ATDChi Winter Conference

“So what do you do?” A common question we’ll all be asked at holiday parties from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. Do you have a persuasive answer that shows off your best capabilities? 

After ATDChi’s Winter Conference you’ll be ready to impress and inform when it comes to tooting your own horn .

Sessions include:

  • Know Thyself: The Art of Meaningful Connection (Erich Kurschat)
  • LinkedIn is a Love Fest: How to Build a Powerful Network of Influential and Talented Friends (Callista Gould)
  • Coaching: Benefits & Tools to Accelerate Progress Toward Your Career Goals (Dan Johnson, CPC, CNTC)
  • People Skills: Learn How to Master Your Value Proposition (Hayward Suggs)
  • The Power of Networking (Rose Pagliari & Kris Felstehausen)

The day long conference will be at Benedictine University in Lisle. You can read more about the sessions and register for the conference at

Feature Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The Value of Learning

Working hard is the industrial era approach to getting ahead. Learning hard is the knowledge economy equivalent. – Michael Simmons

It’s not every day an article motivates and excites me. But I really am blown away by not only the ideas discussed in  “The secret to lifelong success is lifelong learning” on the World Economic Forum website, but more by the language author Michael Simmons  uses. He discusses knowledge as a commodity that is beginning to show signs that it is more valuable than money.  Learning is the generator of future worth and prosperity.

This insight is fundamental to succeeding in our knowledge economy, yet few people realize it. Luckily, once you do understand the value of knowledge, it’s simple to get more of it. Just dedicate yourself to constant learning.

He points to a what Peter Diamandis calls the rapid demonetization of technologies.  The concept is that technological advances are leading to products that have lower and lower costs – some even free.  This means money isn’t as important in the access and use of these tools when compared to the knowledge to use and exploit them.

Simmons provides a number of examples of how future technologies (automated cars) may cause a precipitous drop in the price of commodities (no need for car ownership).

Because, he argues, money is likely to lose its value, knowledge will replace it as what is most valued.  He points out that when you use your money to purchase a good or service, you no longer have that money.  When you use your knowledge, you keep it.  It often times increases!

Constantly pursuing knowledge, through learning, is vital to success in the future:

“People who identify skills needed for future jobs — e.g., data analyst, product designer, physical therapist — and quickly learn them are poised to win.

“Those who work really hard throughout their career but don’t take time out of their schedule to constantly learn will be the new “at-risk” group”

He then outlines 6 skills that will help us to “learn the right knowledge and have it pay off for us”:

  1. Identify valuable knowledge at the right time.  What is every going to want, or better yet need, to know soon.
  2.  Learn and master that knowledge quicklyWhoever knows something first has an advantage. Simmons advocates for knowing multiple mental models in order to process information faster and more effectively.
  3. Communicate the value of your skills to others.  Market yourself. Not everyone does, but those who do so effectively achieve a multiplier effect in the increase of their value.
  4. Convert knowledge into money and results.  Leverage your knowledge and ability to learn to build your reputation, get a raise or a new job, build a business, etc.
  5. Learn how to financially invest in learning to get the highest returnUnderstand the economics of learning – what is the ROI of your learning, risk management, what is your hurdle rate, how can you hedge your investment, and how diverse is your portfolio of knowledge.
  6. Master the skill of learning how to learn.  Just as you might work on your golf swing if you are a golfer or take voice lessons if you sing in a choir, you need to understand how you learn and study how others successfully do it.  Just as a golfer might watch a video on how a professional golfer hits out of a bunker; learners need to study how others go about learning. And work to be efficient in your learning.  Improve your reading skills, find alternate ways to learn content, find a mentor who already knows how to do what you want to be able to do.

I find this knowledge investment model compelling.  Maybe it’s because I was an accounting major or perhaps it’s because of all noise about understanding and reporting the value of learning and development.  It takes the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) mindset to it’s logical, full-tilt expression.

Simmons makes the point that we count our steps and schedule time to go to the gym when wanting to get fit. We count calories and take cooking classes when trying to eat better.  Why shouldn’t we dedicate time to learning and measure how we are doing.

