Bring Out the Talent: A Learning and Development Podcast

Organizational Learning Strategies: Learning to Learn

October 31, 2022 Maria Melfa & Jocelyn Allen Season 3 Episode 4
Bring Out the Talent: A Learning and Development Podcast
Organizational Learning Strategies: Learning to Learn
Show Notes Transcript

Most organizations know the importance of continuous workplace learning, but are we teaching our teams how to learn? Oftentimes, corporations may miss the mark on developing a specific learning plan that identifies what is needed in order to close the skills gap. Furthermore, many employees enter the workforce without being fully prepared for the unstructured nature and complexities of the modern workplace learning environment.

Organizations need a dynamic skills-focused strategy that enables employees to learn and apply desirable skills quickly and effectively.

In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we talk with our special guest, Dr. Trudy Mandeville, CEO and Chief Learning Officer of TCP Learning about what learning leaders need to make learning strategies more effective, and uncover learning myths. 

Tune in as we learn how to support and create a culture of continuous learning in the workplace!

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Sometimes we are the problem because we latch onto something that we think is good, and it gets used and reused and reused and just like the telephone message gets changed.

Maria:                                 That's the voice of Dr. Trudy Mandeville, the CEO of TCP Learning and also our guest on this episode of Bring Out the Talent.

Speaker 3:                          Bring out the talent, bring out the talent. Bring out the talent. Welcome to Bring out the Talent, the podcast featuring learning and development experts discussing innovative approaches and industry insights. Tune in to hear our talent help develop yours. Now here are your hosts, TTA's, CEO and president Maria Melfa and talent manager Jocelyn Allen.

Maria:                                 Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us today. How are you?

Jocelyn:                              I am fantastic, Maria. How are you?

Maria:                                 I'm doing okay now. I'm doing well. Just feel like have too much information in my brain, and it's just kind of seeping out.

Jocelyn:                              Your head was looking a little bigger.

Maria:                                 Yeah, exactly.

Jocelyn:                              No, we were talking about that yesterday, information overload. There's a lot of change going on and a lot of retention of newness, and we have a lot of things going on and some very exciting conversation. So I get why you're feeling a certain type of way.

Maria:                                 Yes, I have my fourth weekend in a row that I need to be out of town personally, I mean for a wedding this weekend. So it'll be fun, but I just feel like I'm just going around in circles. I'm looking forward to the end of October where I could just lie in my chair and have a say in what I want to do.

Jocelyn:                              You want to wake up in your own bed.

Maria:                                 Exactly. So let's get started today. Many HR and L&D leaders know the importance of continual workplace learning. What are we focusing on the most important skills, we ask. Organizations need a dynamic skills focus strategy that enables employees to learn and apply the desirable skills quickly and effectively. But what does that look like and where do we begin? How could we support or create a learning culture to future proof our people and our organizations. To help us better understand organizational learning strategies, we are joined by our special guests today, Dr. Trudy Mandeville. Dr. Mandeville is the CEO and chief learning officer of TCP Learning. She is also a learning experience design strategist and a learning coach. Dr. Mandeville built TCP Learning with a focus on the design of the learners' experience. Welcome, Dr. Mandeville.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Thank you. It's really nice to be here. I appreciate the opportunity. Oh, I always love talking about learning.

Maria:                                 Oh, you are in the right place because guess what? We do too. We have this little podcast where it's what we do, Trudy, and exactly why we invited you on. So we're excited to have you. Thanks for coming. So Dr. Mandeville, you are the embodiment of a continual learner. You began your career as a nurse, later pivoting to instructional design, and then went on to become a doctor of education from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Where does your passion from learning stem from?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         That's a really great question, Maria and Jocelyn. And what's interesting about it is when I started my doctoral work, I don't think I ever really focused on being a continual learner. I just thought of it as something that was just a part of my life. It was a part of everything I do. But as I started thinking about it and when I was going through the program and really ingesting, that's the best way to describe learning theory, I started thinking about how the people around me learned. My children, my grandchildren, the people I worked, and it really started me to think about what did it take, how did they get motivated, what were the challenges? And then I really began to recognize that I really liked getting people the right facts and information and sometimes think I'm pretty good at it, but found even though I thought I was doing it at the right time and for the right reasons, it didn't resonate.

