August 31, 2016
I've never been a big fan of SMART objectives. I accept there is
wisdom in the acronym, but I think the process tends to eclipse the most
important things about performance objectives: they should provide
clarity, challenge and motivation, and when delivered they should add
value to the organisation.
I made this point in a previous podcast (The secrets of accelerated learning: what's your objective? with Krystyna Gadd) and was contacted by Garry Platt who disagreed with some of what I said and wanted to mount a defence of SMART.
that's what this is ... an extra podcast challenging some of the
content of the previous one, with a screeching parrot in the background.
August 16, 2016
A few months ago we chatted with Krystyna Gadd about her Five Secrets of Accelerated Learning,
and in this podcast we drill down into the first and most important of
those: writing learning objectives that link to the business strategy
and the objectives of the learners.
Apologies that it's a bit long, but when you get talking about this sort of thing it can be hard to stop!
July 15, 2016
In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I welcome back Garry
Platt to continue discussions on his specialist subject: Transactional
Transactional Analysis, or TA, is a theory of how humans
interact with each other - its main application being to help
understand human behaviour and communication: each interaction between
people being called a "transaction". It was developed by Canadian
psychiatrist Eric Berne and has been a tool in the trainer and coach
toolbox for many years in helping us understand ourselves and our own
interpersonal behaviours, but also understand those of others.
In this episode Garry talks about "Transaction", and this builds on the first podcast "Transactional Analysis for trainers (part one): understanding ego states" that you should check out before listening to this.
July 1, 2016
It's been a while since we did a short episode and I've had this one
in the can for a while, so I thought I'd edit it up and put it out.
this episode, I welcome back Seema Sarawgi who talks about a simple way
to split larger groups into smaller sub-groups for activities. There
are lots of ways to do this that are more interesting than saying "1, 2,
3" that can be fun and energising, can break down barriers and can lead
into content or fit with teambuilding themes.
June 15, 2016
The life of a training facilitator is not as glamorous as it might seem to the casual observer.
a lot of travel, but that just means a lot of time in airports or stuck
on long and boring motorways. L&D professionals don't typically
travel in hot air balloons with personal menservants called Passepartout
- the budgets rarely stretch that far.
It's not just the solitude
of travel, it's the loneliness of being in a group of learners in a
workshop, but needing to keep distant from them. We encourage social
learning and network building, but we're the guide on the side not
another member of the gang.
It doesn't stop there!
we're associated with change, and change is sometimes bad news, at least
for some of the people ... and even if not, we're in the business of
challenging people, pushing them out of their comfort zones, perhaps
even asking difficult questions that make people think. We might even
cause all sorts of trouble by demanding manager involvement or by
challenging cultural aspects that might be getting in the way of
Claire Simmons is an expert in offering career advice - and not just how to make your CV look nice. Her organisation (NewFuture.me) works with people through the emotional side of career change, redundancy, and picking the right options for the future.
this podcast she talks through her approach and how we, as L&D
professionals, can apply the same techniques to help look after
May 15, 2016
Time is running out and you've got so much more content to squash in
to the training course ... what can you do? Easy, just drop the action
planning session you have penciled in for the end of the day!
to Emma Weber, expert in learning transfer and author of two books on
the subject, this would be exactly the wrong thing to do.
episode - the longest Trainer Tools podcast by a country mile - Emma
explains how action planning done well can be the key tool in ensuring
knowledge and skill acquired on a training course is transferred into
the workplace and drives real life proper performance improvement!
I should have split this up into two parts, but there didn't seem to be
a natural break ... so I didn't. I know it's long, but I think it's
April 15, 2016
I am not the world's best at planning, and probably wouldn't rank very highly at following a plan either.
often felt that this was a weakness - I know it's also a strength (I am
good at thinking on my feet and coping with change), but it's also true
that it mightn't be such a bad thing to plan ahead and perhaps stick to
a schedule every now and again ... so, when Paul Levy proposed talking
about the role of improvisation in training delivery, I was rather
In this podcast he talks through his approach to
improvisation, what it means, how we can develop the skills, and his own
examples of improvised activities that have worked well, and - because
it's in my nature to ask - times when it hasn't worked so well!
March 15, 2016
Evaluation is the most neglected part of the L&D cycle.
guess is that this is because most people in L&D prefer to be in
training rooms or designing workshops, or creating transformational
strategies to allow individuals and organisations to reach their
potential ... I'm getting carried away now ... the point is that few of
us get excited about the subject of evaluation.
Merle Van Der
Voorde was no exception, and wasn't exactly thrilled when asked to
deliver an evaluation project for the various learning and development
courses, programmes and other activities on offer.
most things, the more you know about them, the more interesting they
become and in this podcast Merle shares the strategy and approach she
used, and talks through some examples from her organisation.
February 15, 2016
Stories are the oldest and best way of passing on information in an engaging and memorable way.
are a key tool in learning, and a nice break from PowerPoint and flip
charts, and they can be used to make things easier to remember, to raise
a particular issue for discussion, to challenge the way people think,
and to make learning easier to transfer back to the workplace.
don't need to rely solely on real things that have happened either -
although real life stories are really good - we can write our own
stories too. Sometimes this might be because we don't know a relevant
true story, but often there is value in an obviously fictional account -
think how much we call on famous fictional situations as real-life
metaphors now: everything from Shakespeare and Star Wars to Monty
Python. Fictional stories can be used to illustrate ideas in a
meaningful way that everyone understands.
In this podcast I talk
to Samantha Mathis about her use of stories and how to write your own
stories for training courses and other learning events. She also talks
about using storytelling as a powerful teambuilding activity, allowing
teams to raise and discuss issues in a fun and engaging way.
January 15, 2016
Accelerated learning is a term that is oft heard, but not oft understood, and even less oft applied effectively.
not just about playing some music, putting a load of fiddly toys out,
and then forcing delegates to flip chart stuff for hours, there's more
to it than that.
In this episode, I talk to accelerate learning expert Krystyna Gadd about her five secrets of accelerated learning:
five areas that need to be considered to ensure that a learning event
takes full advantage of all the benefits that accelerated learning can
The only problem is that we went on too long, so I decided
not to inflict an hour-long podcast on the poor listener, and instead
split it into two halves.