the engagement that our participants seek. It’s not that designers fail to consider all that the platform has to offer, but rather they fail to incorporate all the opportunities for engagement that they would have applied had they had the full freedom of a classroom.

    The challenge, of course, is how to sync those engaging activities with a web platform. This is where Ms. Bahr’s expertise is invaluable. As the original webinar presenter, trainer, and technical writer for GoToWebinar and GoToTraining, Corena Bahr had spent years honing methods of creating authentic, highly interactive learning experiences that meet objectives and deliver value to those seeking to learn.

    This isn’t going to be your standard “how to do a web training” session. It’s going to be a “how to maximize your webinar” training. A “how to create a virtual classroom” training.

    We’re thrilled that Corena has agreed to join us this March to facilitate an interactive web session on creating engaging virtual training, using the platform with which she is intimately familiar -- GoToTraining. Join us not only to learn how to think outside the virtual training box, but also to observe all the techniques our webinar guru shares in our first ever virtual learning event.

  • 02/20/2018 12:23 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    In his book: Crash and Learn, Jim Smith, Jr. explores many lessons learned over his storied talent development career. One of those lessons was about venue: having the right room for the program he was facilitating.

    It’s a lesson that came up when we reviewed the evaluations from last month’s event: the program was engaging and informative, but more could have been gleaned from the activity if people had just been able to hear.

    It’s this sort of “lessons learned” that had prompted February’s “Behind The Scenes” event on Launching A Successful Training Program. Each training program will face challenges to learning. Many of these challenges can be predicted and proactively addressed, providing some voice of experience points out where to look.

    Our voices of experience come from three distinct learning and development environments: non-profit, corporate, and independent consultant. Each individual will share their unique viewpoints to what makes or breaks a training program, and through our discussion we intend to find some commonalities for what can make a training program great.

    We are working to find a venue that can better support our growing needs. But this February 28th, we’ll still be meeting at the DoubleTree Club Hotel

    Or you can participate online

    See you there?

  • 01/30/2018 3:06 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    This story just fit into our conversation last week on #flippedLearning, in which we discussed the need to assess not only the efficacy of the overall program, but also the efficacy of the flipped learning components.

    The quote that caught my attention: "The next step is to figure out if more snow fell than would have otherwise."

    Audio: Scientists Observe Cloud Seeding For The First Time

    Article: Scientists Observe Cloud Seeding For The First Time

  • 01/25/2018 8:45 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    I had some illuminating conversations during our structured networking session, and wanted to share a take-away.

    Flipped learning doesn't help us normalize our audience before they come to the classroom. Rather, it helps us identify those who are struggling, thanks to the application of Key #3. Once we are aware of who will need extra support during our in-class activities, we can make a point to either visit those individuals to provide more coaching or, perhaps applying Karen's strategy, team them up with a group of learners who have shown proficiency in the subject matter.

    This is part of the process approach that Jason mentioned: we're no longer creating content and activities for our learners, we're guiding them along a path of identification, exploration, and development.

    What was your take-away? Ah-hah moment?  Let us know in the comments!

  • 12/13/2017 10:18 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    In the annual ATD-Orange County Holiday Celebration and Volunteer Recognition Event, Chapter President Jeffrey Hansler look a moment to share his vision for our Chapter's future.

    And he asked a question:

    What is the greatest value ATD-Orange County can provide to talent development professionals and their organizations?

    Jeffrey didn't give the answer outright, more's the pity. He did share his strategy for the coming year: to provide our members with multiple opportunities for outrageous value, and suggested that the majority of those opportunities will not reside in our programs, but in the roles within our Chapter.

    Let's take a look at what he's getting at by exploring our Mission and Vision.

    Empower local professionals to effectively develop talent in the workplace.

    We're a community of talent development professionals passionate about what we do.  We want to enter the workplace and ... develop the talent of the people we work with.  YET: not all of us are empowered to do this, not unless we've been in the industry for years, and have built up credibility borne of research and experiences.  How do we get that empowerment?

    Let's look to our Chapter Vision for that answer.

    Be the space in which to practice and perfect your talent development skills and build your professional network in Orange County.

    One of the things each of us works to provide in our training environments is a safe space for people to learn and share their thoughts.  This safe space is crucial for our participants to try new things without the risk inherent in failure.

    ATD-Orange County is that safe space for the talent developer. 

