Learning Experience Leader

Book Review - Design Thinking for Training and Development with Mandy Lambert

July 27, 2021 Greg Williams
Learning Experience Leader
Book Review - Design Thinking for Training and Development with Mandy Lambert
Show Notes Transcript

Today I’m joined by Mandy Lambert, an instructional designer interning at Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and our discussion is all about the book Design Thinking for Training and Development by Sharon Boller and Laura Fletcher. From the back of the book:

"When training and development initiatives treat learning as something that occurs as a one-time event, the learner and the business suffer. Using design thinking can help talent development professionals ensure learning sticks to drive improved performance. With its hands-on, use-it-today approach, this book will get you started on your own journey to applying design thinking."

In summarizing and reflecting on the book we cover topics such as: 

  • 4 key pillars design thinking for learning design
  • The value of the 5 kinds of constraints
  • How a great design considers the sweet spot of all stakeholders, not just learners
  • The elements of a great implementation plan

And much more!

You can check out more about the book here: 

Also, learn more about Mandy at her website! https://mandylambert100.wixsite.com/website

Credits

Introduction music, “For Mimi” by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/lxleader)
Greg Williams:

From the beautiful state of Utah and the United States Hello and welcome. I'm Greg Williams, and you're listening to the learning experience leader podcast, a project devoted to design leadership and the psychology of learning. This is a book review episode. Every month or so I read a book with a fellow designer or leader, and we reflect on it together in a podcast episode. Today, I'm joined by Mandy Lambert, an instructional designer interning at the midcontinent, independent system operator. And our discussion is all about the book design thinking for training and development by Sharon bowler and Laura Fletcher, in summarizing and reflecting on the book, Mandy and I cover topics, such as four key pillars of design thinking for learning design, the value of the five kinds of constraints, how a great design considers the sweet spot of all stakeholders, not just learners, the elements of great implementation, and much, much more. Let's get started. Mandy, I'm so excited to have you here on the show to talk about this book with me. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Oh, before we kind of dive into the meat of the book and share with listeners some of the things that we learned and that stuck out to us, I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about what your current role looks like? What what makes up the work that you're doing?

Mandy Lambert:

Sure, so I am getting my master's degree in learning design and technology. Through Purdue University, I started January of 2020. And I will finish next month. And I yeah, I'm excited. And then I just switched. I have previously been in the supply chain management industry. And then I just started an internship doing instructional design last month, and it's at a company that manages the energy grid and energy market. And it's actually a different geographic region, but the same company as the one that was talked about at the end of the book that we're discussing. So that's like a super coincidence.

Greg Williams:

That's really cool. Yeah. Oh, and so we're reading, we read design thinking for training and development, creating learning journeys that get results by Sharon bowler and Laura Fletcher, I'm, I'm curious to know what had you interested in this book? Why, why pick it up and take the time to read it from your angle?

Mandy Lambert:

Well, it seems like there's a lot of talk about UX design, and how much does that overlap with instructional design and learner experience design and all these different phrases? And when you get down to it, I think it's, it makes sense that there's some overlap, because instructional design is, is supposed to be at least partially learner centric and understanding the perspective of the learner. So I wanted to see more about what kind of tools you can really use to kind of focus on that in designing learning and training programs.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, that was similar for me is I'd taken a course back in when I was in graduate school, I took like a seminar class. So it wasn't a full three credit hour class, but it was about Stanford's design thinking sort of model or the D schools, you know, thing. And since then, I've thought about, like, how does this apply to the work that I do, or this instructional design and so you know, the title sort of set it, I was like, Okay, I'm interested to see how they bring these pieces together. So. So it's good because it, there's some of those popular sort of buzzword II things in here. But they're kind of elucidated for instructional designers. And there's a model presented and all sorts of other good stuff. So with that, maybe we can get started. There are five different sections overall in the book, and I think makes sense as we could just sort of walk through those sections to paint a picture for listeners who haven't read it, to get a sense of what's the scope of the book, and then maybe we can highlight a few areas that stick out, or that were particularly interesting. Does that sound good? Yeah. Okay, so this first section is called get acquainted with the concepts. So it's kind of just here's a little bit about design thinking. And then connecting design thinking to learning experiences to an instruction. And then they prevent the provide at the very end of this first section, a sort of framework for training and development a model. So in that first section that kind of sets up the whole booklet, what stuck out to you as being important for understanding how the rest of the book was going to unfold.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, well, in general, I liked. I like to have this book has overarching concepts, but then kind of detailed tactile tips that you can really use. It talks about the four main principles that are kind of the basis of what they are saying is important to keep in mind when you're designing learner centric experiences. So they're the four main principles that they're talking about recognize learning as a journey, debt perspective, which is understanding business and learner perspective. Find in mind the sweet spot, which is basically referring to the balance between the business needs, the learner needs and the project constraints. And then the fourth principle is prototype before you refine. So that's where you get into some of the iterative aspects of UX design. And I like that because it has, those are principles that you can apply in different ways to any project in any organization, and kind of make it make them work for whatever your constraints or whatever you have to work on. And I like how it's, it's realistic in a business setting. So coming from getting a master's degree, there's a lot of focus on the theories about what how people learn the psychology behind it, and how they get motivated, which is super important. But it's also important to understand in a business environment, how do you how do you get buy in from stakeholders? How do you make sure you're really understanding what the business need is and solving that problem? So I think I think the author's do a great job of, of kind of having those principles go throughout the book. And then and then include those models and frameworks. And even in the at the very end, there's an appendix with just a whole bunch of pages where you could use those in your, in your projects.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I love the the focus on constraints, you know it, there's a little bit in that first section about the primer on design thinking how important it is to think about those constraints of time and budget skills, technology and access to people and other resources. And I feel like we don't talk enough about that. Because when you understand your constraints really clearly, it allows you more creativity and flexibility in your design, because you know, sort of what you can't do, rather than discovering that later, as you're pitching or as you're building. That's those type of things.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I could tell they really included those from real life experience. And being newer in the field. I actually read this more like a textbook, I went and took a whole bunch of notes. And that part, I think I wrote out almost everything because it was stuff I never even thought of that could happen. And it helps me now instead of in the middle of something.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, that first principle you mentioned about recognized learning as a journey. In my mind, that is sort of the crux, I've realized over the last maybe two years of doing this podcast of this, the real difference between an experience design versus a design of a piece of instruction or content design, is recognizing the act of learning as a journey that takes place over many touchpoints versus, you know, one session or one course or something like that. I love the idea that they share this magical versus miserable here in I think it's chapter two, still in the first section about as you map out a person's experience over the course of whatever it might be trying to identify what are the really important things you want to highlight as being the best opportunities for people in their learning the magical opportunities versus where they naturally miserable? You know, like, can they access the LMS? Or do they have to sign up with three passwords? Or, you know, do they know what they need and trained to identify those, those troughs to make them really great. So I love that principle of learning as a journey. And that seems to be a big theme throughout the whole homework.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I also wrote down the magical versus miserable moments. It's just such a simple way to remember and use kind of that Dane, the perspective of the learner and I found myself thinking in those terms when I was going through things, so my husband and I just moved to a different state. And I went to the DMV and just thought, like, here's a miserable moment, like, here's an opportunity, here's an opportunity that's miserable. And then in other situations, like, online shopping or something, I was like, Oh, that's really cool. How that popped up with a magical idea. So we start to think, like that.

Greg Williams:

Exactly. I mean, and I think that's something I like about this book is it has you thinking about other types of experiences. And I did a three part podcast series about experience design, from a book on that really got me thinking about this. So it was fun to see this in the specific context of learning design. And you mentioned the kind of the sweet spot. I'm turning that early in the book, page seven. And they have this sort of triple Venn diagram of learner wants and needs, combined with constraints and combined with business needs and kind of the sweet spot is right in the middle there. And something that I was thinking about, and I'm curious to hear what your perspective on this is, you know, that key area of learner wants and needs gets into like, Alright, is it easy to use? You know, how can we avoid miserable moments? due to clumsiness or unclear directions? Is it enjoyable to use? How can we create these magical moments? The question I often have when I'm looking at these ideas, you know, design thinking for for learning is that some of the best learning is actually not magical. It's not fun. It's not something you're it's not like a seamless experience, right? Like some of our best learning comes from struggle or desirable level of difficulty. And I'm just wondering, how can you factor that in to a different than, like, a product where you want to have this like, really great, smooth? You know, frictionless experience? How can you make hard things? You know, good to learn?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, that's a great question. I totally agree. Um, a lot of times, you're most like my, for my school program, my most challenging class was my favorite, the one I still talk about the one that, you know, is still, I really have a lot of memories from because it was so challenging and really pushed me. And I think one thing that can help with that is kind of the learners understanding the purpose, I think, people really don't like to do things that they don't see a purpose in like, especially, especially adult learners, especially in this kind of setting where there's, people have a lot of demands on their time. They're, they're trying to schedule a lot. And, and I think if people can see kind of the end goal, like, Oh, this really big project, that parts of it are going to be really difficult, but I can see how after it, I will have such a better understanding and be able to apply these concepts. I think that can kind of give people that motivation to maybe it's not magical in the moment, but maybe they can kind of see the end goal there.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, yeah, I think so much can happen in setting expectations, and, and having people kind of buy into the value of what you're asking them to do. I guess it's, I don't know, maybe this is a bad analogy, but I'm thinking of like a weight loss program or something. It's like, if you can set the expectation from the beginning of like, Yes, your end goal is that you lose weight. But in between them, you're going to, it's gonna be hard, right? Or something like that. It's not like then when you're losing the weight, it's not like you're having this fun frictionless experience, necessarily, but if you feel like it is pushing you towards the goal, that makes all the difference. I think that's a really good point. Yeah, context. Um, was there any other pieces in this first section that you wanted to highlight before I move us on to section two?

