In this Special Edition Issue:
Reflections on Align 2011
Align 2011 was September 20-22 at the Hilton at the Ballpark St. Louis. We didn't have a planned theme for the event, but as it turns out there were some very strong themes running through the entire event related to what makes some training and employee engagement efforts effective.
Eve Ash, the CEO of 7 Dimensions, the BizLibrary Partner of the Year for 2011, started the conference with an amazing keynote address. Here's a video trailer about her presentation:
The idea that maintaining a positive approach makes a real difference in how effective we are as individuals and professionals resonated in a big way. The simple reality is that our world and the current condition of the market do not easily lend themselves to a positive approach. But if we take and apply Eve's wonderful message, we can make a difference for ourselves and those around us. This forward-looking, positive theme was evident in most of the presentations, speakers and attendees.
Wendy Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Partners explained how organizations can really evaluate the effectiveness of their training efforts by starting with the actual business outcomes you are trying to achieve and working backwards from there into the competencies needed by department, team and individual to support and achieve those goals. Once you get a handle on the business objectives, you can begin to truly develop the information you need to make a meaningful and comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of your training efforts. What I like most about this excellent approach is that it requires us to visualize success. We are required to look to the future to see what the success of our training efforts will look like.
Barbara Carnes delivered our final address about How to Make Training Sticky. This entire address was solely focused on what we have to do to make sure the training content we deliver has the results we desire. Barbara's approach was relentlessly practical and positive. By focusing everyone on what makes some training stick, she made us think about truly engaging our employees with well-crafted training programs that place instructional design at the forefront of our efforts. I loved this session for several reasons, but maybe the most provocative aspect of her presentation was Barbara's emphasis on the design of training. We frequently think we have to be dynamic to train effectively, but the data says otherwise. It really comes down to great design, and this was very encouraging to me. As training professionals, our job is to look ahead to what our employees need from the CONTENT, because great content will trump great speaking skills.
So when you tie all of these great presentations together, you get a very encouraging view of how we can be effective (plan, be positive and design well), and we know how we can measure the business impact of our efforts (visualize success and work backwards).
We've been doing a lot of thinking and research lately on similar subjects. What types of training methods deliver the biggest bang for the buck? Do organizations have to spend fortunes to have really great employee training programs? How - exactly - does social learning fit into the picture?
What we've learned and what we are beginning to conclude aren't really surprises. We know the best training programs - ones where employees actually learn important and valuable lessons and then apply their learning to their jobs - revolve around business objectives and use many different approaches - blended learning. We also know that small and mid-sized companies do not need to spend lavishly to have employee training programs that really deliver results. And last, but not least, we believe that top training programs - regardless of the size of the organization - will soon find effective ways to bring true social learning to their employees.
Breakout session and resources
For the first time Align was approved for HRCI credit. All Conference attendees earned 10 hours CE credit for attending. This year's Conference included 17 different Breakout Sessions and 3 Keynote Addresses, all of which were approved for credit. Here's what some of the session attendees had to say:
View and download the Align 2011 Program
call for presenters
|We're looking for Align 2012 Presenters!!! Presenting at Align 2012 will provide you with an excellent opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with peers and industry influencers. Submissons are due January 31, 2012. To apply and submit your presentation proposal click here.|