Learning Design and Development Toolkit

As part of the Learning Technologies review that I’m undertaking for a large corporate I’m compiling a toolkit for use by learning design and development team.  To identify the type / category of tools to include in the kit and examples of specific tools that could be used I’ve used the following sources:

  • Tools already in use in the decentralised Learning and Development teams across the organisation
  • Top 200 Tools for Learning 2017 published by Jane Hart at the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning
  • Recommendations from people in my network

The list I’ve compiled for further research is below.  This list is reasonably long and some of the tool types would not be required by all organisations.  This depends on the delivery methods and type of content that the organisation wants to use .  Other factors in the organisational context may create specific needs e.g. examination management to met regulatory requirements in aviation.  However, the list should provide a reasonable starting point against the generic needs of a corporate learning design and development team.

What do you think of this list?  What would you change on this list?  Is there a type of tool or a specific tool that you suggest be added to the list?




Requirements List – Learning Technologies

Last week I posted about a review of learning technologies that I am doing for a large corporate organisation. At that time I was developing requirements and scope for the review, which aims to develop a high level three year plan for learning design and delivery technologies.  I’ve now finalised a list of requirements for the review.


The purpose of these requirements is to guide:

  • selection of technologies to include in review, and
  • evaluation of feasibility and benefits of technologies.

I drafted the requirements by reviewing outputs of workshops held a couple of months ago that focussed on (a) internal customers of Learning and Development (L&D), and (b) current and future learning solution approaches.  From these a set of requirements could be derived that would meet current and future customer needs, and also enable preferred approaches to learning solution delivery into the future.  These draft requirements were reviewed in a short workshop with people from Information Technology and a small group of L&D Leaders.

The final set of requirements is listed below, noting that for each item on the list a short (1-2 sentence) statement was written to describe the requirement.  In the workshop we recognised that the requirements list could be used as an ongoing set of requirements when new technologies or tools were being considered in the future.

  1. Compliance
  2. LMS interface
  3. Governance
  4. Efficacy
  5. Cost-effective
  6. Timely
  7. Sustainable
  8. Scaleable
  9. Adaptable
  10. Flexible
  11. Solution standardisation
  12. Technology configuration
  13. Content re-use
  14. Rebranding
  15. Bite-sized and modular
  16. Realistic environment
  17. Engaging
  18. End User experience
  19. Efficient administration
  20. Vendor support
  21. Obsolescence
  22. Development pathways
  23. Five moments of need
  24. Workplace learning
  25. Performance support
  26. Change communication
  27. Navigation
  28. Collaboration
  29. Social learning
  30. External sources
  31. Self-directed learning
  32. Professional development
  33. Accessible
  34. 3rd party access
  35. All-site access
  36. Chokepoints
  37. Inclusivity
  38. Network performance
  39. Security protocols
  40. IT enterprise principles
  41. Multi-timezone support
  42. Availability
  43. Offline functionality

I’m interested to hear if anyone else picks up this list and uses it  in their organisations, and also if there are additions you would suggest.

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30 Day Creativity Challenge – Join In #30dcreativity

Peer support and accountability is a great mechanism for working towards a goal or developing a habit.  I was introduced to the 30 Day Challenge format by Shannon Tipton of the Learning Rebels when she ran a 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge in mid 2016.  I enjoyed producing a video (almost) every day for 30 days ‘exposing thoughts that were sleeping in the back of my brain.’

Recently I’ve been reading books that explore creativity and the things that get in the way of us being creative.*  This has led me to examine the things that get in the way of me doing more creating.  In my case writing, including blogging, and video production are my preferred forms of creativity.  I’m ready to smash through the excuses and form a daily habit.  If you really want to create more (in whatever form this takes for you), the key is to make it a priority, set aside time, and do it.  Trust that with regular time and volume the quality of work and enjoyment will come.

So, the 30 Day Creativity Challenge is starting on Monday 9 October 2017.  Anyone can join in from anywhere in the world.  This is an action-oriented challenge.  To participate you simply do something creative every day and either post what you created (or a photograph or video of it) online, or post about what you did.  Share your post on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #30dcreativity in your post so others who are participating see it and can comment and cheer you on.

You get to decide what it is you will create, and there are no boundaries on what constitutes a suitable creative activity or product.  It could be writing, photography, video, cooking, gardening, a new way of doing something, a piece of software code or a bot, a song ….  endless possibilities.  You can create something different every day, or do the same / similar activity throughout the challenge.  Make it work for you.

If you miss the start date of 9 October, just join in whenever you can.

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Five Moments of Need and Learning Technologies

I’ve just started work on a review of technologies for learning design and delivery for a large corporate organisation.  The output of this review is a high level 3-year technologies implementation plan.