                                             As a nurse, I taught childbirth classes and adolescent health and sexuality classes. Then when I got my MBA, I later started teaching in traditional undergraduate again with continuing ed students. And obviously as an instructional designer, I created those learning opportunities. But what I found was, and started really investigating, and it was interesting and just about that time I started to really think about why when we create all of these corporate learning programs, are people not excited about doing it or what are the challenges? So how do you make someone into a continual learner, I guess is my final shot on that is.

Maria:                                 So the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, my sister went to the San Diego School of Professional Psychology, so I know about those schools.

Jocelyn:                              Are they like the same? The same and just different, not the same, but it's a school in different locations?

Maria:                                 Yes.

Jocelyn:                              Very cool.

Maria:                                 They're all affiliated and they have a very good reputation.

Jocelyn:                              They do.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Yeah, they are APA certified as well is was one of the reasons why I looked at also was an online program. So it was also interesting because I went from designing online learning to becoming an online student. And so I've been on both sides of the fence. I've been in the front of the classroom. Or I don't like sage on the stage. I like guide on the side better, but I've been in that position but I've also been the student on the other end of online where many people are right now. So it was a real eye-opening experience for me. It was a good education.

Jocelyn:                              Very cool. I like that you have experience in such a variety of different learning areas and that you kind of created this segue into the education part of it after being a nurse and on the front lines. I mean, what a transition. We're seeing a lot of that happening right now I think because people are the forever learners in those roles just see the capabilities that they have to continue that passion instead of, and the different industries and roles that they can do it in. And it kind of speaks to something that I find interesting about some things that you said about meeting people where they're at in learning styles and how people like to learn. And a lot of companies are focused on that, but you say that these have been debunked recently. And I'm very interested in hearing more about that and kind of the journey you took to discover that.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Well, there's a lot of research. It wasn't really hard to do because there's a lot of research and when you look at any of the core experts in the learning profession, they all speak to learning styles as one of the many but one of the most prevalent. In fact, there's a really great YouTube that a gentleman did, I wish I could remember his name right now, that speaks to a survey he did. He did a video survey of different people, different ages and asked them what their learning style was, and everybody knew it. What's interesting about that is that about 69% of teacher education programs have that in their certification program. That's part of their program. So it's one of the myths that we have stubbornly held onto. I think that's some reasons for it. Part of this, what I do believe is the problem is that we don't really look at the evidence sometimes, and we don't have a lot of evidence that we use.

                                             So that's a problem. And I think we have to start looking in learning itself as what's the evidence and what does the evidence tell us. I think we're not the only profession that happens in, but we really need to start to look at what evidence means. There's a couple of really good books out there. Boser, I think I'm saying is right. His name correctly has written about urban myths and learning and actually I think he just published another book. Peter Brown's book, which he was the author but there are two cognitive scientists that collaborated with him. He's got also some good information about some of the myths.

Maria:                                 There are other learning myths that you found people believe or follow but aren't in fact accurate. Yes?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Oh, yes.

Maria:                                 I'm interested in this side of it because of the role that it does play in instructional design and development and providing learning in organizations because I think that sometimes you find that a lot of people start there and kind of develop plans based on these kinds of learning myths or assessments or styles.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         But some of them, what I would like to start my response to you by saying I think learning myths and learning beliefs sometimes do have a nugget of reality. They're not completely false but that you have to really dig down into them. And so it may be something that's based on past history and what information was available at the time. Sometimes I say it's like if you ever played this game when you were a kid, answer the telephone and the message. So the first person in the room answered the telephone and the message had to go around the room. And what happened to the message by the time it got to the last person didn't even sound like it.

