Today is May 15, 2020.

This week, I asked my publisher to take all 254 remaining copies of Performance-Focused Smile Sheets and throw them in the recycling bin!

Yes! The book was one of the most important books written in the learning-and-development field over the last decade.

But I threw it out!

Why?

Because I’m writing a new, completely revised edition based on my experience developing learner surveys for organizations around the world. My learner-survey approach has been used at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Bank, at Bloomberg, at Roche (Genentech), at Oxfam. It has revolutionized the moribund smile sheet!

But time doesn’t stand still, and I’ve gained a ton of insights building learner surveys over the past five years, hearing from clients and others, pilot testing learner surveys, and creating smile sheets for my own workshops.

The new book will have an all new set of recommended questions. It will have information on open-ended questions. It will describe how learner surveys fit into the new LTEM framework (the learning-evaluation model that is replacing the Kirkpatrick-Katzell Four-Level Model around the world). The new book will also share the thinking behind the new learning-evaluation approach, LEADS (Learning Evaluation As Decision Support), which I’m developing.

When will the new book be out? Within three months!

The book may still be available in some pipelines, but I’m working to get it off the shelves. My advice is don’t buy it!

Wait for the second edition, which I’ve re-titled, Performance-Focused Learner Surveys.

Stay tuned!

And sign up for my newsletter at https://www.worklearning.com/sign-up/ to be the first to know when the book is available.

Thanks for your patience,

= Will Thalheimer

The L&D Conference—a quixotic attempt to reinvent conferencing. Aligning conference activities with how we humans actually learn. It’s an online conference, taking place over six weeks. It enables attendees to learn in the flow of their work. So they can use what they’re learning, share with their teammates back in the office, try things out, get advice, stay motivated and inspired to apply their new learning. The conference is the brainchild of Matt Richter and I, and we are now joined by marketing guru Ashley Sinclair. We are so excited to share this with you!

Unfortunately, when people think of online conferences, they think mediocre webinars strung together over one or two or a few days. THIS AIN’T THAT! We would NEVER design a conference that ignored the fundamentals of human learning!

We think you’ll like:

  • our global conference
  • our world-class speakers
  • our research-inspired sessions
  • our rollicking debates
  • our panels
  • our discount house
  • our sponsorship opportunities

BUT IF YOU NEED MORE CONVINCING—or you think YOUR BOSS might need convincing, we can help.

Download this gorgeous document. It makes the business case for joining us in the first L&D Conference.

And actually, the document does more than that. It persuades, in glorious detail, why this will be the best, most effective, and boldest L&D conference ever.

 

Click this Sentence to See the Detailed Document

 

Click this Sentence to See the Less Detailed Webpage

 

The LEARNNOVATORS team (specifically Santhosh Kumar) asked if I would join them in their Crystal Balling with Learnnovators interview series, and I accepted! They have some really great people on the series, I recommend that you check it out!

The most impressive thing was that they must have studied my whole career history and read my publication list and watched my videos because they came up with a whole set of very pertinent and important questions. I was BLOWN AWAY—completely IMPRESSED! And, given their dedication, I spent a ton of time preparing and answering their questions.

It’s a two part series and here are the links:

Here are some of the quotes they pulled out and/or I’d like to highlight:

Learning is one of the most wondrous, complex, and important areas of human functioning.

The explosion of different learning technologies beyond authoring tools and LMSs is likely to create a wave of innovations in learning.

Data can be good, but also very very bad.

Learning Analytics is poised to cause problems as well. People are measuring all the wrong things. They are measuring what is easy to measure in learning, but not what is important.

We will be bamboozled by vendors who say they are using AI, but are not, or who are using just 1% AI and claiming that their product is AI-based.

Our senior managers don’t understand learning, they think it is easy, so they don’t support L&D like they should.

Because our L&D leaders live in a world where they are not understood, they do stupid stuff like pretending to align learning with business terminology and business-school vibes—forgetting to align first with learning.

We lie to our senior leaders when we show them our learning data—our smile sheets and our attendance data. We then manage toward these superstitious targets, causing a gross loss of effectiveness.

Learning is hard and learning that is focused on work is even harder because our learners have other priorities—so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much.

We know from the science of human cognition that when people encounter visual stimuli, their eyes move rapidly from one object to another and back again trying to comprehend what they see. I call this the “eye-path phenomenon.” So, because of this inherent human tendency, we as presenters—as learning designers too!—have to design our presentation slides to align with these eye-path movements.

