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Get my irregular dose of learning inspiration. I bundle the best reads and share my summary.

Have questions or comments? Feel free to drop me an email or tweet (@GerDriesen).

Ger’s Learning Notes #54: Content curation

“Searching for content on the internet is like drinking from a fire hose!” is a saying often used to introduce content curation. Some people believe there’s no need to create any new content anymore; everything already exists and can be found on the internet. Need a ‘how-to’ video? Just look it up on YouTube. Others agree that there is a lot of content available, but most of it can be quite generic and not contextualised. Therefore it’s not as relevant. If it’s not relevant for the user, it has little value.

Ger’s Learning Notes #53: Learning Podcasts

“Podcasts are hotter than an American setting on a thermostat in Europe,” is a quote I heard recently. It’s a nice tool to keep up with new topics and insights regarding certain professions. As learning and development professionals, we are blessed to have a whole range of interesting podcasts about our profession. In previous editions of my Learning Notes, you could find some specific podcasts that covered one of the central topics of that episode.

Ger’s Learning Notes #52: Fifty-fifty

While writing this, I’m still in a very good mood related to the Bronze Learning Impact Award that we won at LPI’s awards show in London. Our submission covered the adaptive learning case and the related research that we did together with our customer BSL. Showing a 30+% shorter time to complete by independent research has been a win in itself; getting recognition by winning an international award for it is the icing on the cake.

Ger’s Learning Notes #51: ChatGPT

I hope the year 2023 started well for you. It did for me, being re-energized after a two weeks off during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I didn’t work during those two weeks, but I kept an eye on the social channels that I use most: Twitter and Linkedin. If you totally shut off for the holidays and are now wondering if you missed something: everything was about the new Artificial Intelligence powered chatbot ChatGPT (GPT stands for Generative Pre-trainded Transformer). You might be up to speed with that already and if not, I will tell you more about it in this edition of the Learning Notes.

Ger’s Learning Notes #50: Celebrating episode 50

At aNewSpring, we are quite good at celebrating. It is embedded in our culture and a clear starting point for the company. So, we measure and steer on the objective of reaching goals together while having fun.

Ger’s Learning Notes #49: Research

There is a fundamental way of learning that we often seem to overlook; it’s called research. I remember the first research I did as a student for our national weather service, the KNMI. We conducted serious evaluation research around one of the important internal courses they did those days.

Ger’s Learning Notes #48: Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

My colleague, Roy, went on holiday to Japan recently — a well-deserved vacation. I was a little bit envious to be honest, but as the Japanese say, ‘shouganai’ (it is what it is). I haven’t been to Japan (yet), but I worked as a training manager for a Japanese company. That was an amazing experience, and it taught me so many things about the Japanese way of looking at work. I dare to say that after all these years, it still inspires me at work at least once a week.

Ger’s Learning Notes #47: Learning Impact

Have you ever had a colleague who didn’t want to make an impact? I have never experienced that. I guess we all hope that our work has a positive impact in the end. Hard work doesn’t really do the trick; smart work does.

This episode is packed with resources by the best of the best. The resources are evidence-based too, to help you create the positive impact that you are aiming for. Learning is too important to leave it to chance. Designing learning is not only a beautiful and purposeful profession but also a one with huge responsibility. You can do it if you know how and apply what works based on evidence. I hope this will help you.

Ger’s Learning Notes #46: Learning Objectives

Really?! An episode about learning objectives?! Yes, really!

Learning objectives is the 101 topic of learning, so forgive me if you think that I question your intelligence. That will never be my intention. Learning objectives seems like a topic that is so self-evident that it doesn't need any attention. And that’s why it does.

Ger’s Learning Notes #45: Rest & Reflection Time

Can you believe that we’re already in the second part of 2022?! Like in many sports, it is good to have a break halfway through the game. Not just to rest a bit but also to reflect and re-adjust your strategy on how to reach your goals. You might know the expression ‘The cobbler's children have no shoes’. It means that professionals are often so busy serving others that they don’t pay attention to their own needs. As a learning professional, you’re likely busy supporting others with their learning journeys, but how about your own development? So, this episode of the learning notes is dedicated to you.

