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  • July 22, 2021 8:00 AM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by ATDChi member Annette Wisniewski. This article is part of a series of member-written content on Career Development in Talent Development.

    “You don’t have any relevant experience.”

    How do you get work in a new field when employers ask for previous experience? It can be daunting, but there are some strategies to support you in making the transition. I have used each of these strategies successfully at some point during my career.

    Extrapolate from Your Current Experiences

    Prior to working in L&D, I was a programmer/analyst. The same basic ADDIE principles apply to both L&D and programming. Both involve analyzing the need; designing, developing, and implementing the solution; and then evaluating the results.

    What have you already done in your current field that translates to learning and development? Teach? Design training? Create a job aid? Develop a new process or procedure? Whatever it is, document it and be prepared to discuss both how it relates to, and differs from, L&D best practices.

    Obtain Credentials

    When I wanted to return to the corporate world after being a stay-at-home mom, I realized that I needed to retool. So, I went back to school and earned both my master’s degree in instructional and performance technology and a certificate in workplace e-learning and performance support.

    What L&D-related credentials can you earn now? Just make sure that the credentials are relevant to your desired career path and are well-respected before you invest in them1. ATD offers many courses from microlearning to Master Programs. You can check them out here: https://my.td.org/search/courses

    Call an Old Friend

    While working on my master’s degree, I called an old friend who had connections. She hired me to work with her as an instructional designer on a contract for a large company. She mentored me and helped me to succeed on my first project as an independent contractor.

    Who do you know who might be able to open a door for you? Who is doing work that you want to be doing? Who could you ask to mentor you?

    Ask for the Opportunity

    After completing grad school, I still had no practical experience in creating e-learning. At a local industry conference, I ran into someone I had met at other local events. I asked her if she would be willing to take a chance on me. She was – at a reduced rate – as a trial to see if I could do the work. She soon brought me on board as a regular contractor. I worked with her for several years and we became great friends.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for an opportunity to gain experience. Check out local networking events, such as local ATD chapter events; industry groups, such as ATD; and companies that are doing work you find interesting. Reach out and ASK for what you want.

    Raise Your Hand

    While at a local industry meeting, one of the members asked for volunteers to help her with a new low-profit startup that would support a not-for-profit venture. I raised my hand and found myself among an amazing group of talented, generous people. That led to multiple years of paid work and deep friendships with several members of that group.

    What local ATD chapter events are near you? What ATD or other volunteer opportunities2 excite you? What do you have time and enthusiasm for? Raise your hand! And then follow through with exuberant dedication. Build a reputation for being a reliable, invaluable team player. You might even make new friends along the way.

    Use Your Social Media Networks

    When there was a reorganization that affected my then-current company, I knew I needed to find a new job. I started monitoring the usual job boards, but I also watched my network on LinkedIn. One of my contacts posted that his company was hiring for an enticing position. After submitting a blind resume and participating in three interviews, I was offered an amazing opportunity – only about 30 days after first applying.

    Who are you currently connected with who might be able to offer you advice or a lead? Who can you add to your current network who might be willing to help?


    Think outside the box when trying to break into a new field. For L&D, consider joining the local chapter and national ATD. But joining an organization is not enough; you have to participate. Try applying one or more of the other strategies, as well. I have found L&D people to be incredibly kind and generous with their talents. You just have to take the first steps to get out there. If you would like to discuss any of these further, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s talk!

    Annette Wisniewski is an Instructional Design Manager with the Capabilities team at Kraft Heinz. Follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/awisniewskicpt/

    ATDChi Footnotes

    1  ATD offers many courses, from microlearning to Master Programs. You can check them out here: https://my.td.org/search/courses, and don’t forget to use our CHIP code when registering: CH5009.

    2  If you’d like to volunteer with ATDChi, head on over here: https://atdchi.org/Volunteerhttps://atdchi.org/Volunteer.

    Are you a member with something to share about developing your Career in L&D? Send an email to careers@atdchi.org.

    Photo credit:  Mikelya Fournier on Unsplash

  • June 17, 2021 1:46 PM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by ATDChi member Nick Smith, APTD. This article is part of a series of member written content on Career Development in Talent Development.

    I had just wrapped up an assignment and started a vacation on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean when I got the call. Recognizing one of our work extensions, I immediately thought one of my colleagues had died. Why else would work be calling me while I was on vacation in another country? So I was pleasantly surprised when the call was to congratulate me on being offered the role of Learning Specialist at my organization.

    I had applied for the job with excitement but not a lot of expectation. The occasional opportunities I had to review curriculum or create new resources were my favorite parts of my current role, and I had done a little bit of teaching and tutoring in previous jobs. But I had no formal background in education, and certainly not in adult learning – a passion without a practice.