    Think of it.  This community is a microcosm of a training department.  From program coordination to marketing and communication, from lesson planning to leadership, if it's done in your training organization, it's done here.  ATD-OC is the source for your development plan in whatever talent development skill you need to work on.  Need a mentor?  Look to our Chapter Leadership.  Need to develop your mentoring skills?  Join the Chapter Leadership.

    Over the course of the next few days, we're going to publish our Volunteer Special Recognition Awards.  These are folks who have come to ATD-OC with a passion to help and a passion to practice.  Listen to Past President Kathleen Dvorak-Ashelford praise their work, and you'll hear her mention time and again how someone tried something new, experimented with an idea they were working on, and impacted not only the Chapter but their own ability to credibly say: "I've tried this, here's how it worked, and here's how I'll apply this technique in your organization."

    If you're looking for a safe space to grow your skills as a talent developer, we invite you to look to the heart of our community.  We're busy, but were empowered to both serve and develop a training organization 200 members strong.

    (In the picture, we're meant to be the fellow holding the ladder.  The one with the telescope? That's you, planning out your future.)

    Image Designed by Freepik

  • 11/14/2017 5:03 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    While leading his session titled: “Leadership Agility and Culture Change Through the Power of Play,” facilitator Gary Muszynski introduced us to the handpan.

    This instrument is a recent contrivance which appears to have first been produced in the 2000’s. It looks like a metallic tortoise shell, and its sound is reminiscent to that of a steel drum (which apparently are also called ‘steel pans’). Here’s a video to give you an idea of what a handpan sounds and looks like.

    We did not get good seats for the concert...Gary’s handpan came out at the end of the session, as Gary discussed how an improvisational leader reacts in moments of change or ambiguity. But there was another message that struck me as I watched Gary's performance.  Gary's improvisation came from his passion for the simple act of making music, and of embracing new ways to make that music. When he learned of the handpan he didn’t dismiss it as a curiousity, content with his established career of playing instruments with a rich tradition and history. Instead, he chose to move beyond the way he had always been doing things and considered how he could incorporate this new, unheard-of instrument into his program.

    Moving beyond the way things have always been done seemed to be a theme throughout the ATD Regional Conference (Southern California Chapter), at least in the sessions I had attended.

    It began with Galen Emanuele’s keynote “Creating a ‘Yes, And’ Culture of High-Level Performance and Engagement,” in which the simple activity of composing a letter one word at a time opened the group to broader improvisational and creative possibilities. It continued with Paul Signorelli’s challenge that today’s classroom need not be confined within four walls (we knew that), or even within one organizational structure. In his workshop on creating video learning content, Tim Smith challenged us to think about different ways to utilize tools we already have, and created a quick instructional video using -- wait for it -- PowerPoint. And when he was not leading a group of talkative talent development professionals wordlessly, with naught but a Shaker Egg, Gary Muszynski was demonstrating how a simple activity of moving rocks around in a circle could lead to deep insights about everything from supply chain to collaborative leadership.

    There’s passion in that simple act of moving beyond the status quo. Passion in exploring a new route, in wondering how a new technique or tool could be applied to your current environment. There’s excitement brewing in the simple phrase “Yes, and…”, and a thrill in uncovering the sublime within the simple.

    And in those introspective moments borne on the ride home, a question arose: am I bringing that passion to my work?

    If you’re now thinking: “Golly, sounds like I missed an interesting conference,” don’t worry. I’ve little doubt that these presenters won’t be a part of ATD ICE when it comes to San Diego next May.

    Obligatory ICE Conference Link here

    Obligatory prompt to use our Chapter Code when registering here.

  • 10/19/2017 7:50 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    An interesting point came up in last night's Training and Technology SIG Meeting:

    During our analysis, we focused on our audience. We did not clearly define our audience's audience.

    In other words...

  • 08/04/2017 2:20 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    As the social media universe continues to expand and evolve, it's more important than ever to conduct an analysis of:

    • Who you are trying to reach
    • Your purpose for connecting to those people via social media

    During this Analysis phase, we may find that the traditional methods of asking our audience what they'd like most to hear from us won't work because our audience isn't quite talking to us.  Fortunately, there are several other tools that can help us identify the key words that will help search engines such as Google or Bing to connect people looking for our services to our online presence.

    As we start to Design our strategy, it becomes vital to consider where we're going to be focusing our efforts.  Rather than select a social media platform because it's the coolest new thing (we've done that), we need to determine what we plan to contribute to the social media conversation, and select the best platform to support that.