Maria:                                 We played that last week actually. It's a true story. We all went to Hibachi as a big team when we had our remote team, and we actually played it a few times. It was pretty funny. And the results were exactly what you said, Trudy, by the time it got to the end. We were upset, and we had to figure out exactly where it went wrong. It was fun. It was quite a learning experience though.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         But it is a good learning experience. And that's the important part of learning is that you reflect on how does that impact what you're doing. But talk about that later. But I think part of it, and as having been a vendor for 30 plus years, I also can tell you that sometimes we are the problem because we latch onto something that we think is good, and it gets used and reused and reused and just like the telephone message gets changed. There's a lot of them, 70 20 10. Now 70 20 10 in itself what they're talking about is formal and informal learning. And I know there' probably more depth to that but just taking a look at that. But somehow when you use those numbers it makes it seem like, if 70% of my learning in the workplace is informal, then learning somehow isn't important. It's the implication of it.

                                             You know what I mean? So that's I think is a good example of where there's some truth to that. A lot of my learning doesn't occur informally. That doesn't mean I don't need learning skills for it. It's just that it doesn't happen in the context of a formal classroom because workplace learning is a complex unstructured learning environment compared to an academic environment where it's very structured. I know my course objectives, I know I have a finite amount of time, I know what my outcome is a grade. Even if I don't give two hoots about the content that's in that module or that course that I'm taking, I know what the outcome is. Workplace learning's very different.

Maria:                                 Now can we go back to where you said, because I love that you also said and kind of took accountability like hey, sometimes it's in the developers and kind of what you're seeing and aligning and things like that. But what about maybe it being catered towards something similar, which is maybe these biases or these assumptions that we hold and what type of learning biases exist out there? How would people overcome those in order to get to an effective point of learning design?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Well, first of all, I'm seeing the phrase be introduced a little bit more into the workplace learning. It's in the academic side. And that's becoming a self-regulated learner and really what does that mean? And really understanding what potentially our biases are. If you look at the psychological terms, it may be implicit or explicit bias. I have had a conversation with one of my colleagues in the UK, and she was speaking to some facilitation she was doing. And in the guide was a schematic, and she said one of the women in the class absolutely freaked out because she'd convinced herself that she was bad in math. And of course, we know math phobia is one of the biggest problems. And so anything that had to do with math, she couldn't do it. She completely absolutely couldn't do it. And so we really do need to...

                                             So being a self-regulated learner means that I have the motivation and I have the affect. And in the workplace, some of it is overconfidence, I can tell you. And we've all experienced it where people have overconfidence. They didn't take that course, they didn't look at that module, they didn't review those minutes before they went in because they thought they knew it. And then they get into the situation and didn't know it. So it's really looking at those things and recognizing potentially what previous experience. And there's a lot of conversation about that adults and children learn differently. Well, they don't really. It's just that as adults we probably have more baggage, and we have more previous experience. I have a daughter who's dyslexic, and I have a granddaughter who's dyslexic. And I guess probably a lot of my passion for learning came with trying to help both, particularly my daughter, get through the whole challenges associated with learning.

                                             And I do have to say the impact of school on her was absolutely tremendous. Now she's gone back to school and currently will be finishing her degree this year, and what an amazing change. But it's taken a long time and a lot of years. And for some people, it's the opposite. If you were in top of your class A student, I was just having conversation with someone who was talking about their nephew who had been an A student in high school and got to college, and he was absolutely floored because he now was not. He was flunking. He did well in school but he didn't really know how to learn. So it's really starting with those workplace learning at what our previous experience is. But I would also add to that and for myself as a learning designer, the one thing I also want to think about is, what is the learning task value?