Ger’s Learning Notes #44 – Upskilling and reskilling

Did you know my first professional education was to become a teacher? A teacher in construction techniques, such as bricklaying, stucco and tiling. I had to train myself a lot to master these skills.

Today, more and more skills become obsolete due to technological developments. That results in many initiatives around upskilling and reskilling; these themes are high on the agenda of organisations, governments and learning communities. Therefore, having attention for upskilling and reskilling brings interesting opportunities for learning professionals like you.

I hope this episode of the Learning Notes will help you take your chances.

Ger’s Learning Notes #43 – Conferences are back!

This spring is a special one, as conferences are back. Some people are still a bit hesitant about whether to join conferences, and if they do, how to behave? But, in general, those who do are very happy to have the opportunity again to meet in real life with peers and have a conversation over a cup of coffee or tea.

I had the opportunity to visit three different conferences recently and to deliver a presentation. I’m a lucky guy because visiting conferences is part of my work, and I really like that.

It is also part of my job to share interesting content and insights from those conferences with the Learning Community via the Learning Notes. So for this episode, I curated a ‘video-only’ version in which you can watch videos of keynote speakers at the aforementioned conferences, videos in which they share (partly) the same message as on stage. I hope this will help you, minimising your FOMO.

Ger’s Learning Notes #42 – Less is more

As a learning designer and trainer, I always want(ed) to serve my audience in the best way possible. Often, my concern was: do I deliver them enough content? Of course, content doesn’t equal learning.

Over time and by mistake, I learned that too much content could be harmful too; often a bigger risk as compared to ‘too little’. Recently, I had the privilege of being part of the judges’ team of the aNewSpring ‘most inspiring learning journey award’. While reviewing shortlisted candidates, I not only saw some great work but also some examples of ‘content overkill’. That motivated me to take ‘less is more’ as the topic of this episode of the learning notes. And don’t worry: you still get four resources!

Ger’s Learning Notes #41 – Learning and Pain and Desirable Difficulties

Do you remember the last time or the most awkward moment when your professional values, norms or standards came under pressure? I experienced this many years ago when I had to team up and work with someone else in the design and delivery of a learning program. The target group was what you could refer to as ‘millennials’. I don’t like to stereotype target audiences in this way, but the other person insisted on it.

Ger’s Learning Notes #40 – Special: Productive Learning Strategies

Have you ever seen the movie The Matrix? I especially like the scene where Neo and Trinity try to escape from the bad guys chasing them. They arrive at the rooftop of the building and see a helicopter parked there. Neo asks Trinity: ‘Can you fly that thing?’ Trinity answers ‘Not yet’ and calls an operator to upload the ‘helicopter flying app’ to her brain, and off they go.

Although I believe some learning might be as simple as uploading one day, I also believe that there are many, many more years to come in which learning has to be done ‘the old fashion way’. So let’s use evidence-informed practices for the time being. We know that this means that (hard) work needs to be done by the learner. Productive Learning Strategies are all about this.

Ger’s Learning Notes #39 – Putting the learner at #1

While I was researching and curating this episode, I wondered about my own professional training to become a learning designer. I don’t recall that there was much focus on the user, back then, only in very general ways. I guess it is the legacy of Steve Jobs to put the user at the center of attention in design processes.

Nowadays, it has become the norm, and a standard even a ‘no-brainer’ in the expectation of users. Over the years, I found my way step by step to put the learner at the center of my learning design activities and during presentations and training. And to me, it made my work more interesting and rewarding.

I hope this episode of the learning notes helps you find your way in the area of learner centered design.

Ger’s Learning Notes #38 – Jobs to be Done for Learnings design(ers)

Are you fond of milkshakes? In fact, I am. And even more since I heard the explanation by Clayton Christenson about why people ‘hire’ a milkshake. Clay gives a great explanation about Jobs to be Done via his fun and famous Milkshake example that you’ll find in this episode.