Mandy Lambert:

I think that's mainly it, I did, just like how they kind of brought in the Kirk Patrick's evaluation and these different evaluation models in a very concise and applicable way. I thought that was cool, how they're just talking about you go through this process, and then they just kind of list out. Okay, here's the principles of a good evaluation. That was cool.

Greg Williams:

You know, I was really impressed and excited by the emphasis of evaluation throughout all of this, because it usually gets the short end of the stick most, most design, focus books and so forth. So Alright, the first section, then we talked about was getting acquainted with some of the concepts, they present this model, which looks a lot like, I mean, it looks, I feel like every model, if you were to boil it, then and you know, the stuff kind of went away, it would turn into it. Because it is not a design model, as much as it is just a framework of how things in general are built. But I mean, it pairs, it essentially is like Addie with the school language. But I think in practice, it's in the execution that it actually becomes a different thing than what we all might know, as Addie. And so they they talk about the sort of framework of this initial problem and request comes in. And then we get perspective and refine the problem. And that is really what the section two talks about is the first part of the framework of, alright, let's get perspective and refine the problem based on this request that comes in or this goal that we're trying to focus on. So with that, I'm wondering, interested in your angle as a student who's wrapping up your your degree on this, and you're now doing an internship. What did you make of that first part about starting with the business perspective, and really trying to understand the nature of the request?

Mandy Lambert:

I liked it a lot. I think this is kind of the kind of the topics that don't maybe get covered as much in a graduate program because the focus is on on the learning and and the design not existing in a corporate environment. And with my business background, I think I really do see how it's important and necessary for the success of your project. If you understand who is funding the project, who benefits from it. What you know, what are the channels you go through to To get technology or to understand what technology you do have access to. So I think that the few chapters really helped kind of bridge the gap between learning design principles and learning like business management and communication principles.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I was really excited when they were talking about stakeholder mapping. And I've long thought and talked about, hey, we talked about empathy mapping for our learners or for our users, right. But we should do that with our stakeholders. And they, they have a whole section about that. And I love that because it highlights that your end your customer is not just the learner, but it's definitely your sponsor. And it's definitely other stakeholders that are involved as well. It doesn't exist, I guess, in a vacuum. Your your project? Yeah.

Mandy Lambert:

And I think that kind of thing helps like, I like this sweet spot, because it's, I think it's easy when people are just kind of talking in general terms to go too far, like, oh, everything's about the learner. And it's like, well, no, because you're not gonna have a project if you're not solving a business need. And then, you know, it can also be easy to go in the other direction, like, Oh, well, you know, this is what the business needs. And the easiest, cheapest way to do it, whenever finding the sweet spot analogy helps just show that it all matters.

Greg Williams:

Totally, I love that. Because it's not only, you know, learner versus business stakeholder, which, back when I was working on my my master's degree, my thesis was kind of about how we should empathize how our instructional designers empathizing with learners, and that one of the outcomes of that study that I did was, there's this sort of false spectrum that many of the folks I interviewed found themselves on, which is like, Am I gonna appease that business? Or am I gonna appease the learner? But what I like about this is it introduces a third element of just general constraints. And between those three, you have that sweet spot. And yeah, it really adds a good texture to the overall situation, it's still hard. It's not easy always knowing what to build. But it balances itself out. There was a part here that talked about how to respond to an initial request, I don't know, have you had the opportunity yet, and whether in your current role or like in your internship, or as you're working through to have, like training requests come through, and you have to kind of decide what to do with them? Or is that something you haven't experienced yet.