Organizations now—and even more so in the near future—will use many tools in a Learning-Technology Stack. These will include (1) platforms that offer asynchronous cloud-based learning environments that enable and encourage better learning designs, (2) tools that enable realistic practice in decision-making, (3) tools that reinforce and remind learners, (4) spaced-learning tools, (5) habit-support tools, (6) insight-learning tools (those that enable creative ideation and innovation), et cetera

Learnnovators asked me what I hoped for the learning and development field. Here’s what I said:

Nobody is good at predicting the future, so I will share the vision I hope for. I hope we in learning and development continue to be passionate about helping other people learn and perform at their best. I hope we recognize that we have a responsibility not just to our organizations, but beyond business results to our learners, their coworkers/families/friends, to the community, society, and the environs. I hope we become brilliantly professionalized, having rigorous standards, a well-researched body of knowledge, higher salaries, and career paths beyond L&D. I hope we measure better, using our results to improve what we do. I hope we, more-and-more, take a small-S scientific approach to our practices, doing more A-B testing, compiling a database of meaningful results, building virtuous cycles of continuous improvement. I hope we develop better tools to make building better learning—and better performance—easier and more effective. And I hope we continue to feel good about our contributions to learning. Learning is at the heart of our humanity!

Given the challenges TEACHERS and PROFESSORS are facing with the Coronavirus Pandemic I’ve decided to make the Presentation Science Online Workshop available to Teachers and Professors for FREE (now through April 30th).

The workshop provides a strong science-of-learning foundation that will help educators make informed decisions as they move their courses online, create video recordings, or use any free time to update their classroom learning designs.

PLEASE share this with educators you know.

https://academy.worklearning.com/library/presentation-science/90041/about/

 

About the Presentation Science Workshop

Presentation Science is an online self-paced workshop designed specifically to help people who are trainers, teachers, professors, speakers, CEOs, Executive Directors, managers, military leaders, salespeople, team leads–anybody who uses presentation software–to help their audiences learn.

Inspired by learning science, this workshop will help speakers and educators to (1) keep their audiences’ attention, (2) support comprehension, (3) motivate audience members to take action, and (4) support them in remembering what’s been taught.

The workshop is also an excellent TRAIN-THE-TRAINER experience and organizations wanting to engage in a private cohort can make arrangements with Will Thalheimer (workshop creator and host) to do that. You can see the specific pricing options here: https://www.presentationscience.net/pricing.

And for more information about the workshop, see PresentationScience.Net.

 

 

12th December 2019

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, Inc., announces the winner of the 2019 Neon Elephant Award, given to David Epstein for writing the book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and for his many years as a journalist and science-inspired truth teller.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2019 Award Winner – David Epstein

David Epstein, is an award-winning writer and journalist, having won awards for his writing from such esteemed bodies as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Center on Disability and Journalism—and has been included in the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. David has been a science writer for ProPublica and a senior writer at Sports Illustrated where he helped break the story on baseball legend Alex Rodriguez’s steroid use. David speaks internationally on performance science and the uses (and misuses) of data and his TED talk on human athletic performance has been viewed over eight million times.

Mr. Epstein is the author of two books:

David is honored this year for his new book on human learning and development, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The book lays out a very strong case for why most people will become better performers if they focus broadly on their development rather than focusing tenaciously and exclusively on one domain. If we want to raise our children to be great soccer players (aka “football” in most places), we’d be better off having them play multiple sports rather than just soccer. If we want to develop the most innovative cancer researchers, we shouldn’t just train them in cancer-related biology and medicine, we should give them a wealth of information and experiences from a wide range of fields.

Range is a phenomenal piece of art and science. Epstein is truly brilliant in compiling and comprehending the science he reviews, while at the same time telling stories and organizing the book in ways that engage and make complex concepts understandable. In writing the book, David is debunking the common wisdom that performance is improved most rapidly and effectively by focusing practice and learning toward a narrow foci. Where others have only hinted at the power of a broad developmental pathway, Epstein’s Range builds up a towering landmark of evidence that will remain visible on the horizon of the learning field for decades if not millennium.

We in the workplace learning-and-development field should immerse ourselves in Range—not just in thinking about how to design learning and architect learning contexts, but also in thinking about how to evaluate prospects for recruitment and hiring. It’s likely that we currently undervalue people with broad backgrounds and artificially overvalue people with extreme and narrow talents.

Here is a nice article where Epstein wrestles with a question that elucidates an issue we have in our field—what happens when many people in a field are not following research-based guidelines. The article is set in the medical profession, but there are definite parallels to what we face everyday in the learning field.

Epstein is the kind of person we should honor and emulate in the workplace learning field. He is unafraid in seeking the truth, relentless and seemingly inexhaustible in his research efforts, and clear and engaging as a conveyor of information. It is an honor to recognize him as this year’s winner of the Neon Elephant Award.

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Last month I released a new online, self-paced workshop called Presentation Science: How to Help Your Audience to Engage, Learn, Remember, and Act. The workshop is comparable to a two-day workshop and comprises about 12.5 hours of work, including videos, scenario questions, reflection questions, discussions, and a final assessment.

 

People are beginning to “graduate” from the workshop. Here’s what the first two graduates had to say:

Powerful content here! I love this course. It’s the best online course I’ve taken–ever! I only see one problem with the course. You’ve set the price too low based on the actual value of the course! It’s worth much more than what you are charging, considering the quality. I’d set the price at $1,000 minimum personally! In my opinion, it is worth $10,000 in the first 6 months once a person has successfully applied this to build new trainings!