                                             What does that learning task mean to me? Because if you don't make it valuable for me, then I'm not going to see it. And I've worked with a lot of high school kids. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into a classroom and ask students. I'll say, see what you learning today. Tell me if you think you're going to use it. And every single hand goes up nine out of 10 times. Actually, I'd say 99 out of a hundred because I can't think of any that question hasn't resonated. So what I would say as whatever educator you are, whether you are in K through 12, post-secondary, or workplace, you have to convince me and tell me somehow why I'm learning this is important. I'll give you a quick example. Stephen Covey in his book, First Things First, talks about motivation.

                                             Well, people aren't motivated enough. That's what I hear all the time. And I always use this example with my daughter who's dyslexic. When people would talk about it, I'd say, okay, quickly, I'm going to build a house for you. Give it free, no mortgage, you're all set. The only thing is you have to dig the foundation. You have to put the foundation in. And guess what? I'm going to give you a spoon to do it with. I don't care how motivated you are for having that free mortgage, after a while, you're going to lose your motivation. So in addition to have understanding why I'm doing it, then I also have to have the right tools. I hope that answers the question.

Maria:                                 Yeah, it was very good answer. And I could relate to a lot of your stories because both of my children have learning disabilities in very different areas. So my daughter is dyslexic. So I know that she certainly had her struggle. She's a junior in high school right now. And we ended up in second grade sending her to a private school Bancroft in this area. And they had such an incredible program that Hope Graham Program, which went over the Orton-Gillingham methodology.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Oh yes, I'm familiar.

Maria:                                 Yes. And it's absolutely amazing what they taught her to do in those three years that she went to that school. She developed so many incredible study habits and ways to just organize her thoughts that it really gave her a great foundation. My son on the other hand has kind of a visual learning processing disorder, but he can get things very quickly but never learned how to study at all, never learned the organizational tools. So he's in college now. And I mean thankfully, he's in his last year of college now. So he's been able to start developing some better habits because he's had to. But it was definitely much more of a struggle for him to get organized than my daughter Charlotte because she learned all the best practices. She learned how to learn. Exactly.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         It's interesting because recently in April my daughter went to Landmark College, which is a college...

Maria:                                 Yes, very well.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         And while she was there, I was also teaching as adjunct faculty in a traditional program. I kept thinking the whole time, I wish these kids really had the skills that she was learning. But it was interesting because there was this webinar on neuro diversity, and they had a panel of students had graduated. What was fascinating about it is I noticed somebody wrote in the chat, oh my god, they're metacognition. And that's the academic label for learning how to learn. And that's where these four students, because of their disability, which in some ways is sad because we don't have every student learning how to learn. These kids knew the way they needed how to learn. It has nothing to do with learning styles. This was what worked well for them. And understanding what best, as you said Maria, what's the best practices.

Maria:                                 Exactly.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         When we talk about learning how to learn, there's really three pieces of this, stages, phases, whatever you want to call it. And most people, when we talk about learning, this is my label for it, focus on the transactional part of learning. It's whether I'm reading something or whether or not I'm watching a video, participating in some type of collaborative social learning experience. That is that piece. But what you were referring to, Maria, in terms of her organization, there are three phases to learning, to metacognition. And one of the first one is planning. And planning, sometimes we think of just goals, we think of time management. And it's really more than time management. I always found it interesting and that even colleagues that I went to school with, they would say things to me like, whoa, how did you get that? Or how did you do this?

                                             Well, it's understanding how much you need to learn. Now when you think about that in the workplace is recognizing and having these conversations with your manager as an individual learner or your manager clearly stating what are the things that you need to learn? So that's part of the planning. Strategically, what do I need to learn? And then thinking of tactical planning, because you do this in business. So it's not that far as stray for business. So in tactical learning, what do I have in my environment that I can use to learn? In most organizations you have these huge libraries of content, but most people don't even know where to start with it. We know that utilization is very low. Can you imagine if people had those planning skills from a tactical perspective, then they could go into it. That makes L&D rather than order takers really driving learning that's important to the organization.