Mandy Lambert:

So my role is in external training. So we are, we are training, we call them customers, but it's, it's kind of different, because it's a nonprofit. And there's all sorts of government, people involved and engineers and a whole bunch of different sectors. And so far, I've been doing a needs assessment of the whole training program, and what could be what we should focus on, and where there's gaps in training going forward. So a lot of the a lot of like the pull in the learner. That chapter is a lot of what I've been doing in my internship, but um, but then Next, I'm going to be building a course. But we get requests more internally than, you know, where it's like a consulting company or something would go in and have an external client. So

Greg Williams:

yeah, I thought these tips were really helpful, because there's been, you know, in Kathy Moore's book, you know, action mapping, and some other books that I've read, there's some really good tips on how to like respond to a training request, whether it's for an internal thing or some other programs. In here, they mentioned a few things that make dealing with these really hard, you know, so they give some examples for like, one is, we need people ramped up faster, we need you to redo our onboarding program, right? Or we're rolling out new leader standards, we need a training on feedback and coaching to support those standards. So can you create a one day workshop on feedback and coaching for managers? Right? So they talked about some of these examples, how they lack specificity, they don't quantify the problem or clarify its impact. It's more just like, here's an output that we need from you, or the solutions are incorporated into the problem. Right? So hey, here's our problem. So can you make a one day workshop already his solution that and I find their response of how to deal with this. So simple, but so helpful. They just said, you don't need to tell your client that the request is wrong or premature. Instead, you can ask questions to better understand the challenges your client is facing. I love that like the and that's something I feel like I can work a lot on is how to ask great questions to help clarify things so powerful.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I that really was a helpful section and, and I agree that a lot of their tips and frameworks in here are kind of simple, but but effective. And another one I really liked in chapter four is the strategy blueprint that you basically fill out for your strategy for the project is The challenges that you're trying to solve aspirations, what does success look like? focus areas, guiding principles, which I thought was cool having like a specific mantra and a guidance, the team's activities, and then outcomes, what kind of metrics you use. And I mean, the pieces of it are similar to any other kind of way you would make a strategy. But for some reason, this just spoke to me and having like, like, just lay it out. So clearly, like the challenges, what does success look like not just what we want to do, but like, all aspects of what success is going to be the guiding principles. And then still having that metric piece in there to kind of start from the beginning with gathering the data, you need to really see what if you met your goals?

Greg Williams:

Yeah, there was definitely a great emphasis on getting agreement early on, on what the success measures are kind of not only defining done, but defining success in a way that actually could be measured. When you are done. Yeah, because it sounds so easy. But in practice, I found it to be quite challenging. But it's there nonetheless. It's really good. You mentioned in chapter five, pulling the learner that's a little bit more of what you're doing in practice right now, is there something in here that you want to highlight?

Mandy Lambert:

