Swag Statement

When my company hosted a Women’s Leadership summit back in April, the keynote speaker was Judi Holler. If you haven’t seen Judi speak yet, you should! She has amazing energy and communication. She breaks it down…you understand it…and you want to do it! Whatever it is.

In this case, it is a swag statement. She had each of us write a swag statement to be our personal mantra. Short, energetic, descriptive–the statement should be what you pull out when someone says, what do you do? I’ve gone through few iterations. I’ve collaborated with colleagues on it. We made a pact to post our statements live to LinkedIn by May 31. Mine is live!

Original: I am Dr. Improvement who helps others understand 
their work world so they can be their best.
Current: Upskilling Dr & Edu Futurist ~ Implementing Performance 
Improvement & Motivating Talent Towards a Better Future

I’m not positive that I would feel like me by answering, what do you do?, with I’m an upskilling Dr & educational futurist. It would grab attention more than what I usually say, Training Director (or Manager). That always get, Oh (nodding).

Perhaps upskilling is too buzzword-y or vague. Perhaps it opens the door for me to say the rest…implementing performance improvement and motivating talent towards a better future.

PS – I always enjoy getting to use a good tilde.


Code-a-thon is underway!

The instructional designers at work are 4 workdays into code-a-thon. They were excited about its start and the kickoff. Jazzed by the idea of selecting and finishing a tightly scoped project each day. But then there have been some groans when drawing a task slip from a bowl. One person even tossed the slip back in and drew again.

Two of the team members are ATD ICE this week. Leaving one in LV and one in Tulsa working on tasks.

I’ve overheard more collaboration on tasks and idea sharing. Hopefully, these grow into permanent habits.

Code-a-thon Prep

Last month, at Learning Solutions con, I attended the ecosystem demo. Jennifer Hofmann presented about a 30 in 30 campaign to create content around learning effectiveness (as I recall). The team worked together to prepare 30 learning interventions in 30 days. I was so inspired by this idea that I worked with the Training Dev manager to host a code-a-thon in May. We have 5 employees–3 FT instructional designers & 2 FT trainers who flex to ID–participating in 20 work days in May.

Details on our spin:

  • May 1 kicks off with backlog grooming, expectation setting, Q&A, and review of what interventions we can make (see menu below).
  • Each developer will draw a tightly scoped task each morning and have the day to complete. We have broken up larger projects into smaller tasks. There is no requirement that all the tasks completed for a project are completed by the same person. This brings in the “yes and” part of improv to go with the impromptu part of drawing a task out of a basket each day. Judi Holler spoke at Aristocrat last week about improv and being excited and being bad ass and a million other wonderful things. So we are bringing in options to be bad ass and stretching out of the comfort zone.
  • We will forgo the standard daily scrum for daily task selecting. We will save sprint review and showcase for May 31, at which time each person will share their top 3 interventions.
  • We will have some fun surprises and treats throughout May.

I’m super stoked about code-a-thon. It is creating a rigor in the task descriptions, knocking out a bunch of smaller projects that needed to get done, and energizing the team to stretch their minds.

PS – Aristocrat has the Game of Thrones license for slot machines so I tend to use variations of GoT memes a lot.

LS Menu

Upskilling for Successful Digital Transformation webinar…my thoughts

Link to webinar

Discussion by David Wentworth and Becky Willis focuses on broader topics than L&D. However, the upskilling project that I am working on for a business unit focuses on this need to get the workforce to the next level…transform them…upskill them. The statistics are mostly from Brandon Hall and World Economic Forum. It asks if you fear the digital transformation or welcome it. (Guess which I am?)

The main premise is finding the right workers with the right skills at the right time is becoming harder for employers and that impact is slowing growth in the economy. It also introduces the edcast certificates to close skill gaps. It becomes a bit of a sales pitch but it is still a helpful webinar.

I thought it was interesting that Pew Research finds that colleges are introducing new credentials and adjusting learning with “micro-masters.” Of course, this is where edcast comes in too! They have open source certifications.