    I requested 24 hours to think about the offer, then almost immediately called both my partner and my parents from overseas for advice. Since you’re reading this, I guess it’s obvious that I took the leap. And along with that leap came our old friend imposter syndrome, and the realization that I really needed to figure out what I was going to be doing.

    I know I’m not alone in this. Many of us identify as “accidental trainers,” launched into an L&D career we love through a somewhat circuitous path. What I learned is that the field can absolutely embrace you, if you embrace the field.

    First, a brag of gratitude: my team was a huge help in familiarizing me with the terminology and processes I’d need to know. If you have a team that loves learning and sharing knowledge like mine does, count yourself lucky. But in order to feel like a real contributor, I knew I had to take an active role in my own professional development.

    I immediately set a goal of completing at least one class, certificate, or certification in the field each year, and told my supervisor in order to keep myself accountable. It’s a goal I’ve kept since 2016, and watching those completions add up has been a fun way to track my accomplishments. First, I invested in a membership with ATD, and later ATDChi, so I could have access to the resources, trainers, and tools provided through the website. Through ATD, I completed an on-demand course on adult learning and two certificate programs, one in Instructional Design and the other in Articulate Storyline.

    This process culminated in 2020, when I used the extra time I was trapped in my house to study for and achieve the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification

    But ATD isn’t (and probably shouldn’t be!) the only source of development opportunities. Over the last few years, I’ve participated in a number of talent development conferences, either in-person or virtually. And within my own organization, I completed a management development certificate, and have served as both a staff mentor and mentee. I’ve taken a number of professional development courses offered by internal staff, and have even facilitated a few myself.

    This year, I’m trying a different tactic. Instead of formal learning opportunities, I’m looking at ways to grow my communication and networking skills, such as participating in a webinar panel about preparing for the APTD and volunteering for our local ATDChi chapter – for example, by writing this very post!

    To be clear, I’ve had a lot of support in achieving these goals, including time off and financial assistance from my organization. But, even if you don’t have those supports, I want to underscore how important it is to prioritize your professional development in whatever way makes sense for your time and budget. Maybe that means carving out one hour per week (or month!) to catch up on the latest trends and think-pieces. Or maybe it means registering for one class or conference per year, and doing so enough in advance that your calendar isn’t already full.

    Because I made professional development a priority, I’m no longer grappling with the imposter syndrome I felt when I first stepped into this role.

    Whether you’re new to the profession or have been a talent development professional for decades, our jobs are always changing – and certainly I think we’ve all picked up some new skills in the last year, whether we wanted to or not. Take advantage of that momentum, set yourself up a goal for professional development this year, and hold yourself accountable.

    Nick Smith, APTD is a Learning Specialist for Rotary International, where he designs leadership development curriculum for over 1,000 volunteer leaders and works with a global team of more than 200 trainers. In his spare time, he writes fiction, walks a three-legged dog, and tries new bourbons. Help him get better at networking by finding him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-smith-aptd-3b6a86b9/

  • June 10, 2021 11:46 AM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by Scott Rencher based on an interview with ATDChi member Nathaniel Miller. This article is part of a series on Career Development in Talent Development.

    Nathaniel, like many Instructional Designers (ID), fell into his career unexpectedly. He was an ESL educator in South Korea and Japan for about 10 years before moving back to the US in 2019.

    When he returned to the States, he landed a position in International Education Administration. However, four months in, he lost his job due to significant restructuring. While recovering from this setback, he worked for his father’s construction company, doing construction and project management while searching for his next job.

    #1 Advice, Your Network

    “One of the things that I think was really helpful to me in the whole search was reaching out to people in my network.” One his former colleagues from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education suggested Nathaniel should apply to U of I for an Instructional Design Specialist position. He said, “If you can manage the heavy lesson planning, course load, and hybrid online courses you did in South Korea, you can certainly do this job. Your familiarity with adult learning principles and the corporate training environment will come in handy with a lot of the work you will be doing. You will just have to tweak your resume to illustrate that you have the necessary skills.”

    His former colleague’s counsel validated his experiences and encouraged him to take the next step and apply for the job. With this guidance, Nathaniel began the application process.

    Connect with Your Experiences

    In preparation, Nathaniel looked at what the U of I specifically wanted for the job and how his previous experiences could help him fulfill that role. At first glance, the role seemed overly technical because there was a couple software tools he had not previously used in his teaching roles in South Korea or Japan. However, upon closer examination, most of his work experience, was indeed applicable. The job required someone who was familiar with lesson planning, online course design, project management, and familiar with learning technologies. The more he thought about it, Nathaniel found, “I fit the job better than I had initially thought.”