I definitely liked their empathy maps that they listed. And what's kind of thinking about that. So I've been doing more interview, interview type, data collection and surveys, but thinking about, can I translate some of these empathy map points into questions? You know, what? What are the parts of this process that are a pain? What are the parts that motivate you? That kind of thing. And then I really liked the idea of, of watching someone go through a process rather than just even beyond just asking them these questions about it. But like, seeing them do the process and having them talk through it, I think that could be really valuable.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, there's a tremendously valuable resource. I feel like I'm in chapter five about pulling in the learner. For like what you mentioned, there's so many different ways to gather data about the learner and what they want or what they're doing. It can for me, it can be sometimes overwhelming. It's like, should I do a survey? Or should I interview some people? And it depends on your constraints and the business needs and all those other pieces, but they have like a decision tree for perspective gathering tools. And, you know, it starts out will the target learners be present at the design meeting? And that's something they advocate for a lot in this book is like, how can you make the learner present in the work that you're doing, whether they're there in person, or there's a proxy, or you have really solid learner personas? And then they have some considerations? So like, if you say yes or no to that there's a decision tree of like, okay, based on that, then maybe you should do an empathy map. more experienced map, or maybe you should do some interviews or focus group, that that decision tree, I thought it was like, Okay, this is something I could turn to in a pinch, if I'm trying to figure out what method to use moving forward. Yeah, yeah, I like that, too. That was the main thing from that section that really got to me. And we talked a little bit about constraints. That's the third chapter in this second section was verifying constraints as you go. And the similar to like, understanding learners and your stakeholders, they say the primary tools for identifying and verifying constraints is observation, listening skills, and questioning skills. And there's five different categories of constraints. They talk about budget, time and timeline, technology, people and environment with environment being the largest category that often we forget about. What did you make of this chapter with around constraints? And this idea of constraints in instructional design?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, this one is super helpful, because I feel like it just discusses so many things that could happen that you might not expect. In, in the company I'm working for now, security is a big thing. Because it's an energy company, which is way way different than kind of what I've experienced in the past. And there's things you have to figure out what does this need double password protection? Does this meet you know, do we need to limit who this goes to? So that's, that's a constraint that is sort of unexpected. And the environmental constraint I thought was really, really interesting, too, I think especially in, in this setting, where, you know, designers are getting more interested in what kind of device people are using to do their training, so phones or tablets or computers, and that's so dependent on the environment, just, you know, like, some people are just not going to do a training on their phone and then other people don't have the computer to sit down and do it. So that's, I think that's like getting even more important now as a lot of people are working on mode, and then these different places where they might not all be in the same environment.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, it's so easy to make assumptions. And they make the case like throughout the book, they have these comic these get real scenarios that come from actual projects, which I really liked those because it adds some good flavor to everything. But they talked about how you really don't want to waste anyone's time designing these solutions that aren't going to work for the learners or the business because of the constraints that you're dealing with. And so I think that is really important part of the sweet spot, because, yeah, you want to solve problems, and you want to get closer to an ideal state. I think everyone agrees. But sometimes we forget about constraints. And the next section really digs into actually ideate, prototype and iterate. So actually starting to build things, which is a different way to highlight constraints, because sometimes moving forward is what highlights what you can't do. So there's a couple chapters, or just two chapters in this one that break up the idea and prototype. And then the other chapters refining and developing. A lot of this reminded me, I know, you've read other design thinking books. And you know, the model, and this idea of prototyping is not new for you was, and it wasn't either. For me, I'm wondering if there's anything, though, that stuck out to you as being different or stuck out that you hadn't considered before?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, it's funny, because, um, I listened to your interview with Megan Torrance a few weeks ago, and actually, she, she works with my organization. And so I took her her llama class on, which is, you know, super iterating prototyping. So I definitely got a good taste of that in there kind of at the same time that was reading this. So that was pretty cool. But yeah, I think this section just has, you know, those tools on how to do brainstorming, prototyping, wireframes, and that kind of thing. So definitely, if someone maybe has not used those tools, are really seeing how they're working on instructional design. It's super helpful.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, and there were some good combination of ideas I've heard before, like, we've talked about empathy, map and persona, but they pull these together into what they call like learner stories, ways to map out the journey into these little scenarios. So that it gives you like much more specificity and what you're trying to approach and build. She, they go through an example of like a sales rep. And the experience, the current training can lead to some of these different stories that maps together, I'll just read through one example to give listeners a sense of what I'm talking about. So the empathy map key point was a thought that a salesperson might have which is how am I going to fit this new message into my sales call window, right. So if they're, they're supposed to be trained on this new message, thing they're supposed to include, that might be a thought from the empathy map as a part of your discovery. And as a part of the persona, key point, the challenge for the personas, figuring out how to fit this new message into this tight call window. That's the hardest part of transferring training into the job. So they turn that into a learner story, the sales rep sees how the product sales message can fit into the sales call window. So it's very simple. But it gives you a specificity of like, it's not even a learning objective. It's it's much more focused on that that full holistic experience of learning, like so you might learn the new message to include in your sales call. But what this is looking at is like and how are we going to include that and get past the barrier that there's not time for that. And so being able to create ideas, and then prototype ways to implement those ideas, is something that this section does really well. I'm giving you a framework to do so. Yeah, yep. I agree. That's really cool. You took Megan Torrance his class, because there's there's a section in here that stuck out to me about basically doing sprints and so forth and see us on page 130, and a dog eared. Yeah, they like kind of broke down the different sprint things. Was this in line with what you've learned about and I've been trying to practice or is there anything different about this, like kind of mapping out a project in chunks?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, that is so so my, my team and my organization follows Megan Tauruses llama so we did we do the sprints. I think sometimes you always have to adapt it a bit for whatever, you know, whatever is the reality in your organization, but definitely trying to do you know, different iterations and having them the subject matter experts involved in looking at those. And I think they might have said this kind of at the end when they were talking about sell the use case. But a really good point is that that kind of iterative process really engages subject matter experts and stakeholders. And I think I've kind of seen it when, you know, when I'm when I'm in these meetings, like, maybe at first, you know, SMEs, don't really it You know something out of the norm for them, it's out of their typical day, they don't really know what the process is. But then by the end, they've, they've helped come up with ideas and refined things and corrected things and change them. I feel like they really get into the project and then by the end are excited to see the result that they worked for.

