Friday, January 31, 2014

Increase eLearning Retention with Storytelling

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

One technique that helps to make our eLearning content digestible is to break it up into bullet point lists of talking points. A bullet point list is easy to scan, and the content is easier to remember. No one wants to read large paragraphs of text during an eLearning course, right? Of course not. In fact, I have used bullet points in my eLearning courses for years because it works.

Or does it?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

HumanCapitalist Blog: The No. 1 Mistake Employers Make When Training New Hires

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

I just finished reading a book called “Predictable Revenue,” which is about setting up an effective sales process in a 2.0 world. In the book, the authors devote a lot of discussion to the importance of training new sales reps, which is refreshing. Here’s the staggering part: it takes a really long time for sales people to learn a new job.

How long? One to three months for inside sales reps and six to 18 months for field or enterprise-account executives. Assuming these estimates are close, why do we work so hard to design on-boarding programs to be a short as possible, especially when employee turnover is on the rise. Shouldn’t new employee on-boarding — for sales reps or anyone else — be more aligned with how long it actually takes people to get up to speed? Shouldn’t we put new people through a 12-month on-boarding program instead of a two-week training class?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

7 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making with eLearning

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

We have all made mistakes in our lives, and eLearning is no different. I have certainly made mistakes in my eLearning designs. Sometimes because I didn’t know any better, and sometimes I knew better but did it anyway out of expediency. Sometimes I had a deadline. What can I say? It had to be done. Remember, the point of our eLearning designs is not to create something perfect, but to create content and experiences that help people learn something new.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gmail Was Down? Huh?

Today’s gmail outage reminded me that I don’t need email as much as I think I do.

At ServiceRocket, we use Google Enterprise (Who doesn't?), so we didn’t not have email for a bit. But that ended up being fine. 

Here s why:
  • When I needed to send someone a document to review, I sent that person a message in Hipchat with a link to the file in Box. 
  • To send a message to my team, I wrote a blog post on our Confluence Space 
  • If I needed a status on a task, I checked the issue in JIRA 
Sure, there was the email I really wanted to send a customer…in that moment. And it was frustrating not to be able to send it precisely when I said I would, but I did get the message out…albeit later than I wanted. 


At first what seemed like a catastrophic first world problem to be without email for 42 minutes, ended up being a delightful reminder that there are other ways to communicate with people. 

Did I mention, I also had 2 “in-person” conversations on the office during the outage? Crazy, I know.

Free Resource for eLearning Designers

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Over the last few years, we have seen software companies successfully adopt a freemium model that allows people to try software for free before they buy. Sometimes the free portion is in the form of a 30-day trial. In another form, you can use a limited version of a software service for free, indefinitely. This has changed the way people purchase software, and it has changed the way people get things done by allowing people to use software for free that they otherwise would not use at all.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monktoberfest 2013: Open Source Foundations in an Era of Kingmakers

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

When a conference speaker shows a quote at the beginning of a talk, says the quote “really pissed him off,” and then said that is what his talk is going to be about, I sit-up and listen. The problem is that I did not attend Monktoberfest 2013 live, so I had to sit-up straight at my desk in the office while watching the video.

With the heart of an optimist and the head of a bitter cynic, Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, gave an irreverent talk at Monktoberfest 2013 on the topic of Open Source Foundations in the Age of Kingmakers. Though I must admit his irreverence was aimed mostly at the “coffee-swilling, San Francisco hipsters” jumping in on the $14 trillion internet of things bandwagon boondoggle, but that is perhaps a topic for another blog post.

[Read the Full Post]

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three Reasons eLearning Platform is Best Choice

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

If you are reading this, you are likely considering how to create a deliver training and/or eLearning to a growing audience. You have either decided that classroom training will only take you so far or that you are going to start with eLearning as a means of training people in your organization. You are also likely discovering that there are many things to consider and many ways to create and delivery eLearning.

During your research, you inevitably ask yourself why not use your exiting webinar platform to deliver eLearning. After all, you have already used it for conference calls, company presentations, and maybe even some formal training programs. “We already pay for this webinar platform, so why don’t we just record the training programs we already conduct?”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Humancapitalist Blog: Build a Culture of Continuous Learning with Storytelling

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

If you find yourself at a cocktail party with Sarah Novotny ask her what she does for a living. Her answer will surprise you. She won’t answer with the name of the company where she works (NGINX), nor with her vocation (community leader). Not at first. Those are roles, they are not what she does.

