Brian Patrick works at ITT Educational Services, Inc. in the Learning and Development organization, providing technology-based learning solutions to both headquarters and to all campus-based employees. In this role, Brian is responsible for defining, identifying, and deploying the tools and methodologies used in producing learning solutions.
He can be reached via LinkedIn and you can find out more about him there.
Q. Advancing training and development initiatives can be difficult because there are often many stakeholders involved. What difficulties have you personally run into?
I think the biggest challenge is lack of knowledge. Often times we deal with stakeholders who were not even aware that they were part of a project, so we have to find ways to quickly get them up to speed on the project and then to engage them so they can influence the project appropriately. They were selected for a reason – we identify that reason and then solicit appropriate input from them throughout the project lifecycle.
Q. There seems to be a slight disconnect between the various stakeholders. How might technology increase collaboration between these stakeholders?
Online project spaces such as SharePoint are a great place to start. Having a single place where all project materials are located makes things easier for busy executives to find the information they need. We make use of something as simple as phone conferences so we can all meet regularly and when that doesn’t work, we turn to web-based meeting applications (WebEx, Microsoft Live, etc.). The challenge is getting all the involved parties in the “room” at one time.
Q. Everyone would like to improve performance. Could technology have any influence here?
I feel like technology is always important, particularly for performance improvement. I have been a big fan of Help technologies for quite some time. It makes so much sense to me and I find that people don’t really employ it much. It’s lightweight, relatively quick to produce and can be updated frequently and easily, especially if it’s web-based. One of the main benefits I’ve found is that it is searchable. If you have someone who can create a great index, then that makes it all the more searchable. Because of Help technology, you can use multimedia in just about any form you wish.
Q. If people are learning more from each other, what might instructor-led training and development look like 5-10 years from now? What type of innovation might we expect in the field?
I’m not totally convinced people are learning more from each other. It has always been my experience that people guard their knowledge as a means of maintaining their position or usefulness to a company. This is always the stumbling point for knowledge management initiatives – getting people to participate fully. You have to give them a reason and a benefit for giving their knowledge “away.” I think ILT will evolve to more of a mentoring process or as a knowledge connector or broker if you will. They will be the people who know who knows what and then connect them with the people who need to know. Eventually that process will become seamless through technology, but it’s not quite there yet in my opinion.
Do you know of any books, blogs, and/or magazines that our readers would enjoy?
I love The eLearning Guild. It has a lot to offer and one can quickly become lost in availing themselves of all their resources. The more advanced levels of membership give you access to a ton of information. I like the eLearning Technology blog. I find a lot of useful information there or questions that lead to me thinking about things more. I also like the eLearningpost blog. I don’t really have an explanation for why, just that I keep tabs on it regularly. The Making Change blog is another good one because it provides a lot of ideas for our e-learning and how to make it more engaging and effective. And finally I am a fan of Tom Kuhlmann’s Articulate blog. While it can sometimes seem a bit like a commercial for Articulate products, it is nevertheless informative and provides great tips for designing e-learning.
To conclude, I find that all of the forums for the products we use to develop learning solutions are great places for tips and tidbits about the products themselves and how to use and not to use them.