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The Six Disciplines of Results-Focused Learning: D5

October 28, 2011 15:55 by jllorens

The goal of corporate learning is to get the greatest number of people consciously competent in their roles as quickly as possible. 

Great training is essential.  And its effectiveness can be amplified by providing learners with access to performance support tools and resources on the job. We must focus especially on the critical role of the learner’s manager and how to improve managerial engagement.

The reason performance support needs to be part of every program design and how to effectively deploy it is the fifth discipline (Deploy Performance Support)---D5.

Learn more about the Learning Transfer Conference (November 14-15, 2011).

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Categories: Learning & Development | Conferences | News | T+D

Congressional Conversations Recap

October 18, 2011 13:21 by Michael Ferraro

On October 13th, as a pre-conference event to the Chapter Leaders Conference, 32 members of ASTD went to Capitol Hill to have a conversation with their member of Congress (and staff) about training.

Most of our discussions centered on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and some of the items ASTD would like to see addressed in the new bill. We also highlighted other legislation we supported over the past year, like Section 127 of the IRS code extension.

Some of our members were able to meet with their member of Congress directly, some met with staff and others met with lead committee staffs in the House and the Senate who are writing the new WIA bill.

This is our largest group to Capitol Hill and many good connections and future initiatives are already in the works.  Stay tuned as more success stories are shared here.  Here is a picture of our group before we head up to the Hill!





Categories: Conferences | The Economy | Public Policy

Telling [Still] Ain’t Training: Interview With Harold Stolovich and Erica Keeps

May 22, 2011 18:00 by Ann Pace

To mark the release of Telling Ain’t Training: Updated, Expanded, Enhanced, Harold Stolovich gave an informal author chat at ASTD 2011 in Orlando, where listeners enjoyed activities, listened to the personal experiences of the authors, and got the chance to ask their own questions about the second edition. Stolovich and Keeps spoke with The Conference Daily after the event and offered some insight into what’s changed and what remains solid in the classic learning book.

Q: How has world of technological innovations impacted the Telling Ain’t Training models?

Technology hasn’t affected Telling Ain’t Training models at all. We’re more focused on how people learn and the triggers for learning than the delivery mechanisms. Technology is the delivery mechanism. As such, technology can improve efficiency of instruction, but not the effectiveness of learning.

Stolovich: The key thing is that frequently, we substitute the means for end-thinking. Technology is a means for increasing productivity and efficiency with fewer errors. Technology does all that. But when you choose outputs poorly, you’ll get the learning efficiently, but you won’t get what you’re looking for. For example, organizations buy large technology systems with libraries of e-learning courses, or they try to save money by delivering to learners’ desktops rather than them all travel. But the libraries they purchase may not be totally appropriate to the jobs people do. This turns people off, and we see that completion rates of these courses are very low. Another problem is that the environments of learners’ desktops are not always conducive for learning. They may be in an office where workers need to be on the phone selling. Who will give them time off (or will they even give themselves time-off) to actually take the courses?

So technology gives us delivery and access means, but what’s provided maybe inappropriate or boring, or the conditions don’t give learners the opportunity to use it. One banking company planned to deliver e-learning directly to its branches so that part-time employees didn’t have to come to a central location for training. Sounds good! But the problem was that the managers (trying to save money) only brought these part-timers in during peak periods when there was no time for training; or there weren’t terminals available for workers to learn on because they were being used for other things. Additionally, the environments just weren’t conducive for learning—they were overloaded with noise, confusion, and interruptions. In our book, we talk about the potential things technology can do, and the realities show us some enormous discrepancies. So what a training vendor might tell you is possible, in your environment, may not be. In other words, you have access, but you don’t have bandwidth.

Q: What’s new in the 2011 edition of TAT in terms of what we understand about human cognition and knowledge retention?

Keeps and Stolovich: There have been numerous discoveries since 2002 in the neurosciences. Some of these confirm or add weight to what we know, and there are others that modify our knowledge of learning.

