At some point in 2011 an idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I’d been in the field of learning and development for 10 years and while I tended to hop from one organization to the next every few years, this particular idea stuck with me. I wasn’t quite ready in 2011, so I did the next best thing.
On New Years Day 2012, I fulfilled my New Years Resolution by starting this blog. What I really wanted to do, at some point, was to write a full length book. Fast forward to next Tuesday (June 29), and that dream will have become a reality!
What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training will be available, and I couldn’t be more excited or proud. I hope that some of you will find the concept intriguing enough to order it and give it a read (and if you like it, give it a review on Amazon, too!). Rumor has it that Amazon is already sending orders out, so you may not even need to wait until next week to get your copy!
It’s a 239-page book that goes in depth on each of the elements found on this periodic table (we’ve also created an interactive, online version of this periodic table):
It actually goes beyond just these elements as each chapter closes by asking you to assess your own programs and whether any of these elements could augment your programs (or are you using these elements too frequently)? There is also an entire chapter devoted to the “X Factor” – the person who actually delivers the training, and how these elements can play to their strengths.
Why would you want to plunk down $30 on this book when you can get all my wonderful insights for free, right here on the blog? Here are 10 reasons for you:
- “That’s a lot of cool stuff in one place.” This was the comment someone made to me when they saw the periodic table recently on LinkedIn. Yes, not only is the periodic table a lot of cool stuff in one place, but the book goes on to explain what each of these elements can look like in real life application, and which other elements you may want to combine to make an even stronger learning program.
- A guide to some surprising ways to blend learning. How many people think about combining Handouts with Adult Learning Principles? How about Twitter with your training Follow Up?
- It’s almost like going through a train-the-trainer class with me. At the end of each chapter, there is an opportunity to reflect on which elements you’re using (and how), which elements you could be using more and which elements you might be using too often. The final chapter will challenge you to read through a series of case studies and compare the elements you’d use in those situations to the elements that I used in those situations.
- No need for an Internet connection. All these blog posts require you to have an Internet connection to access my thoughts and ideas. Since this book is a paperback, you can read it on your couch, on the beach this summer, on an airplane, in a car, on a camping trip – wherever you want to go. And there’s no need for an Internet connection!
- Read it cover to cover, or use it as an on-demand resource. While my prose is pretty fun to read (if I do say so myself), and there are tons of real-life examples of how each element can be used, you can also just use the table of contents or the index to find information about any single element or category of element whenever you need some quick inspiration.
- Templates and examples galore. Want a lesson plan template? Want an example of effective handouts, how to format your slides for Slideshare, what a Tweet chat looks like or a table that helps you connect your learning objectives to virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams? They’re all in the book.
- Start a book club to establish common language on your team. Do you work with a team of other learning professionals? Having your team sit down with this book, go through some of the exercises to evaluate your own training programs, and discuss the concepts found across the book can help you find the strengths and weaknesses in what you’re currently doing as well as help establish a common vernacular for everyone on the team.
- You can say you were reading this author’s stuff way before he went mainstream. Who doesn’t want to stake a claim to being hip before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon?
- A reminder that you need to be careful with certain tools and strategies. TED speaker and technical presentation expert Melissa Marshall wrote: “I especially loved the insights on the radioactive elements of training sessions.” There are 37 pages within the book that revolve around “radioactive elements”, which are commonly used tools and practices that we really do need to think twice about.
- Free stuff*. As you read this, I’m on a family road trip along the west coast and I’m taking photos of myself with the book in front of all sorts of places – the sand dunes on the Oregon Coast, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz. Pick up a copy of the book, post a photo to Twitter and/or LinkedIn that shows where you’re reading the book this summer, and tag me in your post. The first 100 people who post and tag me will receive a special, custom set of playing cards that features the periodic table on all of the cards and a different element on the “playing” side of the card. Who wouldn’t want to play Poker or Euchre or Hearts while thinking of instructional design and learning experiences?
* These cards are currently being printed and I’m on a road trip right now so it may take me a few weeks to get these out, but rest assured, when I see that I’m tagged, I’ll DM you for your mailing address. This offer is good only while supplies last (100 decks) and is good through the end of July 2021.