One of my first steps is to prepare a set of requirements that the selected technologies should meet.  I also wanted to frame some generic use cases that could be used to help select and screen a suite of technologies.  The 70:20:10 framework may have been adequate for this purpose.  However I was concerned that it may limit the range of technologies considered.  Instead I’ve used the “Five Moments of Need” model described by Bob Mosher and Contrad Gottfredson, in their 2011 book, Innovative Performance Support.  The authors summarise these moments in an eLearning Industry article as:

1.  New: Learning something for the first time

2. More: Expanding knowledge of what has been learned.

3. Apply: Acting upon what has been learned. This can include planning, remembering, or adapting.

4. Solve: Using knowledge to solve a problem in a situation when something didn’t work out as expected.

5. Change: Needing to learn a new way of doing something. This requires giving up practices that are comfortable for practices that are new and unknown.

Image Source: http://oustlabs.com/microlearning/micro-learning-for-workplace-training/

Mapping Technologies to the Five Moments

Below is my initial mapping a range of learning technologies against the five moments.  I’m sure that this mapping will be refined as I work through the review and consider more specific use cases and delve further into technologies that I’m less familiar with.

Notes on mapping:

  1. The technologies are not mutually exclusive e.g. video may be used as part of eLearning, virtual online sessions or social learning.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a label that seems to be applied to a range of functionality from basic automation of processes to more sophisticated adaptive and personalised learning.  I need to clarify what forms of AI are in scope.

Initial observations on mapping

The map points out the relative inflexibility of eLearning and Learning Management Systems across the range of moments of need.

I’m sure that there are some boxes that could be marked with a cross in the table, even if a little creativity would be required to use them to meet a specific moment. Even so, there are a lot of crosses entered, suggesting that some of the technologies are very versatile.   To ensure that the mapping assists in discriminating between technologies I may update it to highlight the moments that each technology is particularly strong in meeting.

Your thoughts?

I’m curious about whether others have a different view from that shown below as to whether / how a technology can be used for different moments of need.

I’m also open to questions you may have that I could potentially answer as I undertake this review.

I look forward to your thoughts in comments against this post.



Transformation Program Workshop Structure

Over the past year I’ve worked on a transformation program which involved a lot of stakeholder consultation.  One of the forms that this took was a series of workshops to both understand current state and co-design future state.  I’m going to use my Working Out Loud (WOL) page to reflect on these workshops and what I learned as a result of designing, co-designing and working with the workshop outputs.  I don’t have a series of posts mapped out, so this exploration will jump around a bit (and may be interspersed with WOL posts on other topics).

My goal is to extract the best of these ‘half-baked’ reflections into a better-crafted post on my main blog on this website when I am ready. This program focussed on Learning and Development (L&D) activities in a large organisation with decentralised L&D teams.  The lessons I’d like to draw out are not specific to the L&D function; some will also be applicable beyond organisational transformation.

To provide context I will start in this post by mapping out the series of workshops.  Preceding these workshops we had undertaken a deep dive into L&D activities in a number of business units to identify what was working well, and opportunities to improve results and efficiency.  The workshops expanded participation to representatives from all L&D teams and internal customers (represented by managers and subject matter experts).

As shown in the image below the workshops were conducted in three waves, moving from high level to greater detail.  The overall purpose was to define an effective, efficient future state operating model, informed by an understanding of customer characteristics and needs, solutions to meet these needs, and capabilities required to develop and deliver these solutions.  The work stream workshops in the centre row and the workstream precision design workshops were all run multiple times to accommodate 6 ‘solution portfolio’ workstreams plus workstreams for a further 3 value chain activities.  The total number of workshops conducted was between 25 and 30.

WOL Note – Yesterday I tweeted about the excuses we use to defer being creative.  The source of this tweet was a fabulous little book called ‘Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk‘ by Danielle Krysa.  I decided to get back to my Daily Dispatches on my WOL page to overcome the excuse of ‘I don’t have enough time’ and ‘But it’s not good enough to post.’  Hence this bite-sized post as a start point for unpacking how I’ve worked and what I’ve learned through these workshops.

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The Sacred Duty of Recording how our (L&D) Strategy has Evolved

It’s been almost 12 months since I returned to working independently.  Very shortly after leaving my last role as an employee I started a two month assignment at Qantas to undertake a strategic review of the current state Learning and Development (L&D).  It was a pilot focussed on three L&D teams which developed into a Group-wide review, and then into a transformation program.  Twelve months later the program is well underway and several internal people have been appointed to Project Lead roles.  It’s time for me to handover to the new Project Leads, complete some specific deliverables (including a learning technology road map and an L&D Capability framework) and to step back from day-to-day project involvement.

My primary task this week has been to prepare “handover packs” and start on boarding one of the new Project Leads.  I’ve spent most of my time this week using OneNote to compile the handover information.  It’s the same tool I used in September 2016 to finalise handover to my team at Coca-Cola Amatil.  Again, I’m finding it a very versatile way of compiling history, current state, and next steps for a range of strategic and tactical work items.  However, this post isn’t really about OneNote so I’ll move on.

