It's that time of year again — the onslaught of top 10 lists, wistful reflections, and flawed predictions for the year to come. Normally I try to avoid such clichés, but in support of other much-maligned but secretly cherished holiday traditions like office parties and staff potlucks, here's my contribution to the annual countdown list genre: The Year's Most Thought-Provoking Training Blog Posts. Enjoy!
Visual Design in Online Training
- In the article Learning Difficulties: Making something hard to read means it is more likely to be remembered from The Economist Magazine, a team of psychologists reached the radical conclusion that all the font readability rules we've been following don't actually support learning. A quick, but fascinating read and sure to provoke a heated debate between lovers of Comic Sans and Arial, alike.
- While I've spent the better part of 2010 on a perpetual quest for stock photo images, some of my fellow training designers are abandoning the hunt – at least for some of their projects. In 3 Reasons Why You May Not Want to Use Stock Images in your Presentations or eLearning from The Learning Generalist blog, Sumeet Moghe brilliantly explores the pros and cons of stock images and makes some compelling arguments for re-thinking their use and suggests some smart alternatives.
- In 2010, the humble infographic managed to achieve communication rockstar status without losing its geek credibility. This next post isn't about training or even a blog post, but rather an animated infographic from Dare, about Dare – an interactive marketing agency. Watch and appreciate the clever and informative use of pictures and words. It's a great example of the power of infographics to engage, entertain, and educate. Note: If, after you've watched the video you're still dying to read a training blog post about infographics, check out the one I wrote that's an infographic with pointers on how to make infographics for training, or this one from Evology, that's not really training-focused, but is nonetheless very well-done.
PowerPoint & Presentations
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it was all death by Death Star and no death by PowerPoint. In the Presentation Zen blog post, A long time ago, before death by PowerPoint, Garr Reynolds uses General Dodonna's (Star Wars IV) rebel attack presentation as a vehicle to juxtapose our flawed modern-day take on “effective” presentations. Quick, elegant, thought-provoking. Yoda would be proud.
Training Design Principles
Like millions of other trainers, I was taught to vary my training delivery style to appeal to the learning styles of my trainees (i.e. auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or right-brained/left-brained learners). In the excellent post, Learning Styles: Worth Our Time? on Cathy Moore's Making Change blog, she breaks down the recent findings of four cognitive psychologists – and brings a simmering debate between trainers and academics to a full boil. This is a must-read for trainers and training designers.
Learning in the Workplace
All this yammering about Yammer and twittering about Twitter have you wondering, “What's all of this have to do with workplace learning?” You're not alone. Thankfully there are plenty of talented, passionate people sharing their ideas on this topic. The following posts are a quick primer to help you get up to speed, quickly.
- First, check-out Jane Hart's very recent blog post Workplace Learning is Like Learning a Second Language where she talks about the universal problems that are addressed by the collaborative nature of social media tools.
- Then, check out these great tips from Jane Bozarth (via Aaron Silvers) on Microblogging in the Enterprise.
- And finally, for training leaders who want to leverage the power of enterprise microblogging to support informal learning in the workplace but are running up against tough questions from skeptical business leaders, Marcia Conner's helpful post, Are Employees Twittering Away Productivity? simultaneously responds to those questions – and arms those of us who are fighting for smart, common sense solutions.
For some more applied tips for trainers on how to integrate social media tools into the learning mix, check out Jane Bozarth's book, Social Media for Trainers.
What were your favorite or most thought-provoking blog posts this year? Share them with us and leave a comment.
Trina Rimmer is a learning and communications consultant with twelve years experience designing, developing, and delivering smart, engaging training. When her skills aren't being tested by her children, you'll find her helping others to develop their own training design muscles.