Sunday, April 15, 2012

EIDT 6501 Training & Development: My Personal Development Plan (Week 7)

Greetings All,
We’re nearing the end of yet another semester, one week left!

This week we have a 2-part assignment...

Part 1
Write our own personal development plan specifically designed for us, and post it to our blog.
Personal development is an area we all could benefit from, and not just when it’s work related. Personal development is an area that I have recently begun to delve into love the idea of improving myself in all areas of life.

When creating any development plan you need to have a goal in mind-or a reason to develop. I’m okay at what I do (I don’t want to brag and/or seem arrogant J), I enjoy my job, and have no immediate aspirations to move quite yet; but I would like to get better and begin to prepare myself for a new role in the future.

Another key component in creating a development plan is to identify what you want to learn or how you want to improve. Here are the four areas in which I would like to learn/improve: continuing professional learning, and assessment.

Continuing Professional Learning (PM certification)
One of the areas that I would like to continue to pursue is continuing my education.  I have been on this path for a couple of years already in pursuing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology; but I don’t want my journey to end there.  I am very much interested in pursuing my PM certification with my company providing tuition reimbursement to assist with the test fees. The company could also supply materials (i.e. the PM Study book), as well as a website for self-study.  This certification would be of benefit to my company, as it would assist me in leading projects, and potentially transitioning to another position within the organization.

Continuing Professional Learning (CS5, Captivate, Articulate & e-Learning)
Another area that I would like to pursue is furthering my knowledge in is e-Learning. E-Learning has quickly become a primary training method and to remain competitive it is essential that a training team have an effective eLearning team. I feel it would be beneficial to both the company and myself, if I developed further in this area. The company could support my efforts with tuition reimbursement, reference books,

Assessment “involves collecting information and providing feedback to employees about their behavior, communication style, values, or skills” (Noe, 2010, p. 355). Assessment can be used to identify employees with potential to move to higher-level positions as well identifying team members’ strengths, weaknesses, “as well as the decision processes or communication styles that inhibit the teams’ productivity” (Noe, 2010, p. 355). This is a necessary development tool for any employee seeking to get along with current co-workers or possible manger candidates. I feel it is an essential skill to understand how others communicate and get along. The company could conduct a Myers-Briggs or DISC assessment, which would assist in identifying strengths, weaknesses, and communications styles. This would not only benefit the current team, but also those interested in developing further in this area.

McCarthy, D. (2008, November 24). Great Leadership: How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP). Great Leadership. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Part 2
Develop a 5- to 7-slide PowerPoint presentation to your boss or to the head of human resources at your organization. Make a definitive case for a company-wide employee development plan. Be sure to make at least FIVE strong points about why employee development will be beneficial to the organization. Also include at least THREE types of employee development initiatives you are suggesting that the organization adopt. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

EIDT 6501 Training and Development: High Tech Training (Week 6)

Greetings everyone,

This week our assignment is to think about the various training technologies outlined in our required text and consider what impact these technologies are having and will continue to have in training and development environments. Then choose four technologies or technological advancements used in training, as described in the text. Next, conduct online research (in the Walden library or other reputable site) to find one additional article or resource that highlights the use of technology for teaching or training purposes. Finally post a blog entry that explains the impact each of your five selected technologies has and will continue to have on how people learn and interact, and the implications of this for training.

The technologies/technological advancements that I selected are:
  • Computer-based training (CBT)
  • Online Learning
  • Virtual Worlds (Second Life)
  • Mobile Technology: Ipods & PDAs
  • Online Social Networks
Computer-based training (CBT)
“An interactive training experience in which the computer provides the learning stimulus, the trainee must respond, and the computer analyzes the response and provides feedback to the trainee” (Noe, 2010, p. 303). CBT has had major impact on how people learn and interact, as it was a pioneering technology used in training delivery.

Online Learning
Also referred to as e-learning, “ refers to instruction and delivery of training by computer online through the Internet or the Web” (Noe, 2010, p. 305). E-Learning has changed “where” training must be delivered, as the Internet and Web are available worldwide.

Virtual Worlds
Virtual worlds such as Second Life, Forterra, and Virtual Heroes are “computer-based, simulated online virtual world that includes a three-dimensional representation of the real world and a place to host learning programs or experiences” (Noe, 2010, p. 321). What is especially interesting about this technology is its effectiveness to link users all over the world in a simulation. The simulation can be something as simple as a meeting, or as complex as a demonstration/tour of a client site. 

