Ideas and Insights

  • 12/01/2016 5:48 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    This month’s ATD OC Chapter Event is more mixer, less learner.  And as we come together to celebrate our achievements as a community, we may find ourselves struggling to come up with something new to talk about.  After all, we’ve been all about networking and business throughout the year – it’s time to relax a bit.

    We’ve done a little leg work for you – below are a variety of factoids that could serve as conversation starters during any number of holiday gatherings.  Commit a few of them to memory, or write them down on slips of paper that you hide in your pocket and – just like those contestants in “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” – share one at an appropriate moment.

    1. Every time you recall a memory or have a new thought, you are creating a new connection in your brain. 
      Memory is formed by associations, so if you want help remembering things, create associations for yourself.

    2. Juggling has shown to change the brain in as little as seven days. The study indicates that learning new things helps the brain to change very quickly.

    3. The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000.

    4. The most commonly used work in written English is “the.”  The most commonly used work in spoken English is “I.”

    5. 90% of English text consists of just 1,000 words (while the Oxford English Dictionary adds roughly 1,000 words per year.

    6. 18% of job seekers search for jobs from a restroom.  Thanks, mobile devices.
      38% of job seekers search for jobs during their commute (hopefully not while driving!).

    7. Of those who take learning on their mobile devices:
      a.     52% take mLearning in bed after waking up
      b.     46% take mLearning in bed before they go to sleep.

    8. Blue is supposed to be a calming and serene colour, but the blue light generated by LED screens and mobile devices has been proven to negatively impact sleep patterns.  Some optical companies are producing glasses that block that light.

    9. It was the Greek philosopher Plato who discovered that you can mix two different paint colours together to produce a third colour.

    10. The colour purple may boost creativity.  Purple uses both red and blue to provide a balance between stimulation and serenity that is supposed to encourage creativity.

    So grab a paintbrush with us on Wednesday, December 14 and, armed with one or more of these factoids, see what new conversations you can spark in our community!

  • 08/25/2016 11:35 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
  • 07/28/2016 3:03 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)
    We need your expertise and insights. Organizations always ask us for talent development benchmarking data because they want to see how they measure up against their peers as they strive to improve their performance. We provide this through our annual State of the Industry report. I’m emailing to ask that you contribute to our profession by completing this year's State of the Industry survey.

    Your participation will help us more fully represent the state of talent development worldwide and provide more detailed insights on key trends. Additionally, the more responses we receive from your industry group or sector, the more valuable the 2016 State of the Industry report will be for you specifically, so I’d ask you to share this survey with your peers at other organizations in your industry.

    Please complete the survey or forward it to the owner of your organization’s training budget. You can use this PDF of the survey questions to simplify the data collection process.
    As a thank you, you will receive a complimentary download of the 2016 report—a $499 value—when it is released in December. We will also invite you to attend a complimentary webcast where we will debut the findings.

    Thank you for supporting our profession and this essential and definitive research.


    Tony Bingham
    ATD President and CEO

    Take Survey

    The deadline is Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

  • 04/11/2016 10:24 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    In 2015, our chapter completed the significant transition from a local society for training and development to a local association for talent development. Read more about ATD's "Case for Change" here.

    We were wondering: What does that mean to you?

    In no way did this transition mean we were stepping away from supporting the trainers and developers in our community. Rather, we were acknowledging a shift in business from a "traditional" view of training to a more holistic approach.

    In no way does this shift exist without you. So we're asking:

    • What does "talent" mean to you?
    • What does "development" mean to you? 
    • More importantly, how does an "association" for talent development influence and support you and what you do?

    Let us know your thoughts!

  • 03/28/2016 1:56 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    With training effectiveness beset on all sides by time constraints and learning obstacles, what hope does talent development have to make a difference? We asked Dave Meier, Director of the Center for Accelerated Learning, how Accelerated Learning can ensure training is effective, not merely efficient.

    We shared a few of Mr. Meier's thoughts on our social media channels.  On Twitter, a brief dialogue ensued.

    Dave Meier would agree, and believes he has identified a way we can access the creativity needed to train those 1,000 people without being responsible for the creation of 1,000 different programs.  He challenges us to critically analyze the models that we hold dear, and determine if they are serving us (and our learners) as much as we believe they are.

