Building Bridges

Three Ways to Mess Up a Client Relationship

Bea Smart, an instructional designer, started working recently with Joe King, a compliance director, about potential training needs. She’s excited about the opportunity to partner with the Compliance Department and wants to impress her new internal client. Bea starts off with a training needs analysis by completing several employee interviews, an activity that had never [...]

SME Syndrome: Symptoms and Prevention Tips

Are you – or is someone you work closely with – a SME (subject matter expert)? Instructional designers often require a SME’s knowledge and input to develop training. And it can be a challenge to obtain the key content (and only the key content). First, let’s introduce a typical SME, Simone. Simone is the director [...]

Polishing Your Gems – And Showing the Value of Your Training Efforts

Have you ever gone on a treasure hunt, or maybe seen one in the movies? The seeker searches for a treasure chest—usually attending to challenges along the way. Imagine large rolling rocks and a few poison darts, all difficult to control! Eventually the seeker locates the elusive treasure chest, but not all its contents are [...]

Short Can be More Than Just Sweet!

What do stained glass windows, intricate marble carvings, and richly symbolic murals have in common? Give up? They are all easily seen from just one spot in the Library of Congress. Why do I mention this? I recently visited Washington, DC and toured the Library of Congress. If you haven’t been to the Library, I [...]

How Many “Two by Fours” Does Your Curriculum Use?

By Kathy Harvey-Ellis For my day job, I work in marketing, for EnVision and another company. After this winter, however, I also feel like I work in home improvement – of our own home. I am my own general contractor. From the repair of a supporting beam in our garage, to minor water damage in [...]

The Pick of the Crop

Have you ever gone berry picking? Usually, you fill a container and pay by its size. Those juicy berries look so appealing you want to fit as many as possible into the container, right? Would you squish them in to get more? Or would you select the ripest berries to ensure excellent quality and highest [...]

When Learning Becomes Too Much: Seven Ways to Reduce Cognitive Overload

Have you ever been in a class where everyone’s eyes are glazed over? By the end of the first half-day, participants stop, well, participating? Perhaps the course just isn’t engaging them. Or, perhaps (cue music: dut, dut, dut) they are experiencing cognitive overload. So, what is cognitive overload? Cognitive overload is an inundation of short-term […]

Forging a Path in the Snow

While many New Englanders bemoan this harsh winter, I find I embrace most of it; well, maybe not the snow removal part. Since one of my favorite pastimes is snowshoeing, winter – especially snowy winters like this one—enables me to indulge in it. What keeps me attaching these cumbersome apparatuses to my feet, and trudging […]

Get to the Head of the Class in Writing Learning Assessments

A college midterm for Introduction to Psychology. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. The MCAS (the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System – if you’re a parent to a school-aged child, you know it!) What do these three items have in common? Yes, we commonly refer to them as “tests” or “exams,” but like the MCAS acronym […]

Don’t Forget the Roadmap Before You Start Your Trip – the Value of the Needs Assessment

Before starting to design a learning solution, which tool can help guide your work? Just like embarking upon an unfamiliar road trip, starting a learning project requires a blueprint, a guide. To ensure you don’t get lost along the way, a map is essential (assuming this scenario takes place in the pre-GPS era). The map […]