    Nathaniel also leveraged his teaching experience as an advantage. He understood a day-in-the-life of a teacher, what they needed when they got the material, and how to apply it in the classroom. While he acknowledges that not all ID professionals need to have a teaching background, he wanted to leverage every ounce of experience to demonstrate that he was the best candidate for the job.

    What Was Once Unfamiliar Became Familiar

    While researching the job role, he split things into two categories: what was familiar and what was unfamiliar to him. With the familiar group, he connected his relevant experience and he used LinkedIn Learning and other online tools to brush up on the latest adult learning concepts. With the unfamiliar, he did additional homework so that he could speak to those concepts with the appropriate language.

    For example, one unfamiliar tool was a software called Storyline 360. To get a general idea of how it worked, he watched online tutorials and downloaded a trial version of the software to get a crash course in the technology. While he was not fluent in the software, he could at least relate it back to technologies he did know very well, like MS PowerPoint. During the interview, when asked about whether he had any experience with Storyline, he was honest about the limits of his exposure and said, “I’ve learned a variety of educational software and even how to speak two languages over the last 10 years, so I am certain I can learn new software like Storyline 360.”

    Nathaniel landed the job and has been in the role for a year now. He has found that he loves being an Instructional Designer and really enjoys the people with whom he gets to work.

    Pulling it all Together

    His advice to job seekers looking to get into L&D:

    Tap into and use your network, especially to help land the first interview.

    Do not be afraid of the job specs and the interview questions. Map your experience back to the job requirements. Even if you have not done the ‘exact’ job or task, think about how your experience relates.

    Research what is familiar and unfamiliar. Sharpen what you are good at and get some level of exposure to the things that are not familiar to you. Do not waste your time trying to talk about things you do not know! Focus on what you do know and how it makes you an excellent candidate.

    Author’s note

    Thank you, Nathaniel, for your time and wisdom. Career journeys can be long and circuitous. Along the way, we pick up odd skills and experiences that may be useful to us down the road. The trick is figuring out which ones relate and applying them to new situations and opportunities.

    When it comes to leveraging your network, as it was in Nathaniel’s case, our 1st degree connections are not typically going to offer or land us the job. The power is really in the 2nd degree connections. They may either have an opportunity or they can connect you to someone in their network who can help you get a foot in the door. That is where growing and maintaining your network has the greatest power and reach.

    Each month we publish an article written by or about one our ATDChi members. This article is based on an interview conducted in May 2021 with Nathaniel Miller, Instructional Design Specialist from the University of Illinois System. You can connect with Nathaniel on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniel-miller-1ab0b4134/

    Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

  • May 27, 2021 10:42 AM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by ATDChi member Mauricio Palli. This article is part of a series of member written content on Career Development in Talent Development. 

    The pandemic has really impacted the L&D landscape. I have seen various articles and blogs recently where individuals are asking how one can break into this ever-changing field. I have seen professionals from traditional school teachers to entrepreneurs ask in blogs, articles, and webinars.

    In my opinion there really is no set answer on how one can break into the L&D space. Everyone has their own experience. Most of the professionals in this field “fell into it” either by choice or by accident. However, I do feel that you can set yourself up for success by doing a few things that might not necessarily involve obtaining an advanced degree in the pedagogy.

    Photo by Luke Richardson on Unsplash

    Network with individuals who are working in the space. This is key because they can provide you with the real ins and outs of the space. You can continue to build these relationships and perhaps obtain a mentor in the process. 

    Next, I would say to start creating your own professional portfolio. Having a mix bag of instructor lead training along with computer-based training is essential. Don’t forget to also include any examples of collateral to support these trainings i.e.: job aides, icebreakers, teach-back activities, learning journals, etc. 

    Educate yourself! Learn more about what are the leading trends in the business while also subscribing to professional YouTube pages in the field to gain more insight. Here are a few I follow:

    Finally, explore the ATD Micro Courses or professional certifications such as an APTD certification or any facilitation skills, training design & delivery, & adult learning certifications from a reputable organization.

    In the end, one will really need to discover what path within L&D to take. The only way to do that is by conducing your research while keeping an open mind in where you might fit in the ever-evolving space.

    Mauricio Palli - Training Design & Delivery Senior Analyst at Aon - At Aon I design & develop instructional content & training materials for contact center colleagues while working with various clients to deliver best in class training.

    You can reach Mauricio at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mauricio-palli-matd-13ba7957/

  • May 20, 2021 11:21 AM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by ATDChi member Lisa Erlich. This article is part of a series of member written content on Career Development in Talent Development.

