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The Daily Mindflash

The Mindflash Knowledge Sharing and Online Training Blog

Bill Cushard

Recent Posts

New Year's Resolution: Read 'Design for How People Learn'

I like to read and would generally call myself an avid reader. However there are times when I am busy with other priorities like work, family, or just plain not wanting to read. When I do resume reading, I discover books I wish I had read sooner because I realize what I had been missing. Design for How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen is one of those books. 

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Informal Learning Does Not Have to Be Formal

One of the biggest problems with social learning is that it is an informal type of learning and organizations can’t help but to try to formalize it in any way possible. It is understandable because a free-for-all in any function is hardly an effective way to run a business. While a free-for-all learning strategy might not be the most effective way to run a training department, Stephanie Ivec argues for keeping informal learning, informal, "Trying to turn informal learning into formal learning diminishes [its] unique benefits" writes Ivec.

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Software Training Focused on the Work, Not the Tool

Much of my training career has been about designing and delivering training on new software implementations. These software implementations included financial software, CRMs, and many internally developed tools designed to help people do their jobs in organizations. Most of what I did was teach people how to use the tool. You know, click here, enter data there, save that before you move on to the next task. Particularly in new software implementations, I mostly taught the mechanics of using the tool and not so much about how to do the job. 

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How to Make Your Training More Entertaining

Over the past two weeks, I have been experimenting with ways to create more entertaining eLearning tutorials. The belief is that entertaining training will hold people’s attention better and people will learn more. In fact, research tells us that this is true.

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What Learning Designers Can Learn from Marissa Mayer About Design

I attended the Dreamforce conference recently in San Francisco and was blown away by the size and scope of the conference. Over 135,000 people registered for the the conference, and sessions were held over four days at the massive Moscone Center and in several hotels throughout the area. 

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Three Things You Can Do to Increase Social Learning Participation

The problem with anything social (social media, enterprise social, social learning) is the 90-9-1 rule which states that 90% of people will not participate. These “lurkers” are content to read what the other 10% are producing and/or commenting on. This might not be a problem in social media as a whole, but it is a problem in corporate learning when we want 100% participation. 

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Social Learning: How to Build Conversations into Your eLearning Courses

One of the major problems with eLearning is that people cannot interact with each other. No matter how interactive you make an eLearning course, it is still a matter of a screen delivering content and a person consuming (reading, watching, listening, clicking, etc) that content. In general, eLearning does not afford the benefit of the follow-up question or leaning over to the person next to you and asking, “What did the instructor mean when she said….?” That is the bad news about most eLearning

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Is your eLearning programs On-the-Job Training Friendly?

Whether or not we can prove it, most of us “know" that we learn most of what we need to know about our jobs through some form of informal learning. Most of us will cite experience or on-the-job (OJT) training as the most popular form of learning we use to learn our jobs. However we define it, OJT plays a major role for how people learn their jobs. Elliott Masie raises this issue in a Chief Learning Officer Magazine post, discussing the vital importance of OJT training, how learning professionals under report its importance, and what the future of OJT might look like.

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Like Short Book Chapters, Short eLearning Courses are Better

In 2003, I worked on a project to break up long eLearning courses into shorter versions. In an early meeting to discuss how we would tackle the problem, the idea came up to “chunk” up the courses, so we called the project, “Chunky Monkey.” The catalyst was that we were getting direct feedback that the courses were too long, and in a call center, taking people off the phones is not something to do unless there is a darn good reason. We thought that by breaking up our eLearning courses into short modules, they could be completed during idle times between customer calls.

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Stop Conducting Training Surveys

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about five ways to make your training survey questions more effective. This week, I'd like to discuss whether we should do survey questions at all? Seriously. Part of me thinks we should not conduct training surveys at all. 

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