— Gale Stafford, executive coach and learning architect at County of San Mateo

Will Thalheimer’s Presentation Science Workshop provides a TON of strategies, tactics, and tools backed up by learning science that will help you transform your bullet-riddled, mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations into meaningful, memorable, motivating, and (yes!) magnificent learning events.

— Holly H., senior instructional designer at global energy technology company

 

 

As you can imagine, I’m thrilled with this response. At the same time, I feel a responsibility to continue making the workshop better and better. At a later date–when I’ve gathered more data–I will write about how I think the new online-learning technologies are now poised to enable great learning designs. I’ll also talk about how to utilize these tools to follow research-inspired recommendations. For now, I’m just going to brag a bit! SMILE

And encourage you to consider taking this course for yourself, or recommending it to your organization, your subject-matter experts, trainers, teachers, professors, managers, salespeople, executives—anybody who has to give a presentation that has to be maximally effective.

 

The Presentation Science Workshop:
Learn More by Clicking Here!

 

 

For those of you who don’t know Matt Richter, President of the Thiagi Group, he’s one of the most innovative thinkers when it comes to creating training that both sizzles and supports work performance. Recently, Matt and I began partnering in a new podcast, Truth In Learning, which I’ll have more to say about later once I figure out where the escape hatch is.

NOW, I want to share with you a brilliant new article, that Matt surprised me with, on his efforts to brainstorm innovative ways to use LTEM (The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model).

You should read his article, but just to give you the list of seven uses for LTEM:

  1. Learning Evaluation—The primary intent of the LTEM framework.
  2. Instructional Design—To negotiate with stakeholders the outcomes desired.
  3. Training Game Design—To ensure games/activities have an instructional purpose.
  4. Coaching—Helping to build a development plan for those who are coached.
  5. Performance Consulting—To focus on performances that matter along the journey.
  6. Keynoting/Presenting—To ensure a focus on meaningful outcomes, not just infotainment.
  7. Sales/Business Development—To keep sales conversations focused on meaningful outcomes.

We are All in this Together

One of the great benefits of publishing LTEM is that since its publication last year I’m regularly being contacted by people whose organizations are finding new and innovative ways to utilize LTEM—and not just for learning evaluation but as a central element of their learning strategy and practice.

I’m especially pleased with those who have taken LTEM really deep, and I’d like to give a shout out to Elham Arabi who is doing her doctoral dissertation using LTEM as a spur to supporting a hospital’s effort to maximize the benefits or their learning interventions. Congrats to her for being accepted as a speaker at the upcoming eLearning Guild Learning Solutions Conference, March 31 to April 2 (2020) in Orlando. The title of her talk is: Using Evaluation Data to Enhance Your Training Programs.

Share Your Examples and Innovations

Please share your innovations and ideas about using LTEM in your workplace, on social media, or by contacting me at https://www.worklearning.com/contact/. I would really love to hear how it’s going, including any obstacles you’ve faced, your success stories, etc.

And, of course, if you’d like me to help your organization utilize LTEM, or just be the face of LTEM to your organization, please contact me so we can set up a time to talk, and consider my LTEM workshop to introduce LTEM to your team.

 

 

Every year or so, based on work with clients and new analysis, I like to provide to the public an updated recommended set of smile-sheet questions (free).

 

You can access the New Questions by clicking here.

 

Related Resources

I’m thrilled to announce that my Gold-Certification Workshop on Performance-Focused Smile Sheets is now open for registration, with access available in about a week on Tuesday May 14 (2019).

This certification workshop is the culmination of years of work and practice. First there was my work with clients on evaluation. Then there was the book. Then I gained extensive experience building and piloting smile sheets with a variety of organizations. I taught classroom and webinar workshops. I spoke at conferences and gave keynotes. And of course, I developed and launched LTEM (The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model), which is revolutionizing the practice of workplace learning—and providing the first serious alternative to the Kirkpatrick-Katzell Four-Level Model.

Over the last year, I’ve been building an online, asynchronous workshop that was rigorous, comprehensive, and challenging enough to offer a certification. It’s now ready to go!

I’d love if you would enroll and join me and others in learning!

You can learn more about this Gold-Certification Workshop by clicking here.

 

I’ve had the distinct honor of being invited to speak at the Learning Technologies conference in London for three years in a row. This year, I talked about two learning innovations:

  • Performance-Focused Learner Surveys
  • LTEM (The Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model)

It was a hand-raising experience!

Most importantly, they have done a great job capturing my talk on YouTube.

Indeed, although I’ve made some recent improvements in the way I talk about these two learning innovations, the video does an excellent job of capturing some of the main points I’ve been making about the state of learning evaluation and two innovations that are tearing down some of the obstacles that have held us back from doing good evaluation.

Thanks to Stella Collins at Stellar Learning for organizing and facilitating my session!

Special thanks to the brilliant conference organizer and learning-industry influencer Robert Taylor for inviting and supporting me and my work.

Again, click here to see the video of my presentation at Learning Technologies London 2019.