Greg Williams:

I love that it's it's such an underutilized thing. Often when I know when I think about prototyping or iterations, it's very like content heavy or like, are we building the right thing? Which is Make sense? That's probably what it should be. But yeah, that that side benefit of bringing your stakeholder team together, is really powerful. And I think creates advocates for this learner centered kind of design thinking approach, like they they talk about UX testing, and actually putting your learning solution in front of folks and getting a sense of what how easy it is to actually use? And does it make sense? Is it enjoyable? Do they know what to click on? That sounds so simple, but in the times, I've actually done it, it's astonishing how much I learn about how I assumed things, and it doesn't make sense to the learner. Have you had that experience yet where you've like, created something and then put it in front of somebody and, and seeing them sort of be confused by him or try to make sense of what you've done?

Mandy Lambert:

I think even with just simple things like navigation, like how to navigate Of course, you know, not everybody knows that, you know, this little icon means this, and I think it looks cool to have those kinds of icons and stuff. It looks like an aesthetic design. But then sometimes you're like, you know, if it just said Next, I would know that means next not some like cool, like simple.

Greg Williams:

Yeah. And sometimes I know, my desire, like, I don't want to be just like, I don't want to make this traditional Nexter. You know, click the Next button. It's so boring. You know, you just want to leave. But sometimes in our efforts in my efforts to be like innovative or whatever, we can actually really confuse the call. Yeah. Well, great. Yeah, there's, there's so many good tools in here. And of course, we're just providing a high level summary. But the next section, as we're getting closer to the end of the model talks about implementation and evaluate. And there's two chapters for each of those concepts. Yeah, I thought it was really interesting that they go into implementation much more than I've seen in in other models, where it's kind of like, well, implementation means like, click publish in the LMS, or, you know, facilitate the course, or whatever. But they had a lot more details in here about, about what that might involve. A lot of details, actually, that is sample plan. That goes into all sorts of stuff.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I agree. I wrote down some really specific, I haven't really done a whole lot of implementing like kind of major projects yet. So this was really helpful for me. And I wrote down some like really specific tips on one of them. Don't forget invisible activities, I thought that was so you know, there's always something that you're not thinking of, right? Like someone has to do something and you don't know it yet. And not assuming that people will understand what is required. And even just making sure you can get the resources you need, in the time you need it for. for implementation. I think all of these are really good tips that I can just tell the authors have, you know, had all this experience and they're sharing their wisdom. Mm hmm.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I mean, there's a really good summary, kind of in the middle of the chapter that says that an implementation plan summarizes these following points, what needs to happen, how it will happen, when it needs to happen, who needs to be involved, who's accountable for any given step for the overall endeavor, they said, this one's key. And it's so true when you assume someone else is doing it, and they assume someone else. If you don't have someone's name next to an accountable step, then it falls through the cracks. And then the last two, met the plan measures you will monitor and how you'll report progress, and risks and their likelihood with high risk issues, having a mitigation plan associated with them. Like this is something I've seen a lot in project management materials that I've done, as I've worked on my certification and stuff like that is risks and mitigation plans, and also reporting progress. But um, I haven't seen as much of that in the learning world where it's kind of like, you launch the course. And you're kind of done at that point, right? And like, maybe you evaluate, or you get some smile sheets or something. But your stakeholders who've worked with you all up to the point of launching, they're gonna want to know like, well, how's it going? And has everyone seen it yet? And you know, what's happening? And I'm just glad that they emphasize that that's something really important to keep in mind.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, and I think that planning this kind of implementation plan out in advance can kind of maybe decrease the risk of having it be a lot more more work than people anticipated. And then people get angry that you're giving out last minute work that they need to do. By planning in advance, I think you can kind of look at and see like, okay, is this realistic? Do we have the resources we need? Or do we need to scale back some parts of the implementation plan? Like, we talked a lot about, like, you know, staying in the scope with within a course design, but a lot of situations or scope with an implementation too? How many people? Are we going to send it out to how fast how much upkeep and updates and announcements are we going to do? really helpful?

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I mean, they summarize up near the very end, like, if you don't identify what measures you're going to monitor and kind of share out on then it's really hard to be successful. They say like, if you don't have a target to hit, then you won't hit it. And that's closely tied to the next chapter all about evaluation. You know, you mentioned in the beginning that they touch on evaluation quite a lot. And they have a nice sort of concise summary of a few different models. I don't know why I was surprised by this, like, but it is in a study from 2016, from ATD, called evaluating learning getting to measurements that matter. They found that only 35% out of 199 talent development professionals served in the survey reported that their organizations evaluated the business results of learning programs to any extent. And, well, it seemed really surprising, I guess, it's not surprising, based on my experience, but as someone who's coming into the field and a student and learning these different things, like what stuck out to you about evaluation, some of the challenges with it, and possible models that you feel most energized to use.

