Tag Archives: American Society for Training and Development

Grease the Gears of Your Next Meeting

meetingsWe are in meetings regularly but how many of them are productive?  The minutes grind by slowly as the group argues over what it’s supposed to be doing and everyone is anxious to get back to their desks.  A couple weeks later, you repeat the same meeting because no one remembers what was decided or who was responsible.  I’ve been there hundreds of times but it improved about fifteen years ago when I began following the principles in How to Make Meetings Work by Michael Doyle and David Strauss (1993).  It introduced me to the value of agendas, the decision-making process, and the important role of a facilitator.  The facilitator is a neutral third party whose sole purpose is to manage the meeting process and ensure it is productive.  He or she doesn’t make decisions but helps the group discuss issues collegially to arrive at decisions thoughtfully.  The facilitator makes meetings easier, putting grease on the gears that would otherwise grind and bind.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you are probably serve as a facilitator from time to time.

Over the years I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of facilitation, especially as organizations move from a top-down, command-and-control form of management to Continue reading

What’s the ROI of Your Historic Site?

Jack Phillips (right) discussing ROI at ASTD 2014.

Jack Phillips (right) discussing ROI at ASTD 2014.

Foundations and donors are increasingly questioning the impact of their funds at museums and historic sites, a trend that’s growing as well in  business according to Jack Phillips and James Kirkpatrick at a session at the ASTD conference yesterday. After the recent recession, they’ve found that CEOs are increasingly asking about the return on investment (ROI) of every program and activity, including employee training and education.  Although training claims to be an essential contributor to business productivity and performance, it hasn’t been adequately measured or evaluated, and thus can’t prove their value.  That surprised me because I thought that was a struggle only for museums and historic sites.  We seem to be continually fighting to prove our worth and other than economic impact, haven’t been able to show why we matter in our communities.  It looks like we’re not alone.

Phillips and Kirkpatrick are the leaders in the field of measuring performance in business and developed frameworks that “define the levels at which programs are evaluated and how data are captured at different times from different sources.”  Although they disagree on whether the framework should have four or five levels, they both agree that Continue reading

Getting the Big Picture of Training

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This week I’m attending the annual conference of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) in Washington, DC, the “world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field.”  There must be thousands of people attending from all over the world and hundreds of educational sessions on training technology, meeting facilitation, staff management, career development, learning measurement, science of learning, and leadership development.  As someone who specializes in interpretation and education at museums and historic sites, it puts my work in a global perspective and I quickly realized that while business spends more than $160 billion (yes, billion) annually on workforce learning to maximize their return on investment, non-profit organizations do very little in this area.  Thankfully, many of our professional associations provide this essential service.

Although I won’t be able to share everything I learn at the conference this week, I’ll try to share some highlights.  Yesterday Ruth Clark, author of Evidence-Based Training Methods, discussed some of the misconceptions around learning styles, a framework that Continue reading