    DE&I. Hybrid teams. Wellness. You may have noticed that the white-hot spotlight of success is focusing on these three initiatives.  I’m guessing you’ve noticed.

    Yes, many companies already have substantial DE&I and Wellness programs that were created prior to the pandemic. And no one can predict what teams and offices will look like in the short- and long-term.

    While overwork, healthy lifestyles and burnout concepts are not new, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that wellness needs to be front-and-center for employees, and organizations, to flourish.

    So what are we talking about exactly?

    According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, workplace wellness programs tend to focus on 5 key pillars: Physical Wellness (nutrition and exercise), Emotional Health (feelings and coping with challenges) Intellectual Wellness (learning from past experiences & seeking growth), Occupational (personal satisfaction and healthy balance) and Social (interactions with others).

    Programs can run the gamut from covering the cost of gym memberships, offering in-office or online weekly yoga sessions, initiating team exercise challenges, or partnering with mental wellness apps like Thrive Global or Calm.

    And these offerings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Grand View Research’s Corporate Wellness Market Size & Share Report, 2021-2028, the global corporate wellness market size was valued at 52.8 billing (USD) in 2020 and is expanded to grow 7% (CAGR) by 2028.

    Learning & Development and Wellness

    Learning & Development strategy, by definition, should be driven by both employee needs and organizational goals. For Wellness programs to succeed, they too, need to be strategic and tied to business goals and employee practice. So how can Learning & Development teams support a Wellness strategy?

    Like any other corporate objective, no Wellness program will succeed without a singular, yet two-pronged, approach.

    1.       Holistic Transparency: It has to be visible in the company commitment, culture norms, manager support and individual engagement.

    2.       Multi-level Leadership Support: From the C-Suite to line managers to team leads, leaders must lead by example – participate, give permission, and discuss Wellness.

    Maximize Impact

    Let’s look at some of the simple, yet impactful, actions your Learning & Development team can implement to support your existing, or upcoming wellness program.

    Onboarding: Set expectations early by presenting your wellness offering from the beginning. When both HR and managers are discussing it with new hires (what it is, who should participate, what does that look like on individual team) it becomes an integrated cultural norm.

    For individuals: Employees need to identify their feelings, why and what they can do about them – as well as the skills to communicate those needs. L&D can provide in-person or online courses or on-demand resources that support:

    ·       Self-Assessment (burnout, stress, financial wellbeing, peer/work engagement) and what to do with those results.

    ·       Self-Leadership/Empowerment/Growth Mindset: Give employees the language and resources to ask for help (stress, re-prioritizing projects, meeting times, flexible work hours)

    For Leaders: As mentioned above -- and it bears repeating --  the experience and communication has to come from the top down.  Leaders must “give” employees permission to participate -- talk about it at an all-hand meeting, mention their own participation in an upcoming yoga class, reiterate where resources can be found online.

    In a 2016 study by HealthFitness, where they surveyed 465 employees from companies offering health, wellness and fitness programs, 41% of employees didn’t participate at all. When asked why, 53% of these nonparticipants cited cultural barriers such as lacking employer’s support to take part.  

    While the role of Leadership is to bring visibility to and normalization the Wellness program, the role of the Manager is to support and help individuals engage in it. Many don’t know how. L&D can help.

    For Managers: Consider this multi-layered development structure.

    • Add Wellness to Management Development:
      • Identifying burnout/stress/disengagement/zoom fatigue and strategies to address it.
      • Coaching to help employees re-prioritizing projects, identify ongoing productivity needs (how do they work best/when do they to set aside time to focus on work vs meetings vs personal priorities)
      • Encouraging employees to plan vacation and take off.
    • Double-down on Empathy training & practice in Management Development.
    • Link Wellness & Empathy as part of Team-Building workshops.
      • Leverage existing meetings to take time to share wins and kudos, do pulse checks, have show and tell.
    • Help managers define their own expectations:
      • Do they have an open-door policy?
      • What is their and their employee’s preferred method of communication?
      • When/how quickly should employees respond to emails? And vice versa.
      • Can employees block out time to work (i.e. no-meeting zones)? Will they, as a team, determine what that looks like?

    Bring It Home

    As companies turn the focus toward health, gaining new voices and living in a new work culture, People are at the heart of what it takes to succeed. Learning & Development professionals have always known this. Our job continues to be empowering individuals, leaders, and organizations by giving them the personal and professional resources to do what’s right to succeed on all levels.

    Lisa Erlich has been an innovator and thought leader in the Learning & Development space for more than a decade.  She lives in the suburbs north of Chicago with her husband, 2 boys and dog. Reach out to Lisa at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-erlich-b9577663/

    Are you a member with something to share about developing your Career in L&D? Send an email to careers@atdchi.org.

