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Archive for September, 2011

Engaging Participants 2: Pre-Training Engagement

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 28, 2011 No Comments

The most common definition of engagement refers to the classroom, whether it’s the live classroom, the virtual live classroom, or the virtual classroom. Plus, engagement also typically refers to our materials, our quick reference guides, and our just-in-time learning interventions. But what happens before the participant starts a learning experience? Does he or she go to training simply because the boss said it’s required, or does the participant know what he or she stands to gain? As we discuss engagement, it’s necessary to start outside of the classroom.

One of the first places to engage learners is at the recruiting table or the job interview. Believe it or not, a potential job candidate can become much more engaged in training if he or she knows about it before the first day. To ensure that this happens, make sure that HR knows what programs will be offered to which employee groups. Consider creating a quick flyer or description of training to use as collateral when recruiting is in full swing. When the new hire gets to training, he or she will be ready – and excited – about the knowledge that’s coming. (more…)

Engaging Participants 1: Keys to Engagement

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 21, 2011 No Comments

To begin our examination of engaging training participants, it’s necessary to look at the overall keys to engaging the adult learner. Regardless of where your training takes you or your participants, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes on these keys at all times. In addition, if you can use the keys to engagement as a litmus test on training, materials, and training marketing, you will find that it’s easier to keep them in mind.

The first key to engaging participants is relevance. Adults tend to learn when they have an experience to “pair” with the knowledge. Although it’s difficult to do this with abstract topics or for subjects with which the participants have little experience, it’s still possible to make learning relevant. For example, if customer service training dives into a technical or “behind the scenes” explanation of a product or service, it’s easier for them to tune out the knowledge. But if you link the learning to their jobs, (more…)

What is the Message?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 20, 2011 No Comments

I was asked by my son, who is a recent graduate from Syracuse University, what is the message of my blogs.

I did not know how to initially answer him. Finally, the answer arrived.

My personal message is Optimism.

Optimism for individuals, families, communities, companies, the nation and for the people of the world.

All of my messages are optimistic but not an unrealistic assessment of the future is that we can develop a limited and sustainable vision of Leadership and Learning.

Challenging the Leadership Bench in Tough Times

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 13, 2011 No Comments

It seems that the economic news gets worse each day. Many organizations are faced with constant challenges ranging from job cuts to budget cuts to major changes in structure and delivery. Training and talent management can fall to the bottom of the list in these times, so maintaining the leadership pool you’ve built is extremely difficult. What can talent managers and training organizations do to challenge leaders, keep them motivated and focused, and to minimize the fear of losing their jobs?

One of the best things you can do to maintain the leadership pool in tough times is to use them above and beyond their current responsibilities. Staffs may be smaller, but the organization’s problems and issues will continue. To that end, keep a list of organizational issues that are “bubbled up” and turn them into special projects or assignments for the leadership pool. Leaders, especially those who have never been through an economic crisis, should be aware that their responsibilities may grow even if their positions and salaries do not. If the leadership pool is challenged with solving problems, especially with low or no budget, their training will continue. The bargaining chip for this type of project is that the organization benefits from high professional and high potential leaders working together to solve problems.


Masters in Finance HQ

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 6, 2011 No Comments



I have come across a great resource for individuals seeking to advance their educations with a Masters Degree in Finance.  This particular resource lists all known (always subject to change) universities that offer programs with an emphasis in Finance.  I highly recommend that interested individuals access this resource for more information on programs and reviews.

You can get more information by visiting their website: http://msfhq.com/

For full disclosure, they also have posted on thier website an announcement for our upcoming University Trading Challenge.  http://msfhq.com/2011/09/university-trading-challenge/

Leadership Tools for Small Business

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On September 6, 2011 No Comments

Leadership is a concept that is sometimes identified only with large organizations, but don’t be fooled by this assumption. Leaders are present in every organization, at every level, and this includes small business. As a small business leader, you are probably more visible and more accessible than leaders in a large company or organization, so your skills are being watched and emulated more closely. Leadership tools and actions span quite a bit of distance, but here are five important leadership tools for the small business.

First, try “planning proactively”. In small business, it’s easy to become reactive. After all, the ups and downs of small business can be much more tumultuous and emotional since they come on quickly and affect a smaller population. But that it is no reason to avoid making plans and being proactive about problem solving. Be honest with yourself and your team about what issues could be ahead. With this, you should know the pitfalls of small business and be aware of how you can solve some of the problems you might encounter. Involve your team in problem solving at every opportunity. This will give them a “stake” in your business and the chance to participate in planning sessions. (more…)



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