When you ask Novotny, “So, what do you do?” She will respond, “I learn.”

I recently watched a recording of Novotny’s talk at the Stretch Conference and, when I heard this, I took notice. After all, my “vocation” is learning and development, so her talk about building a culture of continuous learning was right up my alley. According to Novotny, a culture of continuous learning requires collaboration and curiosity. If you have people on your team who are collaborative and curious, continuous learning comes naturally and performance will be high — the best way to select people who are collaborative and curious is through storytelling.

[Read Full Post]



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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Monktoberfest 2013: Little Tech, Big Impact: Putting Tech to Work for Your Community

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

When it comes to getting involved in one’s community, there are many choices. In fact, there are so many choices that it can cause some people to ask, “Where would I even start?” Of course, one can start by following a passion. On the other hand, some people stumble into community involvement by accident or with the help of an involved spouse, as was the case for Michael Ducy.

His wife asked him to get involved in a school board boundary realignment project and use some of that technology stuff that he does every day. A tMonktoberfest 2013, Ducy tells the story of how he used a little technology to make a big impact in his community.

[Read the Full Post]

The Art of Writing Audio Scripts for eLearning

This is a very practical piece about script writing for eLearning…especially the part about writing for how people speak. I can’t tell you how many times, I have written audio scripts (even for myself) that were not written for how I speak.

I take my script into a room to start recording, and I start bumbling around phrases and spend a lot more time re-writing phrases to sound more conversational or to simply avoid tongue-tying phrases. It is surprising how difficult it is to write for how people speak. Sometimes you don’t know a phrase is bad until you say it out loud.


A poorly written script slows down the person doing the recording. They are forced to edit on the fly, and they do not always know what you want to say. Especially if you are working with an outside voice-over professional…they will stop, ask you, and wait for your response, slowing down the project.

If you write scripts for other people to read and record, the best way to avoid this is to read your scripts out loud, as if you are recording it. Do that and you will find yourself catching all sorts of mistakes.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Design Employee On-boarding More Naturally for How Long it Takes People to Learn

One of the most popular posts on my blog in December was a summary of results of a poll I conducted in April 2013 in which I asked people how long it takes to learn a new job. 

67% of respondents said it takes between 3 and 12 months to learn a new job. 34% (the most in the poll) said it takes 6 to 12 months. In other words, it takes a while.




This has become more interesting to me lately because I am in month 7 of my new job….and I admit, I have begun to feel competent and confident on my new role over the past month or two. When I say competent and confident, what I really mean is that the mental distraction of learning my new job is less of a cognitive drag on my work. I now spend far less time consciously thinking about all the things I need to learn. I am spending more mental energy doing the job than I am learning it. 

Certainly, the learning will never end, but it has become much less of a distraction. 

Employee On-boarding should be much more about this longer period of time than it is about an arbitrary, fixed two (four, six, whatever) week period at the beginning of a job. 

What if employee on-boarding were designed on a timeline more aligned with how long it naturally takes to learn a new job? Would that be more effective?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Let's Review: Most Popular Blog Posts in December 2013

All but one of the most popular LX Designer Blog posts in December was a current post. The one from the past that gained interest was about poll results on how long it takes to learn a new job. Hint: It takes a bit longer than most people would plan for.

Well, here are the most popular LX Designer Blog posts in December...in order of popularity.

Seriously. This post is as practical a how-to guide to writing a blog post as you are every going to find. There is nothing vague here. I give you a step-by-step process that is repeatable and takes the mystery out of writing blog posts. Now, just wait until I implement Kanban boards to manage my blog posts like Atlassian does. Whoa Nelly!

In this post, I argue against the need to spend any significant effort trying to capture the tacit knowledge of the so-called baby boomer exodus from the workplace. Why are you trying to capture yesterday's knowledge? 

I seriously think CEOs can completely change the way they engage employees are lead their companies towards a clearer vision of the future. Using MOOCs. Enough with the Quarterly Email Update from the CEO.

Hint: Longer than you planned for when you took at new job. I ran this poll in April 2013. The results are interesting. 

A recap of what I learned at Dreamforce 2013. A great learning experience.