President's Letters

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  • Thu, April 19, 2012 9:06 AM | Mary Jane Riccardi (Administrator)

    I’ll take Culture Change for 100 Alex… the answer is E-learning Culture.


    What do you get when you bring together an LMS, a business need, targeted e-learning courses, and over 1600 talented engineers, scientists, and architects?


    I just returned from our 26th Annual Professional Development and Technical Training Seminar. This incredible event brings together over 800 of the companies top talent for 1.5 days of technical and business presentations highlighting new technologies, systems, and projects. I can remember when my team and I would present at this event to help sell people on the idea of e-learning. But last week, what I kept hearing was, “Do we have that on Learning Zone?” Wow… what a difference a few years can make.


    When we started this effort back in 2008, the idea of providing training on-line was completely foreign. I remember putting together a short 10 minute program for our CEO so he could experience the possibility. I did this using only PowerPoint, a free audio recording program, and a topic I found on the intranet. I had no other software, so needless to say it was pretty basic. Did it help? Yes, but the prevalent opinion at the time was that training needed to be done face-to-face.


    Four years later, we have over 450 courses available to our employees on our LMS we have branded as Learning Zone. Most of these come from a few select vendors, but we also create our own programs for Kleinfelder specific content.


    OK, I agree, it is one thing to make courses available, but do they get used? Do employees find them valuable? Yes and yes.


    True, some courses are compliance courses, so that helped us get started. But we have done other things to help spread the word. For example, over 95% of our courses are available to all employees 24/7. We utilize some of these courses in our instructor-led programs. For the past two years, we have marketed a featured course every month. Many of these are focused on specific business activities happening at the time or issues that have been identified. Performance planning, performance reviews, delegating, and project management are just a few examples.


    Also, as a professional services firm, our employees need to meet their goals of being billable. So having the flexibility to take training when it fits their schedule is important.


    We have started providing a short course evaluation after completion of each course. To date, 95.8% of those who completed the evaluation said they strongly agree or mostly agree that taking the course was time well spent. 98.3% would recommend the course to others. And we have had a 55% response rate to the survey. We must be doing something right.
  • Fri, April 13, 2012 9:16 AM | Alan Landers

    We want to create a place where our members can easily exchange ideas, ask questions, and share knowledge.  We’d like this blog to be that place.  We have many, many members who have over 15 years of diverse experience and we have members who are new to our profession eager to learn.


    One of the characteristics of trainers in general, is their desire to share.  I see it all the time.  When I started 30 some years ago, people like Bill Pfeiffer, John Jones, Tony Alessandra, Carl Albrecht, and even Ken Blanchard, the One Minute Manager himself, were members of our chapter and actively shared their ideas.  Today, Marshall Goldsmith, Allison Rosette, and others are doing the same. But you don’t have to be an industry guru to share.  Everyone has something they know that can help others.


    So to begin this blog, I have a simple question... In your opinion, what are the three most important factors or traits that contribute to the success of a professional trainer or consultant?


    Alan Landers, ASTD San Diego President 2012

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