Tag Archives: training delivery

Working with Subject-Matter-Experts to Define Learning Outcomes

Our team had the opportunity to work with the Aveda training team to design a curriculum to be used globally to train hairdressers in haircutting. To define the learning outcomes for this project, we interviewed stakeholders including customers, trainers and master hairdressers to define the four learning outcomes that would guide the instructional design process.

An interesting insight on how master hairdressers view the concept of hair design came out of the performance analysis process. Using the 4MAT performance model we share in our Leading Training Needs Analysis to Define Results: Focused Learning Outcomes Online Course, we began to unearth some of the surprising ways that hairdressers view their work. In response to one of the questions, one hairdresser described the process of cutting hair as being similar to carving a sculpture. He went on to compare haircutting to the process of sculpting a large slab of granite into a statue. He shared that when the sculptor approaches the granite, he has to see what needs to be removed to get to the desired result.

Haircutting is similar to the process of sculpting  in that the hairdresser must see the “weight” that needs to be removed tocreate the desired result in the client’s hair.

To help a novice gain competency, trainers must create an opportunity for them to “see” what the competent already see. By asking the right questions of a subject matter expert, an instructional designer can uncover the important concepts that must be conveyed in the training delivery.  The right questions led to the discovery of a powerful concept , “weight distribution”, which  became one of the core concepts shared to help novice hairdressers begin to see what master hairdressers already see.

Training design is focused on improving the skills and competency of a learner.  Observing and questioning masters, or subject-matter-experts, will help you identify what to include in your training design. Subject-matter-experts can help you identify what concepts must be valued, what content must be included, what skills must be practiced and what follow-up and support must be offered.

Increase Interactivity in Training Using Text Polling

This week, I headed to Chicago to share the 4MAT approach to integrating needs analysis with training design at the ASTD International Conference and Expo. The rest of the time, I had the chance to attend some great train the trainer sessions. Mike Fredericks of Farmers Insurance Company led a session titled Fast and Furious: Creatively Building High-Impact Training. Mike had some great ideas to share on increasing interactivity in training delivery. Mike opened the session by introducing us to the Poll Everywhere tool (www.polleverywhere.com). Before a training session, you can load up polling questions on the site. Participants can answer poll questions by texting responses with their cell phones. In Mike’s session, the entire audience was participating in text-based polling in minutes. Lots of fun!

live audience polling image

Training Activity: What’s your sentence?

Daniel Pink

Earlier this week, I spilled an entire cup of coffee on my copy of Daniel Pink’s latest book, Drive.  Luckily, this happened after I finished the toolkit section of his latest book. Pink, the former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore shares that people are inspired by intrinsic motivation–the desire to do good work and to do good.

Here’s a video that shares  the two questions you should be asking yourself.  This is a great inspiration piece for training design. Imagine this as a 4MAT Perform step in a course focused on leadership development. Check it out:

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

What is Learning?


We all perceive and then process our experiences, along with the information gained from the experiences. The differences in thewe approach these two activities define our learning style. 

Perceiving: how  we take in information-through experiences, reading, listening, visualizing or other sensory modes

Processing: how we determine the meaning, store and retrieve information-reflecting, watching, jumping in and doing, sitting back and observing

 These differences define our learning style.  Type One learners are feelers and watchers. Type Two learners are watchers and thinkers. Type Three learners are thinkers and doers. Type Four learners are doers and feelers. Your learning style influences your communication, coaching, leading and training style.

Learning is so much more than classroom instruction. Reading an email,  meeting, coaching, communicating are all learning processes. Our preferences impact how we engage and disengage in every situation that involves taking in and processing information.

What Would Google Do… with learning design?


I just finished reading Jeff Jarvis’ book, What Would Google Do? Jarvis does a great job of moving the learner from passive reader into engaged learner by asking questions.  What Would Google Do? has us ponder what we might learn from history’s fastest growing business. Jarvis suggests that involving your audience in the creative process is a key element of the success of Google.

Communities exist within your company and within your customer base. They exist to facilitate their mutual interest(s). The question isn’t how to create (learning) communities, the question is how to help them do what they are doing better. What forum can you provide that makes connecting and learning more accessible. 1

Questions to ponder:

How can we enable stakeholders to talk, share what they know, support each other, create together?

How do we synthesize all the content “out there”? How do we make it easily findable?

How do we create the ability to “mash-up” content and customize it, as needed?

How do we involve our audience in helping us create content?




How are you involving the learner in the creative process? What tools are you providing for the learner community to connect, share and create with? Would love to hear from you.


1Jarvis, Jeff. What Would Google Do? New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2009.

Great Questions for Facilitating Training

Crafting powerful questions is an art. Powerful questions provoke. They provoke emotion, they provoke controversy and they provoke learning. Webster tells us that the root of “provoke” helps us understand the word’s essential meaning as “to call forth”. What are you calling forth with the questions you are crafting?

Powerful questions are

Open-ended-they leave space for the learner to fill in the blanks

Ambiguous-there is no right answer, no leading of the learner to some preconceived idea

Personal-linking the learner to their mental maps around the content

Tension-creating-causing the learner to recognize some gap, some opportunity that needs exploring, pushing the learner into discovery.

A less-than-powerful question skips reflection and moves into action:  “How do we improve results?”

A powerful question leads the learner to reflect and dig deeper: “What is an “unspoken” truth, that if explored might lead us to improving results?”

Think about where the learner must go in each part of the learning process. Craft questions to lead the learner there.

Here we go…

Co-author, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks

Co-author, Hold On, You Lost Me! Use Learning Styles to Create Training that Sticks


I frequently have the opportunity to connect with learning professionals in our 4MAT live and web workshops and the consulting work we do.  The conversation begins with the application of 4MAT, a model for understanding different learning styles.  Inevitably, the dialogue  centers around  questions on how best to apply brain-based design to real-world leadership and learning issues. As learning gurus, the questions that we collectively seem to be most interested in:

How do we engage learners in the content we are sharing?

What are the best practices in training design and delivery that we can learn from?

What’s the best examples of elearning that truly addresses the way the brain learns?

Where can I find examples of powerful activities that engage different learning styles?

Any new, interesting technologies out there that can make design simpler and delivery more engaging?

The intent of this blog is to ponder these questions and create a forum to share the answers we are discovering.  I hope you join the dialogue.