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, so in our, so my program does a really good job of as much as they can, kind of including these, you know, newer and real world aspects of instructional design. So I took a whole class on Kirkpatrick, four levels of evaluation, which at the time, I thought was overkill, because I was like, okay, like, It's been eight weeks, and, you know, um, but actually, that's one of the classes that I do see myself referring back to and having an understanding of, you know, evaluation goes beyond just did a wonder like this. So, but I actually hadn't heard about these other models in here, the learning transfer evaluation model, which seems to me like kind of an extended version of Kirkpatrick. So it goes, it has eight tiers. It kind of goes from attendance to effects of transfer. So I like that for providing a little bit more detail, because sometimes it can get confusing. And Kirkpatrick So, you know, is it a three? Is it for like? What does that really mean? Um, and then, um, and then the return on investment, that, you know, I know from my business background, I was in business for undergraduate. So that was interesting to apply it to kind of a training and learning and design type project. And then I actually was really interested in the last, the success case method, which I hadn't heard of, and it mentions a book in here that maybe I'll have to check out next that is discussing like a more qualitative approach for answering four questions, what is really happening? What results, if any, is a program helping to produce? What is the value of results? And how could the initiative be improved? And I like that a lot for more of a general kind of brainstorming more qualitative things that are harder to track? Or if if there's no way to get kind of the data that supports that. So I think it was really cool how it showed all those different models. And I'd like to look into some of them even more.

Greg Williams:

Yeah, I think it was, it's great to have that and to talk about it in these specific things. And I mean, there's a ton more models, but I feel like you've heard the most explicit to the environment, kind of the corporate setting they're talking through. And, you know, I read that statistic earlier from the ATD study, but the the authors do talk about, according to the ROI Institute, so you know, the Philips who created that ROI model, only about 5% of programs should be evaluated at that top level of ROI. And when I interviewed Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick, the son of the Kirkpatrick model creator, and he said something similar about like, yeah, we have the four levels, but it's not necessarily that everything should be done at level four all the time. Right. And I think that's important thing to keep in mind with evaluation, similar to what was talked about with that knowing your metrics and implementation, the sweet spot with your business stakeholders is like, what's really important is not not necessarily what level the things being evaluated at but that you are all in agreement at what you're actually evaluating and what success looks like to your stakeholders, to your learners and to you as, as the builder. I think that was a big takeaway for me. aggravator Yeah, definitely. Okay, so as we're wrapping up here, then the last section of the book is called sell your use case. So at this point, we're done with the full model of design thinking. And to listeners, it might sound like you guys literally just talked about Addy. I promise, like, if you pick up this book, there's a lot of resources that that are different than something you might find in, you know, a textbook from the 70s. That goes into training and development. But yeah, like it does follow that general arc. So I like this last section, because I feel like it really highlights how this is different than a traditional, like instructional systems design approach. You know, starting with the first chapter in that section about getting buy in from stakeholders, given that your organization already is following a pretty agile approach. I mean, did anything stick out in this section about selling your use case that you thought was particularly convincing or helpful for you to kind of see things in a different way?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I think I think it really helped show and helped kind of reinforce what I was talking about earlier in the book, and why it's a good business decision, and like, specifically how to talk about it. And I liked how it said, it's not, you know, it's not all or nothing like, you don't have to do every single one of these suggestions or models. Because you have to be able to be flexible for your organization and the situation and the needs that are there. And that's why I think it's good having the big principals and then some of the smaller textiles coaches, because then you can find like, Okay, how can I, you know, really understand learning is a journey. And then you could say, well, maybe I'll start off with an empathy map that sees how the learners, you know, how their current journey is going. And that just, there's a lot more flexibility there to use this in real life.

Greg Williams:

I love that too. Sometimes, I've talked with other peers about this, you read these things, and then it's like, okay, now I need to go apply this in my project, like by the book, or else I'm doing a quote unquote, wrong, right. And I loved how they were like, Look, these are all just ideas to help you. But in the words of previous guests that I interviewed from his book, The Divine way, the design way, Dr. Harold Nelson co wrote, he talks about this idea of the ultimate particular meaning every design project you're working on is slightly unique from any otherdesign project. And so it would actually be wrong to take the principles from this book and treat it like a recipe for all of your work. Right? It's like not, this is not a formula for perfect learning every time. And those use cases they share it. And we're really comforting that fact, where they're like, Look, you don't just pick it up and apply it like a machine. But these are ideas to help you get there.

Mandy Lambert:

I'm glad you mentioned that. Yeah.