Many critical new findings support what we wrote previously about how we learn and process information. And some of what we know about what it takes to retain knowledge by attaching new learning to things we already know—analogies, mnemonic devices, mental engagement—these have changed. More and more, neuroscience, and specifically, very refined neuroimaging, allows us to see more concretely how humans process information. For example, with short-term memory, previous studies showed that we can remember seven, plus-or-minus two, chunks or items at a time. This is what we believed for roughly 50 years. But more recent studies show that this number is actually closer to four chunks unless we do something with the information coming into our short-term memory. If we keep it stagnant, we can holder fewer than we thought before. We also used to believe seven plus-or-minus two was a static number for everyone. But there is evidence of individual divergence, and expertise may affect the number that you can hold on a particular topic as well. So it’s more varied than we believed before, but also more modest.

Also, many have been drawn to ideas about the right versus left brain hemisphere. The research done on it even won a Nobel prize. But in retrospect, the original researchers have noted that the study was done on people in whom there was some pathology, illness, or damage done in the brain. When we look at normal people, the right-versus-left principle doesn’t seem to hold true. There is much more fluidity of interaction between the right and left brain. Each hemisphere supports the other in a much more complex way than the simplistic view of “right brain=creative” and “left brain=logical.”

We also now see some specific differences between men and women from a physiologic point of view in brain structure. A recent study pointed to six of these differences. But from a functional view, they don’t seem to be important. Although there is evidence in one area—the listening area. Apparently, language and listening is done in both hemispheres in women, but then tends to be more localized in one hemisphere in men. And this may have some impact. But it’s all a bit dodgy. You take a bit of science and then generalize. What we are finding is much more refined. It’s the same with learning styles and sensory modes. There are endless varieties of tests for what sensory mode is yours. Yet, what seems to be the accumulated evidence is that these tests aren’t stable. It’s also the same with enjoyment. Some think enjoyable training means better learning. That’s not substantiated by the literature anymore, and a great deal of evidence shows that its not so. It’s probably more so that how well you do in your learning generates more enjoyment of the learning. These are new things and there are many many more explained in the book.

Q: “Trainers” aren’t the only ones relied upon to impart knowledge. How can people such as line managers, for example, use this book to make an impact in employee performance?

Everyone trains. And there is a lot of training that goes on in an on-the-job fashion as well. We can divide trainers into two groups. There are professional trainers, and most of their job is associated with training others or creating instruction and using it to train others. And then there are those whom we call occasional trainers, who are brought into the training realm to deliver some form of learning. They may do it once or twice a year, or once or twice across their entire career. The book’s original 5-Step Model, which then continues in the second edition, can be used for multiple situations—one-on-one, informal, as well as formal training. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a classroom of seven or a thousand. The size is not relevant to the model itself. Then, the activities presented can also be incorporated, for almost any aspect of skill and knowledge development, and appropriate to small groups as well as large ones.

And we must not forget that the Beyond Telling Ain’t Training Fieldbook is really a guide for how you can incorporate the principles of Telling Ain’t Training into your organization in a planned way, moving chapter by chapter in terms of what you can do to own these principles and make them work for you. It allows for the kind of adoption and adaptation that one would expect when you bring them into different organizations in different places on the path to becoming more learner-centered and performance-based.

Stolovich: There are several messages in the book for managers. First, training does not equal performance improvement. It may be necessary but it is never sufficient. Second, it is in the active engagement of trainees that learning occurs. It is important that managers not cut these out in an effort to save time. Also managers must remember to work with those whom they ask to train to “do it right.” We know that expertise does not produce learning in others. On the contrary. The greater the expertise, the greater the distance in the way that experts and novices process information. A final caution to managers: Don’t rely on technology to produce superior training results.

Q: Can you tell us about one specific update/expansion/enhancement from the 2011 book that excites you the most?

Keeps: The Technology Section with two brand new chapters. The first chapter addresses the underlying fundamentals and considerations for integrating technology into total learning systems. The second is more pragmatic on steps to take and also resources and types of technologies you can use. Certainly, given the timeframe, technology has had its impact, and these sections help us to understand what it all means and how it will affect us gong forward.

