12 Free and Easy Ways to Learn from L&D Masters

As the holidays are rapidly approaching many folks will get some well-deserved time out of the office to celebrate with friends and recharge for a new year. One good idea for filling the down time between family visits, gift-giving and holiday meals is to spend some time learning something new.

One of my favorite things about being in the Learning & Development world is how freely so many people share their knowledge. Here are a dozen great places to find super smart people sharing uber helpful information that will make you smarter than ever before.


The TV channel for all learning and performance professionals. Over 200 items available to watch for FREE on any device. New programmes and podcasts released every month



Elearning Guild

The Elearning Guild has sots of great resources including webinar and recorded video sessions which are available with a free account. Be sure to check out the DemoFest recordings.



TrainingMag Recordings

You’ll find loads of good topics from popular speakers in Training Magazine’s collection of recorded webinars.



Training Journal Webinars



InSync Recordings

A nice collection of relevant topics from pros like Jane Bozarth, Karl Kapp and others.



Principles for multimedia learning with Richard E. Mayer




Free access to materials including interviews on cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.



ATD Webinars*

*Requires paid ATD national membership




Lynda has something for everyone. Check out great courses by Karl Kapp on learning and John McWade on design.


PRO TIP: Check with your library. You may be eligible to acces Lynda.com via your library.


Talks at Google

It’s no surprise that Google attracts some amazing speakers. Check out their list which includes people like Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast & Slow, Nancy Duarte “Illuminate” and John O’Keefe GPS of the Brain,



Stanford Graduate School of Business

The Stanford Business School has a host of great talks including great topics like Design Thinking and Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share.



LinkedIn Speaker Series

The LinkedIn Speaker series highlights prominent members and influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk and many more.


LinkedIn Speaker Series

This is the 11th post in a 12 part series. 

Top 12 Things in My Presenter’s Toolkit

Many trainers and presenters, especially when they’re just getting started, underestimate the probability of something going wrong with the technical set up at their event. And trying to troubleshoot with a room full of anxious people watching your every move is nobody’s idea of fun.

Anyone who does any type of speaking or presenting should have a good toolkit to handle the inevitable challenges you’ll run into along the way. Here are the top 12 things I always have with me for every workshop, conference session, or any other type of presentation I deliver.

Before you begin, you should know the science behind giving a powerful and persuasive presentation. And one of the best places to start is Susan Weinschenk’s “100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People

100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

513m7bmk04l-_sx387_bo1204203200_ “100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People” is a great book that will teach you things like how people process information, the best ways to grab and hold people’s attention, how to move people to action and more.

In this book, Susan shares how to use psychology to be a better presenter. A lot of presenters craft talks based on their personal intuition of what is best. And that is fine, as long as your intuition aligns with the science. There is something for everyone to learn from this book and as usual, you can learn even more by plugging into Susan’s blog and following her on Twitter ( @thebrainlady ).


30003aVGA, DVI, HDMI, etc. You never know what combination of alphabet soup you’re going to need to connect your laptop or iPad to a projector, TV, or who knows what type of projection system.

Most projectors support VGA and more modern ones also support DVI and/or HDMI inputs, Murphy’s Law means that whatever one you plan for will not be what is actually available when you show up.  Don’t forget the audio connections if you’re using any multimedia.

While many conferences can help you out, the stakes are way too high to leave this to chance.

Presentation Remote aka Clicker

61kv3zrvp8l-_sl1300_This is another thing that event organizers will often provide and another thing I wouldn’t leave to chance, especially at smaller events. Logitech has several good ones including my favorite the R800. I like that it has a 100ft range and a timer you can set to buzz to keep you on schedule. For a little less money, the R400 is also a good one.   There are a lot of options to suit your needs. Just don’t forget the extra batteries.

If you co-present you can plug two clickers into the same computer so both speakers can advance their own slides without having to pass the remote back and forth.

Backup plans

Not only should you have a backup plan, but you should also have a backup to the backup and maybe even several more to back those plans up. Even if your host promises you everything will be taken care of, don’t ever assume that is actually the case. There are far too many details that can fall through the cracks, and right or wrong, all of them will reflect directly on you.

At a minimum, you’ll want to have backup copies of your slides. If you’re presenting on your own computer, be prepared for it not to work. Save a copy of your slides on a thumb drive, online someplace like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. I always try to also save a PDF version of my slides, which can be displayed on any computer even one that doesn’t have PowerPoint installed.

Depending on the situation I’ve even traveled with my own entire set up including computer, iPad, projector and speakers. As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

It matters if you built your deck on Windoes but are presenting on a Mac and vice versa. Here are a few things to consider when navigating between a PC and a Mac.

