My favorite Learning & Development books!

Reading time: 2.5 minutes
This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

I often get asked what my favorite learning and development books are. I love books, especially those written by thought leaders in our industry. There’s such a wealth of information in them and they can be a great resource on the go. Here are a few books (in random order) I’d recommend to any L&D/HRD Professional.

702010 towards 100% performance [link]

This book really helped me understand the 702010 framework. It is an amazingly well-designed book that is very thorough. Jos, Charles and Vivian describe how the three pieces of the puzzle come together via a distinct set of roles that should exist within a modern L&D department.

Innovative Performance Support: Strategies and Practices for Learning in the Workflow [link]

This is probably the oldest book on my list as I had the honor to proofread it some years ago. Any organization that is moving from the traditional ‘training mindset’ to a modern ‘performance mindset’ will find this book extremely useful as it focuses on Performance Support in the workplace. To me, this methodology is the most pragmatic way to start the 702010 journey.

Learning in the Modern Workplace [link]

Honestly, I love Jane Hart and everything she does for our industry. Her book(s) and blog should be mandatory for anyone that is involved in an L&D or HRD role. Jane’s book is absolutely one of my favorites. An absolute must-have!

Show your work [link]

Jane Bozarth put together a great book that truly shows the value of ‘working out loud’. By showing your work you support productivity, improve performance, encourage reflective practice, and so much more.

Revolutionize Learning & Development: Performance and Innovation Strategy for the Information Age [link]

Okay, I’ve only read a GetAbstract book summary but I still want to put this one on this list. I think Clark Quinn really sends a clear message with his book and understands the need and urgency for L&D to change like no other! I’ll add this book to my bookshelf as soon as I’ve completed the books on my nightstand.

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days [link]

I’ve only recently come across Design thinking and Sprints for learning but I find it an amazing process that really helps you step away from the solution and helps you find out what really works before spending a lot of time and money on a solution that won’t get the results you’re looking for. There’s also a great explanatory video playlist right [here].

Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations [link]

Training and workplace supporting materials are often slide-based. Nancy Duarte is the queen of presentations and her book is a great addition to anyone that creates learning materials.

All Articulate e-books [link]

As an Articulate Super Hero, it might be obvious to add this to the list. The team at Articulate has really put together a great set of compact e-learning design related e-books that will help any starting professional creating better e-learning.

Steal like an Artist [link]

I love this little book! Austin Kleon tells a great story. Get inspired by him and by the work of others to get better yourself. I’ve learned so much from other people’s work, deconstructing, recreating examples with the tools I have at my disposal.

These books are currently on my nightstand

I truly believe these books will help you grow as a professional and in turn, you will help grow our profession from course factory to strategic business partner!

Thoughts, insights? Any books you would like to recommend? Leave me a note in the comments below. And if you like this post please share it with your network.

How L&D can (and should) impact your organization!

Reading time: 2 minutes
This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes you ‘happy’ at work? Do you know the answer? I think I do…

High performance… That’s it. And if you reflect on it you know it is true. Think about all those times that you finished your day and drove home with that intense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. You know you’ve done an amazing job that day or perhaps finished a project in a way you hadn’t imagined possible. You were able to perform at your highest level and there’s just nothing like that feeling!

And it doesn’t stop there. The next day you arrive at work you’ve still got that buzz. That feeling of happiness you get from being able to operate at the top of your ability has increased your engagement as an employee. Today you will look at the challenges you and your organization faces in a different way. Your brain is in a ‘can-do, getting-things-done’ state. You’ll be more productive and, bringing that attitude into work you’ll affect the people you work with and the projects you work on. When you are able to impact those people and projects it’s quite likely that that positive attitude will lead to more engaging conversations which lead to more innovative solutions that benefit the company and its customers.

This is exactly what happens in high performing teams. They create a self-sustaining high performance loop.

That means that if we, as Learning and Development and HR professionals, want to contribute to our business impact we need to improve employee happiness. That means supporting them in any way possible to create the circumstances that will allow them to perform at the top of their ability. For the past decade I’ve been hearing senior leaders as well as L&D and HR professionals talk about creating a ‘learning culture’ in their company when what they really need is a ‘performance culture’.

“People don’t come to work to learn. They come to work to work, to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Laura Overton from Towards Maturity states that one thing is clear from their latest report ‘Unlocking potential’; “People want to be able to do their jobs better and faster!”. To me that clearly signifies a big change for L&D. We need to refocus from the traditional creation of courses and programs to more performance based solutions that have a direct impact in the workplace. How can we support our employees to maximize their day-to-day performance? How do we help managers identify top performers and learn from what it is they do different from the ones with average performance so they can increase the performance of their entire team? How do we start building a culture of high-performance?

Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers (sorry about that) but I do believe it starts with moving from Content to Context. Learning solutions (and HR Infrastructure) should support employees with the right content in their moment of need, which is mostly while they are doing their jobs. No more ‘one size fits all’ training programs but contextualized and role specific support to ensure people can keep performing critical tasks and don’t get bogged down getting trained in trivial meaningless tasks that add little value.

Support your employees in achieving their maximum performance and you’ll impact their happiness, engagement and ultimately their productivity and innovation!

This obviously doesn’t happen overnight but ask yourself:”What change can I make today that will have an impact tomorrow?”.

Why quick-wins are killing your organization!

Reading time: 1 minute
This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

Quick-wins or low-hanging fruit as some people call them are the scourge of your organization. Why? Because, in organizations with high work pressure and little resources, they’re the first point of action while they’ve got the least impact.

What is it with quick-wins that gives us a sense of accomplishment? Does it look good on a status report to see that you’ve completed various actions? Or do we really think we are making progress?

If you’re honest with yourself, as a senior professional, do you truly believe those quick-wins made a real difference? Did they impact your organization in a way that increased employee performance? Did they have a lasting effect on desired business outcomes? No? I didn’t think so.

I believe, especially for companies with high work pressure and little resources, focusing on the big project that has a clear business impact is a smarter way to apply your scarce resources. Especially for more senior professionals as such projects are more challenging and rewarding, both on a professional as a personal level.

So does that mean we should drop quick-wins all together? Not per se. Some of these projects can be valuable to address, simply don’t use senior staff to pick them up. Junior employees can learn a lot from such quick win projects. You can trust to address them as they see fit and have a senior employee coach them where they require support. This way you’ll keep your high performers engaged working on challenging projects that impact the business and you are growing your junior professionals with the trust given in running projects on their own.

So next time when you’re assigning people to projects, or a project is assigned to you, think about if this is the best use of their/your capabilities and if the results of the project truly impact business outcomes where they matter most!

Create a screen-recording with Skype for Business

Reading time: 2 minutes
This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

Doing more with less

I often talk to L&D professionals that share their concerns regarding the lack of budget, resources and tools. Recently I spoke with someone, let’s call him ‘Bob’, that wanted to start recording quick how-to videos but he stated that he did not have the right software and wouldn’t be able to get the budget to acquire it. Low and behold, Bob didn’t realize he already had a tool he could use only he never thought of using it that way…

Ever since attending the session of Jane Bozarth and Jo Cook at Online Educa Berlin’16 I’ve had an extra eye out for such ‘I can’t’ remarks. It’s true that in ever faster spinning hamster-wheel of life we often overlook what is right in front of us. During their session Jane and Jo highlighted how you can do more with less. Make better and smarter use of what you’ve got by looking beyond how tools are commonly used and start looking at how you can use them to meet your needs.

So getting back to Bob. I asked him if they used an online meeting platform. They did; Skype for business. As you may be aware, these kind of tools often have the possibility to record your meeting session. Slides that have been shared, including the narration are recorded and available as some sort of movie file. When I pointed that out to Bob he told me he had done that a couple of times but doesn’t use it often. Cool! he’d actually used that before, so he knew how to record an online meeting.

I said:”What if… you host a meeting with just yourself, share your desktop or application and record the how-to videos?”. A little twinkle appear in his eyes…

A day later he contacted me, overjoyed, that he had just finished his first set of screen-cast videos. He had shared them with his manager and both were happy with the result!

As you can see, there is a solution for every problem it’s all a matter of #doingmorewithless. It might not be a perfect solution, but at least your moving forward!

Never let perfection stand in the way of progress.

Want to give it a go yourself? Check out the quick steps below:

Creating a screen recording with Lync or Skype for Business is fairly simple.

  1. Plan a meeting with yourself and access the meeting.
  2. Share your desktop or program (e.g. PowerPoint)
  3. In Skype go to the more options section – The ellipse (…) icon
  4. Click start recording to record your session.
  5. Do your presentation, talk through your slides.
  6. In Skype go to the more options section – The ellipse (…) icon
  7. Click Stop recording (you can also pause here)

The recording will be processed and stored locally as an .mp4 video file. Share it via your intranet, add it to an e-learning course or upload it to a video server such as YouTube or Vimeo.

Record and play back a Skype for Business meeting

For more detailed information check out this Microsoft support page on how to record a Skype for Business meeting.