Stolovich: There is a deep commitment on our part to continuously search the research to support or modify what we present in our book. While it is unobtrusive, we provide a real treasure trove for any reader who wants to dig into a particular topic. The endnotes and references were based on nearly two years of study and investigation. Thank goodness that there now is an index that allows readers to quickly locate specifics of what they are looking for.

Q: Any thoughts to share in closing?

Keeps and Stolovich: Doing a new, updated, expanded, and enhanced edition of Telling Ain’t Training was both fun and difficult. Human learning doesn’t change much in 10 years, but our world sure did!

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Categories: Books | Conferences | News | T+D

Categories: Books | Conferences | News | T+D
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ASTD 2011 Begins!

May 22, 2011 12:38 by Kristen Fyfe

The energy in the Orange County Convention Center has been building at a steady pace all morning. It is so great to be in the halls and see people greeting colleagues that they haven't seen since last year's conference! So far I've met people from the U.S., Korea, China, Denmark, Germany, England, Thailand, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal, Mongolia, ... I think that's all, so far! The networking opportunities that the ASTD International Conference & Exposition provide are rich and rewarding.

And the learning is awesome!

As I type this I'm seeing a steady stream of tweets from people who are sharing what their learning in sessions with Marshall Goldsmith, the MilSpace community, and more. If you're on Twitter and are interested in the backchannel, be sure to search #ASTD2011 for conference related posts.

@BenjaminMcCall - the guy who is organizing the #ASTD Tweetup on Monday night was just in the Press Room (my home for the conference) to pick up his materials. It was like a little mini Tweetup - putting a real person to the Twitter Avatar!

Of course today is just a warm-up. Vendors are putting the finishing touches on their booths so they'll be ready when the EXPO doors open Monday morning.

A shout-out to my ASTD colleagues. One of the best parts of the conference, for us, is seeing how much a year's (or more) worth of hard work pays off in the faces of conference attendees. This is the time of year when it all comes together. The days are long, but the rewards are immeasurable!

So Kudos to the ASTD staff and volunteers that make it all possible and make it all happen.

And to our ASTD 2011 attendees -- Enjoy the learning! 

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Categories: Conferences | Membership

Steps for Learning Professionals to use to move from Training to Performance mindset

May 6, 2011 09:40 by MJ Hall

Given the proliferation of Tweets, discussion boards, web conferences, magazine articles, and conversations with colleagues, learning professionals receive myriad messages daily on what to do to be more aligned, collaborative, and relevant.   Lists of What learning professionals need to do abound.  While these are timely, relevant and great ideas, translating the What into a first-step How, and then designing an action plan for execution and follow through within an organizational culture, are much different – and more difficult.

As an example, consider several of the TO states in the From a training event to a learning journey list at the end:
• a guide-on-the-side (from a sage-on-the-stage)
• a member of a collaborative team (from a Lone Ranger)
• collaborating with work teams to co-create solutions for enhancing productivity (from Independently designing and delivery curriculum)

These are very different roles for learning professionals – and require different skills.  How does a learning professional steeped in ISD (Instructional Systems Design) and stand-up delivery of facts and information, e.g., a sage-on-the-stage, evolve into a guide-on-the-side?  This transition may be even more difficult if the sage is knowledgeable, skilled at delivery, and receives positive feedback for his/her current practice from participants.

Given the “from a training event to a learning journey” conundrum in the professional learning arena, the ASTD Forum has incorporated several how-to techniques, including the principles of Human-Centered Design (H-CD) to transition from a focus on formal training to a focus on performance on the job. According to Luma Institute, the essence of H-CD is creating something new where the activity is driven by the needs, desires, and unique context of the people for whom we design.   Human-Centered Design principles include a variety of tools and techniques that provide discipline to generating solutions to problems and creating opportunities to design the future through teams working together by:

• Observing human experiences
• Analyzing challenges and opportunities
• Envisioning future possibilities 

Generally, multiple tools are used in combination with each other and/or as part of an overall system to help create a new reality. Tools specifically combined to work together are referred to as a “method set.”   All tools in the “method set” are generally used consecutively, and, in practice, several method sets can be used for a project.  Human-Centered Design tools also enhance other problem-solving tools and methodologies such as Six Sigma, LEAN, Grove templates, and Action Learning. 