In a broader sense, the speakers share the people skills and communication skills are becoming scarcer in the workplace. The ability to convey a thought, plan, or message to the team–regardless of your level on the team–is critical in the future. World Economic Forum is cited for this factoid along with this nugget: 35% of skills will change within 5 years, as opposed to the previous 20 year change period.


Specific to L&D, the message was again about curating, putting influencers and SMEs in the creation seat, and let L&D team help blend the content to make it consumable. #informationoverload They make the case of UX designers, HTML5 programmers, web designers, game designers, and AGILE designers to join the L&D team.

My plans based on takeaways:

  • Take UX courses on LinkedIn Learning
  • Encourage my team to take UX and AGILE courses
  • Consider someone getting a UX certification
  • Work with leaders of the workforce that needs upskilling to make sure the processes are efficient and accurate before digital transformation
  • Include communication, people skills, and critical thinking skills in the upskilling
  • Check out edcast


Side note: I have a PhD and I totally want to get a master’s in change management or a cert in UX. 



Mobile Mindset from Bottom-Line Performance

Reference: Huhn, Jake. The Mobile Mindset: How to Wow Your Learners. Bottom Line Performance.

Huhn and BLP define a mobile mindset as designing for future adaptability, even if you aren’t delivering mobile training today. I am re-reading the PDF whitepaper referenced in the 2016 blog post linked above in preparation for my #LSCon preso on mobile ID tips. The premise of the whitepaper is that L&D is behind. I tend to agree. My team has had to go boldly into mobile for about 2 years. Some of our adaptability was switching from Flash to HTML5 for the coming Flash death. Some was switching the remote workforce to Axonify and device delivery. When we started, I couldn’t find much to help us. I found books about developing a mobile strategy, tips for org’s selecting devices, and device security. But not much on design. We figured things out through trial and error, looking at what news and marketing companies do on social media, and making some blunders. I have compiled those blunders and our ultimate successes for my #LScon preso.

Two challenges to a mobile mindset in L&D listed by Huhn are an old-fashioned LMS and limitations of authoring tools. YES! We experienced both. Moving to Axonify was a big help to us and really forced us to grow our mobile mindset. Articulate Rise and GoAnimate along with relearning how to frame a video were the other key changes we made.

We made the decision to not update our legacy content to full mobile. It has been updated from Flash to HTML5, but nothing was resized or redone to increase readability on a small screen. I made that decision to save the team’s sanity and keep our backlog from overflowing. We state in the description in the traditional LMS whether or not the module is mobile-friendly.

The audience is already a mobile workforce on a BYOD program so those hurdles and that cultural change happened in conjunction with our mobile mindset change, but not because of it. We were forced into a mobile mindset by the change to the workforce’s way of work going mobile.

The team has Huhn’s responsive web design down. Our authoring and delivering tools have all changed over the past 2 years. Huhn next discussed the need for design. Specifically, he mentions Gestalt Principles. I’ve been in two different TLDCasts of late that mention how a UX designer and Graphic Designer are becoming important to the L&D team. I totally see that! This is the area where we have the most opportunity for growth. Some of us have a great natural eye. Rise goes far to help those of us who do not.

Learning is facilitated if similar ideas are treated and linked together and then contrasted with opposing or complementary sets of ideas. — Huhn on Gestalt & learning

Huhn then lists 6 tips. I am grading me and my team on these!

  1. Space: we have grown a lot since our early days of making videos for 24″ monitors just displayed on small screens. We still have room to grow. This is the part where we have the most variations amongst team members.
  2. Modular: Axonify and Rise have really helped us change here. The team is learning to break topics down. The tools force us into responsive design.
  3. Tool: we are at the mercy of our tools. I don’t even know how to begin here.
  4. Website: company IP severely limits our ability to do anything on a website. No room for growth right now.
  5. Future thinking: yes! we are doing this well. Or as long as we are using Axonify.
  6. Training wheels: gone are the days that we explain buttons in the module. The GoAnimate modules don’t even have buttons! Our primary audience is savvy and we are good at treating them at way.

