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Instructional Design Made Easy with KanbanFlow

Let’s say you have a 16-week (or 16-hour) course to plan, and it has a lot of moving pieces: topics, objectives, resources, readings, activities, quizzes, individual and group assignments, etc. And let’s say that you want a flexible way to map it all out as you are figuring out what to do and when. About… Continue Reading

Class Introductions: Save Time & Have Fun with 
Pairs, Segments & Energy

It’s the first class meeting. Most people don’t know each other. Many will work together over the next few days, weeks, or months. Getting to know each other will help. Plus, people often feel uncomfortable without introductions. They want to know at least a little about who else is there. Starting a New Class Sometimes… Continue Reading

You Want Me to Learn What? The Rhetoric of the Rationale

Adults especially, (but kids also) want a reason why they should attend to learning something new. The reason we’re learning this is over this way. We use a short rationale at the beginning of a course, a module, a lesson, a key activity, as needed, to help spark motivation for learning. Without motivation, our learners… Continue Reading

Help Your Audience to Follow Your Lead

Segways are not just for cool tours of the River Walk in San Antonio (say). Segues (obviously of a different kind) are also great for presentations, facilitating a class, or even for moving from one topic to another in print or online. Years ago I was facilitating a “friendly alpha” version of a course. My colleagues,… Continue Reading

New Instructor? Seasoned? What Really Matters?

When you’re new at presenting something, the biggest concern is that you might embarrass yourself. You think about all the things that can go wrong. It’s unnerving. Eventually, you get over the fear of falling and focus instead on what’s good for your learners and for the organizations they serve. First: Presentation Skills. You just… Continue Reading

Wake Up What They Know Already: My Favorite Ice Breaker

Want to make learning easier? This ice breaker is fun, but more importantly, it also helps participants to “wake up what they already know” about a topic. Is “waking stuff up” important? Yes! Here’s why: We learn by adding to what we already know. When we get people to think about what they know already—even… Continue Reading

Make Sure They Get It: Say It Again Another Way

One of my university profs had a knack for explaining complicated chemistry concepts and processes. As he spoke, he watched the students’ expressions. If they looked confused, he would explain again another way—until people clearly “got it.” His goal was not to get through his lectures; it was to make sure that we understood what… Continue Reading

7 Reasons to Toss Your Slides

Okay, maybe not always. Still, I gave a talk without slides the other day, and I loved the freedom of it. People were engaged. They gave great feedback. I had a great time. Plus, the sponsor was happy. As I think back to other talks I’ve given without using slides, I enjoyed them more, too.… Continue Reading

The Worst Question to Ask Your Audience

Let’s say you’ve come to the end of your talk or the end of a training module. You want to know if anybody has questions. Here’s a question people ask all the time, and usually, it’s the wrong thing to ask:  “Do You Have Any Questions?” Here’s why: this is a “closed-ended” question. It asks… Continue Reading

4 Steps to Succeed with an Audience You Don’t Know

If you give presentations, one day, despite your best efforts, you’ll find yourself talking to a room full of people without knowing much about them. What could go wrong? Everyone has seen the train wreck that results when a speaker completely misjudges the audience. Let’s not do that. Here’s what to avoid: Starting too high—your… Continue Reading