                                             And then you look at your actual performance, and then you finally look at the reflection. Is this what I needed to learn? Where are my gaps? What did I do well? What did I not do well? Part of that performance is also the practicing, if it's something that I need to be able to do. And that's one of the things what also drives me crazy is I've had this conversation many times with people. How soon after can I practice this and how soon after it am I going to learn it? If I practice it, but I'm not going to use it for six months, hello. I need to practice it. I need to be able to make sure, and depending on what the critical skill is, how critical is that to the organization and my job. Now if I'm doing it every day, it becomes routine expertise.

                                             I know it, I do it, and eventually, I don't even think about how I do it. But the adaptive expertise, now can I take what I know about my job and my skills and apply it? So it's really thinking about those three. To really be a self-regulated learner, I really need to be able to plan appropriately whatever level phase I'm in. I need to be able to monitor my own learning, and I need to be able to reflect on what worked. The key to this is the workplace has to support my ability to do that.

Maria:                                 Right on. And as we're mentioning, a lot of schools don't even teach this. So how do we go and teach our students and our employees this when they never learned it?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         That's been part my research, and I have been working developing a program. I have a program that I use. But we do know from the research, from the K through post-secondary side, there is a lot of research that supports that you can train students in learning skills. Your daughter, my daughter at Landmark are classic examples. That's what that school teaches them. So it can be taught. It needs to be integrated into what we do. It's very interesting because I'm part of a group called improve with metacognition. Well I shouldn't say I'm part of it but I follow, I'm a groupie on the website. But I do have a mentor from who she and I, we discuss this because it doesn't matter how much you know about something having that social conversation about it. But also, one of her colleagues from that group has been talking about metacognitive objectives.

                                             So often when we write learning objectives, we look at cognition. What are the facts? What's the information, what's the skill I need to learn? So as instructional designers, we need to start thinking about how somebody needs to learn that. And you begin to put in metacognitive strategies into it. I was laughing, not laughing ha ha at you, but laughing because you were talking about your brain's about ready to explode. There is a word for that. Your working memory has too much in it. And what we do know is you are going to forget some of those things. Forgetting is normal, but how do you take it from your working memory and move it over to long term memory so that I'm going to be able to call upon it. And depending on what I need to know, we need to be able to help people through that.

                                             In some cases, it may not even be teaching them what they need to know or what they need to do, but how do they find what they need to know and providing them access to it. And I think that's one of the things in the workplace that we push out a lot of content. We don't look at context often. I'm sorry to say, but I think a lot of the programs, the required safety programs and all of that really focuses on a lot of content but not context and thinking about how am I going to use that. It's a checkbox for a lot of organizations. And the more you model for people and you show them how they learn things, I think you'll begin to see a change, in addition to making them aware of their skills and mentoring.

                                             Right now I've been talking to a client about their leadership skills. So they're building a leadership skills program. So integrating how someone can examine their own learning skills and see where the gaps are and use leadership as the context because I think that's important. I think the challenge in trying to teach learning skills to adults who already have a preexisting set, you have a mental model, that's what we call it. You get a mental model/ how are you going to change my mental model? Give me something concrete, give me learning leadership and tie those two together. That's just one of the many ways of teaching people what their learning skills are.

Maria:                                 It's right on. And this is all stuff that is just not spoken about enough.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         I think you're right. I think you're right.

Maria:                                 So then how do we tackle those obstacles when it comes to learning in the workplace? Are we hiring the right people? Are we hiring too much based on given skills, things that we know .or should we be hiring based on learning ability, based on the route this conversation is taking. Is learning ability if you don't know how to address it in the workplace, the right thing to hire for? Where to companies go when navigating that question?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Well I think one of the challenges is that when you look at... And I don't think we've completely resolved that yet from a lot of the research and reading and based on my own experiences. One of the biggest measures is self-assessing and I do think that... But the challenge is recognizing that what I think about myself as a learner may not be completely true or it may be that I'm over confident, as I mentioned that a little bit ago, could be over confident in my learning ability as much as I'm under confident. And I think both of those extremes are very critical to learning in the workplace. I do think that one of the challenges is we really do have to, as learning professionals really use evidence. And again, as a vendor, I'll be the first one to say don't use vendor speak.