Although Jobs to be Done (JTBD) stems from Innovation literature, I think it has value for, and can easily be applied by learning designers. For sure if you want to apply design thinking principles such as the use of empathy.

I’d like to say: ‘JTBD is empathy on steroids’. See how it might help you and let me know about your experience when you tried.

Ger’s Learning Notes #37 – Inspiration from Award Judges

The previous learning note episode (#36) was about learning from award winners (aNewSpring Most Inspiring Learning Journey Awards 2021). This time, I’ve asked the judges of the awards to share their favourite resource with the ‘learning notes audience’. The four judges were Stella Collins, Nicole van de Ven - Smeelen, Michael Strawbridge and yours-truly. You’ll find their relevant resources in this edition of the learning notes.

Ger’s Learning Notes #36 – Learning from winners

You might be wondering why it’s taken so long since the previous edition of my learning notes. First, because of the COVID lockdown, we decided to spend our time serving the community with our free ‘miniMOOC’ on Online Social Learning. Then, in late September 2020, I was hit by a severe stroke and was in hospital for half a year. I needed to learn to swallow and walk again for the second time in my life. I’m very grateful to have recovered quite well after nine months.

Ger’s Learning Notes #35 – Learning Experience Design

I bought my first iPad in Chicago in 2010. At that time, the device wasn’t available yet in the Netherlands. During my flight back home, I opened the box and switched the device on. What a magical experience! Never before had a nine-hour flight felt so short. Steve Jobs and Apple changed the world. They moved design, in general, and User Experience Design, in particular, towards the centre of attention and set new standards.

Ger’s Learning Notes #34 – The Learning Technologies London Notes

Do you have any special occasions every year besides Christmas and the summer holidays? Something to look forward to because you know it will be a great experience? For me, such an occasion is the Learning Technologies Conference and Exhibition in London. Late January or early February of each year, this largest learning event is on the agenda. In this episode of the learning notes, you’ll find some impressions of this great event.

Ger’s Learning Notes #33 – Tools, tools, tools (and podcasts!)

‘A fool with a tool is still a fool’. These are the wise words that I learned from my colleague Brant... He is so right, in the sense that a great tool can rarely compensate a professional who lacks some crucial knowledge or skills. But let’s approach it in a more positive way. What happens when a real pro uses great tools. You know the answer because readers of ‘Ger’s Learning Notes’ are all great learning pros! 🙂 A pro with a ‘cool tool’ will be a PRO.

Ger’s Learning Notes #32 – From Classroom Learning to Blended Learning

This episode of the learning notes is filled with practical ‘how-to’ tips to move from classroom to blended or online. There can be a thousand good reasons to choose for classroom training and classroom training can be great, very engaging and very effective. But let's discuss the practical struggles that professionals face when they want to evolve classroom training to a more blended and online version.

Ger’s Learning Notes #31 – Blockchain

Blockchain? No, really, blockchain? Yes, blockchain! Why? Let me tell you. When I started my career in learning and development, the Internet was just entering the workplace. I was proud to have my own personal computer (PC) at work - not everybody did. At first, we didn’t have an Internet connection, so also no e-mail! And then, ‘suddenly’, the Internet was there in every aspect of our professional and private lives.

Ger’s Learning Notes #30 – Social Learning

In this episode of the Learning Notes, you’ll find some of the best resources from experts explaining how to make the best use of social learning. Please use them as conversation starters. Comment, ask, debate and challenge what you read, and more importantly, share! We need all of you to create the best social learning around social learning.

Ger’s Learning Notes #29 – ATD19 edition

Did you ever see 13,000+ L&D professionals in one place? It is possible and happens at the ATD International Conference and Exhibition. This year, the conference took place from May 19 to 22 in Washington DC. It was my sixth ATD conference in the US, and it’s always a unique and kind of overwhelming experience.

Ger’s Learning Notes #28 – Compliance Training

I recently discovered a very exciting topic related to learning: compliance training! You might think I’m kidding but, in fact, it is the truth.