    Questions we asked:

    1. What is Accelerated Learning?
    2. The Accelerated Learning method incorporates what you're calling the SAVI approach to learning, incorporating Somatic, Auditory, Visual, and Intellectual Learning modes. Is this another way of applying Learning Styles to instructional design?
    3. It seems that training managers and clients have "no time" to devote to training anymore, and when they absolutely have to have training, it has to be designed and delivered "tomorrow." Will I have time to design a course using Accelerated Learning?
    4. A recent ATD Research poll indicated that Instructor-Led classroom training was the dominant training delivery method in 2015, making up 50.63% of training offerings delivered. In an environment that seems devoted to asynchronous training interventions, what do you make of those findings?
    5. What will your participants be able to do once they leave the workshop on April 13?

    Click here to listen to the interview.

    We briefly mention next month's Accelerated Learning workshop in the interview. If you'd like to learn more about that, click here.

  • 03/18/2016 12:30 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: "There is nothing permanent except change."

    The internet attributes a similar saying to him: "The only thing that is constant is change."

    Which has, in turn, evolved to: "The only thing that is constant in life is change."

    And, in workplaces around America: "The only thing that is constant here is things are always changing."

    Since we're so used to changes occurring around us, why do organizational change efforts have such a hard time being successful?  ATD Orange County staff writer L'Oreal Battistelli explores this question in the below post.

    WSA (Work Systems Affiliates) President Paul Plotczyk writes that “Most large-scale organizational change initiatives fail” in “Why Change Efforts Fail.” At a minimum, most organizations (that launch large scale initiatives) meet “only a fraction” of their projected goals because:

    1. Organizations naturally resist change

    2. Organizations give up too soon

    Co-author and developer of both the Drucker EMBA and Executive Development Programs that are now offered in China, The Druker Files contributing author Dr. Robert W. Swaim opines contrarily: employees don’t always resist change within an organization (contrary to popular belief) but rather they respond negatively to the way organizations launch them i.e. “Eight Reasons Change Efforts Fail.”

    Please read:

    Part I: Nine Reasons Organizations Need Change

    Part II: Why People Aren't As Afraid of Change As You Might Think

    Swaim says: “There are several common mistakes that companies often make when implementing change...”

    “Change should also be accompanied with continuity.”

    In Part II, Swaim writes that people don’t resist change, exactly, contrarily, they resist “what is perceived loss or what people think they will lose as a result of the change effort…”

    One of the “perceived losses” is one of a perceived “uncertainty about the causes and effects of the change,” (see a few examples provided by Swaim below):

    • People avoid uncertainty (risk); established procedures are well known and predictable.
    • Lack of trust – Distrust of any changes instituted from above.

    Another “perceived loss” is “unwillingness to give up existing benefits,” (see the below additional examples):

    • Unwillingness to give up tasks and relationships - The massive restructuring of the U.S. healthcare industry through the passage of “ObamaCare” is highly resisted as many feel they will lose the relationship they have with their present physician.

    A third “perceived loss” is an “awareness of a weakness in changes being proposed,” i.e.

    • Potential problems overlooked by initiators of the change (“We tried this before and it didn’t work.”)
    • Plan to introduce the change considered to be too complicated, costly, and too time consuming. May also disrupt current operations.

    However, Swaim quotes Drucker as saying that when an organization does decide to launch an initiative, there are things that should remain constant; the “human-behavioral” needs present within the working framework of every organization:

    • The Need for Recognition
    • The Need for Respect
    • The Need for Trust
    • The Need to Feel Productive
    • The Need to Grow

    Swaim also writes about educating employees, and opening lines of communication (as a strategy for success) between the hierarchal levels within the organization to increase the likelihood of a change initiative’s success.

    According to Swaim, communicating what will be changed, and “what will be preserved” will also be key; communicating “how the organizations missions, values and visions” intersect will provide the organizations’ envisioned transformation.

    Plotczyk says that organizations are collectives of people, and their natural response to change is going to be to push back when they

    • “Are not involved in creating it
    • Don't understand the reasons for it
    • Don't understand the change itself
    • Are afraid of the unknown”

    Plotczyk says that resistance to change (even at the most human level) should be anticipated, and expected. He identifies the natural opposition as “inertia,” and he also touches on “homeostasis” as the “biological” push-back component (that organically occurs) when people are challenged with any type of modification to their organization’s status quo.

    Plotczyk says: "the more radical, systemic, permanent or difficult the change, the deeper the resistance.”

    Anticipating opposition and integrating strategies to overcome it when designing even the smallest initiatives can take change effort failures, and make them successes.

    Plotczyk says the second main reason change efforts fail i.e. “Organizations give up too soon” in combination with the first, doom a change effort from its start.