                                             Let's look at models. Okay, models are models. They're good to give us a framework, but it doesn't mean that we have to a hundred percent use it, but have evidence behind what we say and what we promote. So for example, right now with enterprises, what I suggest the first thing they do, and there's a couple of good validated instruments out there. And what I mean by a validated instrument is it's a set of questions that have been tested by researchers. And that's really important because anybody can write a bunch of questions. I just was evaluating something the other day that drives me crazy. All of the above, none of the above. Those are the worst distractors you can put. But anyway, so you're talking about, I won't go off on a tangent because I'll make you all crazy, but looking at what's a baseline in your organization starting there. And saying, okay, from that baseline, and you don't need to assess everybody in your organization, a statistical sample.

                                             So this is where I'm going to put what I've learned about research hat on, but you just get a good statistical sample of your organization and kind of get a baseline. What do the people think of themselves as learners? And then you begin. You do a pilot of a program. So one of the things that I use in our program is actually a virtual reality experience where they go to Mars, and they're expected to prepare to go to Mars and take on a role. And there's three leadership skills challenges that they have. Communication, negotiation, and one more, drawing a blank here. But anyway, they have three leadership type skills, and they go through, they have to solve it. Well, I also say there's a technology skill because for people who have never put on goggles for virtual reality, it totally freaks them out.

                                             They don't necessarily know how to do it. You have to teach them how to do it. Isn't that the workplace? How many times have we had tools that we've gotten. And oh yeah, I know how to do that. I know how to do it. And I've seen people in these sessions go, oh, I know how, yeah, it's just putting on goggles. I'm all set. I don't need how to do it. But they have to perform certain things. In fact, in the first challenge, and inevitably most people do expire at the end because they have an oxygen leak, and they don't take care of it. So at the end, what we do is we don't necessarily focus on the negotiation skills or that, what we say to them is, what did you need? Where did you see your skills gaps?

                                             What were the challenges that you had with learning? And then for some people, and what I suggest to an organization is for your probably more experienced employees, let them do this first, and then point out to them because you're going to... Remember, one of the important things of designing learning is making me aware of where my strengths and weaknesses are. Kind of shaking up that mental model a little bit. For novices, we don't want to do that because they're new to the organization. So you're working with new hires, you would do something that would be, take them through the program, and then give them a chance to apply it, practice it, and then reflect on the meeting the meaning of. So I don't think I've answered your question, but I think it's a challenge that I think the problem we have, and every HR person is going to be shaking their head at me.

                                             Job descriptions are a challenge. We want to want people to do from soup to nuts, and that may not be a possibility. What we do have to do is look at job descriptions. What do we want them to have as a baseline for this job? Is this a novice job and what does that mean? Or something else and then figure out. And what do they need to learn... I think to try to answer your question, Jocelyn. What do they need to learn to become more experienced in that job? If I'm starting off at as a novice, in two years, do I need to be experienced in one year or six months? And then look at how do I help them learn in a workplace?

Maria:                                 So then how can learning leaders ensure that their learners do have the proper learning skills and strategies available to succeed? Because we are talking about the workplace efforts in regards to that, right? And getting the right people and maybe not matching all the skills right up front. So what is maybe even step one, what do they need to do to ensure that they have that available?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         I do think they need to have that conversation with the leaders within the organization, and they need to do some kind of baseline so that they can demonstrate what the skill levels. I remember several years ago having a conversation with a woman who was a vice president of learning and development in a 40,000 person organization. And she kept saying to me, well, my high performers, they really know what they want to learn, and they go after it. And I said, that's wonderful. I said, what's the percentage of the people within your organization? And she said, oh, maybe 10, 20%. I said, what about the other 80%? Are they ready to learn in your environment? Does learning and development within their organization become a primary function and having a seat at the table. So it's really more of a very complex solution.

