Mindmap of Learning Models

Every have trouble trying to determine the best activity for training?  This week I have been trying to really think about the activities I placed on my mind map to see if they are my best choices.  I came across this interactive image on learning models to help me think through my activities to be sure they are authentic and relevant to workplace learning.  The link is a great resource.  Hope you enjoy!

Click the image to view the link.

Be sure to hover over the text for description of each activity.


Lessons Learned

Along with the exploration of tools this week, it brought to light the importance of clarity when working in virtual teams.  I created a few take-aways from my experience this week that I want to be mindful if I ever create a virtual team project.  Many decades a ago, when I was student teaching, my mentor told me to create a list.  She said observe the good and the bad of the situation.  Then focus each observation into a positive outcome. I used that approach this week to capture some ideas I want to remember.

  • Be mindful of the time of others.  As an instructor, I want to allow ample time for the completion of a project given the constraints on time of adult learners as they balance work, school, family, volunteer, and other matters.  Many take online courses so that they can work when it is convenient for them during the week and on their schedule.
  • Provide clarity in expectations.   First, as an instructor, I want to be sure my assignment verbiage and timeline is clearly understood.  Also, I want to emphasize to my learners to be clear on what is expected from each person in the group.
  • Stress the Importance of Agreed Upon Team Timeline– This is critical to group success.  Everyone must know the deadlines and be able to meet them. As an instructor, I want to help teams by creating some clear boundaries on this expectation.
  • Allow Teams Time to Connect-    As an instructor, I want to remember the importance of allowing connections to be made so teamwork is stronger and project completion easier.  It is important to have trust within a team and this needs some time to develop.
  • Celebrate successes- As an instructor, I want to celebrate the completion of team projects because it takes a lot of adapting of schedules and commitment for learners to work successfully together.  I want to also encourage the learners to thank and celebrate their successes with each other.

Mind Mapping

This week I focused on using the backward design model to begin putting together the elements of a training. This process starts with the end in mind.  Below captures my initial thoughts for my current training design.


To hear the thoughts behind my mind map, feel free to click the following link to view an overview of my thinking process in developing my mind map.


Mystery Shopper Concept Revised

This past week a fellow classmate directed me to a podcast on performer support from the Learning Times Green Room.

Have you ever heard of mystery shoppers? I am sure most of you have knowledge of this idea of a undercover shopper who enters a store or restaurant to score that establishment according to set criteria. It helps determine if the right level of customer service is being delivered. Now what about using the idea of mystery shopping in the workplace? I am thinking specifically a call center. Could a mystery “customer” call in and provide a quality score for a specific client? Or perhaps a member of client services who the customer service agents serve could be the “customer.” They could randomly monitor calls to provide feedback?

This provides an opportunity of being scored by someone outside the department and by another department that has equal concern for the quality of the customer service levels. Along with that it provides communication between departments to help reach the same company goal to increase productivity by 25%.

I am trying to flesh out how this might work. Anyone ever try this concept or know of it being done in the workplace? Please share thoughts and ideas of this assessment measure.

Looking at Interview as an Assessment Tool

Thinking of an interview in this light did not come easily for me. Thankfully many of my classmates could see the connection more readily and openly shared. I completed a partner interview where I was to gather information and report back to the larger class by introducing my classmate. My partner and I used multiple emails to get to know each other.

My introduction of my partner is below:

Hi everyone….

Although Marie and had one class together before this one, I really feel like I know her much more from this short activity than the entire 8 weeks last term. Our conversations in the past couple days have shown we have more in common that I ever would have thought. So I am really excited for you all to meet Marie.

Marie, like many of us, is taking this class as part of the whole eLearning certificate program. What I found unique is that she chose this program at UW Stout over other universities due to conversations with Dennis O’Conner. He had the same pull over me to actually complete this program versus just completing some selected courses.

Along with that, Marie has such an impressive career background that makes mine pale to her experience. She has worked in a variety of industries from manufacturing, energy and health care in position such as HR Generalist, Manager and VP of HR. About 7 years ago, she left corporate America to partner with an ex-colleague serving as a management consultant. She now provides executive coaching sessions, management & team development programs, employee engagement assessments and action planning, as well as competency development. Impressive huh??

To balance all the serious stuff, I asked Marie to provide a fun fact about herself that she was willing to share. I learned that Marie has a strong, adventurous spirit. She moved to Spain with 2 small children without any family there, not being able to speak the language or even having a job lined up. She ended up staying there for 9 years before returning to the U.S. Wow!

Please welcome Marie to the class.


