NWILL Keynote Presentation: Learning at the Speed of Libraries

I’m headed to Portland, Oregon later this week to give the keynote presentation at the Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference. I’m looking forward to meeting the conference attendees and talking about learning and leading through change.

ASTD Becomes Association for Talent Development (ATD)

You might have noticed that ASTD has a new name and a new brand. The American Society for Training and Development made the change this past May becoming the Association for Talent Development.

President and CEO Tony Bingham announced the change at the organization’s international conference this past Spring stating, “Your work is so much broader than training alone.” He cited the growing references in business to the term “talent development” that describes the breadth of work done by professionals who develop the talent in organizations: their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

This change is much-needed and seems welcomed by the ASTD/ATD Community. Many in the learning and development community had already made the switch to moving from the word “training” to the word “learning.” This name change for ASTD takes semantics a step further by emphasizing the outcome–talent development. After all, what is the result of learning?

Along with the new name comes a new logo and anyone whose been through rebranding efforts can tell you nightmare stories about branding gone wrong. I must say I love the new logo for ATD.

In the ASTD logo it looks as if the trainer is holding the weight of the world which unfortunately parallels the reality for many trainers. There’s also no description of what ASTD stands for. I can’t tell you how many times I told someone, “I’m going to an ASTD meeting” only to be met with a look of shock and/or confusion as what was heard was, “I’m going to an STD meeting.” They’re not the same!

The new logo takes care of this by clearly stating what ATD stands for. The colors are bold and eye-catching. The T looks as if it is reaching across with its arms to the A and the D saying, “Don’t worry. I’m here to help!”

Are you a member of ASTD/ATD? What are your thoughts on the change?

Building a Personal Learning Solution at NCLA


Last week I had the pleasure of presenting with my friend and fellow North Carolina Master Trainer Jessica O’Brien at the biennial conference for the North Carolina Library Association. Below are the slides we used, and I’m also uploading a copy of the PDF version of  Building a Personal Learning Solution. We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and own experiences with personal learning. What tools do you use? What have you learned?

Building a Personal Learning Solution from Lori Reed and Jessica O’Brien

Five Tips for Getting Up-to-Speed on a Genre Using NoveList

Photo courtesy of:http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/

Photo courtesy of:http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/

You can’t read every book, so how can you be an effective readers’ advisor in the face of an unfamiliar genre? Check out my story and tips on the NoveList Blog: Five Tips for Getting Up-to-Speed on a Genre.

Making Learning Fun, Zombie Style

If you missed out on being selected for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC with Michael Stephens, here’s an alternative. At first I thought this was a joke–a MOOC about zombies. But it’s real and even has course objectives listed! If you look at the objectives you’ll see that this class is not about zombies at all. They are teaching real stuff about public health, survival, and disease. Who in their right mind would take a course billed as: Infectious Disease and Public Health. Not many. However thousands are registering for this class based on the title and premise–you can make learning about infections diseases fun.

Is there a way you can apply this idea to your training? Absolutely! There are great films with good and bad examples of customer service. Clerks is the first that comes to mind. When we put ourselves in the role as the learner and think about how we would like to experience learning, we can find ways to make learning engaging and fun. No doubt this course will boost the ratings of The Walking Dead, but it’s a great example of adding a creative twist to what could be a boring subject. Let me know if you enroll. I’d love to have a trainers discussion group to talk about what we learn from the actual class as a trainer.

Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead

Course description

From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:

  •  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
  • Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
  • Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
  • Debate the role of public health organizations in society
  • Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
  • Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
  • Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

To register go to: https://www.canvas.net/courses/the-walking-dead

Free Webinar to Kick Off Lean Government Webinar Series

From my friend Pat Wagner:

When I first heard about the Lean Government movement and how quickly and effectively it could save money, eliminate waste, and improve customer service, I knew we needed to offer practical webinars on the topic. The fact that Steve Elliott, whose work we have admired for decades, is now a leader in Lean Government advocacy in our state, made our choice of trainers very simple.

Please join Steve and me July 9th, 2013 for our free introduction to this engaging series on transforming your public sector workplace. Not only does it apply to government – and libraries – but to any kind of workplace.

I don’t know of any organization that does not strive to be lean! Learn more about this opportunity here: http://www.sieralearn.com/free-webinar-kicks-off-lean-government-webinar-series/

129 Tips on Using Technology in Virtual and Physical Classrooms from eLearning Guild

If you are looking for some new tips about using technology for learning or are looking for a refresher you might want to take a look at the free ebook from the eLearning Guild. 129 Tips on Using Technology in Virtual and Physical Classrooms. You’ll need to give contact information to download the ebook, but I’ve never been spammed by the guild and have confidence in recommending this to readers.


