Your 2013 Bucket List

As Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas songs begin to play on the radio, I begin to reflect on my accomplishments this year. Even though I am proud of what I have achieved and grateful for my experiences, there are a few things that I absolutely wish to scratch off my list of to do’s before the ball drops and we welcome 2014.

Bucket List

Traditionally the “bucket list” is a term used where individuals create a check list of wonderful things to experience before they kick the bucket on God’s green earth! I chose to use the same term but in a different way. Each year begins with refreshed minds and eager spirits excited to embark on a new goal, but what if you could have a jump start on those goals! Here are three easy ways to get you started!


1. End Game vs. Low Hanging Fruit

There are two ways to go about getting started! First, you can go after what I call ” low hanging fruit”, which are small tasks that have been luring around for you to complete for sometime. These tasks were either placed on the back burner due to competing priorities or didn’t make the cut because you just didn’t have the time. The second approach is to get your Olivia Pope hat on ( only those who watch Scandal will get the reference) and ask yourself what is your end game. With this approach, you are going to really think about what you want to accomplish overall and then start mapping out what it will take for you to get there. Once you have compiled the list of tasks , you will begin circling the smaller items that you know you can accomplish in the amount of time we have for the remainder of this year.


2.Time is of the Essence

You made your list, now get your butt into motion and start blazing the trail right into 2014. If you are starting off step one with the low hanging fruit approach these items have remained unchecked tasks on your list for far too long. Stop creating a barrier for yourself and spend a few moments imagining how relieved and accomplished you will feel once you have completed the list. With only 4 weeks til the ball drops, who has time to delay? Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.


3.Happy New Year

Anyone who knows me or who has heard me speak publicly knows, that I am someone who believes in celebrating small wins. Living in a world where instant gratification is king, we yearn to know that our efforts are not in vain. The best way to avoid the feeling of “I’m never going to accomplish my dreams” , is to take baby steps and celebrate each step of the way! As you move through your 2013 bucket list, keep in mind that on December 31st when the clock strikes 12 you will raise your glass and revel in the fact that you have just jump started your life into greatness in preparation for the year 2014…. Watch out… Awesome things are headed your way! Get Ready!


Making The Case for Employee Devevlopment

Making The Case For Employee Development

Employee development is an important piece to building a workforce that is knowledgable, motivated to grow, productive, and effective. When employees know that their employers take a vested interest in their development and success, employees are committed to adding value to their organization.

If I were to make the case for my own personal growth and development, it would be in the following areas:

Formal Education:

Most organizations invests in a tuition reimbursement or assistance plan, but asess your workforce and identify the skills and competencies that make your employees great at what they do! Bringing those programs on site or creating home-grown programs will give your employees the opportunity to develop in their current positions.

Enlargen Current Job:

” Job enlargement refers to adding challenges or new responsibilities  to  an employee’s current job.” ( Noe p. 366).

Adding challenges allow employees to break out of the mundane of the same responsibilities and spark interest in what they do on a daily basis.  If you’re thinking that you are not quite sure how to liven up their routine, I have the easiest remedy. Just ask them. You will be surprised at the creative suggestions you hear.

Job Rotation:

Being able to sit in different positions throughout the organization broadens an employee’s perception of the organization.  In my case, I would love to rotate with other members of the learning and development throughout the organization. I believe it would allow us to view great opportunities to bridge gaps and implement programs that could better benefit the entire organization not just the silos we currently support.


Coaching is essential to the development process. Learning through feedback is an important component of experiential feedback. I would love an opportunity to receive coaching but I also think it is imperative for those who take on coaching roles have the right training/ certification to ensure they are coaching effectively.

Seeing which programs I would personally like to participate in, I’m sure you are also starting to think of employee development programs you, yourself would like as well as programs your organization should implement for its employees.

Once you do some research as to which programs would work best for your organization you may be ready to present a case to your stakeholders. In the link below, I provided a mock presentation you can use as a template to help you make the case for your organization’s employee development.

Making The Case for Employee Development


Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

The Truth About Training

If you were given the opportunity to provide a 90 second elevator speech to convert a non-believer into a loyal advocate for your training and development department, what would you say? How would you be able to convince this person in such a short time?

If you are a training professional who has been in the field , you may have already experienced this scenario. When ever organizations go through cost saving initiatives, training seems to be dispensable and training leaders find themselves in a position where they have to prove the value of training to the organization.  Start thinking about how your departments add value to the organization and become the training champion in your organization.