Greg Williams:

So you mentioned that one of the there are some case studies in here. And one is related to your organization or something along those lines, right?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, Chapter 13 is the California ISO California independent system operator, scheduling curriculum. And I worked with one in Midwest and I just talked to the California ISO training people like last week. So

Greg Williams:

yeah, I think those last two chapters are really like a deep dive of case studies. And it's, it's cool to hear those things. And then the other chapter talks about, like, how could you start utilizing these ideas? If you're already in the middle of a project, which I really appreciate it? Sometimes you read these events, and it's like, Okay, well, I'm in the middle of this other project, and how do I do? And so this was a great way you could start immediately doing some things with it. But I mean, you and I talked before recording this, we always trying to decide this, which book we wanted to talk about and to read. As you reflect now, kind of holistically on the book, like, how do you feel like it delivered on the perceived promise that you had, like, whether it's reading the summary or the cover? Like, what did you make of the whole work? Overall?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I think it definitely did. deliver on its promise. It really shows how do I apply UX principles to instructional design? And I feel like it even went beyond that and included these How do you communicate it? How do you understand the business context that you're working in and adjust it for that environment? Yeah, so I really liked it. Yeah,

Greg Williams:

I agree. And I thought it was it's pretty readable, you know, reading like a chapter a night, I think it probably took me like 15 minutes or 20 minutes to read a chapter or something. So it's kind of good bite size. It's easy to get through. And we've talked about a lot of the practical tips. I feel like if there's nothing else that listeners get from this or like, if you're thinking Okay, sounds good. I don't know if I'm gonna buy it. That's okay. It's not like we're endorsing. To pay anybody to try to sell this to you. But I feel like those four principles that you know you mentioned at the beginning, are the best key takeaways. So I just wanted to read those again. And then after that, we'd love to hear any additional thoughts or, or call outs that you would want to make on that. But the first principle we talked about was recognized learning as a journey. People don't learn from events, they learned from experience that begins with them noticing a need to learn something and doesn't conclude until they can consistently integrate the learning into the performance. So I love that first principle, the second one was get perspective, getting gaining perspective, both of the business and stakeholders, and constraints and your learners is going to lead to that third principle, which is fine in mind the sweet spot, and it's that intersection between those three things. And finally, prototype before you refine, so the best solution is typically not the first one you come up with, be prepared to do quick and early prototypes, and get feedback as you go. So those those are really the key principles I feel like are woven throughout this whole thing. And really great takeaways that I hope to remember far into the future after I forget all the other stuff that was in the book, but um, anything else you want to call a call out? Or things that had you thinking differently about? Because you read it?

Mandy Lambert:

Yeah, I think, um, you know, you mentioned learning as a journey really stuck with you. And I felt the same way, especially the point that I'm at, with my, my own learning journey, it's, it's cool to see, you know, I'm almost at the end of my master's program. And in the beginning, it feels kind of like, okay, I take this one class on motivation, okay, I get motivation theories, and then you take one class on evaluation and one on design is, and it seems a little bit separated. But now that I'm applying it to real life and having real, real projects to work on and real problems to solve, I didn't see myself kind of pulling from all these different classes, and not just my classes, but listening to your podcasts, reading books, you know, reading blogs, and articles, all the other ways that I get information. So it's really cool, like seeing it all come together like that. And one of the classes we took, talked about defining what an expert is, and that was pretty interesting, because you don't really think all the time, like, what what really does define an expert. And a big part of it is that like synchronization of different ideas, and doing it seamlessly and pulling on your past experience, and in places that you've learned all different types of things to come together to solve a problem. So I think that learning as a journey is really, I've really seen that, in my own life, my own experience.

Greg Williams:

I love that, that's a great, that's a great thing to keep in mind. It's like our own learning journeys, that it's this thing, you know, Oh, I got a master's degree. So I'm done, which is literally a thought that I didn't realize I had until until I did, which is so silly, right? Or because we read this book, where now we're going to be experts on design thinking for training development, like, we're always growing and iterating. And I'm just happy to have opportunity to discuss these ideas with you because it's in that discussion, sort of in the social learning, opportunity that I can learn these principles better. So again, I appreciate you taking the time to read the book, and to talk through it with me. I hope this has been a good learning, listening experience for those who are listening in on here. But again, thank you so much, Mandy for your time. Thanks for having me. Do you have a book on your reading list that you've wanted to get to for a long time, but it just keeps getting pushed back on your priority list? Or maybe you don't have a book in mind, but you're simply curious to learn something new. Let's read a book together and discuss it on the learning experience leader podcast as the accountability structure you need and a wonderful learning opportunity for me, and a great way to share insights and start conversations for listeners. If you're interested, send me an email at Gregory Spencer [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn. Let's pick something to read and get rolling. Until next time, keep learning