                                             And some organizations do it quite well. Other organizations expect... And just a quick segue to history, it wasn't always like this. When you look at the history of corporate learning back in manufacturing and during the Industrial Revolution, companies paid to train their employees. There wasn't the expectation that they were going to come to the job perfectly ready to do the job. And I think we have to change that mindset and allow people to learn. And learning in the flow of work has become a very popular term. I don't think it's a bad term because we do learn informally and formally. My concern of it is that we aren't allowing time for self-reflection because error prevention is better than error maintenance. So if I take the time to reflect on what's working well, I'm knowing that there's a baseline of learning that my employee has to have.

                                             How many times do you see someone who's trained to do certain aspects of their job by the person sitting next to them, which is not a bad thing, but does that person sitting next to them know how to do it the right way or just the way they learned because the person before them taught them how to do it? So I think that organizations, they need evidence to show that. It can't be just Trudy saying this. We have to give them evidence. We have to take a bit of a different approach. And say, I'm going to show you some evidence of the things we are that we can change, and how we can move forward in measuring that change.

Maria:                                 Right on again. So Trudy, you just told me to call you Trudy instead of Dr. Mandeville. So as we wrap this up, is there a specific formula you follow in designing learning paths based on all that you just said and all the complications and challenges?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         There's a couple of things. It's not a specific formula, but I think it's some things that because of my experience and my education. So for me, the wonderful component of my doctoral education was after having done this for 30 plus years, I could take what I learned with that experience, mirror it to my education, find out where my gaps were, and fill that. And so I try to take that approach when looking, designing learning. So I use a set of standard I follow in terms of when I'm designing web-based learning or any type of immersive experience, what are the standards that I should be following? Richard Mayer is my guru. Dr. Mayer is one of the top in educational technology. What other kind of stand? There are different models for learning, whether using ADDIE or whatever. I think that depends on your personal preference, but again, they're only models.

                                             And models do provide us with guidance. The most important thing is that, as I mentioned back about the middle of this conversation was what I really try to make sure is that my learners understand the task value and that they can map that task value back to their professional goals. Is it critical for the job? Is it critical for their career? And get to look at it from that perspective. I've had conversations, I'll just use a quick example, conversations, let's say product overview. Very, very common thing that we develop learning for. Very often what companies will do is they'll give this product overview, this big product overview, especially when you're getting updates to a new version of the product, blah, blah, blah. What I suggest to those content experts is who's going to use it? Am I the person who's doing the installation and the maintenance and the upgrade to that product?

                                             I need a very deep learning experience. If I'm a manager, I need probably 50% of it. So let's design the learning so that the task value, all of that content is going to meet the task value that I need as manager. And that I'm going to get the task value. I'm going to get the skills and knowledge that I need to do my job. That to me is a critical. And also understanding, and that's the other part of that formula if there is a formula, I don't really have one, is I always ask the question, is this a novice? Is this experienced or is this an expert? And if I'm designing for a novice, go back to our working memory, I got to make sure that I'm doing things like scaffolding content, making sure they understand it. And I also have to know who my novice is.

                                             An example, was doing something for an engineering group. And I said, tell me what you define as your novice. Well, it's somebody who had five years of experience in the industry. It's just this was a new product and a new component of the industry that they were learning. Well, that's different. I'm going to say they have a prerequisite set of information, prerequisite set of knowledge, and how do I surface that so I can make the connections for that novice between what they already know and what they know now? What they're going to learn, I should say.

Maria:                                 Very enlightening, Trudy, I love the way that you think because it's different. Really, it is. I just like that you bring a different kind of perspective into what learning can be, what it should be, where gaps might exist. So I think it's time for a little bit more critical thinking in the form of the TTA 10.