Mobile Technology: Ipods & PDAs
Another technology that has forever changed the realm of training, mobile technology allows learning to occur anywhere at anytime.  This is very important in today’s current environment, as everyone is on the go! Mobile technologies are also a great alternative or follow up to in person traditional training.

Online Social Networks
Everyone is familiar with online social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, etc-but few people utilize them for the invaluable learning tools they are. The evolving world of Internet communication blogs, podcasts, tags, file swapping offers students radically new ways to research, create, and learn” (Smith, n.d.).

“The Internet is primarily responsible for creating our revolution in learning. Internet technology has permitted the development of electronic networks that integrate voice, video, and data connections among learners, instructors, and experts” (Noe, 2010, p. 299).  

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Smith, F. (n.d.). How to Use Social-Networking Technology for Learning. . Retrieved April 5, 2012, from

Thursday, March 8, 2012

EIDT 6501 Training and Development: Planning For a Needs Assessment (Week 2)

Greetings Classmates!

This week our assignment is to assume that you have been asked to perform a needs assessment for one of the following companies: Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, Cisco Systems, Men’s Wearhouse, Intel, Steelcase, Nokia and spend some time exploring it online. Try to get a sense of the organization’s products and/or services, consumers, management philosophy, and strategic objectives. 

Based on this, how might you approach the needs assessment? Specifically:
                What stakeholders would you want to make sure to get buy-in from?
                What questions would you ask (and to whom would you address them) during the organizational, person, and task analysis phases?
                What documents or records might you ask to see?
                What techniques would you employ (see Table 3.2 on page 108 of the Noe text), and why?

I selected Southwest Airlines for this assignment, an airline that I love to fly! The mission of Southwest is “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit” (

Another interesting fact, that says a lot about the organization is its mission and view of its employees. CEO Gary Kelly states, “our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring longterm competitive advantage” ( For this reason, the Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer, Gary Kelly and the Southwest employees are major stakeholders in a needs assessment. Other stakeholders would depend on the hypothesized problem that needs to be solved and those directly involved.  Additional stakeholders may include other Southwest officers as outlined in the Southwest Organization Chart

An organizational analysis “involves identifying whether training supports the company’s strategic direction; whether managers, peers, and employees support training activity; and what training resources are available” (Noe, 2010, p. 110). Based on Southwest’s mission to its customers and employees, important questions to ask during an organizational analysis are “how might the training content affect our employees’ relationship with our customers” as well as, “will employees perceive that training program as an opportunity? Reward? Punishment? Waste of time?” (Noe, 2010, p. 111)

“Task analysis results in a description of work activities, including tasks performed by the employee and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to complete the tasks” (Noe, 2010, p. 123).  A task analysis has 4 steps:

  1. Select the job(s) to be analyzed
  2. Develop a preliminary list of tasks performed
  3. Validate/Confirm the preliminary list of tasks
  4. Identify the knowledge, skills, or abilities necessary to successfully perform each task (Noe, 2010, p. 124-125). 

The person analysis “helps to identify employees who need training, that is, whether employees’ current performance or expected performance indicates a need for training” (Noe, 2010, p. 113).  The person analysis can also assist in gauging the targets readiness for training, which can be beneficial when designing the instruction and is a natural transition after the task analysis has been completed.

The techniques that I would employ rely heavily on the task and person analysis. Documentation is an excellent place to begin, as it’s a great source of information, its low cost, and does not use a lot of resources.  Observation can be a great way to gather information on day-to-day activities and procedures while not interrupting or disturbing the work of others. Questionnaires are effective in collecting anonymous information from a large number of people, which can easily and quickly be analyzed. Finally, I would use interviews and focus groups as a needs assessment technique. Both  allow free dialogue which can assist in delving further into problems, issues, and other employee concerns.

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Friday, March 2, 2012

EIDT 6501 Training and Development: The Truth About Training (Week 1)

Good Evening Everyone,

This week our topic was to:
Imagine you have just 2 minutes or so to give someone an "elevator speech" regarding the "truth" about training. This person does not believe that training is important, complicated, or even necessary. What might you say to this individual to convince him or her otherwise? What key insights could you impart that this person likely would not have known and would find surprising and/or interesting?

 Utilizing the insights you gained this week, draft a hypothetical "elevator speech" that, when spoken, lasts for approximately 90 seconds. 

Some would say training is a necessary evil, while others I'm sure would drop the term "necessary" altogether. Hopefully my brief argument is enough to make someone at least pause and think of the complexity of designing training and some of its benefits.