    He says it’s natural to anticipate the ripple of a change in a large organization would take longer to make it way through a Company, than one pushing itself outward to all employees in a small business. It’s the time period during that wave (when resources are dwindling and during which the impact of a change isn’t being seen, and when employees are “front loaded” (i.e. understandably taxed with new, additional and unfamiliar protocols) when organizations give up.

    Plotczyk says it’s during THAT time when “those who resist change are most vocal” (because they aren’t seeing an immediate return on their investment) when it’s tempting to surrender and return to familiar processes and protocols (in spite of their ineffectiveness) that leaders can take a potential change initiative “win” and turn it into a “change initiative loss” for the Company.

    Ploytczyk says that as a change leader, it is “essential” that leaders of a change initiative “resist this temptation.”

    Understanding the “upsurge” timeframe (when launching a change initiation), accepting the integration (application) time period, and waiting out the time it takes to determine the initiative’s ROI (return on investment) ensures an change initiative is implemented with the systematic framework (and time necessary) needed to succeed.

    Persisting in a change initiative with continuity ensures the results of organizations’ change efforts will prevail.

    Managing change efforts is a complicated topic, and ATD Orange County is thrilled to have Peter Block join us in a discussion on "Why Many Change Efforts Fail."

    Topic Summary: 

    Most “efforts for change” are nothing more than sophisticated marketing strategies: They originate in companies’ upper echelons; they are commonly “rolled out” hastily, and focused on analytics. Completion reporting confirms or refutes their value: “High” completion reports substantiate success; “low” completion reports measure failure. This type of “colonial” strategy has long been accepted (and defended) as a business standard of practice in the training industry over time.

    “High impact” change (the kind company leaders seek in today’s initiatives) occurs via engagement; it requires individual “buy in”, and its adoption within companies occurs organically at its own pace.

    Peter Block provides examples of these kinds of “change efforts" that have altered companies completely, and forever impacted leaders and their employees’ perceptions about change.

    This is a "hybrid" learning event: while we will still meet in our regular location, you can also join us online. 

    Register for the in-person meeting here, or register for the webinar!

  • 03/08/2016 10:57 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Over the years the concept of training people from afar has evolved from correspondence school to the televised classroom to webinars and most recently to mobile learning. 

    Its appeal: getting information to a dispersed audience at a fraction of the cost. Its challenges: getting information to a removed audience in a way that will stick.

    How does curriculum design differ between webinar-based training and classroom-based training?

    My answer: it shouldn’t.

    The well-designed virtual classroom engages the learner to apply the information being presented. A poorly-designed virtual classroom attempts to dump the content into the attendees’ brains -- lecture-hall style.

    Wired Academic has an interesting infograph detailing the history of distance learning here.

    A well-designed virtual classroom utilizes most of the facilitating techniques available to a real classroom facilitator. A poorly-designed virtual classroom is frequently one-way delivery, with the most engaged learners staring at a computer screen.
    (I kid, of course. When presented with a computer screen and a lecture, when is anyone content to remain staring at their screen?)

    True, there are a few different facilitation techniques between the physical classroom and the virtual classroom. It's those challenges that make the job exciting -- the focus on vocal quality, the timing of when to use which tool, the gauging of your audience to determine how well they are understanding the content.

    I will often design my web-based training courses as if I’m going to facilitate in the classroom, and then find a way to facilitate the same activity online. If I can’t, then I rethink the activity. But if I can…

    This is what I like to share in my Total Trainer: Creating Training session. My session is titled "Distance Learning," a throwback to the days when "ASTD Orange County" was teaching how to facilitate over what was then a technologically innovative medium.

    We'll touch on how the technologies constantly change, how a field once dominated by sophisticated software tools such as WebEx has been fragmented into a broad spectrum of products ranging from the robust to the cost-effective. We'll explore the features of ATD OC's web meeting provider, GoToMeeting, and compare them to a different web meeting provider to highlight the fact that while the even the virtual classroom venue might differ, the ADDIE model remains the same.

    *This post title references (perhaps poorly) a stanza from Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same".  

    About Paul Venderley What is Total Trainer University

    An Orange County e-learning designer whose portfolio includes webinar, leader-led, and blended learning programs. 2015 Recipient of the LearnX Gold Award for Rapid Authoring.

    From designing and facilitating instructor-led training both in the classroom and over the web, to creating self-paced training that blends learner-led activities with eLearning modules, Paul focuses on interactivity, engagement, and overcoming learner performance gaps.

