BLOG - Ideas and Insights

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

    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

    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

    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.)

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

    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

    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

    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

    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!

  • 06/23/2017 11:28 AM | Paul Venderley

    In the Training and Technology SIG's June session, we determined that all things being equal, authorware selection can be based on personal preference. Something you can accomplish in Captivate you can most likely accomplish in Storyline, and vice versa. But it's very seldom that all things are equal, so we consider the following:

    • Sophistication of project.
      The project may be a linear "page turner" derived straight from a PowerPoint deck, or be more interactive than a children's science museum.  Is this a Tier 1 project?  Tier 3(the one slide from our session that lists these tiers can be found here)?  You can complete a Tier 1 project in a Tier 3 program, but that will take more time and effort than you typically will be allowed.

    • Client preference.
      In our project's case, our client has a history of using Adobe Captivate. And while the product we produce will not necessarily be downward compatible with their version, OneOC will have options for maintaining the content based upon that existing relationship. 
      Other clients may have previously purchased Articulate-generated content, and become frustrated that your Adobe-generated content doesn't have the same features. That small detail may trigger learner frustration in the long run.

    • How the course is to be delivered.
      Multi-language? Consider Storyline. Mobile? Captivate has been leading the way in responsive learning projects. HTML5?  While both programs boast features that only function in .swf, Adobe historically has fewer HTML5 bugs, and an HTML5 tracker to point out where issues may hamper your course.

    • The graphical components of the course.
      Will we benefit from the hard work of other artists using the stock footage and other curated graphical assets? Storyline's fine. Are we going to rely on user-generated content (including our own) that will require editing?  Adobe works well with the powerful graphical editing tools their folks create on the side.

    • Our own personal preferences.
      Articulate provides a robust template that has been accepted by clients world-wide and can be tweaked to meet branding needs. We can open a project, design, and publish with ease. Captivate's published skin invariably requires scrutiny for even the most basic of projects, but allows the designer to fiddle with the minutiae, allowing unique end results that are specific to both client and project needs.

    What do you think? 

    Did you just select one eLearning authorware and stick with that?  Or are you like others in the Training and Technology SIG, with multiple authorware software licenses?  

    What criteria did you use to make your authorware selections?

  • 04/28/2017 11:36 AM | Paul Venderley

    Designed by Freepika - www.freepik.comfree-photoconcentrated-businessman-looking-at-a-light-bulb-with-diagrams_978471.htmA few months ago, we launched a survey to determine how our community utilizes LinkedIn. 60% of our respondents most use LinkedIn to nurture their network. A distant second (20%) use LinkedIn to represent their expertise.

    Mind you, we had five respondents, which does not make a valid statistical sample. In fact, one could argue that the results better indicate that, while a majority of our members are on LinkedIn, it is not widely used as a resource, at least until we are in transition.

    Which prompts a follow-up question: in this age of personal branding, what steps do those in the talent development field take to represent themselves online professionally?

    From there we wonder: what online tool DO you use as a resource for your professional development?

    We've watched David Pogue activate Twitter to crowdsource an answer for a question. Social media communities such as Yahoo! Answers and Quora have been created specifically to solicit answers to the burning questions in our lives.

    There's a whole universe out there of people both asking questions and developing social credibility by answering them. Where do you venture?

    Let us know in the comments.

  • 04/06/2017 6:45 AM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)


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