Below is a copy of the transcript (give or take a few lines) and you can listen to the audio clip via SoundCloud by clicking the link below

The role of training in companies has really changed over recent years. Traditionally
most people think of training as a boring and grueling event they are required to attend in order to learn things they don’t even need, in order to do their job.  You know exactly what I’m talking about- when training is over and you think to yourself “what a waste of time” and you think of all the things you could have gotten accomplished in that time if you were at your desk. 

What many people don’t realize is just how complicated it is to create training, specifically learner-centered and performance based training.  People don’t know that effective training can assist businesses in meeting specific needs and challenges, and good training can even improve employee performance, confidence, and commitment to ones job and company.

Did you know there’s a difference between training, instructing, and educating? A trainer has to consider the information that is to be conveyed, the best way to convey it, create a platform in which everyone will learn, understand, and gain knowledge- all while taking our learning styles and other factors into consideration?  Talk about stressful and complicated and unappreciated!

Training is an important part of business acumen as the survival of a business is dependent on the quality of employee talent. Businesses have to educate their personnel to ensure business goals are met and they experience continued growth and success.

Though most people dislike training, employees want to actually do their job to the best of their abilities. In fact 33% stated they would like proper training for new duties and responsibilities and 45% of employees stated they wanted the opportunity to learn and develop their skills.

Training benefits everyone when it’s done correctly. It’s a complex process and a lot more goes into it then people may think 

Bradley, A. (2010). Shifting away from an employer’s market. Training and Development, 64(7), 16–17

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Stolovitch, H. “The Truth About Training”. [Video]. Walden University

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

EIDT 6501 Training and Development (Week 1)

Greetings to my Walden 6501 Classmates

First, thank you for subscribing to my blog, I'm looking forward to much dialogue with each of you!

What a journey! We have finally reached the last and final class of our Instructional Design Masters' program. It's a bittersweet ending as I am elated to be finished with homework, but saddened my scholastic relationship with you all is ending. Luckily for us we will always be connected via the World Wide Web

Okay, it's time for me to take care of a couple things here in the office, we have a post due in a couple days on The Truth About Training so stay tuned

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Project Management 6145 Week 6-Analyzing Scope Creep

This week our blog topic is the ever-scary topic of scope creep, here’s our blog assignment:

Describe a project, either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep. What specific scope creep issues occurred? How did you or other stakeholders deal with those issues at the time? Looking back on the experience now, had you been in the position of managing the project, what could you have done to better manage these issues and control the scope of the project?

So let’s first start with the question, “what IS scope creep?”

According to our required text, scope creep is “the natural tendency of the client, as well as project team members, to try to improve the project’s output as the project progresses” (Portny, et al., 2008, p. 350). Another definition that truly hits the nail on the head so to speak is, “the tendency of a project to include more tasks or to implement more systems than originally specified, which often leads to higher than planned project costs and an extension of the initial implementation date” (What is scope creep, 2007).

In my previous position we took part in a deployment of a case management system that was implemented enterprise-wide. This deployment was a high-profile effort and everyone on my team was expected to travel to support the deployment effort. In the end our team was responsible for training the application, supporting that application (providing field support, as well as support via phone/email), providing support documentation, designing/developing/implementing another training module to later replace the in-person training.  What is interesting is our contract did not originally include all of these provisions esp. with a staff of only 8 people (most of which were on the road).

These issues, and the many that arose as a result, were almost always dealt with in a defensive and reactive (vs. proactive) manner. It seemed we were always reacting to a new development, and/or a new client request that simply came out of nowhere.

In the government contacting realm this is always precarious territory as a contractor never wants to tell the client “no”.  This could possibly result in the client seeking a contract with another organization, and no company wants to lose business (i.e. revenue).

Looking back, I feel a lack of documentation was one important area that could have been done better.  Meaning, many of our processes were undocumented including change requests.  Without documentation it is difficult to see what is in existence, what is being requested, what has been changed, and the results of the requested change. From a project management stand point our organization left themselves very open for later problems to arise.

In an article entitled, “10 Ways to Tackle The Scope Creep”, Miles Burke provides important ways to avoid scope creep:


Burke, M. (2010, November 26). 10 Ways to Tackle the Scope Creep » SitePoint. SitePoint » Web Design, Web Development, Freelancing, Tech News and more. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

What is Scope Creep?. (2007, October 10). . Retrieved October 13, 2011, from