Knowledge is the new money of the future. The time to start investing is now.

What do you think?  Do you carve out time specifically for learning?  Do you have an “investment plan” for building a knowledge “nest egg”?  What do you think of  Simmons’ Knowledge Investment model?  Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

One Month to Go!!!

A month from today I sit for the Knowledge Exam portion of the CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) certification process.  I’ve been studying like crazy for 3 months now.  (One reason I haven’t posted here on neweelearning in past few weeks.)

I’ve been participating in a virtual study group sponsored by the Piedmont, Rocky Mountain, and West Virginia chapters of ATD.   We meet every Tuesday for 12 weeks using a “teach-back” approach where each of us has the responsibility of reviewing part of the unit covered that week.  It has been instrumental in keeping me close to on-schedule with my studies.  (Notice I said “close”)

Reviewing the material for 10 Areas of Expertise and a unit on Cultural Mindset is quite a task.  The ATD CPLP Learning System is 1056 pages chock full of content.  It really is amazing the breadth of expertise that our field encompasses.  It will certainly be an achievement to earn this certification. (Have to be positive, right!)

A huge thank you to the Chicagoland Chapter of ATD and the CARA Group for sponsoring a scholarship for CPLP candidates to defray the costs involved in the certification process.  I was fortunate enough to be named the winner of said scholarship!

While the Knowledge Exam is a big hurdle, passing it will then allow me to take the second and final exam, the Skills Application Exam, in November.  If all goes well, I’ll be a CPLP sometime around the first of next year.

OK, back to studying!

My Self-Directed Learning

One of the hot topics in Learning and Development is self-directed learning (SDL).  Malcolm Knowles in 1975 defined self-directed learning as:

In its broadest meaning, self-directed learning describes a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes. – (Knowles, 1975)

Or, as Mirjam Neelen and Paul A. Kirshner put it succinctly in a recent ATD Science of Learning Blog post, “SDL includes knowing what you need to learn, how to learn it, and being able to judge if you’ve learned it.” As the spring winds down, I thought I should review at my own efforts to learn thus far in 2017.  Of course, as I’m trying to be better at working out loud, I’ll do that evaluation right here.

As the spring winds down, I thought I should review my own efforts to learn thus far in 2017.  Of course, as I’m trying to be better at working out loud, I’ll do that evaluation right here.

What did I need/want to learn?

At the beginning of the year I had a number of learning goals:

  1. Deepen my knowledge of the xAPI standard for data interoperability for learning activities
  2. Begin the CPLP certification process
  3. Develop a thorough understanding of the components and drivers of learning analytics in the workplace
  4. Understand the Social Learning landscape – components, tools, benefits, barriers, etc.
  5. Maintain knowledge of learning technologies
  6. Strengthen and expand professional network

How Did I Learn It

My style of learning has two major characteristics – pitbull and sponge.  During a Twitter Chat last fall, I referred to myself as a pit bull learner.  By this I meant I am tenacious.  I will dig, chase, and not let go of information I need until I understand it.  I’m also a sponge.  I will gather and gather and gather information before I begin processing it.  Lots of input.  I think both of these are borne out by a recap of my efforts this spring.

Conferences – I attended two conferences – Center for Talent Reporting (thanks to Caveo Learning for sponsoring my attendance) and Elliot Masie’s Learning Systems and Tools 2017.  CTR was a deep dive into metrics, measures, and reporting. Learning Systems and Tools was the same for learning technologies and social learning.  Both were helpful from content and networking perspectives.  I also participated in eLearning Guild’s Future of Learning Online Summit.  The online summits are pretty much a string of webinars under one umbrella.  They are free as a part of my eLearning Guild membership.  Great content, but I’m not sure I’d pay for one straight up.

Workshops – I participated in CTR’s two-day Basics of TDPr workshop – which is the first stage of their certification process. The content was excellent.  But the conversations with Dave Vance, Peggy Parskey, and the other participants were the real gold here.  Definitely contributed to my learning analytics and networking goals.  I also attended workshops presented by the local ATD chapter – one on the CPLP process and another on the adult brain and learning.  Both were excellent.