Ger’s Learning Notes #27 – The Learning Technologies 2019

Do you have something you look forward to at the start of every new year? I do. It’s the Learning Technologies conference and exhibition in London. You can get a very good overview of the actual and global landscape of the learning technologies that are available and see how these technologies are evolving.

Ger’s Learning notes #26 – Learning Techniques

Practice is hard; it’s about trying to achieve something you haven’t mastered yet. That’s a frustrating process and for a bit of relief, we tend to stop practicing for a few minutes of play: applying something we have already mastered because that is satisfying. Don’t. Stick with your practice until you reach your goal. That’s what is called ‘deliberate practice’. It’s one of the learning techniques of this edition of the learning notes.

Ger’s Learning notes #25 – Reflection and Self-Awareness

As learning designers, we can support professionals to learn via reflection and to create better self-awareness. But we have to do it the right way and to give you some input for that, reflection and self-awareness are the main topics of this edition of the learning notes.

Ger’s Learning notes #24 – Learning from failure and mistakes

Which mistake that you ever made felt like a catastrophic failure at the time but, upon reflection, was a huge learning opportunity? I remember many of my mistakes very well. Let me share one with you.

Ger’s Learning notes #23 – Gefundenes Fressen

Last week, I visited LearnTech Day in Belgium. This wonderful event is an initiative by Mathias Vermeulen. He runs the event based on his own passion for the learning and development profession and his attitude of sharing knowledge and experience.

Ger’s Learning notes #22 – Learner Experience Design (LXD)

Apple has changed the user experience with its products; and that’s how ‘user experience design’ became popular. It also pushed the bars of what consumers expect from products and (online) services: they all expect a ‘great user experience’ today. So, how about learners?

Ger’s Learning notes #21 – ATD Conference 2018

I had the privilege to be a presenter at two sessions at the 2018 ATD and since Obama was a keynote speaker I now consider myself as having been a direct colleague of Obama for a few days :). Read about Obama and my pick of other wonderful sessions at the ATD.

Ger’s Learning notes #20 – Learning Solutions Conference

Have you ever tried to describe ‘a good vibe’ to someone else? It’s not simple but I’m going to try it anyway. In this edition of the Learning Notes, I’ll do my best to share the good vibes and interesting content of the Learning Solutions Conference 2018.

Ger’s Learning notes #19 – Content Curation

Curate instead of create. In this episode, we’re talking about content curation for learning and performance support. Do you want a concrete example to clarify content curation? You are very close: how about reading the new learning notes – my irregular content curation attempt regarding all things learning?

Ger’s Learning notes #18 – Performance Support

Without realising it, you use a lot of performance support every day. This support comes in various shapes and sizes. You will find more details on this in this edition of learning notes.

Ger’s Learning notes #17 – Microlearning

Microlearning, a very relevant topic which hasn’t appeared in my learning notes yet. Why not? Well, I waited a bit to be able to do a live interview with ‘the queen of microlearning’ a.k.a. Shannon Tipton.

Ger’s Learning notes #16 – Learning culture

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Do you prefer eggs, cereal, yogurt, bread or all of it together? I’m more of a ‘situational’ breakfast guy myself. What I will have for breakfast really depends on the time, location and circumstances, although coffee comes with it at all times.

Ger’s Learning notes #15 – The world of learning

What is the best name for a conference on learning? World of Learning certainly comes close. The 25th edition of the ‘WOL’ event, which I’ve covered in this edition of the learning notes, took place in Birmingham on 17 and 18 October.

Ger’s Learning notes #14 – Transfer included?

At airports, you can find many signs and services to support you with your transfer. Are you providing the same to your students? In this edition of the learning notes, you’ll find some ‘signs and services’ to help you with learning transfer. Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Ger’s Learning notes #13 – Blend it like Beckham

It’s a small step to this edition of the learning notes, which contains many tips to design Blended Learning, and so, the title ‘Blend It Like Beckham’ emerged. I hope these practical tips will inspire you and really help you to create effective blended learning.