In this new, free 32-page ebook you’ll see short tips on everything from low-tech classroom training to using Google Hangouts as a tool for online learning. Topics covered include:

  • Using virtual-classroom and virtual-world features effectively
  • Instructional design and presentation skills for the classroom
  • Pros and cons of virtual classrooms and virtual worlds
  • Pros and cons of physical and blended classrooms
  • Games for the classroom
  • Mobile and social learning for the classroom

Download your complimentary copy from: http://bit.ly/109Ejyg

I’d love to hear what tips caught your attention. Add a comment and let’s discuss!

One tip that resonated with me as both a trainer and a learner is accountability during online training sessions or webinars:

A typical challenge in the virtual classroom is keeping participants from multi-tasking. After all, participants are often taking the virtual course on the same devices they get their email and do other work on. Many instructional designers and virtual trainers build in some level of interactivity (polls, chat, Q&A) to address this challenge. But it’s equally important to build in accountability. For example, assign participants a learning partner, then use the chat feature to allow participants to check in with their partners several times during the session.

~Anne Scott,  Training Program Developer, Sodexo

I’ve always tried to incorporate interactivity, but it’s challenging to keep learners engaged even with polls, whiteboarding, and chat. A partner makes accountability less intimidating for the learner and lessens the load on the facilitator.

A Tale of Two Schools: A Boy Learns to Love Reading

My son and media specialist Ms. Reeding (yes that is her real name)

My son and media specialist Ms. Reeding (yes that is her real name)

Becoming a mom, I was excited when each of my children entered school. If I loved learning and school, they would too, right? In Kindergarten and first grade my son had fantastic teachers. They both told us what a good student he was, he was happy all the time, and we looked forward to watching him grow and learn.

Second grade was a completely different story.  I was saddened to learn that it’s common knowledge among parents that your kids will have good years and bad years and those years are largely determined by who the teacher is. If your child has a great teacher he or she will learn leaps and bounds. If your child has a not so great teacher not only will he or she learn less but your child may fall behind.

Let’s not put all the blame on the teachers. Parents, school policy, administration, and even funding have roles here as well. For second grade my son had a new teacher. By new I mean first year out of college. Due to district budget cuts, there were no teacher assistants for classes. A new emphasis on testing was also put in place for all grades as the district moved to a pay for performance model for teachers (teachers’ pay is determined by how well their children score on standardized tests). For grades K-2, these tests must be administered orally as the children can’t all read yet.

This teacher, first year out of college, with a class of 25 students, would spend weeks at a time administering tests one-on-one, one-by-one with each child while the other children were given busy work and told to remain quiet in their seats. My son, in the second grade, seven years old, declared he hated school. He fell behind in most subjects, and his two parents, who both work in education, were ashamed to admit that no matter what they tried, their child could not read nor did he want to.

My son complained about the testing. He complained about the teacher yelling at other students. He withdrew and seemed depressed. At this point we were worried that he might have a learning disability. The school refused to help because his problems were not severe enough, so we paid to take him to a child psychologist who said my son was extremenly intelligent, mature for his age, and most likely was bored in school.

The relief! We had not failed as parents. He needed to be challenged more at school. However he was already enrolled in a learning immersion magnet program. But with all the testing there was little time left for learning.

I dropped in occasionally to see what was happening in the classroom. Nearly every time I dropped in, the class was out of control and the teacher was yelling at the students. Meanwhile my son would just look at me as if to say, “See I told you so.” We seriously considered home schooling.

Later that year, I took a new job in a different city and we moved and enrolled in a new school system. My son’s attitude about school changed almost immediately. His class had not only one teacher, but a full time teacher’s assistant, and a mostly-full time student teacher from the local university. His class, only slightly smaller, had three teaching professionals in the class all day. With less emphasis on testing, there was more emphasis on making learning fun. By the end of the school year, my son was at grade level and loved school again. He even began reading stories to his sister.

My son reading to his siter

My son reading to his siter

Reading in the Car

Reading in the Car

This year, in third grade, things are still good. Three adults in the class are still making learning fun. This year is the first year my son takes official EOGs, end of grade tests to ensure he’s on grade level. However, the teacher does not teach to the test or if she does she makes it fun. My son earned three As and one B on his last report card, and I’m proud to say he’s now reading at a middle school level. My daughter in Kindergarten also has three teaching professionals in her class and she loves school as well. Both children read for fun every night at bed time. My daughter reads no matter where we are, like her mom she always has a book in hand.