Online Cohorts – This is a model of learning that I’m really liking.  this spring I participated in the xAPI Spring 2017 Cohort and am currently in the CPLP Virtual Study Group.  Cohorts are semi-guided, frameworks within which teams (or in the case of the xAPI cohort, multiple teams) work together to learn from and with each other.  I highly recommend both of these cohorts that run multiple times a year.  They enhanced my xAPI and CPLP goals respectively and both have advanced my networking efforts.

Webinars – In the past 5 months, I’ve participated in 28 webinars.  Of course, some are better than others, but overall, they are informative, costs effective (free), and convenient (I just need an internet connection).  Sponsored by professional associations (ATD, SHRM, HRE, etc), consulting firms (Caveo Learning, Bersin by Deloitte, Brandon Hall, etc), and vendors (

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – This spring I enrolled in Julian Stodd’s Foundations of the Social Age MOOC.  I’m a big fan of Julian’s work.  I was incredibly excited to participate in this MOOC.  I still haven’t completed it.  Same with the Learning xAPI MOOC that HT2Labs created last year (which I started after the initial offering of the course ended).  In both cases, I love the content and what I learned (thus far) from each.  They both advanced my learning in my learning goals in their respective area.  I’m puzzled by why MOOCs don’t seem to work for me.  In all honesty, the badges I can earn don’t seem to have much to offer (ie, would a highering manager be impressed?  Would a consulting client choose another consultant who had one and I don’t?)

I’m puzzled by why MOOCs don’t seem to work for me.  In all honesty, the badges I can earn don’t seem to have much to offer (ie, would a highering manager be impressed?  Would a consulting client choose another consultant who had one and I don’t?) incentive-wise.  Unlike the cohorts, there wasn’t much “group presence” in either of these MOOCs.  That made sense with Learning xAPI since I came to it in an archived state after the original offering. But I started Stodd’s MOOC with everyone else.  I do think that the lack of any assessment in Stodd did leave me wondering if I was “getting it.”  I’m still trying to noodle it out over why this particular delivery mode seems to not jive with me.  If you have any thoughts, please comment below.

Self-paced online courses – I completed several LinkedIn Learning (formerly courses.  I also have 3 that I have started and not completed.  One I abandoned after I realized it wasn’t teaching me anything that I didn’t already know.  The other two I plan to finish, but haven’t had the time or motivation to do so yet.

Blogs and other published content – I aggregate over 50 blogs in Feedly as my primary source of internet content.  I also find new content on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Since January 1 I have curated 384 posts, articles, images, and ebooks with annotations and highlighting (which you can see if you visit a site via my Diigo entry) in Diigo.  I regularly share what I’ve found here on neweelearning, LinkedIn, Twitter, and soon, Facebook and Google+.  My biggest sharing effort is my xAPI Resource Center designed for L&D practitioners (ie, low techie content).

Twitter Chats – As I shared in a previous post here on neweelearning, my new favorite learning is Tweet Chats (or Twitter Chats).  I regularly participated in #lrnchat and #pkmchat this spring.  I’ve also dabbled in #bersinchat and #guildchat a couple of times.  As I discussed in my post, their rapid fire, concise answer format leads to very interesting learning about you and your colleagues and the topics discussed.

Did I Learn What I Wanted to Learn?

Overall, I’m going to give myself a B+Grades

xAPI Standard = A+   The cohort was a tremendous experience.  I learned more than I anticipated from the experience.  Creating the xAPI Resource Center was a great enhancement to my knowledge as well.  I’m in the process of developing both public and proprietary (for consulting offerings) materials.

CPLP preparation = A  The virtual study group has been a motivator to keep up with my studies of the materials in the 1000+ pages of the CPLP learning system.  Two months out from my Knowledge Exam date, I’m feeling confident.

Learning Analytics = A-  This was objective was the focus of much of my spring.  I’m working on a couple of projects – including a Learning Analytics Resource Center.