    Paul joined ASTD-Orange County well over a decade ago because someone was networking, and had cued him into a vibrant organization devoted to the professional development of trainers just like him.

    He has viewed ATD Orange County as the keystone for his professional development, and has advocated using both Chapter and ATD National resources as a source of information for those seeking to further themselves in this vibrant career.

    Paul seeks to expand the viability of our professional network to create opportunities for our members to practice what they learn -- to do something that adds to their resume through experience and measurable accomplishment.

    Total Trainer University is the county's leading Train-the-Trainer program. It consists of two courses:

    Creating Training

    Taught by some of the highest caliber training professionals from the ATD‐Orange County chapter, this program takes participants from the initial needs analysis through the development of training materials, the presentation of training and conducting the final evaluations.

    Delivering Training

    This program teaches you to design and deliver impactful presentations for business meetings, conferences and special events, or classroom assignments. 

    The learning environment is highly interactive and participants receive individual feedback for improved performance. 

                                            Learn more.

  • 02/29/2016 3:49 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We enjoyed an interactive session with Tim Field, PhD in neuropsychology, exploring the successful ways neuroscience can be applied to challenges you face as a talent development professional.

    We quickly moved beyond debunking the basic neuroscientific myths of learning, and discussed a few quirks of how our brain works.

    At the start of the presentation, Dr. Field challenged each attendee to leave the seminar with one thing they could apply in their daily work.  In this track, our guests answer Dr. Field's challenge.

    Special thanks to Regan Poston, Chris Steely, Michelle Abraham, and L'Oreal Battistelli for being willing to share their thoughts, and the 60+ attendees who contributed to the background chatter.

  • 02/19/2016 10:54 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

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    Stop us if you've heard this one: each of us has a "learning style," (a “preference”) -- i.e., a preferred way of assimilating information.  Some of us are auditory learners -- we learn by listening .  Some of us are visual learners, which is why images play such a vital role when we sit down to learn something new or when we design content for our learners. Some are kinesthetic learners -- we “learn by doing." That is: we learn by touching, moving, and interacting with content in order to integrate new information with prior knowledge (to develop new knowledge) as participants in the learning process.  

    How about this one?  People generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see...  This is often referred to as “Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience.”

    Unfortunately, both concepts have been widely disputed as myths for lack of scientific evidence to back them up.  

    According to Paul Howard-Jones in a 2014 paper titled: “Neuroscience and Education: Myths and Messages,” this isn’t necessarily due to willful manipulation of data.  More likely, the creation of these ‘neuromyths’ stems from differences in terminology and language, or perhaps other cultural conditions.  

    Will Thalheiemer, Ph.D., calls the Edgar Dale Cone of Experience "neuromyth" a co-mingling of two separate memes:

    1. Edgar Dale's original “Cone of Experience” which did not come with any numbers, and

    2. A different neuromyth of learning retention rates

    So what are the facts about how people learn, and how much do they forget?

    Dr. Thalheiemer says: “forgetting depends."

    For example, it could depend upon the methods a learner uses to absorb information.  Pam Mueller, Ph. D., and Daniel Oppenheimer, Ph.D., published a paper titled: "The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard" in which they identified a correlation between taking notes longhand (and the information that was retained)  vs. taking notes using a keyboard. They concluded that the act of writing notes engages the brain in processing the information as you go.  And, because we tend to write slower than someone (such as a trainer or professor) speaks, we're also forced to decide as we go what's worth writing down.

    Which brings to mind the neurological studies about how the brain filters all the stimuli that surround us.  

    "As an information-processing organism, we are hardwired with an automatic ability to filter out perceptual irrelevancies," Harold D. Stolovich said in the beginning  of his 2002 book: “Telling Ain't Training.” "From a training perspective, that is very important. ... if the learner unconsciously does not feel that the information is vital to his or her needs, the autonomic system may raise the threshold of sensory input and filter out what is being transmitted. As a result, there is no perception ... no learning."

    You probably saw this occur in one of your training sessions when one or two of your attendees locked eyes with you while you were speaking, and decided in that moment your message wasn’t relevant and “checked out” of the training, perhaps checking his/her phone for emails and/or searching the web.

    In other words, people stop learning when they decide new information isn’t important/relevant to them.
    (Did we just explain teenagers?)

    All this neuroscience discussion is to suggest that as talent development professionals, we owe it to our learners to cut through the clutter of neuromyths and educate ourselves about how the brain works.  If it's important to us that talent development remain an integral function in the corporate world, the next step forward in our industry is not one that clings to simplistic models, but instead takes a step forward and embraces a scientific approach that continues to question how we learn and apply those answers into continuously evolving training interventions.


