2017 Curated Workplace Learning Roundup

As you may already know, every Friday I post a weekly recap of the best articles, posts, and resources I find.  I try to keep tabs on things related to workplace learning, technology, social tools and anything that generally helps people work smarter.

You can keep up with these and other similar things by subscribing to my newsletter – daily or weekly – its your call.

In case you missed any or could use a refresh, here are all the things I found this year related to workplace learning.

Training Tips Weekly by Chris Mattia

Whether you’re a corporate trainer or a teacher, Chris Mattia can help you make enhancements to your instructional materials, and connect with your learners in a more meaningful way. Each week, Chris offers a new and actionable tip for creating high-quality instructional materials on any budget. He discusses designing effective lessons, creating assets for those lessons, leveraging mobile devices for instructional design, tackling instructional video production, and more. Tune in every Monday for a new tip.

Be sure to check with your local library accessing Lynda.com for free!


L&D People You Should Be Following

Here are some of the people I’m grateful for and learn amazing things from every day.


10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them

This is a nice set of tips that not only tell you how to write better but also why you should.


Gamification Research

Donald Clark highlights a key research finding on the effectiveness of gamification (Lumosity) versus other alternatives. Here is the gist of it.

Three groups were tested:

1. Gamified quizzes (Lumosity)

2. Simple computer games

3. Simple practice

All three were found to have the ‘same’ level of improvement in tasks, showing that brain games and gamification had no special effect.

You can find the study “No Effect of Commercial Cognitive Training on Neural Activity During Decision-Making” in the Journal of Neuroscience.


Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative

This Economist article by Andrew Palmer outlines how today’s technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment. I’d argue that this is not a new development but it is definitely accelerating. Considering the fact that we are tasked with educating our children for jobs which don’t even exist yet, how could this not be true?


Tools, Lifelong Learning, & The Mike Taylor Method of Social Media Curation

This week I had the honor of hanging out with Brent Schlenker, Cara North and the rest of the TLDC crew. I was a lot of fun and we had a great discussion on learning tools, social media, curation and more. Check out the recording for the context or jump over and check out all the great stuff we covered.


Lasting Learning

Learn why learning science works. Explore the foundational principles of cognition, memory, and intelligence. Breakthroughs coming out of university learning labs teach us how we really learn, how the mind works, and what we can do to accelerate learning.


How To Learn In 2 Days What Normally Takes 6 Months

Research has found that having clarity about your goals is essential to having the motivation to achieve those goals.(This one is another gem from the Learning Experience Friday newsletter by Anna Sabramowicz.)


View at Medium.com

Myers Briggs

Despite its mainstream popularity, the Myers-Brigg personality types are as scientific as a childish parlor game.

Why Successful People Spend 10 Hours A Week On “Compound Time”

By far, the biggest excuse I hear from L&D practitioners is “I don’t have time for that.” Instead of SPENDING our time, we should all be INVESTING out time. As this article by Michael Simmons shows, it is worthwhile to spend some time every day on things that are not on your to-do list.

Despite having way more responsibility than anyone else, top performers in the business world often find time to step away from their urgent work, slow down, and invest in activities that have a long-term payoff in greater knowledge, creativity, and energy. As a result, they may achieve less in a day at first, but drastically more over the course of their lives.


View at Medium.com

Who Owns the “Other 95%” by Gary Wise

This post from Gary Wise explores the role of L&D as “key enabler” vs “owner”. One of his key takeaways is that L&D organizations taking orders for training only perpetuates the myth that training drives performance.

Consider this question – Would it be a problem if L&D never developed another course?


My Top 10 Learning Tools for 2017

Have you shared your top learning tools with Jane Hart for her annual survey of the Top 100 Learning Tools? If not, you should head on over there now and contribute. She makes it super easy, so no excuses! I’ve contributed to every one of the 11 surveys so far and this year’s edition has a couple of interesting newcomers.


A Conversation About What L&D Should Steal from Marketing | MSD Podcast

Learning & Development departments in corporate America face a lot of challenges. Tune into my conversation with Pete Brown as we explore how some of these challenges can be met by stealing tactics from the marketing department. I also share a few specific tools that will give your training an immediate boost in production value and visual appeal.



The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

Why is it that some people seem to be hugely successful and do so much, while the vast majority of us struggle to tread water? The answer is complicated and likely multifaceted. One aspect is mindset—specifically, the difference between amateurs and professionals.


The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains

A good story can make or break a presentation, article, or conversation. But why is that? Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich shares the science of why storytelling is so uniquely powerful.


‘Digital Transformation’ Is a Misnomer

Image credit: Digital Transformation Machine by Bryan Mathers on Flickr

Digital transformation isn’t primarily about either “digital” or “transformation.” It’s about adaptation. It is not a process that will ever be complete.


Just Get Started: Microlearning Before it Was Cool

Microlearning has gotten a lot of attention lately. But it is really nothing new.