Social Learning = B+  I’m averaging out two grades here.  An A for information gathering but a B- for application.  I have a number of ideas that I need to pull together that will improve my grade for application, so that’s a work in progress yet.

Learning Technologies = B  I feel like I did ok on this, but could have done more.  Not going to be too hard on myself.  There is soooo much changing.

Networking = C  This was the area I needed to focus on more.

I’ll be working on my professional learning objectives for the summer over the next week.  I’ll put them here on neweelearning when I have them.

As I’ve worked on this post, I’ve realized I need to be more systematic about my learning.  I’ve been looking for that personal learning tool that has been part of the aspirational outlook in the xAPI movement, but haven’t found it yet.

Your turn.  How do you track what you want to learn and whether you have?  What are your thoughts on self-directed learning in general?  I’d love to have you join in this conversation.  Please comment below.

2020 Vision for L&D

In her article,  3 Traits That Will Make You a Learning and Development Rock Star In 2020, on ATD’s website, Cheryl Lasse provides a compelling picture of what Learning and Development will look like from the perspective of an L&D professional.

I think she’s dead on with what they ideal fully transitioned learning function will look and act like in the future.  It is a vision that draws on marketing principles which I have previously discussed in my Do It As Marketing Does series.

Lasse groups her thoughts under three traits – Be Customer- and Learner-Focused, Be Curious, and Embrace Diversity.  While she doesn’t state it directly, I believe that there is an assumption that there is at least a developing learning culture in the organization.

Be Customer- and Learner-Focused

The learning function in the organization needs to be 100% focused on its customer – the learner.  The learner will have ownership of his/her personal learning plan.  L&D will facilitate learners in their development providing resources – curated or created – that align with the competencies required by the roles employees have and wish to have in the future.  Learners make the choices on how to meet their learning goals in an all pull, no push model.

Lasse says that this customer-focused approach means L&D must understand the expectations the organization has for each role.

The expectations are the tasks the must perform, the behaviors that make the tasks executable, and the required levels of proficiency.  That’s a competency model.

I agree with this idea.  Focusing on the competencies necessary to execute the work required throughout the organization ensures alignment with the business outcomes that should be the focus of everyone in the organization – including L&D.

Be Curious

Under this trait, Lasse charges L&D with exploring the industry, the company, and the audience they serve.  The goal is to become intimately familiar with the needs of its customers (learners) needs.  Our colleagues in marketing live and breathe based on their ability to know the customer as closely as possible.

This familiarity will enable learning professionals to develop a competency-based model of learning in which resources are readily available to meet the changing needs of learners and the organization.

Knowing the employees, how they fit in the organization and it within its industry also means L&D can lessen its learning curve when it in presented with a need for learning.  This should lead to greater efficiency, reducing costs and scrap learning and quicker turn around time from need identification to delivery of the learning experience needed.

Embrace Diversity

While I’m not sure that diversity is the best label for this trait, I agree with Lasse on the components.  What she is talking about is attending to Informal, Social and Formal Learning when creating resources activities and experiences.  The greatest focus should be placed on in-the-job learning.

…an L&D rock star will first ask, “What activity could this person perform to learn this skill?”

Created content will be microlearning, quickly digestible.  Except the most complex, large topics which will continue to require more formal learning.  Lasse suggests that the entire organization will be focused on mentoring and being mentored as a part of its culture.

L&D with be brokers of content and resources that they can provide in a matter of days to meet new needs.

One commenter on this article on raised the legitimate concern that personalized learning plans might be too burdensome on management, pointing to the generally poor execution of performance reviews.  My reply to her comment was two-fold.  1) if we support it right, the employees will have more ownership of their own learning. Making the burden on the manager less of a heavy lift. and 2)  most companies don’t support or provide incentives to managers to build capabilities and schedule time to guide employees in performance development. L&D needs to spend more effort in teaching managers how to teach and less time teaching employees.  Two traits of a good learning culture.

While I really like this vision of L&D’s future, I’ll be curious to see how many can achieve this vision by 2020.