The Background

Let’s set the stage. We have a manager of training and development standing in an elevator with a VP of Operations who has a business unit that could really use the help of training and development. But the VP of Ops thinks that the training department is only really good for conducting orientation and customer service training.  The manager of training and development decides to take this short amount of time to educate the VP of Ops on the “Truth About Training”.

The Speech

Hi Bill,

I thought I saw in a recent email that you were working on two really big initiatives within your division. If there is anyway you may want to leverage my training and development department, please feel free to let me know. In case you aren’t quite sure how my department may be able to assist I would love to share a few key points. First, “strategic training and development initiatives are learning related actions that a company should take to help it achieve its business strategy” ( Noe, 2010, p.62). We would be able to coordinate/ design/create learning events with objectives that are in alignment with your business goals. I’m sure just as with any new initiative there are aspirational goals you have created. It takes people, your people, to get you there. Ask your self does everyone on your team have the skills, knowledge, and competencies to get there? Does everyone understand their role and the expectations with the changes that have occurred. If you can answer no to any of these questions, let’s grab lunch, my treat and we can discuss further how to leverage my department to support your division and get you the results you are looking for with this new initiative.

 Audio Version

elevator speech blog

My New Journey in Social Media Learning!

As of yesterday I decided it would be important for me to start learning more about social media learning. I’m almost embarrassed of how behind the times I have been with the use of technology integrated into organizational learning and development. Sure, I have used Captivate for years as well as other tools in distance education such as Articulate, Presenter, and WebEx but what I haven’t had is the opportunity to explore social media and how it can be used for learning. I decided to learn more and to use some tools mentioned in a recent webinar I attended hosted by Jane Hart. Some of the tools that have caught my attention were Twitter and Yammer. Twitter caught my attention because I thought its only use was to find out the trivial activities of your favorite celebrity. But as of yesterday, I have found that I am gladly mistaken. Twitter has proven to be a knowledge sharing platform where colleagues have the ability to share wonderful trends and topics on any given topic in the area that interests you the most. In one day of casual tweeting, I have shared my blog with my followers ( all of 2!) and read awesome articles on management and instructional design. Primarily, the format of Twitter can be overwhelming. But if you take a moment to digest the environment, it will almost remind you of a hybrid version of an online discussion board for those of you who may attend school online. Instead of the 2 paragraphs of discussion and a quote or reference to support your findings, you just provide a few words for the topic and a link to the resource! How superb in our fast pace society! What I have found in this wonderful platform for learning is that I am looking up resources and websites on topics that I am the most passionate so that I can share with my fellow followers which is forcing me to consume information at a rate that I haven’t done before.

My Valuable Find!

The most valuable find during my Twitter journey was an article by the elearning guru who wanted to share that there is an ID app for iPhones where a list of definitions regarding adult learning, media technology,and all things surrounding instructional design is now available. How awesome is that to have your own ID handbook at your fingertips!

Next, I’m on to learning about Yammer. It seems just like facebook but a place to learn within a community of peers. We shall see!

What Do I Hope to Achieve?
In a previous position I worked for a great man by the name of John Marohl. He taught me early in my career in training and development that the world of ID is consistently changing and that I must always stay abreast of the latest trends. If I hope to positively impact the organization where I currently work with the latest and greatest in learning trends, I need to embrace and understand these trends to see what will work best. It is my hope to learn so that I can teach! Corny maybe, necessary… ABSOLUTELY!

Social Media and Learning

I have decided to stop using this idea of learning through social media as a buzz phrase ! A term to use to sound as if I am in the know among my fellow instructional designer peers. That’s right, today I am committed to putting this concept into practice.

Can we really learn from social media? Of course, we do it everyday ( My daughter wanted to learn how to make sneakers and I gladly showed her a video on You Tube). Why do we use it? It’s fast and in the world of smart phones and ipads all the information we need is right at our fingertips.
So great , I’m sitting on my couch watching Wall Street Money Never Sleeps and I wanted to verify that the real estate agent used in the movie was the same one used in the 1987 version. I simply grab my Blackberry and see from a fellow blogger that they did use the same actress to play the part!( At this very moment half of you are using Google and Google images to see if this is in fact true!)

The deeper question is how do I move this ability to access immediate information with the use of the world of workplace training and development? How can I encourage an organization to do the same thing? Well that is the challenge many of us face. With firewalls, IT security, and Big Brother looming how can we be sure that employees are using time to utilize social media to learn rather than update their status on facebook?

