imageI’m busy preparing for the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) annual International Conference and Exposition (ICE) that starts tomorrow in Washington, D.C. As I work through the online agenda planner, I’m looking sessions that help me better understand how to connect training to corporate strategy and how to improve the effectiveness of face-to-face training opportunities. Last year I was primarily focused on integrating informal and social activities into organizational learning programs. What a difference a year makes.

See, I’m an “Inside Guy.” I work in a learning and development (L&D) organization, and my job includes doing whatever it takes to support my organization, a technical corporation with employees geographically distributed across the United States, however those needs are articulated or change. Things changed dramatically for me last year the moment I returned from the ICE. Almost overnight, I inherited responsibility for a collection of courses representing what David Kelly might call, “legacy content.” More disturbing to me was that these are virtually all face-to-face courses created largely by technical subject matter experts with (in my opinion) little instructional design. The week earlier I complained about these, “Death by PowerPoint” courses. Now I was responsible for them, and there was no way to change them all overnight without falling short on the corporate expectation that a large subset of this critical knowledge be transferred to other employees in some formal manner each and every year. What a difference a year makes.

This is not to say I dislike my new assignment. Quite the opposite, because now I have the ability to positively influence the evolution of each and every one of these legacy courses. And I have to say the challenge of doing so, mentoring my technical experts who created the courses, and doing things in more effective ways has been gratifying. I still like my job, even though the year has made such a difference.

Fortunately our L&D organization is headed by someone who’s vision largely reflects my own. Things need to change, and she’s empowered me to change them. New courses would be created with solid instructional design, and no knowledge gap will be addressed by presuming a course as the solution. Developing a solid way forward by embracing my new challenge wasn’t something I developed on my own. I credit much of that to strong support from those colleagues in my personal learning network (PLN). The action plan is mine, the work is mine, the success is mine, but none of it would have been possible without my those in my PLN. So as I head to Washington, D.C., I’m most of all looking forward to reconnecting in person with many of them and talking about what a difference a year can make.

Thanks for reading!


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