    LinkedIn remains the go-to platform for professional development and networking.

    Even though it ranks low on daily usage, its power is in its impact on search results.  LinkedIn is the social network MOST often appearing at the top of Google search results.

    But your profile won't appear on search results unless you optimize it by using as many of the LinkedIn fields and options available to you, taking care to include those keywords that you've identified in your analysis. Remember: you're about to undertake a significant effort to communicate to a vast audience of strangers.  But even the most well-crafted post or stunningly shot videos won't matter if not one member of that vast audience has a means to find you.

    That said: bios are static.  The social media network is moving, liquid, incessantly chattering, looking for the person who is on the cutting edge, or the stalwart who has mastered the best practices.  Once you're set up in LinkedIn, you'll need to engage with others on the platform.  Going to them will be more impactful than waiting for them to come to you.  You can do that by participating in Groups which, though a bit difficult to find, can come with significant exposure.

    The 2 billion+ user gorilla in the social media universe, Facebook's value is not in search engine results, but daily activity.  This is where people go to share daily, sometimes hourly.  If your audience is following you here, you've got a better chance of reaching them with the latest news.

    You'll want to decide where to invest your time.  Do you want to develop a community where your audience will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and carefully crafted opinions?  Or do you want to develop a business profile where the focus is more on brand development?  Both have their pros and cons, as does implementing a combination of both.

    We delve into these subjects with a bit more detail in our Summer Social Series.  Chapter Members can find session summaries and recordings here:

  • 07/12/2017 11:59 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    On March 14, 2016, the BizSIG held a group meeting titled: Your Online Platform: Using Social Media to Promote Your Brand. We introduced the vastness of the social media universe via the Conversation Prism, originated by Brian Solis in 2008. That was the third version of that model. 

    A little more than a year later, the Conversation Prism has been updated.

    As the social media universe expands, it also evolves. Facebook was fun when it was friends, family, and Farmville. LinkedIn made sense as an online resume and networking resource. But now these tools are viewed as marketing channels, necessary venues for the promotion of one’s professional brand. Anyone who’s anyone not only has an online presence, they are contributing to multiple social media channels.

    How does one stand out within this cacophony? By strategically approaching how they use social media.

    Fortunately, as talent development professionals, we’re familiar with a model that help us strategically approach the creation and distribution of our training content: the ADDIE model.

    How could a decades-old model designed for the crafting of impactful training interventions apply to social media? Let’s take a look.


    In our Training and Technology SIG (shameless plug), we discussed the concept of a “Primary Learner Persona.” This is the person for whom your training is being created. 

    Your brand should have that as well. Who are you trying to reach? Not all the companies in Orange County. Not all the companies who are looking for training. No, you’ve got a specific niche. Who are they? Where are they? And what do they want to know? 

    Speaking of niches, what’s your purpose for connecting via social media? Are you joining as a creator? Seeking to engage a community? Is your plan to influence others with your expertise? 

    We ask because your presence on social media can’t be just about your business or brand. Like good training content, what you share must have a strong WIIFM for your audience.


    What sort of content will you generate? I’m partial to blogging, but I’m set curmudgeonly within the minority. Content these days needs to be media-rich, and take advantage of the unique features within the social media network you select. 

    ATD-OC has begun producing video to promote their events, expanding their social media imprint in both Facebook and YouTube.


    Once you know both yourself and your audience, and you have a clear vision for your content, you’re ready to create content. Developing content’s easy. More difficult is developing content that gets shared, that brings people to your site. 

    How the content is created will be dependent upon the social media channel you use. LinkedIn content should be created for the white-collar professional. Facebook users skew younger. Pinterest users are primarily mobile. People tend to use Twitter for news consumption.


    Key to implementation: communicating who you are. Give considerable time to your social media profiles, and take advantage of the unique features each platform provides to differentiate yourself from everyone else.


    It’s not just about the Likes, it's about the engagement. Does your audience respond to your content? Do they share it? Does your own site get more traffic after a post? Do you get phone calls? 

    Most sites provide analytics to let you know the answers to the above questions, and more. Frequent evaluations will allow you the opportunity to make tweaks to how you communicate via social media.

    Let's discuss further

    This is just the start of the conversation we'll be having this summer in our Summer Social Series.  If you'd like to join us, register today!

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