This post is about the importance of having a documented history, something that captures the arc over time of how and why your strategy has evolved.

For example, at Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) I recorded how the Supply Chain Technical Academy had been set up in early 2012 with a mission to develop frameworks and programs to develop technical capabilities for new platforms that the business had invested in heavily over the preceding three years in order to ensure sustainable capability development and reduce reliance on equipment manufacturers.  By early 2014 we had largely met that mission, and the business strategy had been refreshed to focus more on efficiency and business continuity.  Our maturity as a learning organisation had developed, and our strategy expanded to include continuous workplace learning, with a particular focus on improving business continuity through knowledge sharing.  As I approached the end of my time at CCA the business strategy was shifting again and it was unclear at that point how the capability strategy should adapt to best support this shift.  The team member who was stepping into my role had spent a significant amount of time in Indonesia setting up a new Academy to support CCA’s local operations so there was a gap in his experience of how our strategy had evolved in the Australian operations, what had worked well, and the lessons we’d learned.  I felt significant responsibility to bridge that gap as best as I could, and spent time telling him stories about what had happened in addition to writing up this history and preparing presentations that would help him to link the future strategy to the past.

When I started preparing handover notes for the Qantas project I was aware that there had been several key shifts in insight and direction over the 12 months we had been grappling with the question of how to set up a higher impact L&D operating model.  And this was where I started – the arc of how and why the operating model had evolved.  The past seven months in particular on this project have been a period of intense activity with well over 25 workshops conducted, a LOT of stakeholders engaged, and  range of surveys and analysis of existing data sets undertaken.  We’ve spent too little unstructured time just ‘thinking out loud’ and making sense of all of these discussions and analyses.  Rather, we’ve been thinking on the run with a shifting cast of stakeholders.  It felt like a sacred duty as the one person who has been involved in this program from the start to retrace the path and document it to inform the thinking of others.

We have such a bias to action, an emphasis on delivery, in today’s organisations that we make too little time to think – to look back and look forward, connecting the two, making sense of where have come from in order to inform where we are heading.  This is as true of me as most people.  I make too little time to pause, reflect, and record how I got to a particular point and how this links to where I am headed next.  It’s time to reinstate and improve upon the personal quarterly reviews I used to undertake as part of my personal routine.  Don’t wait until a ‘handover’ or transition point to capture where you’ve been – it’s a good argument to both work out loud on a continuous basis and also to periodically reflect on and record whatever is important to the ‘big picture’ in your world.



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My Working Out Loud Posts move back home

I tried a little experiment.  I set up a new WordPress site (michelleworksoutloud.com) for my working out loud posts and hid the page on my primary website (michelleockers.com).  I explained the rationale for this move on the first post on my new site .  In a nutshell, I thought that having a separate site to work out loud would free me from the barrier of being concerned about not looking adequately ‘professional’ on my main business website.  I thought I would post more often and in a less inhibited manner.

I was wrong.  I didn’t post more frequently.  I suspect that posting frequency is related more to how much priority I place on working out loud and my effectiveness at allocating time to make short posts as part of the flow of my work and learning.  There is still a niggling voice in my head warning me about the risk of appearing unprofessional as a result of reintroducing these half-baked, less polished posts back to my website.  I’m going to stop fighting with it, thank it and get on with it anyway.

There were two bigger concerns that having a separate site for working out loud raised for me:

  1. Authenticity and integrity – in part the strength and value of my work is related to me visibly practicing what I advocate, for all to see regardless of my relationship or potential relationship with them.
  2. Weakening my SEO – now, I’m not even sure if this is the right way to put it.  My technical knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation is very limited.  However, someone in my online network who has a decent grasp on the topic sent me a thoughtful message my new website was in no way connected to my current one and it had the potential to reduce my appearance in online searches as I moved activity off my primary website.

So, here I am again, reunited with myself – whole and intact.  Ready to continue working out loud in a familiar place.


Michelle Works Out Loud – Crown College L&D Case Study

Today I attended the Forward Government Learning Conference (#govlearn) held in Melbourne, Australia.  It was an intimate event, with fewer than 30 participants.  This meant we had more opportunity for interaction and discussion than at larger conferences.

I take notes on conference sessions using Evernote, and post a link to my notes on Twitter.  In 2017 I have replaced my old habit with a high volume of short tweets during presentations with focusing on taking better quality notes, polishing these up a bit and adding links to relevant resources, writing up my key takeaways and reflections on each session, then sharing these more comprehensive notes.

There were some excellent case studies at #govlearn today, most of which were new to me.  I’ll post all of my notes in the next few days.  Meantime, here is a taster with my notes from a case study presented by Shane Thomas from Crown.  What I especially liked about Shane’s work is how he had deepened his understanding of his business, built credibility by adding business value, and now has excellent stakeholder support.