  • May 13, 2021 12:02 PM | Scott Rencher (Administrator)

    Post written by ATDChi member Steve Matre. This article is part of a series of member written content on Career Development in Talent Development.

    Some normalcy is making its way back into our lives as training professionals. I was able to deliver a session in person during April to the annual conference of the Texas Apartment Association in San Antonio. This meant my first flights and in-person gatherings in over a year. The session was called “Coaxing Great Customer Service Out of Already Burned Out Employees.” While the session was warmly received and it was terrific to be with industry friends and colleagues again, the topic seemed to raise many questions about on-going team motivation, effective training delivery, and the long-term outlook for employee moods and retention in general.

    …meanwhile, back in my real world at work, two themes continue to creep into my mind: employees’ desire for more learning juxtaposed with their internal voice telling them to make a job or career change . In the runup to the pandemic (2018-2019), quit rates were high. People were leaving their jobs. However, in LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report findings, 94 percent of employees said that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.

    Fast forward to 2021 and the latest trend is to embrace YOLO; shout out to the New York Times for a terrific article, “Welcome to the YOLO Economy”. The pandemic provided a lot of time for reflection but limited opportunities to socialize and spend. Although some part of this is anecdotal evidence, it seems that many American professionals are comfortable enough with their bank accounts and frustrated enough with their daily grind to take a risk and make a career move to, well, sometimes no job at all. This trend in the making is challenging training professionals to seriously consider the role they play and the value they add to workplaces.

    As the amateur sociologist that I am, I don’t want to dig too deep into the data, but this is a moment to reflect on what these trends mean to someone in corporate learning and development.

    I find myself in a company swirling with change. In an environment of fast and constant change, anxiety and nervous energy can run high. There is a forced learning of new systems and forced implementation of them in order to succeed. At the end of each day, however, you ask yourself, “did I have any control at all over what I learned, and am I growing in a way that offers any real personal enrichment?”

    In the interest of keeping it simple, here are three tips I embraced to balance these trends in a meaningful way:

    1. Remember that listening opportunities are important even though curation is tough.
    As training professionals, we know that curating and assembling the perfect training program is not possible; it will never be perfect. It is fluid, ever changing. You can go beyond the basics, however, by assembling small clusters of people from various departments, inclusion and diversity are key. Meet with these team members and do a simple vision exercise. Ask them, “Ideally, what additional skills would you like to have in your arsenal 2 years from now?” You may need to provide some conversation starters. People want to learn, but they tend to stick to job responsibilities. Two or 3 of these short brainstorming discussions should get you started on your way to an enriching program that you had not envisioned.

    2. Provide deeper dives for those who want to truly master a variety of skill sets.
    Internal company training programs tend to be delivered on a set schedule. You know the drill, webinar Wednesdays and on-boarding every Thursday at 9 am. A terrific 1-year goal is to pair some of your line skills training with deeper dives, for example, a few days after. If you do a basic sales class on Wednesday, offer an optional bonus session early on Friday morning to teach “From Manager to Sales Coach,” or “Deeper Dive into Strategy Around Your Sales KPI’s.” The bottom line is just…give….more so that those team members who want to master their skill sets can get that craving satisfied. Of course, sales is just one example.

    3. Vary your delivery methods to enhance engagement and enrich the learning experience.
    An overwhelming majority of employees want quality training opportunities that teach, engage, and enrich. The goal is to provide training that trumps the desire to make a career move. Making this investment in employee retention requires creative ways to engage and inspire. Try to provide a variety of training delivery methods. You might facilitate collaboration on real projects over Zoom if your company has not returned to work in person. You might teach new procedures through virtual work groups that not only demonstrate new methods but also get the work done. As more people are vaccinated, you may return to additional in-person learning and role play, brainstorming, and group discussions. There is not an exact answer but the key is to provide variety. Pandemic fog, Zoom fatigue, and restlessness are real. No one should dread a training session.

    Over the past year, I’ve heard a few times that, “that certainly did not seem like a 2-hour session, it went so fast and we learned so much.” That’s music to my ears as my team and I have tried our best to make the virtual learning space active and engaging.

    This past year has been a challenge on many fronts. The virtual world continues to require training professionals to flex their creative muscles. It’s up to us to engage, enrich, and diligently strive to help our companies retain the teams around us. This requires the acceptance that, while many employees are not truly happy in their current roles, they will stay if we provide quality learning and development opportunities. It’s a major challenge but, wow, what an opportunity to add value and make a difference as the world of work evolves. These are big trends. Make sure that you listen to what your teams want. Follow that up with a robust response that demonstrates that their voices were heard. Good luck!