Interviews can serve as a screening assessment tool. This allows for gathering information, looking for connections, and organizing the information received. It helps to get better insight into a person or topic.

How may I use interviews as an assessment tool in the corporate workplace? This is still a tough reach for me in making the connection. Since my participants already know each other using the same partner activity is not appropriate; however, I could partner a newer employee with a more seasoned agent to gather and analyze information on a new client perhaps. Or maybe each new hire could interview a different member of the management team on company culture or policy and then come back and report to the group versus a boring HR policy presentation. How do you see surveys used in the workplace?

RLO as an Assessment Tool

This week I looked at was how a reusable learning object (RLO) could be used as an assessment tool. The tool I explored assessed my knowledge of instructor-centered versus participant-centered learning through the WISC-ONLINE website.

The following chart is my summary of the information.

In my personal assessment, the characteristic that I got incorrect was ‘Assessment is used to monitor learning.’ I have pondered this on and off for most of the day and I really do not agree that this is only for instructor-led learning. My rationale is that if I am using on-going assessment tasks during training, I can then use that feedback to monitor my own training methods. I can learn as a trainer what I need to do in-the-moment to improve learning for this specific group of participants. Although each participant must learn the objectives, it does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach works with every group of trainees. Sometimes I must adjust techniques during a training session. Further, knowing where my learners are throughout the learning process by monitoring the though various activities is all about intertwining teaching and assessing. To me, this seems to fit with the characteristics of participant-centered learning.

What part am I missing here? Can someone help me see it another way? I think I am stuck in my stubborn thinking right now. I welcome thoughts on this.

Okay, I am going to move past my obsession of that one fact for now. I do feel quite comfortable with participant-centered learning as it was the essence of my undergraduate education program and then when I moved to corporate training, I worked with the Bob Pike Group on using these elements in the workplace for four years.

So how can I use RLOs in my current position? Here are my first ideas:

  • Coaching: Building a coaching do and don’t list like in the example based on important points related to our company and the given position. I am thinking this could help get our Leads to the next level of coaching.
  • Client Training: Again using a sorting task, a customer service agent could sort actions that could be taken for a client into acceptable solutions and not allowed solutions to assess. This would allow a quick training check to be sure the more seasoned agents are continuing to follow the client guidelines for customer service. Better yet would be scenarios that the learner would navigate simulating a the customer service call flow that they may encounter in a live call.
  • New Hire Training Quick Checks: The other area that I thought RLO could be useful to our organization is with new hires. At some point I think it would be great to assess some basic skills individually to make sure they are understood before they must be utilized in an actual call. I am not quite sure if this is needed, but trying to document possible uses that I can come back to review.
  • Anyone have some additional ideas to add??

    Wiggins + Buhagiar = Skills Mastered

    A reading to help create a foundation for assessment was Put Understanding First. [Wiggins, G., McTighe, J. (2008). Put Understanding First. Reshaping High Schools. 65. 8. Pps. 36-41]. Although this article had a strong educational focus, I worked at trying to apply the key concepts to workplace training. The principle here is that three instructional approaches (direct, facilitation, and coaching) are needed for transfer, meaning, and acquisition of skills. It moves beyond a lecture or in business the death-by-power point approach; instead it includes a systematic 12 step learner-centric approach to craft meaning and transfer.

    Along with the Wiggins article, we analyzed the Buhagiar article about an alternate assessment paradign. [Buhagiar, Michael A. (2007) ‘Classroom assessment within thealternative assessment paradigm: revisiting the territory’, Curriculum Journal, 18:1,39– 56]. Buhagiar points out the six purposes of assessment: screening; diagnosis; record-keeping; feedback; certification, and selection. This week we explored a survey tool for the purpose of screening and diagnosing current comfort levels and skills prior to the course, as well as feedback to the teacher, a wiki for record-keeping of collaborative efforts and activity progress, and an interview as a screening, diagnoses and feedback tool. Seeing the connection of the various tools to an assessment purpose was not automatic for me so I wanted to force myself to explore this more.

    The following is my attempt combine the Wiggins approach to craft meaning and transfer with the Buhagiar assessment purposes and integrate those concepts into workplace learning. I may regret sharing this further down the course when I identify errors in my thinking or approach, but testing and trying out new ideas is the best way to make it stick for me.

    I just tried out slide share for the first time to post slides on this blog. I had to tried to place the information as a table like in the article, but it didn’t display as I wished so I looked for a new way that led me to slide share. It is pretty easy to use and it gives you the code to insert. Love that!!

    Assessment in E-learning

    A great WordPress.com site

    Exploring Assessment

    A Reflective Journal for UW Stout Course Assessment in eLearning