Elearning Guild Learn from Marketing Summit

I had a lot of fun being part of the Elearning Guild’s Learn from Marketing Summit this week. On Wednesday, I shared “A Few Things L&D Should Steal From the Marketing Department”. The cliff notes version is that we should emulate how marketers streamline their message and appeal to the lizard brain by tapping into emotions instead of simply repeating a stream of boring facts and figures. We also explored some easy to use marketing tools like MailChimp that are great for learning pros. I even built a free email course with all the key takeaways so you can see how it works.


Google Is Giving Away Its Best Tools for Managers Absolutely Free

Google has spent years studying the attributes of effective managers for its Project Oxygen and found that, technical expertise is less important than more mundane attributes like consistency, delegation, and basic human decency.

Fortunately, Google has applied the insights they gained to develop a collection of freely available training and support documents to help newer managers learn the tricks of the trade, elicit great feedback, mentor colleagues, and run effective one-on-ones. Among the resources you’ll find are:

  • Manager feedback survey [Google Forms survey]
  • New manager training course materials [slides, facilitator guide, and student workbook]
  • Career conversation worksheet [document]
  • “One Simple Thing” worksheet [document]
  • 1:1 meeting agenda template [document]


Jane Hart’s 11th Annual Top Learning Tools

Jane Hart (@c4lpt) has been polling learning pros about their top learning for 11 years. This week she published this year’s edition and as always, it is definitely worth a look.

I’ve contributed to all 11 of Jane’s surveys and recently shared a few observations on my decade+ of learning tools usage.

Why Training Fails: 11 Truths That Most Good Leaders Don’t Even Know

If you’re involved with training programs, you should give this list some consideration. Thinking about these elements and how they fit together help you get the most out of your training efforts.


The college lecture is dying. Good riddance.

As you read this, consider any type of classroom training, not just college lectures. When well done, online options can offer “arguably much more interaction than you’d ever find from an ordinary in-person course.” Interactive online courses continuously force attention back to the actual material.

This is the first in The Vanishing University, a four-part series exploring the tech-driven future of higher education in America. Here is part two.


Learning While Working Podcast

Earlier this week I had a chance to talk with Robin Petterd of Sprout Labs about some of the marketing tools and concepts and how they can be used for learning. It is a short, fun (at least for me!) and relevant chat made all the better by Robin’s Australian accent. Who can resist an Australian accent?! Be sure to check out some of the other episodes and subscribe in your favorite podcast player.


Learning Scientists

Mark your calendar for the next #LrnSciChat that is going down on Monday, 23 Oct @ 4pm (Easter time / 9pm London time). Head on over to Twitter and follow them now! Dr Yana Weinstein – @doctorwhy, Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel @pimpmymemory and the Learning Scientists account at @acethattest. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the Learning Scientist blog!


Will Design Thinking Replace Instructional Design? No. Here’s Why…

Charbel Semaan @charbeljs explores the question of whether or not design thinking will replace instructional design.

Design thinking won’t replace instructional design in the same way design thinking would never replace something like graphic design. You do graphic design within the design thinking methodology.


View at Medium.com

The empty brain: Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories.

In short: your brain is not a computer

For a long time now, people have been asserting that the human brain works like a computer. That is not true and this is a great article by Dr. Robert Epstein (@DrREpstein) that will set you on the correct path for thinking about how the brain does and doesn’t’ work.

We don’t store words or the rules that tell us how to manipulate them. We don’t create representations of visual stimuli, store them in a short-term memory buffer, and then transfer the representation into a long-term memory device. We don’t retrieve information or images or words from memory registers. Computers do all of these things, but organisms do not.


The Business Illustrator

I was quite happy to stumble upon this site in my adventures this week. Whether you plug-in via email, Twitter or feed reader, this will be something you’ll always look forward to seeing the latest from Virpi Oinonen (@voinonen).


59 Theses For the Future of Work

Mathias Vermeulen surfaced this article containing 59 theses for the future of work. These are propositions that will give you some thoughts as the ongoing conversation takes place on the future of work, organizations, people and their happiness.

A key takeaway:

“Sustainable organizations put employees first”


Learning objectives are like metadata – useful but best left unseen

Viv Cole (@Viv_Cole) takes a questioning look at learning objectives by tapping into so valuable thoughts and information from Will Thalheimer’s overview of scientific research on learning objectives and Clive Sheppard’s Love-hate relationship with them. I like the general point that if you are presenting them to your audience, you should at least steal a trick from marketers and make them interesting/appealing instead of using a dry, boring bullet list.


What are your thoughts on learning objectives? How do you use them in your work?

Working Out Loud to Build Skills & Relationships

John Stepper’s (@johnstepper) Working Out Loud is a collaborative approach to building new skills and relationships through what he calls Work Out Loud Circles. This is a good conversation that explores the experience of some L&D pros (Ross Garner – @RossGarnerGP, Mike Collins – @Community_Mike, Ady Howes – @AdyHowes, Chris Coladonato – @ChrisCola, Hannah Wysome – @quinnite and Sam Burrough – @Burrough) as they made their way through a WOL Circle’s series of twelve weekly meetings and activities.


Up Your Curation Game With ZEEF

At some point, almost everyone can benefit from adding value to others by curating a set of helpful resources. This week I shared a few of the things that make ZEEF my favorite tool for this.

Are you using anything different for this task? How does it compare?


A Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit for 2018

Personally, I believe that learning is one of the most important skills for anyone in any profession. If you expect to be treated as a professional you’ve got to continuously keep pace with important developments in your field. To help you with that, Jane Hart (@C4LPT) has assembled a Modern Professional Learners Toolkit based on results from here Top 100 Learning Tools survey.


Calling Bullshit.

It is no surprise to anyone to hear that the world is awash in bullshit. From “alternative fact” politicians to any of the man other bullshit-rich modern environments we have to navigate, this University of Washington course aims to help you identify bullshit, see through it, and combat it with effective analysis and argument. All 10 lectures are available on YouTube via the UW iSchool channel.


L&D Twitter Chat Guide

Most people I talk with are surprised to find out that Twitter is a great way to network and learn with others in your field. Did you know that Twitter was the #1 learning tool in Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools survey for a number of years and still sits in the top 5? If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, you are really missing out on a valuable opportunity. Fortunately, Sam Rogers (@snapsynapse) has a nice guide to get you started.


21 questions to ask before designing any training program

Stakeholders often come to us asking for courses, but the courses are either overkill or aren’t what is needed. And sometimes they do need “courses,” but only to check off a box. In either case, developing courses ties up resources (including learners’ time) that we could use for better purposes. When we are asked to build courses, we have a responsibility to challenge and validate that creating a course is the most effective and efficient approach. These are 21 questions, originally created by Nannette Minor (aka The Training Doctor), that will help you determine whether or not training


If you’re interested in digging in a little deeper on this topic, you can check out the slides and resources related to “Getting BETTER Results by Doing LESS Training

What’s the organizing principle of today’s digital workplace?

Community expert Rachel Happe (@RachelHappe)shared this article by Dion Hinchcliffe (@dhinchcliffe) which is a nice way of thinking about how to organize the digital workplace and manage digital transformation.


This Will Revolutionize Education

Motion pictures, radio, television, computers and more. Over the years, many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none of them have been able to do it. This video by Derek Muller (@veritasium) is a brief exploration into what could revolutionize education?

When it comes to learning, it’s not the technology but how you use it that matters most.

Learning Technologies: What Managers Really Think

The third in a series by Good Practice, this report aims to answer key questions about managers perceptions of learning technologies. Check it out to gain some insights into what managers think of mobile learning, their openness to various mediums and more. For an even deeper dive, join the conversation via the #gpwrmt hashtag.


No One Knows What the F*** They’re Doing (or “The 3 Types of Knowledge”)

This reassuring message from Steve Schwartz is one I think most of us can identify with. I know I sure can.


Perspectives on new work

Coming in at over 100 pages, this one is definitely one for a lazy weekend or some other bigger window when you’ve got some time to take it in. The essence of what appeals to me in this piece edited by Esko Kilpi ( @EskoKilpi ) is captured in by this line:

Smarter and smarter tools surround us, but if we don’t want to learn the new practices and take up the new roles that the new technologies make possible, they might as well not be there.


Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.

This NY Times article by Susan Dynarski ( @dynarski ) takes a look at the growing body of evidence showing that overall, students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures.

The Science of Learning 101: When to Build Performance Support

Which is better? Training or performance support. Patti Shank (@pattishank)shares what the research says about the factors to consider when making your decision. Jump over to her post on the new ATD website and join the discussion of when and why performance support is needed and how performance support and training target different aspects of performance. And this is just part 1 – there’s more great stuff from Patti on the horizon! (as always)


How Lifelong Learning and a Growth Mindset Can Propel Your Career

Since you’re here reading this, you probably aren’t someone who believes that your learning days ended when you got your degree or even if you’re already in your dream job. Especially these days as technologies and business models are changing so fast.

“The pace of change is accelerating, and to succeed in any industry, and to be ready to participate in the next evolution of it, professionals must adopt habits and practices that empower lifelong learning.”


View at Medium.com

The Full-Stack Employee

This article by Chris Messina (@chrismessina) looks at how the conventional seams between disciplines are fraying, and the set of skills necessary to succeed are broader and more nebulous than ever before. He makes the point that to stand out you’ve got to be a “real polymath” or what he calls a full-stack employee.


View at Medium.com

Top 30 Modern Workplace Learning Posts of 2017

Jane Hart has chosen her favorite 30 posts and articles that have been featured in the MWL Newsletter this year. Subscribe to Jane’s Modern Workplace Learning newsletter to stay up-to-date all year long.


Thomas Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model on the Learning Innovations Podcast

If you are in a role even remotely related to training and you should know about Thomas Gilbert’s Behavioral Engineering Model. In the latest episode of the Learning Innovations podcast. Doug Bushée (@Doug_Bushee) and Mike Lenz (@MLenzVoice ) talk about Gilbert’s model from his book “Human Competence”


Thomas Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model is one that everyone who works in learning and development should know and apply to their work. If that’s not immediately ringing a bell for you, stop what you’re doing and go check it out. Gilbert’s model is a foundational principle for this talk “Getting BETTER Results by Doing LESS Training” that I originally did with Patti Shank ( @pattishank ) at the Elearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference.

Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

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