    Steve Matre is Vice President of training, marketing, and strategic support for the Mandel Group, a real estate developer and owner in the Midwest. He’s also been in accounting, operations, HR, and revenue management. Steve gives back through committees and boards for the National Apartment Association and Institute of Real Estate Management, and as a writer and speaker. A graduate in Finance and English from the University of Wisconsin, Steve is a CPA, Certified Property Manager, and Professional in Human Resources. Obsessions include books, podcasts, coffee, running, and college football. Reach out to Steve at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevematre/.

    Are you a member with something to share about developing your Career in L&D? Send an email to careers@atdchi.org.

  • February 22, 2021 11:35 AM | Chad Eaves (Administrator)
    Luveta Hill - 2020 Volunteer of the Year

    COVID-19 forced ATDChi, along with the rest of the world, to shut down our face-to-face meeting schedule.  We had to migrate everything over to the online environment - not something we had done much of up until the pandemic struck.

    As we were trying to sort things out, Luveta Hill stepped up and volunteered to learn Zoom and to produce our webinars.

    Over the course of the year she ran 10 webinars, 2 panels, and was a key part of the team that put together ATDChi’s first ever online conference in November.  She finished the year by managing all details of our final two webinars. 

    One sign of the success of our webinar program was that our rate of conversion from registrations to actual attendance topped 75% for two of our last sessions (general average runs in the neighborhood of 45%). 

    For stepping up and leading a successful transition of our programming to the online environment has been named ATDChi’s Volunteer-of-the-Year.  

    Luveta works at DePaul University as the Learning Technology Specialist in the HR Department.

    She says she joined ATDChi “to further enrich my education in the area of learning & development.”  Asked what she appreciates the most about being a member of ATDChi, she responded, “having access to a network of peers who came into the talent development space and the learning & development space from different backgrounds. I am connected to a group of people who approach the same problem from different perspectives to find a resolution that works for all.”

  • September 16, 2020 11:05 AM | Leslie Scarpace

    2020 Annual Chicagoland Talent Development Community Survey Initial Results

    From June 16 to June 30, we conducted the annual survey of our membership, former members, and for the first time, we included talent development professionals who have never been a member of ATDChi. A comprehensive report of the survey results will be made available to ATDChi members in a few weeks, but here are a few highlights.


    On June 16, we sent invitations to participate by email to 4208 talent development professionals throughout Chicagoland and Illinois. On June 23 we sent a reminder to the same group. 122 professionals clicked through the email and started the survey - one participant was disqualified (it was discovered they had answered with nonsense answers and over rode survey navigation) – so we have 121 respondents: 60 members, 28 former members, and 33 never members. The 121 respondents is the second highest for the annual survey given the records available. 141 in 2017 remains the high-water mark for participant.

    Invitation to Participate

    On June 16, the survey was launched with 4,208 email invitations to participate sent out. A reminder to participate was sent to the same lists on June 23.  The survey was closed on June 30.  The 121 responses represent a 2.9% participation rate which is down substantially from 2019 (11.3%).  Much of the difference has to do with the larger population sample this year (2020 average = 4179.5 per round, 746 per round.) Only 19.1% of all invited to participate actually opened the email.

    Value of Member Benefits

    Question 15 asked respondents to evaluate (on a scale of 1 to 100) to what extent do they feel they are getting value for their dues.

    As was the case last year as well, a significant number of respondents said they were getting the value for their dues.  64.0% (32 of 50) gave a score of 70 or higher. 12 scored the value at 100.

    We’ve always asked a question regarding what people think of each of the member benefits individually, but this year we changed up how we asked. In the past, we’ve asked a series of Likert Scale questions for each.  Then we’d compare the averages to each other.  Unfortunately, that usually resulted in all the benefits scoring between 4.2 and 4.5. Which really doesn’t tell us a lot.

    Question 13 asked respondents to indicate which 5 benefits from a list of them they would rate as “Must Have”.  They then were asked to rate which 3 benefits they would rate as “Not Necessary”.

    When we scored the “Must Have’s” with 1 point and the “Not Necessary” with -1 point and then added it all up, the result was a very articulated list of benefits ranked 1 to 15 in accordance with respondents’ preferences.  NOTE: while a ranking like this is helpful in planning, it is not the only factor used in determining which benefits the Board of Directors chooses to keep or how well to fund each.

    Programming: What Are You Working On?

    Finally, for several years now, we’ve asked a question about what respondents are planning on focusing on in their professional development so that we can direct our programming to meet their development needs. In the past, we’ve listed the 13 areas from the ATD Competency Model and asked respondents to indicate which areas they planned to work on in the next year. A bit unwieldy, but it worked.