Internet Access

skyroam_device_global_no_shadow_no_canvas_smallIf you’re doing live demos or anything else that requires an internet connection, you’ll definitely want a back up plan for that.  I love including live polls in many of my talks which require an internet connection. I always have a fallback plan for internet that doesn’t work. (It happens way more often than you think!)

If you are totally dependent on having internet in your session, be sure to get to the venue you are presenting in early enough troubleshoot your connection and consider bringing your own connection along via a mobile hotspot. I’m fortunate to have the best library in the world where I can check out a mobile hotspot for free.

If you’re library isn’t as awesome as mine and you don’t want to buy one yourself, you can  try something like Sky Roam and rent one. Their service even works internationally.


Speaking of live polls, I’m a big fan of @polleverywhere.  I’ve talked about Poll Everywhere before and their free PowerPoint add-in makes adding interactive, real-time polls to your presentations a snap. And the best part is that your audience will love participating and being a part of your talk!


Slide Hosting

If you want to make your slides available, you’ll want a good place to post them. Slideshare is where I share mine. With Slideshare, you’ll be able to embed your slides in your own website or other places online. You’ll also get some nice analytics so you can see what is happening with your slides. It is nice to see how many views and where people are who are checking them out.


I’m a big believer in creating separate handouts for the sessions I deliver. Without me there to explain, my slides are not nearly as valuable. The nitty gritty details that stand alone without me there are in my handouts.

There are a number of benefits both for and the audience. For me, I don’t have to worry about diluting my presentation message with all the “nice to have” content. And for my audience, handouts let them relax and pay attention without trying to take notes. The handout also directs them where to find more details and how to easily contact me with any questions.


Speaking of handouts, I  recently discovered TalkBook and I’m super excited about it. If you’re providing handouts, contact information and other supporting details to your audience, you’ll like this too. TalkBook lets you set up everything in advance then, when you’re ready, you can share a simple link that collects email addresses and automatically sends your handouts and other information.  It even lets them rate you and ask follow-up questions. This is a  huge upgrade to the old way of handling this.

Try it for yourself and see what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts?


If you’re not leveraging the power of social media for your engagements you’re really missing an opportunity. From building interest in advance to sharing tweetable messages and follow-up resources afterward social media can give you a big boost. Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools and lets you schedule posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms. You’ll also get insightful analytics to see how people are interacting with your posts.




Social Share is a PowerPoint add-in that makes it easy to share your slides directly to Facebook and Twitter without needing to leave PowerPoint.

Portable Bluetooth speaker

81jla8ypbcl-_sl1500_I’ve come to appreciate how music can improve an experience. I like to have some subtle music playing as people filter into a session and if it is a workshop during breaks, lumch, working sessions, etc. There are some really great stations on Pandora and Google Music that work great for this. I have this Bose speaker and it is fantastic, but there are tons of great options for any budget.

I know there are lots of other things that lots of other speakers and trainers will never leave home without. What is on your ‘must have’ list? Duct tape, extension cords, power strips, flip charts, dry erase markers? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about it.

This is the 8th post in a 12 post series. 

You Already Know How to Build mLearning (You Just Don’t Know It)

Here are the slides from my recent FocusOn Learning session in Austin, TX You Already Know How to Build mLearning (You Just Don’t Know It)

A big thank you to everyone who was there and feel free to share it with others!

Guest Post on ASTD Blog

I have a new guest post over on the ASTD blog that touches on how us learning types can become more efficient, more effective and avoid becoming irrelevant.

From Training to Performance—A Necessary Evolution


Training Is Only One Part of the Puzzle.

A recent report “The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice” informs us about how to best apply training solutions. One of the most important things that “matters”, is that training should be viewed as a whole system and not a one-time event.

Not only does this mean that what happens before and after the actual training is just as important as the training itself. But more importantly, training must be applied appropriately as part of a larger set of solutions.

Looking at things holistically it is easy to see that there are performance challenges that can not be solved by training. For example, looking at the Six Boxes Model below, we see the categories of factors that influence behavior. How many of these can be “fixed” via training?

Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters, What Works - Association for Psychological Science

Training is only appropriate for application to factors within Skills & Knowledge category. Using training in an effort to impact other types of performance factors will not likely be very successful and can even do more harm than good. (Not to mention the impact to your and your departments reputation.)

So before you run off to build your next training program, make sure you’ve validated that training is an appropriate response. If training is appropriate be sure that your effort is “informed by the science”.

Often a solution may require several other elements in addition to training, so even when a training component makes sense you should also look to see if there are any additional complimentary approaches that will take you closer to your goal.

Remember most of us are no longer living in a world of generous training budgets (if you were EVER lucky enough to have that experience!) so looking for solutions holistically and expanding our solution set beyond training will enable us to be more efficient and therefore that much more valuable to our organizations.

Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters, What Works – Association for Psychological Science.

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