What happened here? How can our experiences be so different?

We did everything we were supposed to as parents. We read to our children daily. We have a home full of books. We are involved with the schools. We communicate with the teachers and attend parent teach conferences. We spend hours helping with homework. We use positive reinforcement. We sought out help when there were problems.

I am scared to think of what might have happened had we not moved. Would my son still be behind and hate school? I like to think I could have solved this problem somehow. But the truth is parents in public school systems are at the mercy of the district, its policies, and the teacher. The other thing I think about is that there were other kids who excelled at our former school. Each child is different, learns different, and our current educational system of standardized testing does not allow for that or at least not all teachers are trained properly in how to teach under this system.

As a parent, I cannot emphasize how important it is to be involved in your child’s education and know what is going on at school and in the school system. As educators we must either fight legislation like no child left behind or find a way to work with it that allows us to still instill a passion for learning in children. As parents we need to support our teachers and find out what they need to more effectively teach our children.

I’d love to hear from other parents and teachers about this. Have you had two vastly different school experiences?

Note:I’m happy to see that our former school system revoked the pay for performance program and the testing that went with it. However there are many systems looking to adopt this model. Had we stayed in this school system I believe we would have eventually enrolled in a charter school or began homeschooling.

The Hyperlinked Library MOOC

If you haven’t heard about MOOCs yet, take a few moments to read or listen to this story on NPR, How MOOCs are Changing Higher Ed, and read the MOOC entry on Wikipedia.

This fall we’ll see one of the first library science MOOCs offered by San Jose State University assistant professor Michael Stephens and lecturer Kyle Jones. From the SLIS site:

The Hyperlinked Library MOOC will examine various participatory theories of library service, the impact of emerging technologies on libraries, and the growing focus on a creation/curation culture. Students will explore the definition of participatory service, some key trends that impact the Hyperlinked Library model, and examine what the shift means for libraries and information work in today’s digital information age.

Having seen Stephens present this topic several times, I’m excited to see a full course developed around his innovative ideas that is open to a broad audience (you don’t need an MLS to apply). I’ve heard the excitement library staff have after hearing Stephens give a keynote, and this course will offer an opportunity for learners to go deeper and and apply some of the ideas presented back in their own libraries.

I was surprised to see the course limited to 200 since MOOCs usually have 10 or 20 times that number, but it’s probably a smart idea to ensure that everyone has a good experience. After all can you imagine a discussion board with 20,000 librarians? The ALA Think Tank has just over 3,000 and I can’t keep up!

There’s no indication on how many people have registered so far for the course, but you can sign up here to receive more information.

What is digital learning, e-learning, online learning? Short answer, learning!

Laysha Ward, president of Community Relations for Target, published a fantastic post this week on the parallels between the different modes for learning. In her post Ward writes,

…we may be witnessing the death of “digital” — at least as an adjective. We don’t go “digital” shopping — we shop, online, by phone and in stores. We don’t read “digital” media — we read, on the printed page and on screens of every size.

Ward goes on to discuss classroom versus digital versus blended learning which many of us in the profession have been discussing for a decade. What’s exciting is to see this discussion taking place in mainstream media where everyday people can see what we’ve been saying for years. It’s all just learning!

Ward’s last paragraph really struck me as it’s something we’ve said about adult learning as well,

Too many of our students are not graduating from high school ready for a post-secondary education or a career in the 21st century economy. We know that, with the rate of technological change, those jobs will require a lifelong commitment to learning.

Laysha Ward as a Reading Buddy. Photo courtesy of Target

Laysha Ward as a Reading Buddy. Photo courtesy of Target

I would add that the same holds true for many students in undergraduate and graduate experiences as well. We still have professors teaching who do not value digital tools much less teach their students about them and how to use them in the workplace. I think this is one reason why workplace learning and development will continue to flourish in the 21st century. It’s one thing to have students who Tweet and have 1,000 Facebook friends. It’s another to have students, i.e. future workers, who know how to use those tools effectively in their jobs.

Ward’s post is a great read. Be sure to check it out!

Ward, Laysha. Re-Imagining Learning: Digital and Physical Convergence. Huffington Post. April, 23, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laysha-ward/reimagining-learning-digi_b_3135414.html.