#FREEBIE: Minimalistic Storyline player menu and navigation controls

Hey everyone,

I’ve been playing around with a new menu with navigation controls.

Check out the YouTube video right here

The template contains

  • the menu plus nav controls on the left and right side of the screen
  • Dark and light grey versions for left hand section
  • Dark and light grey, blue, red, green and yellow versions for the right hand side

Everything is put on a Master slide so you can adapt anything you want right there. If you have any questions or comments drop me a line in the comments or contact me directly.

Play with it here  |  Download the Storyline2 source file here

Enjoy!
Jeff

 

This post appeared first at community.articulate.com

Creating a Switch/Toggle button – Motion Paths vs. Object States

motion-vs-state

This week I was working on Articulate community e-learning challenge #97: Toggle, Switch, and Slide Your Way to More Creative E-Learning Buttons. I contemplated various ideas and built a quick prototype. I was pretty happy with it and moved on to the design of the interaction. Building a toggle button/switch is a game of ‘states’. You’ve got an on state and an off state. Pretty simple right. All you have to do is choose what you want for your overall look and feel so I googled for ‘switch button design’ and was presented with a ton of possibilities. Some very trendy, some very cool, some rather boring. I did a similar search on Pinterest.

switch
Plenty of design options when creating a switch/toggle button.

To be thorough I even added ‘CSS’ to my search which added in a couple of nice animated buttons (example1 | example2| example3) and that set me to created animated switch buttons.

The first thing I did was rebuild Kevin Thorn’s example. It has a sweet, smooth motion path sliding the button back and forth. It’s a real beauty. It took me about 10 minutes to setup, test if I added all the triggers and conditions correctly and to see if the motion paths are properly aligned and basically do what I expect them to do. As usual I had to do a little tweaking with the order of the triggers to make sure the up and down movement was working properly but after 15 minutes I had myself a schwéééét animated switch button. I started to create a second button and started to copy and adapt it, making sure the new variables, motion paths etc were set-up correctly. Once testing it I noticed I missed something (again) and fixed it. I was quickly getting annoyed with all this tweaking. I was spending a lot of time with just a couple of @#$%^&! buttons.

I started thinking about time spent and effectiveness and the added value of the animation on the button. I thought, how long would it take me to build a regular button with a ‘normal’ state and a default ‘selected’ state. 2 minutes later I had an identical, yet non-animated, button. It worked perfectly, it required no variables or triggers to change states and and play various entrance and exit animations. It just worked. Making a copy was even quicker as I didn’t have to make any changes to any triggers, variables, motion paths and conditions. And the end result looked pretty good.

So, what to do? Should I go with the animated switch buttons or should I go with the effective ‘default’ button? Let’s put them together and decide…

 

Powered by elearningfreak.com

So there you have it.

It’s a bit like comparing a Ferrari with a Volkswagen. The animated button is a thing of beauty. When looking at them together I instinctively know I want it. The default button is just so… default. However… although the animated button is awesome it is, like a Ferrari, a costly thing. It takes more time to build, test and work to get it going as well as doing maintenance to it, then it does to create 20 regular buttons that are still pretty nice and get the job done. Is the additional time spend really adding value to your project?

So what would you do? Would you spend the time or save the dime? Would your client and users love you or hate you for your choice?

Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Create a highlight effect for your software simulations in Articulate Storyline

Are you creating a lot of software training simulations or interactions? Then this might be a great tutorial for you.

I started out creating a lot of software training using Adobe Captivate. The recording feature in Articulate Storyline is one of my favorite features. It allows us to create super cool software simulations very fast and very easy. Another thing I find really cool is that Storyline allows us to add our own interactions to those software simulations once they’ve been recorded.

The other day I was watching a lynda.com tutorial and the presenter used in really simple, but cool highlight feature. Unfortunately such a feature is not default in Articulate Storyline but… we can easily create it ourselves.

Take a look at the video above and see how you can create your own highlight effect using Articulate Storyline.

Getting started with pixel art!

Let me start off by telling you that I’m not a pixel art expert. I’m just a regular guy. To be honest, I have done pixel art but that was over 25 years ago, and I would not really call it art. I was 10 years old and I created black and white pixelated images of superheroes that I liked.

Lo and behold I have seen the rise of pixel art in the past year. And I love it. But how could one start creating pixel art from no real experience? I asked a twitter group but I go little to no reply. Next up, Google search. I found a couple of cool tutorials on deviantart.com that explained the basics of creating shadow highlights also called dithering. That seemed just the right place to start.