These tools can be used in collaboration with the learning designer’s client in assessing a need or designing a solution.  They can be used with participants in a learning experience.  Using these collaborative tools and techniques moves the learning professional from the “lone ranger” mode to a team mode tasked to actually design a solution for a work team.  And while it helps move the role from sage to guide, more importantly, it enables the learning professional to be a designer that uses tools and techniques to enable groups to:
• discover more about the situation/problem
• co-create solutions for the unique context
• work together to implement and facilitate a solution, and
• continuously improve performance .

For the first time ever, attendees at ASTD’s 2011 International Conference and Expo will have the opportunity to “experience” tools and techniques related to moving from the current “event” state to a future “journey “state.  Forum members and partner Luma Institute will offer four sessions, two on the 23rd (M122 and M223) and two on the 24th (TU122 and TU223).  We invite you to join in this historical and meaningful learning experience.

For more information on the ASTD Forum:
Twitter Hashtag:   #ASTDForum

For more information on the 2011 ASTD International Conference & Expo:

From Training as an Event

To Learning as a Journey

Training as an event

Learning as a Journey that is dynamic learning integrated with an employee’s work and results in changed performance

Trainer as a Lone Ranger

Business Partner as a member of a Collaborative Team focused on improving productivity

Training in Classrooms

24/7 access to myriad learning assets

Rigid Formality

Organic eco-system

“Sage-on- the-Stage”

“Guide-on- the-Side”

Trainer as the source of information and person doing the research

Learning designer creating an environment where the customer is the source of information and a major contributor to solutions all within the work context

Active teaching during an event

Active facilitation and continuous brokering of performance support tools that foster dynamic learning as part of the work


Engaged partners, employees, participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers


Work Performance integrated with dynamic learning at the point of need

Trainer working for the customer

Collaborative partner with a customer-team and serving as a coach and performance broker for learning tools

Single activity that employees “go to”

An integrated approach that includes the worker’s needs for doing the work within the culture of the workplace


Content within the real Context and as part of the culture

Designing and delivering curriculum

Collaborating with work teams to co-create solutions for enhancing productivity


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Categories: Conferences | Next-Gen Learning

Labs at ASTD International Conference & Exposition? Seriously? You are kidding, right?

April 8, 2011 10:11 by ASTDForum

In March 2011 the ASTD Forum held its sixth “lab” session, a community meeting for members to connect, collaborate, and share learning experiences. Generally, these meetings are in person; however, in 2009 members Agilent and Intel hosted a virtual lab.

When talking with non-members about the Forum several questions always surface: What is a lab? What happens at a lab? Is this really just another conference with a few more Q&A sessions?

A simple definition is that Forum labs are opportunities for members to engage and build relationships in three ways: reflection, experimentation, and commitment to action. These activities support a theme selected by the host members for the unique lab. For example, the 2009 theme with hosts Accenture and Allstate was innovation.  A brief description of each of these lab activities follows:

1.  Reflection happens in a variety of ways – but, generally, there are opportunities for reflecting on personal practices as designers of learning environments, on the lab itself, and, at the same time, on the current state of the learning profession.  For many of the “reflecting” sessions, the members are in small groups and collectively use trigger questions on the related theme. For example, at one session groups were asked to “describe the future of Talent Management” as it related to leadership development. One tool for reflecting on the lab itself is the Six Sentence Stems process introduced by member BD.

2.  Experimentation happens when participants use tools and techniques that are unfamiliar or new. For example, in 2008 Forum members were introduced to accelerated learning techniques at the VA’s Cleveland Learning xChange. These techniques included the Rapid Consult and Read-a book-in-an-hour. At the 2009 lab, members participated in a “design project” contributing ideas as “users.” At a special “unmeeting” at Luma Institute in 2010 members constructed models using rapid prototyping. The emphasis in the Forum is on attendees doing, e.g., using tools and techniques, not hearing about them in a presentation or seeing them in power point.

