We are continuing to use the virtual platform to bring the L&D community new opportunities for knowledge-sharing and relationship-building. One way we did this in 2021 is through our Thought Leader Series. Our hope is that these events provided a venue for forward thinking learning leaders from around the country to inspire, challenge, and encourage--and to a little broader audience of L&D professionals than our usual learning communities allow for.

Our gracious thought leaders all agreed to provide some additional insights after their sessions, and we're excited to share that with you here. These are all answers to questions we heard from the audiences at the sessions.
Brandon Carson
Vice President, Learning and Leadership Partner

Watch the video below for Brandon's answers to the following questions:

What are one or two items our profession should do to address the dramatic changes our people face in order to proactively create the digital playbook and prepare for the digital transformation?

What is your experiential takeaway from your organizational experiences that re-appears or resonates over and over again?
Gale Halsey
VP Human Resources
Ford Motor Credit Company

What awards would you recommend we study the requirements for to create goals for ourselves & our teams?

I’d look to ATD or SHRMI4CP is fantastic, but requires a membership. I’d also look at online magazines (CLO)--often they are a source of good information. 

What's your best advice for novice L&D professionals? What about your best advice for seasoned L&D professionals?

For novices, learn the business. Attend meetings (business and HR) and volunteer to help on different projects. Lean into neuroscience and new technologies. Speak up no matter where you are in your career. Be open to feedback. It is a gift.

For experienced professionals, put the words: “Continue to:” in front of advice you're giving to novices, and make it your mission to develop novices.  
Kevin Wilde
Executive Leadership Fellow
University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

You shared the directive, "don't be an order-taker." Do you have any tips for putting that into practice?

1. Set a strategic and robust L&D high priority plan with buy-in from key stakeholders. It’s hard to say "no" to anything if you haven’t committed to what you’ve said "yes" to.

2. Leave some room in your resources for requests during the year but set tough criteria for what would merit shifting L&D resources. It’s also good to have a governance board to review your plans and priorities periodically.

3. Build a "performance consulting" ethic and ensure your team is fully trained as a performance consultant. That helps you choose what you work on vs not.

4. If there are requests that you can’t support, help find options on how they can get the work done. For example, recommend outsourcing resources or consider later times when you can support the request.

5. All in all, be confident, be bold, and hold yourself accountable for real impact results.

What is the best advice for getting reluctant leaders to participate in training planning discussions?

1. Make it easy for them to engage as everyone is busy.

2. Find ways to understand what's most important for them to accomplish (their pain points, etc.) and show how your plan will link to what is important to them.

3. Start with those willing to help and build momentum over time.

4. Don’t give up. Your effort may take time to get everyone on board and establish an effective planning process, but it’s worth the struggle!
Thank you again Brandon, Gale, and Kevin.
Back on September 23rd, the Fredrickson Roundtable for Learning Leaders welcomed Nick Boyd, Senior Director of Strategy, Design & Operations for L&D at Target.

Nick led a session on The Future Learning Experience in a Hybrid World, during which he discussed how learning, strategy, and culture come together at Target to drive company performance, and how Target is evolving to bring a hybrid approach to its workforce.

Just like our Thought Leader presenters, Nick was gracious enough to answer some additional questions from the attendees, which we'll share now.

How have you managed or replaced the missed "networking" and connection from the physical classroom experience?

Interestingly, in programs leveraging our enhanced virtual classroom, participants are citing increased connection and improved ability to build relationships with program peers. Our facilitators have adopted best practices around connecting and socializing before and after training events as well – sometimes opening the “room” 10 minutes early for participants to join and connect.

We’ve also seen increases in Slack use for cohort or group instant messaging as well as grassroots peer-to-peer coaching engagements. These small steps are adding opportunities for connection and we’ll keep an eye on what’s working to understand how and when we should scale certain approaches.

How were you able to sell the investment of creating the virtual learning spaces to your organization?

[In the session, Nick had talked about the virtual learning spaces being physically built to support virtual learning, including pictures of a room full of monitors and a podium for digital facilitating.]

"We emphasized the importance of creating engaging and immersive learning experiences – much like we would have accomplished in person. We also outlined the experiences that were best suited for this enhanced virtual training approach, reiterating that not every program or learning moment needed deep facilitator to participant interaction and sophisticated engagement tools.

That clear differentiation helped to build the business case and prove where typical virtual meeting tools simply wouldn’t be sufficient. On a tactical level, the pandemic’s impact on travel also became a selling point for investing in a solution that most closely mimicked the classroom when we couldn’t physically meet in person."

Are there limitations to qualify for the free education you discussed and especially degree programs, or can all 400,000 associates take advantage in an unlimited capacity?  

[Nick shared a tuition program Target sponsors to support the educational efforts of its employees.]

“Team members are permitted to participate in only one Target-sponsored program at a time, however team members are allowed to enroll in a double major or major/minor within a specific program. Team members may switch between programs subject to Target’s eligibility requirements articulated above and relevant universities admissions requirements.

Funding caps, as described above, are applicable for the current funding year a student is enrolled in. In the event a student moves from one program to another (i.e. Fully Funded to Partially Funded), any amount already spent in the current funding year will count towards the new program’s funding limit.”

How do you make sure people complete the programs?  

"Guild coaches stay connected to team members throughout the process, especially while the programs are under way. We will also get reporting around completions."
November seems to have arrived quickly, but now that cold weather is sweeping over Minnesota, August feels like a very long time ago. In case you haven't seen it on LinkedIn, here is a short highlight reel that we put together to commemorate this fun outdoor event.
You'll see from the video that Margi Simmons from the Brave New Workshop put on a great session for us showcasing the power of improv and the improv mindset. One way that improv can help learning leaders, scientists, and other business professionals is by boosting communication. Heather Connors, an instructional designer with Fredrickson Learning, sheds some light on this subject:

"How often are you truly engaged in real conversations where you’re staying in the moment, really listening, and connecting? If most of us are honest, we’re formulating what we’ll say next, thinking about our next meetings, or even making shopping lists in our heads. We rely on our past experiences to plan what we will say or to check out and half-listen. And, we usually get away with it relatively unscathed.

But, how could our personal and professional relationships be better if we were staying in the moment, really listening, and connecting?"

Read more here.
Judy Nollet, an instructional designer and technical writer at White Plume Communications, will lead the next meeting of the Twin Cities Articulate User Group.

Maybe you haven't had time to learn about all the options in Storyline. Maybe you haven't given much thought to alternate ways to set up and program your files. Maybe you'd appreciate some quick tips and tricks from a long-time Storyline user. 

In this session, we'll look at some overlooked features that can save you time and triggers. We'll also explore some simple set-up tricks and programming variations that make the development process easier. And we'll cover a few tips for troubleshooting and getting help when you need it.

Interested? Contact Jay Kasdan.
Fredrickson Learning's own Director of Learning Solutions, Jill Stanton, will be participating in the eLearning Foundations Online Conference on December 8th and 9th.

New to eLearning? Just looking to freshen up on the basics? Understanding the core of what works is key to feeling confident and prepared in your eLearning projects. Join us for these eight sessions exploring the fundamentals of eLearning and how you can apply essential strategies and basic tools to your own work.

Jill's session, Ally with SMEs & Advocate for Learners to Ensure Effective Learning, is from 1:30-2:30 CST on December 8th. Instructional designers are often asked to create learning materials in ways they know are not ideal for learners. This session provides a toolkit for turning SMEs into allies in pursuit of effective learning. We'll touch on evidence-based learning design, accessibility, and UI/UX design. We'll then practice making the case for good learning in different scenarios.