Ger’s Learning Notes #12 – Eclectic blended learning tips

'Eclectic', I first learned the word in relation to architecture. If a building can’t be categorised in a specific architectural style because it is a mixture of styles - just call the style eclectic. I've always loved the word and it fits the theme of this edition of the learning notes quite nicely. This week's edition covers topics like visuals, training strategy, starting with online learning and even cat gifs. And yes, besides the fact that they are all dedicated to inspire learning, they are eclectic.

Ger’s Learning Notes #11 – Music and learning

I can image you sometimes put your headphones on when you need to get work done. Or perhaps you see your kids study with those chunky headphones on their heads. Music plays an important role to get work done at the aNewSpring office and we like it! Can we discover the link between music and learning in this edition of the learning notes?Lyrics of different songs can spark new energy. For a while, every time I heard Alain Clark sing ‘push my button’ in his song Blow me away, I felt I small jolt of energy. There are some intriguing sources to explore around the link between music and learning. How about the Mozart effect and the Vivaldi effect? Some lyrics can inspire us as learning professionals or help us focus, like a song by Joss Stone song does for me (included in the notes).

Ger’s Learning Notes #10 – Impact

The 1st of June was a very special day in Rotterdam. We hosted our annual customer conference. The weather couldn’t be more perfect and we had a magnificent turnout. The theme of the day was IMPACT and that is why I chose to use the same theme for this 10th edition of Ger’s Learning Notes.

Ger’s Learning Notes #09 – ATD 2017

You were looking forward to visiting ATD this year but you couldn’t make it? This edition of my learning notes is created based on sessions at ATD 2017 in Atlanta. – Cheers – Ger

Ger’s Learning Notes #08 – Japan

The last few weeks a lot of things related to Japan popped up in different places. What is Ikigai? What does ‘get to your Gemba’ mean. How can you use PechaKucha? And what does it have to do with learning? Find out in this edition of the ‘Japanese’ learning notes. – Ganbatte! Ger-San

Ger’s Learning Notes #07 – Myth busting

Some research suggests that a goldfish has a longer attention span than you do. How do you think you stack up? Find out more in this edition of the learning notes where we’ll be myth busting.

Ger’s Learning Notes #06 – Choosing ‘and’ over ‘or’

Choosing ‘and’ over ‘or’ – When discussions focus on formal or informal learning, on online or classroom training, on performance support or learning, it always triggers me to redefine the discussion and explore ‘and’. How can we find the most effective solution of formal and informal learning, of online and classroom training of performance support and learning? I hope these notes will support your professional ‘and’ approach (and inspire you, and help you get results, and….)

Ger’s Learning Notes #05 – Tips

Best tip, golden tip, ultimate best tip, number one tip, and expert tips. We all like tips. This week a new spring arrived (pun intended) and to celebrate that I thought the best way to do so is to focus my notes on tips. Apply one tip per day and the profit will stay!

Ger’s Learning Notes #04 – Deep and fundamental

Deep and fundamental… I sometimes miss that these days. I feel challenged by the fast paced world to take the ‘quick & dirty’ approach. Do you? Now I can hear you think: hey Ger, how about ‘deep and fundamental’ when it’s about your learning notes? Good question! I’m ready for that, here are 4 new ‘deep notes’.

Ger’s Learning Notes #03 – Storytelling

This edition of the learning notes is inspired by the art of storytelling. In this introduction I used one of my favorite techniques: the ‘Pixar Pitch format’. You can find more cool Pixar Storytelling stuff and other inspiring notes in this 3rd issue of my learning notes.

Ger’s Learning Notes #02 – Learning Technologies

The second edition of my learning notes focusses on resources related to the Learning Technology conference in London last week. My intention is to share relevant and useful resources with you.Please let me know your thoughts, preferences, suggestions or any other kind of feedback.

Ger’s Learning Notes #01: First edition, get started

“In the simplest terms, a first edition is the first commercially distributed version of a book. For the purposes of modern collectible books, first edition is shorthand for the first printing of the first edition of a work.” Welcome to the first edition of my learning notes. The first time (but definitely not the last time) I will share my dose of learning inspiration. I bundle the best reads and share my summary.