in Learning and Development

I’m working on my 2018 goals, doing a little planning, and taking a moment to reflect on 2017. As it turns out, it was quite an eventful year.

I fell in love with a wonderful lady who is now my wife, I took a long-anticipated trip with a great group of friends to Colorado during the winter (why have I never done this before?), I achieved a major certification milestone in my professional career, and earned a promotion into a role I’ve been designing and dreaming of for several years. It has been a whirlwind of moments in all areas of my life.

As excited as I am about all the work that I put into making 2017 amazing – I certainly cannot take all the credit. My faith, added to the support of my friends and family, enabled me to overcome barriers and overpower obstacles that I could hardly visualize in my mind — let alone make actionable steps on. God is good.

In 2018, I’m hoping to share a series of insights about my journey to becoming a learning and development guru in the places where I live and work. I also will be sharing about opportunities that I will have to build up teams and develop leaders – in the hope that I can help those who follow behind me, those new in their careers, who are on their way to becoming learning and development rock stars in their own areas.

This past September, as I transitioned into my full-time training role from my previous design and IT roles, I also re-started my book-reading habit. I found a fantastic book to support my mental transition in the book “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen. The first few chapters are questions to get you thinking about what it is you are doing, followed by several hard-hitting but encouraging chapters detailing the many facets of designing for learning, with what I found to be a teaser into designing evaluations. I call it a teaser not because of the writing itself, but because of the inspiration it gave me to learn more. This tease brought me to “Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation” by James and Wendy Kirkpatrick.

It’s important for me to understand, and I feel compelled to share, that you do not need to (and in fact, shouldn’t) take every little tidbit of writing or training on ‘how to be a trainer’ or ‘how to manage a training organization’ as if it were the only truth. Further, you shouldn’t feel compelled to apply everything you see or read to your organization. Rather, you should take it all in and see what aligns with your situation and your business’ needs. Sure, micro-learning and video may be where the industry is trending, but does it fit your training needs? Centralizing your training department may give you a feeling of power and control over the output, but does it allow your business the flexibility needed to quickly adapt to changes in many different product lines?

For my employer, we’re just getting started in a learning revolution – a cultural shift in how training is developed and delivered – and it’s going to be an exciting time, but also a time of hard work. We’ve partnered with outstanding vendors and implemented quality products to help us in this effort, but ultimately, this is a human-powered effort and requires human-centered thinking. So, let us design for how people learn together, and make the learning space a wonderful experience for all our customers – inside and outside the company.