    This year, ATD has introduced their new Capabilities Model which has 23 capabilities divided into 3 domains. Now a multiple choice question with 23 options was way too much for us to expect we’d get quality answers. So we came up with a new approach.

    So in Questions 22 & 42 (due to branching we had to ask the question twice to capture all respondents) we asked participants to prioritize up to 3 capabilities in each of the domains.  The capabilities for each domain were listed in a drop-down menu from which the participants could choose their answers.

    The results were amazing. We scored 1st priorities with 3 points, 2nd with 2, and 3rd with 1. The result was a highly articulated ranked listing of all 23 capabilities. You can see them with their overall scores listed by the three domains to the right.

    These are just a few of the examples of the data we’re gleaning from this year’s member survey. The full report of the survey’s findings will be available to ATDChi members only in early October. If you’d like to be included and aren’t currently a member, please renew your membership or join ATDChi by going to https://www.atdchi.org/join.

  • June 18, 2020 10:35 AM | Leslie Scarpace

    Five Best Practices for Rapidly Transforming Instructor Led Training to Virtual Instructor Led Training

    By Sue Deisinger, Learning Strategy Consultant, The CARA Group

    In today’s COVID-19 environment, learning professionals are being asked to quickly transform Instructor Led Training (ILT) to Virtual-Instructor Led Training (V-ILT). The good news is that most Instructional Designers have the transformation skills needed, and companies have the technologies needed, to support V-ILT. The challenge is the volume of work and the speed at which it must be accomplished.

    The CARA Group has identified Five Best Practices to help accelerate the transformation process.

    1 – Align with Business Strategy

    Start with defining a set of criteria to ensure that the work is aligned with the business strategy to separate the “wants” from the “needs”. Once the true needs are determined, create a prioritized Action Plan. Communicate the results back to the Program Sponsors to manage their expectations. If a program was not prioritized, perhaps the respective Program Sponsor can conduct a simple web-meeting or webinar as an alternative.

    2 – Manage Scope

    Using the prioritized Action Plan, review the program with the Program Sponsor and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Explain the difference between ILT, V-ILT and a Webinar (a webinar requires no activities). Determine whether this will be a simple transformation with no content or learning objective changes or a complex conversion with some content and/or learning objective changes, which will take more time and effort. Agree on a protocol for managing scope, as there is a strong tendency for SMEs to want to change or update content during the conversion process.

    (Continue from Newsletter Here)

    3 – Optimize the Learner Experience: Rich Interactive Training Anytime, Anywhere

    Before jumping into the actual transformation work, it is important to educate the Program Sponsor and the SMEs on the power of V-ILT technologies and how they can be used to create effective learning experiences.

    V-ILT, designed correctly, offers many of the same learner experiences as traditional ILT. Instructors can present mini-lectures, facilitate activities and discussions. Participants can work individually and in small groups, raise their hand to ask questions and use resource material.

    Video projection of both the Instructor and Participants help keep the Participants engaged and accountable, creating “virtual eye contact,” allowing everyone to read facial expressions and body language. Video also brings a personal element to the program, as the members share and view each other’s virtual work environment.

    Content and activity designs can leverage screen-sharing, whiteboards, polling, chat, small group breakouts, games and quizzes. Many V-ILT systems also allow the Instructor to gauge individual and overall group attentiveness at any point with a visual attention indicator.

    Instructional Designers work with the SME’s create a design to ensure that the learners remain engaged during class and help them retain the knowledge and skills afterward.

    4 – Deploying V-ILT: Practical Matters

    Deploying V-ILT requires different types of logistical planning than traditional ILT. Instructor and Participant job-aids are very helpful in guiding them in the use of these unique tools.

    Instructors need to be comfortable and proficient delivering the V-ILT version of the program. Train-the-Trainer programs should include the business reason for converting from ILT to V-ILT, an overview of the new program, a system test, how to use the system features, how to trouble-shoot and an opportunity to practice. On the day of the program, the Instructor should login to the system 15-30 minutes prior to ensure that everything is ready to go. Someone from the learning team should be assigned to support the Instructor during the V-ILT with classroom management, at least for the first few sessions. Participant login issues, late arrivals and technical issues can really distract and rattle a new V-ILT Instructor.

    Participants should be required to do a system test a few days prior to the program. Engage the IT department to support this activity so that they will be ready to quickly answer participant questions. In addition, Participants should find a quiet, dedicated space and login 15 minutes prior to the start of the V-ILT to ensure they are ready for class.

    When scheduling multi-hour programs, plan 30-60 minute breaks for both the Instructors and Participants to allow them to attend to both business and personal matters. Note that Instructors often have follow-up participant questions after the end of the formal session and then need to get ready for the next program.