    You can continue this discussion on neuromyths in this month’s Learning Event:  The Myths and Magic of Neuroscience in Business, where presenter Tim Field, Ph.D. Neuropsychology, will explore the successful ways neuroscience can be applied to the challenges we face as talent development professionals.

    Wednesday, February 24 -- 6:00 pm - 8:15 pm

  • 02/15/2016 3:21 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    by Geri Lopker Share this on LinkedIn

    My name is Geri Lopker. I, like many of you, came into the world of workplace learning and performance through “the back door.” That is, I was a professional (an Occupational Therapist) who discovered that my staff had a need for learning and development. I decided to fill that need. What I discovered was that I really did not know anything about adult learning, about creating learner-centered training and materials, about sequencing learning activities that balanced the cognitive load…I could go on and on about what I did NOT know! Therefore, I set out to learn and stop putting my audience to sleep! I fell in love with the learning and development profession, and 30 years later, I am a trainer of trainers and instructional designers.

    So how did I become an expert in the fields of human performance, instructional design, and training facilitation (among many things)? I earned my Master of Human Resources and Organization Development. Then, I joined ATD (ASTD at the time), immediately signed up for the Total Trainer Program back in 1995, and got to work applying what I had learned. What a difference twenty plus years has made in the quality of my materials!

    I have always been a visual-kinesthetic learner, and I had seen my share training materials. Some materials were just pitiful, others where very well done. Those that were well done, I found, contributed to the actual learning. Those that were “pitiful” actually detracted from the learning. These included handouts, PowerPoint presentations, flip charts, job aids, and electronic performance support materials.

    What was missing or not well done? I saw learning materials that had one or more of these issues:

    • Typos
    • Lack of a table of contents
    • Lack of learning objectives
    • Overuse of fonts (too many fonts, underlining, italics, bold, etc.)
    • Lack of or poor choices of graphics
    • Poor color choices
    • Lack of module dividers
    • Too much information stuffed into a handout or participant guide or PowerPoint
    • Too little white space or place for participants to take notes

    My topic is Development: Developing Learning Materials (see you May 10th). I am passionate about this topic because I am convinced that learning materials do contribute to a quality learning event. Learning materials are needed for face-to-face learning, web-based synchronous and asynchronous learning, and self-paced learning modules.

    Materials development comes after the completion of Analysis and Design (in the ADDIE model). Development of learning materials is NOT the first thing a curriculum designer should do when asked to design a training program. Raise your hand IF you have ever been asked to create a training program and you sat down at your computer, opened PowerPoint, and began your design/development. Come on, my hand is up. Never again! We owe it to our learners to complete the Analysis and Design, get sign-off from the business unit manager or client, and only then can we create quality materials.

    Development of learning materials includes creating a paper or virtual participant guide, a leader guide, job aids, learning activity support items, PowerPoint presentations (or other presentation software), and evaluation materials. Join me as I demonstrate how to develop high-quality materials! I will also show you how you can maximize presentation software in the development of your materials.

    Who is Geri Lopker, MHROD, CPLP, CPT? What is Total Trainer University

    Geri Lopker is a highly qualified performance consultant in the fields of organizational improvement, leadership, and human resource development. Geri and her associates help organizations be more productive and profitable by focusing on improving human performance in the workplace.

    Geri is president and principal consultant of Geri Lopker & Associates LLC, founded in 1995. Her client list includes international corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and Fortune 100 companies. Geri has over thirty years of experience working in the areas of systems, finance, change management, leadership, teambuilding, communication, strategic planning, and customer relations. When training is the right solution, Geri designs and customizes interactive instructor-led and virtual training that helps transfer the learning back to the job. Geri has been a performance consultant both as an internal Area Director of Operations for a large healthcare organization and as an external consultant and is known world-wide. We focus on your business results, achieved through exceptional development of your human assets. We deliver human performance improvement, worldwide.

    Total Trainer University is the county's leading Train-the-Trainer program. It consists of two courses:

    Creating Training

    Taught by some of the highest caliber training professionals from the ATD‐Orange County chapter, this program takes participants from the initial needs analysis through the development of training materials, the presentation of training and conducting the final evaluations.

    Delivering Training

    This program teaches you to design and deliver impactful presentations for business meetings, conferences and special events, or classroom assignments. 

    The learning environment is highly interactive and participants receive individual feedback for improved performance. 

                                            Learn more.

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