Summary of my takeaways / analysis

  • Value of building and leveraging a brand for L&D.  In this case Crown College (as an RTO) is the brand.  Building L&D brand around strong Crown business brand has worked well given the industry turnover and need to attract Allen.  Also, having own RTO suits this business and industry (see noes below on industry).  In this case Shane used industry awards to build the brand, both internally and exernally.  you need to figure out what brand and approach to brand-building will suit your business context.
  • Importance of business buy in, especially at executive level.  This is evidenced by high involvement of leaders in programs, especially leadership programs.  Linkage has been created to business outcomes in leadership programs via workplace projects (see detailed notes for more)
  • Importance of L&D developing a deep understanding of their business.  There is a virtuous cycle in evidence where Shane has sought to understand the business, hence been able to better meet their needs, building credibility, and earning a ‘place at the table.’  Given Shane’s long tenure and deliberate efforts to understand business context, drivers and financials, and add business value, he has been able to build deep relationships with senior leaders in the business.

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Michelle Works Out Loud – A Tool to Capture & Communicate What You Know

Today’s daily dispatch is about a tool I use to help me record and communicate things I know.  It’s called a pink sheet.  I was introduced to pink sheets in a business school program that I’m currently undertaking.  After several months of using them I’ve finally gotten the hang of the template and am finding it a useful way to capture my body of knowledge in a subject area and figure out how to communicate it in a more rounded way.

The template is shown on the left.  The idea is to convey a single key point on one page in a range of ways.

Moving vertically through the template from top to bottom the point is presented from big picture through to detail as follows:

  • Context – big picture, what’s it about
  • Concept – what does it mean, explained using a brief statement followed by a short explanation of the statement
  • Content – detail and specifics that illustrate the point

Moving horizontally, left and right brain thinking are covered as follows:

  • Left  –  studies, statistics and a model
  • Right – metaphor and stories

Here is a completed template to illustrate how the elements come together.  You can take a closer look at a PDF version of this pink sheet.  Note that it’s not ‘perfect’ – it’s a working document that can be used as source content for a range of purposes.  As I use the material I can continue to refine and improve it.  When I find new research or a better metaphor for instance I can add it to a pink sheet.

I can also ‘layer’ pink sheets, going deeper into a specific element of a high level pink sheet.  For example, there are several different elements in the model on this sample pink sheet.  For each of these elements one or more further pink sheets can be created to drill down into these elements.  Over time a set of interconnected sheets is built up.

Another very elegant aspect of pink sheets is that I can combine different sets of pink sheets in a subject area as required to create a presentation, a workshop, a paper, even a mentoring program or, in time, a book.  It becomes very efficient to repackage what I know in a range of formats and communicate it.  All in all, a very useful tool.

This post is part of my daily dispatches experiment, inspired by Austin Kleon.  This is Daily Dispatch Number 4.






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Michelle Works Out Loud – Working with a Graphic Designer

“Good design encourages a viewer to want to learn more.”

This tweet caught my eye this afternoon.  Some Learning & Development (L&D) professionals are really good at visual design.  My forte is L&D strategy, so I’m really good at organisation design, but not so good with visual design.  Yet, I want content that I produce to look visually appealing, to encourage the viewer to want to look closer, to enhance the content rather than detract from it.

I could learn more about design and improve my skills (yep, it’s on my wish list).  However, I need the materials I’m producing now to look good, and be presented in a way that improves understanding and conveys professionalism.  And that will take some time – I’m probably still at the unconscious incompetence stage, so it’s going to get more uncomfortable and challenging for me to work on this skill set before I see improvement.

For this reason, I recently started working with a graphic designer.  Actually, it was my second attempt this year to work with a designer.  I initially engaged someone overseas as I thought this would be cheaper and still produce an acceptable result.  It didn’t work for me (it might work for others, it just didn’t for me).  It seemed difficult for them to interpret my requirements, and they over-complicated the tasks I gave them.  Things looked heavy and dense rather than the fresh, bright, clear look I wanted.  I retained one or two aspects of their work, such as the updated colour palette on my logo, then got in contact with an Australian designer that I worked with over six years ago – Janine Warner of J9 Designs.  I’ve been delighted with the work that she has done for me. Based on our previous collaboration, she understands who I am and how I want my work to be presented.  In the past two weeks she has quickly created new business cards, a white paper, a workbook and a PowerPoint template.  All have used a similar palette and look coherent.  It’s been easy to work with her via email, and in all cases minor rework on initial deliverables has been turned around rapidly.

As for the output – you can see how much she’s improved upon my hand drawn diagram below to create the final model.



This post is part of my daily dispatches experiment, inspired by Austin Kleon.  This is Daily Dispatch Number 3.

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