Jane Hart with C4LPT recently held a webinar on learning and social media and she plainly stated that our employees will go around us! That’s right! Stagnant IT departments , it doesn’t matter what sites are blocked on websense because Joe Blow in the accounting department has a Droid smartphone that can give him access to any website! Stick in the Mud Training and Development Departments, still stuck on those face to face classes and boring PowerPoint? Scared to integrate technology into your learning plans, it doesn’t matter! Half of your employees go to school online and will gladly download a podcast to give her the information your still trying to research to create an 8 hour class!

We have to embrace change and begin to think of ways to integrate technology into our workplace training and development. So I am going to embark on my own journey and encourage everyone to do the same!


Welcome to my Prestige Training Blog! This blog is designated to discussing topics regarding instructional design and technology. As you read and collaborate with your own ideas, I will research fellow instructional designers’ blogs and professional newsletters to explore trends in this field.  I hope you enjoy and please feel free to add your comments and thoughts.

To kick this blog off, our first visit is to a website that is completely geared towards instructional design and development as a service provided by DePaul University’s IDD department.  The website offers numerous blogs provided by a variety of professionals in the field of instructional design. As I skimmed through the site, immediately one blog stood out to me and peaked my interest. This particular piece is titled  I Don’t Need a Learning Management System—I Teach Face-to-Face.  Even though this piece talked about the lack of professors and instructors understanding the importance of integrating technology such as a Learning Management System in formal education, I recognize that some organizations’ training and development departments share the same misconception.  There are some training and development departments within organizations that understand the importance of integrating technology and provide a balance in blended delivery in the company’s course catalog. Others miss the boat and in most cases, it is due to the belief that if your organization only offers instructor- led training, then a LMS is not necessary.  In this blog, Emily Stone provides a survey conducted in 2009 by Michigan State University’s Virtual University Design and Technology group.  It was interesting to see how students’ expectation of a great instructor led class has transformed as technological tools have progressed and become integrated more with learning.  So for all of those who train in the classroom and doom all things technological, I have bad news for you. Your students are expecting you to add something technically savvy to your course.  So listen, I get it , I enjoy face to face interaction with my participants, but I also can appreciate when technology can streamline a process for me. So my word of advice from one passionate instructional designer to another is to stop being stubborn even though I know it’s hard to let go of certain habits, but trust me a LMS is something that can make life easier!

So now that I’m off my soap box regarding Learning Management Systems, let me now mosey on over to the second website I stumbled upon.  Allison Mooreland has this wonderful website she tagged Learning in Bits.  The blog that caught my eye was her piece on competency models used in organization’s to effectively manage performance.  Being that I have created courses on Performance Management and just rolled out a training that impacted 130 leaders within an organization, I found this blog to be quite interesting.  As I read through the blog and reflected on my own experience in training , I began to wonder, “Do I create trainings and provide support that encourages change in behavior and performance improvement?” This is something that instructional designers strive to accomplish when designing and facilitating a training. So I ask you, when you are creating a training, what do you do to ensure that there is a greater chance for a change in behavior. How do ensure your training is not wasted time sitting in a training room for four hours?

Last but not least we make our final destination to visit the elearning coach.  This blog encompasses topics regarding training and technology. The discussion that sparked my interest was the question asking whether or not you need a degree in instructional design or adult learning theory in order to be a successful instructional designer.  The blog shared a survey that has been open over several years conducted by Cammy Bean, indicating that 68% of instructional designers do not have a degree in IDT in comparison to the 38% that hold a masters in IDT.  Looking at my own experience, I’m currently in school now to obtain my MS in Instructional Design after working in this field for 5 years.  Currently no one in my department holds a degree in that area of concentration, and no one in other organizations where I have worked held degrees in IDT. Are any of them great trainers, of course! Do any of them have an understanding of cognitive learning theories, uh, not so much.  But I know of trainers who attend seminars, get certifications, and focus on growing trends in the field.  So do you need a degree to be a great instructional designer? I’m not quite sure. For me, I felt that I had great hands on experience in training but it was time to hit the books and learn the foundation.  The information that I have learned thus far as a student has proved to be beneficial to me in my career. I would hope that most in this field would take it serious enough to further their education in some shape way or form (certification, workshops, or formal education). So I ask you, do you need a degree in instructional design to be a successful instructional designer?