What do you think?  Is this a good vision for L&D’s future?  Is it achievable?  If you disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please us the comment section below to chime in on the conversation.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo courtesy of



Last night on #lrnchat, I referred to myself as a pit bull learner because I’m very tenacious about getting at the truth of information.  Which is true.

But this morning I also demonstrated I have a lot of labrador retriever in me as well.  My black lab, Diva, was good at focusing until she saw a squirrel.  Then she was off to the races chasing after that squirrel. Continue reading “SQUIRREL!”

Maslow in the Workplace

It seems the above infographic has been floating around for at least a year. (Unfortinately, I haven’t yet found an attribution to it’s creator.)  It applies Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs to employee engagement in the workplace.

I am a fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy.  I think it is a powerful model that captures the impact of our circumstances on our motivation – including our ability and desire to learn.  As I reflected in as if i needed proof on eelearning in 2007, my conviction that Maslow got this right is not just theoretical. Continue reading “Maslow in the Workplace”

Where are the learners?

In a post on, Kali Blunt outlines her Top 4 Reasons Your Workplace Needs Social And Collaborative Learning Technologies.

  1. Support virtual teams
  2. Provide a centralized content repository
  3. The ability to support and track informal as well as formal learning
  4. Connecting people through communities

My second biggest issue with this, and many other justifications for learning technologies (social and non-social), is that the argument is tool and functionality focused.

LMS’s are great because they can track grades and attendance.  I’m sorry, Miss Hull did just fine without an LMS when I was in 4th grade. Continue reading “Where are the learners?”


After a seven year hiatus, it’s time to start up my eelearning blog again.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to get access to the original blog in accordance with WordPress’s recover policies to edit and continue it.  So I’m starting the NEW eelearning and will refer back to the original blog as needed.

My life path took me on a 6 year sojourn with Pearson in Higher Education.  It was challenging, rewarding, and I worked with a great group of colleagues.  But I took the layoff that swept me out the door along with dozens of colleagues in June as a sign that it was time for me to head back to workplace learning.

In the past 6 years, there is much that has changed.  Social Media has moved from novelty to key tools for business and learning, Informal Learning has gained traction as a part of the designed  learning ecosystem in leading organizations, Communities of Practice are everywhere, and there are so many new Learning Professionals to get to know.

Unfortunately, in my ramp up back into workplace learning I’ve discovered somethings haven’t changed much. Continue reading “Re-entry.”

tinker, teacher, learner, why?

christopher sessums links to this very interesting video on you tube in which john seeley brown discussed the idea of learners as tinkers and drawing concepts from the old one-room schoolhouse paradigm as a means for “kids learning from kids.”  the video is wonderfully provocative, as brown always is so I’ve linked to it in case you’d find it interesting.

John Seely Brown on the concept of tinkering as a learning tool.

my interest though has to do with sessums’ commentary that if you change “kids” to “teachers” in brown’s video we’ll be closer to the real solution.  while i totally agree that teachers also need to be tinkerers, i am troubled by the demarcation between teachers and learners that is inherent in both brown’s comments and sessums’ reaction.  i firmly believe that as long as we continue to believe that there are those who teach and those who learn from those who teach, we’ll never achieve networked learning that is driven by learner desire.

brown even makes the mistake of tying teaching and learning roles to age.  he argues that he can learn from someone a year older than him and they in turn can learn from someone older than them.  knowledge and learning are not subject to social stratifications of age, race, wealth, gender, etc.  if you know something i’d like to know, i can ask you to share it with me and learn from you whether you have a ph.d. from harvard, an mba from university of phoenix, or are in the 6th grade in thibodaux, louisiana.

in the workplace, this becomes more and more evident.  the key is finding who knows what you need to know, learning it to the degree that you need to achieve your goals and then moving on.  how do we get beyond the hierarchies and organizations which may have helped move learning forward 100 years ago but seem more and more a restraint in the 21st century?


Do you think these regulations will change anything? Will they drive greater support for data collection in learning? Motivate more collaboration between the business units and L&D?