I also found out that Photoshop is used the most in pixel art tutorials, however using Microsoft Paint will do just fine. Since I’m fairly familiar with Photoshop and I saw a couple of essy tutorials on how to set up my basic grid, I decided to give that a go.

So, what to draw? I want to create something really really cool, however cool stuff is usually really really difficult. So I decided to go for something simple first. In a previous post I shared how you can create your own graphics in PowerPoint and we did not start out with very difficult things, we created simple items.

So again this time I started out with simple items a monitor, computer, that kind of stuff. Check out some of the stuff I did below.

pixel-art-by-jeff

As you can see this looks pretty cool and it was really easy to make simple lines and bringing the whole piece together. It’s important to know what you are going to draw so making a quick sketch can really help you out. Alternatively you can grab a simple picture and trace it. Tracing is a great way to learn how to draw.

Once you feel comfortable drawing basic pixel images start with something more challenging or try adding more detail. For some reason I long to draw superheroes once again…

So that’s it, open Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, or any other graphics program that you’re comfortable with and start trying to create simple items. Go ahead, you’ll love it.

Pixel-Minion

Got any questions or comments? Let me know below and please feel free to share this article with your friends.

WEBINARS FOR LEARNING… GOOD OR BAD?

I’ll be frank, I love the idea of webinars for learning. An expert sharing his experience with an interested audience, what’s better than that?? Having the ability to connect with peers and the expert, ask questions and discuss the how, what and why of a topic, now that’s where learning happens right? …Right?

Maybe it’s just me, but in reality, most webinars I attended aren’t that great. They’re long, there not that interactive and they’re too crowded to get any real answers to your questions, unless you’re lucky enough to get picked out by the Webinar facilitator at the end.

If you do some research on setting up webinars you’ll quickly find that there are interactions like polling, and asking direct questions to people to make sure the audience keeps participating. Some webinar tools even have a feature that shows if someone is doing something on another screen. To me that seems like the world upside down. You shouldn’t be building in activities force them to focus. Your story and expertise should be engaging enough to do that. Heck, that’s probably why people signed up for the webinar in the first place!

SO HOW CAN A WEBINAR BE IMPROVED?

Simply, make it as short as it can be. Small learning nuggets are well accepted in learning. Don’t waste your audience’s time with a 20 minute introduction. Be concise, stick to the topic. If there is information you want to discuss send anything that can be done as pre-work to the attendees. Watching a video or going through a document or detailed slide deck during a webinar can add so much time which can be prevented with a simple ‘required’ pre-work assignment.

Whenever I do a webinar I force myself to keep it within 30 minutes. That means I plan for 25-30 minutes of content instead of 60-90 minutes. I also plan to have time available to answer as many relevant questions as possible. I tend to plan for 45-50 minutes for the total session and if I use less people are generally happy have some time left.

AN ALTERNATIVE

Are you one of those persons that signs up so you can just watch the recording? I am. I think I attend 20% of the webinars I sign up for and watch 80% afterwards, fitting my own calendar. I do this on purpose. Based on the speaker, topic and obviously time of the webinar I select which ones I want to attend and interact in and which ones I want to just watch. If I have questions I just contact the facilitator afterwards.

I’ve experimented with this format myself and noticed that in our company many people prefer to watch recorded webinars at their convenience and I’ve actually started using this as a default way to share information with my internal customers. I’ve combined it with our social platform pointing them to the webinar post in an email invitation and making use of the commenting ability of the platform to receive and answer questions.

I still do live webinars but only when I feel it makes absolute sense to have people join and participate.

GOOD OR BAD?

So what are your webinars like? Are they good or bad or something in between? There’s always room for improvement! Did you like this post or have you got additional tips? Please share it in the comments below.

 

This post appeared first on LinkedIn.

Custom Feedback Master Slides for Quizmaker and Storyline.

Mike Enders shared a post called Create E-Learning Courses With Custom Learner Feedback in which he shared how we can change the default Storyline quiz feedback popups.

In this post he shared the wellness course feedback and I decided to template that one for Storyline 2 and Quizmaker’13 because it’s just awesome!

Since most Storyline projects I do are wide-screen I’ve opted for a 16:9 resolution. The Quiz-maker file is set in the traditional 4:3 format.

FeedbackMasterLayouts

You can simply change the color scheme in the Feedback Master slide. If you want to change the default texts for the Correct/Incorrect/Try again titles and the Continue button you can do that via the Player > Text labels.

How-to Video   Quizmaker'13 file   Storyline 2 file

 

If you like this post let me know in the comments!

 

This post appeared first in the Articulate e-Learning Heroes community.