    5 – Include a Change Management Strategy and Plan

    Managing leaders’, Instructors’ and learners’ expectations is essential for successful transformation to V-ILT. Resistance may show up in limited registrations, no-shows and other non-productive behaviors. A well-executed Change Management strategy can proactively avoid these types of issues. A key element is a robust communication plan for everyone involved, describing the business case for change, the new V-ILT programs, who is impacted, expectations, timelines and contact information. In addition, the strategy should include a plan to measure and report adoption on a routine basis.

    Please connect with us if you could use help with transforming ILT to V-ILT or simply want to talk about your current situation as you ponder next steps. We’re here to help!

  • June 18, 2020 10:02 AM | Leslie Scarpace

    “What can I do?”

    I love that question.

    Over the past few weeks “my girl” and I have heard that question multiple times from our non-African American friends and colleagues who are deeply concerned about racism and want us to know Black Lives Matter. The question has come from successful people with high degrees of empathy. They understand to effect real change, it is not enough to see racism as a problem or feel the pain of others, they must do something.

    Racism in all of its vile, trauma-inducing shapes and forms limits potential and promise at best and destroys livelihoods and lives at its worse. To penalize others based on race is ethically wrong, socially destructive, and morally reprehensible. Racism is also a crime.

    “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

    - Albert Einstein

    The significance of our racial divide has never been more apparent however, our opportunity to reconstruct the rip in our “social fabric” may never be greater. Talent developers, as usual, are in an optimal position to elevate thinking and influence change.

    World Changing

    Talent developers are world-changing agents who can create an atmosphere of unbridled enthusiasm for social change based on trust, shared values, and mutual accountability. We exert our influence through our vast coaching, training, facilitation, design, and development efforts. Our success as change agents is efficacious.

    Our talent development capabilities and collaboration efforts extend to executives, employees, and entrepreneurs. This provides us with a unique opportunity to build “collective efficacy” by having impactful conversations, and doing meaningful work while taking a trauma-informed approach to ”rebuilding the village”. (Bandura, 1993) (Bell, 2007)

    Ensure Success

    Risk factors are not predictive factors because of protective factors” 

    - Carl C. Bell M.D

    To ensure enduring success we have to reduce racial trauma risk and decrease predictive factors by increasing protective factors in our large systems; child welfare, corrections, criminal justice, education, employment, and healthcare, etc. However, we can strengthen resilience and reduce racial trauma risk factors immediately by modeling these community (village) level protective factor behaviors. 

    • Welcoming “otherness”, by acknowledging, celebrating, and valuing differences in people. 
    • Staying socially connected and bonded with others; being self-aware of our implicit biases, and asking for feedback.
    • Empathizing with others at all three levels; mental (thinking) emotional (feeling), and physical (doing). (Bell, 2000) (Goleman, 2007)

    Ten things we can do today to “Rebuild Our Village”

    1. Hire racially diverse people as employees and contractors.
    2. Coach and train staff on implicit bias, diversity, and inclusion.
    3. Patronize minority businesses and donate to cause supportive organizations.
    4. Demand and advocate for large systems change.
    5. Listen to African Americans and “others” discuss their experiences, feelings, and ideas.
    6. Talk with your family and friends about racism the same in private as in public.
    7. Speak up when you see injustice.
    8. Publicly communicate your support.
    9. Ask how you can help.
    10. Model the behaviors you want to see in others.

    Ten things we can do today to “Rebuild Our Village”

    Finally, if you know there are moments where you could have been better or done better, welcome to the club. As one person puts it, the room for improvement is the biggest room in the house. Apologize sincerely, and focus on how you want people to “feel” going forward.

     “I've learned that people will forget what you said, what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou.

    You may be amazed by how you can make people feel by empathizing and asking What can I do?

    I love that question.

    Let’s continue to build our capabilities and do that world-changing talent development work,



    1. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Science," Cultivating Resiliency In Youth," Carl Bell, MD, Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol 29, No5, 2001, pp 375-81 by The Society for Adolescent Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/cultivat.html. 

    2.    Griffin, G., McEwen, E., Samuels, B. H., Suggs, H., Redd, J. L., & McClelland, G. M. (2011). Infusing protective factors for children in foster care. Psychiatric Clinics34(1), 185-203.

    3.    Donohoo, J., Hattie, J. & Eells, R. (2018). The Power of collective efficacy. Educational Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar18/vol75/num06/The-Power-of-Collective-Efficacy.aspx

    4.    Goleman, D. (2007). Emotional intelligence, social intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.danielgoleman.info/three-kinds-of-empathy-cognitive-emotional-compassionate/

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