David:                                  It's the TTA 10. 10 final questions for our guest.

Maria:                                 I got to give it to myself. I'm getting really good with the segues.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Now you're making me nervous though. Now I really feel like I'm...

Jocelyn:                              This is going to be a blast, Trudy. Don't you worry. You are going to be great. So the TTA 10, we talked about it before we started recording, but it's 10 questions. The goal is 90 seconds or less. We will either celebrate you or we will not. Our producer David is ready for both. So the only question I have before we start is, are you ready?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Ah, yeah.

Maria:                                 And that was for you too. David, are you ready?

Speaker 3:                          Yes, I am ready per usual, Jocelyn. 90 seconds are on the TTA 10 clock. Starting now.

Maria:                                 All right, Trudy, who is your favorite musical artist?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Gershwin. I told you how old I am.

Maria:                                 How do you take your coffee?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         With creamer and one Stevia.

Maria:                                 All right. What was the best meal you've ever had?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Oh, I don't know. Strangely enough, a beet salad.

Maria:                                 Sometimes they hit it, right. What is six plus three?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Nine.

Maria:                                 If you could stream only one TV show for an entire year, which one would you choose?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Oh, the one I just watched, which was a combination of... It was Recipes for Love and Murder because it brought in my interest of murder mysteries and my love for food and recipes because all she does is cook through the whole thing.

Maria:                                 If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         I would go back Europe. I'd go to Ireland, and I also want to go to Italy.

Maria:                                 Sweet or savory?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Sweet.

Maria:                                 If you weren't doing this, what would your career be?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Well, that's hard to say because I've had multiple careers. I would probably be some kind of... During the pandemic developed colored pencil addiction so I would probably be a colored pencil artist or try to improve what I do.

Maria:                                 Does pineapple belong on pizza?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Oh, certainly. It's nice. It's good on pizza.

Maria:                                 What was the best piece of advice you ever received?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         I actually had a psychologist say to me once that I should stop being, and I can't say it because you'd have to bleep me out. Something Mother Teresa. The best piece of advice I ever got.

Maria:                                 Love it. All right, David. At a close, those were some good answers, but I don't know. How are we going to land here? What's the tally?

David:                                  Well, we're doing some calculations over here at the TTA 10 labs, and it turns out you receive a discount if you mention Mother Teresa or George Gershwin. And therefore, if you can believe it, just under the 90 seconds, Gertrude, Trudy, whatever your name is, you are a winner.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Woo hoo.

David:                                  Yes, that is right. We will celebrate in Trudy style. I feel like I'm in a Woody Allen movie because I hear Gershwin. Congratulations Trudy. Oh,

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         I love it. Thank you so much.

David:                                  You are a TTA 10 champion. We know your business is learning, and today we have learned that you're one smart cookie. Today you take your place along other famous people named Gertrude. Gertrude Stein and all the others. We also know that you earned your MBA at Bryant University. Thus, you will now be mentioned in the same breath as other Bryant alumni like venture capitalist David Bern, Rhode Island Supreme Court Judge Frank Williams, and Nicholas Colasanto, who played coach on Cheers, of course. When it comes to inspiration, Notre Dame may have had Rudy, but we've got Trudy. Congratulations Trudy, our TTA 10 Champion.

Maria:                                 How fun is that? What a pleasure, Trudy. And I have to watch that show you're talking about. That sounds fun.

Jocelyn:                              Yeah. Can we get a dial back on what that was again?

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         It's Recipes for Love and Murder. Absolutely. It's one of the best ones I've seen in a long time.

Maria:                                 Well, thank you so much again.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Thank you for the opportunity.

Maria:                                 Okay. Thank you very much.

Jocelyn:                              I'll see you later.

Dr. Trudy Mande...:         Okay.

Jocelyn:                              If you're interested in discovering which learning paths will work best for you in your organization, visit us at We'll see you later.