aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

14 Things We Can Learn from the BEST – Part 3

Posted by Ellen on January 5, 2010

What started as a short list of what we can learn from the winners from ASTD’s 2009 BEST Awards grew, so here’s the third of four posts.

Remember, these are in no particular order. No special year-end countdown here.
9. All winners see their function with a wider lens than simply as “education” or training. The trainers at DPR, a commercial construction company, created a database of environmentally-friendly products and services that also guides employees in decision-making around the options. This internal, proprietary software will likely help this organzation sustain its lead in the construction business.
      The learning organization at Barilla America, the North American operation of Barilla Group, a top Italian food corporation, designs, develops, and facilitates the organization’s annual strategic planning sessions in partnership with the organization’s leadership.
      — What’s your role in your association’s strategic planning sessions? Could you be providing more expertise as a facilitator? Organizer? In training small group discussion leaders?
      — Are you seeing the possibilities a database can provide for informal, just-in-time learning?
      — Other than social networking (which should be assumed at this point), what other non-course options are you implementing to aid your members in learning?
      — What job aids and other materials could you be providing your members to help them perform their tasks more efficiently? At lower cost?

10. With the occasional implementation of such things as mobile and virtual world (i.e., Second Life) learning, few of the winners actually broke new ground in how they’re developing or delivering their training. Instead, they’re using tried-and-true elearning and face-to-face methods to reach their educational goal, often mixing them within a single module or course to achieve that end.
      The Fallon Clinic, a group medical practice, implemented their Patient Shadowing Program so staff and clinicians could be observed from the patient’s perspective; the results contribute to their ability to increase patient satisfaction scores. They believe the program’s ROI was 298% over the cost of an external consultant.
      — How could implement a shadowing program to benefit your association? How could it benefit
your staff? Your volunteers? Your content leaders?
      — Are you maximizing mentoring, coaching, and other individual training modes within your association? What could you be doing differently?
      — Are you leveraging the benefits of role-playing within your education events? Scenarios? “I Survived….” case studies? Project-based learning? 
      — How could you “re-mix” your content to meet needed learning goals while leveraging the available media?
      — What’s the most creative thing you could do, right now, today, that would help an ailing educational session? (Don’t say you don’t have one; everybody does.)

11. A few of the winners branded their learning curricula around a theme. Alabama’s Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc. used the abbreviation of their learning initiative, MAST (Mayer’s Acquisition Support and Training) as a nod to Homer’s Odysseus, and incorporated Greek mythology.
      Public accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton incorporated a musical theme when it rolled out their Tax Symphony tax services and methodology tool suite.
      — Is there a theme, symbol, or unifying image you could be using to tie your curriculum together, create a brand, or otherwise make your offerings and/or their content more memorable?

Think this covers all the BEST ideas? Not yet!
Next time: 12-14

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