Seems like our average might be a B. We are handing off some of the work to our tools. Does that discount our successes?


Catch me presenting at Learning Solutions Conference at SDD104 and in the Ecosystem Showcase! March 26 & 27.




Digital Fluency in the Workplace webinar

This webinar first arrived on Feb 1 from Chief Learning Officer. I decided to rewatch it as part of my analysis for two major projects at work. The projects are:

  1. Upskilling roles based on growing digital and customer-centric business needs as part of a Commercial 2020 business growth plan for my employer’s global org.
  2. Implementation of Salesforce.com’s Sales & Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Lightning apps globally. Here, my team and I are responsible for training the global users, including users that are not used to receiving training (that’s for another post!).

An important distinction was made early in the webinar between digital literacy and digital fluency. Literacy is having the skill set and knowing how to use the tool. Fluency is going beyond the skill set and how-to to knowing the right time to use it, the why use it, and having expectations for outcomes when using the tool. This spoke to me because I think some areas of our business think using a smartphone or tablet is enough. But we need to raise that the why and expectations which ties in with critical thinking, responsibility, and inclusion–all topics mentioned throughout the webinar.

Honor who you are as a business & use technology that enhances that image. Find what makes sense for your culture and what customers like about you.

A key point is that digital fluency needs to be embedded throughout the business units. It can’t be seen as an IT thing. There must be folks in all business units who are savvy and helping to formally and informally move the org forward. This includes the secret work methods…like using Slack or a non-IT provided communication channel. Who is doing this? Why? And how can the rest of the org benefit?

What does a service org (my business unit for project #1) look like in a digital world? This is an unanswered question from the webinar and exactly what we are seeking to do. I hope to find an answer to this question in the coming months and share what we learn.

Ideas from the panel:

  • Do away with old habits and terms. No more “conference call,” instead use “web meeting.”
  • L&D should be enablers of learning, not managers of learning.
  • Build critical thinking skills so workforce can make a good decision with the digital tools and data available.
  • Find the hidden social platforms and leverage.
  • Curate expertise.
  • Stop teaching people how to use the software. We are in an app mindset world where apps are installed and used daily without training. People forage and figure it out. Also, if you make software, get your developers to design for UX and not collecting data on the users.
  • Rethink your L&D content…what is static content, what can push/pul, what are you trying to accomplish? What are you doing today and where do you see it in 10 years?
  • Drive conversations and enable learning.


As a related note, I started the upskilling project by calling it reskilling. That’s a term used in the industry and in this webinar. However, I switched to upskilling as I feel that makes more sense for where we want to take the workforce. The webinar points out that org’s use reskilling for hard skill (usually). The project I am working on is about customer skills, critical thinking, and digital fluency. Our workforce is already great! We just want them to grow to the next level of awesomeness.


Prep for #LScon…writing a book in @articulate Rise?


I am speaking at Learning Solutions conference next month. Which means that it is time to put the meat on the bones and polish by preso! The topic is mobile instructional design tips. I felt like I needed to do my shared content in a mobile authoring tool. However, folks still like PowerPoints when attending sessions. I thought about using Canva, or Rise.

I started by completing a PowerPoint using the LScon template. However, I quickly switched to Articulate Rise. Ohmigoodnesssssssssssssssssss!

I adore Rise. I think I’ve started writing a book using it. Is that a thing? Is that okay? I’m totally wondering. It feels so natural. Being able to add pages and sections wherever, even in the middle of content, is so helpful for me. I can organize and reorganize easily as I write. If I think of something, I can add it! This feels like agile authoring. Is that a thing?

Join me!
SDD104 Design Tips for Developing Mobile Training
1:00 PM – 1:45 PM Tuesday, March 27