3.  The Commitment to action part of the lab is generally using tools or techniques. Tools such as the Grove’s templates for either Cover Story or Five Bold Steps provide opportunities for participants to synthesize ideas from the lab content and to integrate them into their unique context. At another session on the Future of Leadership at Eli Lilly& Co., members paired-up to “Take-a-Walk” outside to share three ways they were planning to use the ideas from the lab. Physically constructing a plan of action and verbally sharing with others can influence transfer of ideas from the lab to the work environment. Still another way to commit to action is writing a letter to yourself stating what you have accomplished and having the facilitator mail it three months after the meeting.

For the first time ever, attendees at ASTD’s 2011 International Conference and Exposition will have the opportunity to “sample” this Forum lab approach. Forum members and partner Luma Institute will offer four sessions, two on May 23 and two on May 24. These sessions will include opportunities for participants to reflect on their practice; to reflect on the practice of the profession as an industry; to collaboratively experiment with new tools and techniques; and to commit to action. Mark your calendars now!!

For more information on the ASTD Forum:
Twitter Hashtag:  #ASTDForum

Click here for more information on the 2011 ASTD International Conference & Exposition and for the ASTD Conference blog.

MJ Hall, PhD, PMP

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ASTD 2011 Conference and Exposition offers interpretation in Korean, Japanese, and now Mandarin!

April 4, 2011 14:29 by Wei Wang

 ASTD International Conference and Exposition is a global event that welcomes 8,000 attendees from more than 70 countries.

Based on demand, we have been offering Korean and Japanese interpretation for 3 keynote speakers sessions, and 20+ concurrent sessions in previous conferences. This year, with an influx of attendees from Mandarin-speaking countries, we are glad to announce that Mandarin interpretation service will be available.

Please contact for more information regarding interpretation.


Categories: Conferences | International | News

ASTD Member workshop in China - Use Learning to Lead

April 4, 2011 14:24 by Wei Wang

“Learning to lead” is the theme for the ASTD 2011 International Conference and Exposition. In 2011, how are YOU going to use learning to lead professional and organizational development?

I just recently returned from the trip to Beijing, China, where more than 70 ASTD members and L&D professionals joined me to discuss how we use learning to lead in our organizations. I shared with participants the latest ASTD State of the Industry Report, how to apply for ASTD Awards, and preview of the ASTD 2011 International Conference and Exposition. The guest speaker, Professor Feng Wu from Peking University, also shared their latest research on corporate university evaluation system.

The workshop was supported by the Enterprise Education Center at Peking University, one of the leading universities in China. It was a great networking and sharing session. I look forward to our next reunion in the near future!



Categories: Conferences | International | Membership | News

ASTD 2011 Conference and Exposition Video

February 28, 2011 14:02 by Wei Wang

Join us when we use learning to lead! Check out this short video for the highlights of the ASTD 2011 Conference and Exposition and warm welcome from ASTD team!

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Categories: Conferences | International

Is Learning Transfer Important to You? It Should Be.

February 17, 2011 08:48 by Kristen Fyfe

Learning transfer is a key to improving the business impact of training. In an era of increased accountability and the drive for measurable results, learning and development professionals need to have tools that move them from order taker to strategic business partner.

ASTD has been studying the issue of learning transfer for quite some time. We know it's our responsibility to provide learning and development professionals with practical and actionable resources to help them make significant impact in their organizations. So we're pleased to let you know about a new conference offering centered on this critical subject: The Learning Transfer Conference. We've partnered with the Fort Hill Company to bring this opportunity to you.

The Learning Transfer Conference is an interactive 1½ day workshop that kicks off a 10-week learning program. During the program, attendees will learn to apply the Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning to dramatically improve the business impact of training and development efforts, and will interact with the authors of this best-selling and widely-adopted approach to enhancing training’s impact. They will also benefit from online coaching and interaction with the facilitators and other participants for two months after the workshop itself. 

Attendees will:
• learn to implement the six critical practices needed to earn the greatest return on training investments
• come away with practical tools and ideas to implement based on real-world best practices and examples from leading companies 
• learn to design, deliver, and evaluate programs that have real business impact.

The Learning Transfer Conference will take place April 7-8 in Chicago and in November near Washington, D.C., on a date to be announced shortly.

You can find more information or register for The Learning Transfer Conference, visit

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