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Masie's 30 Under 30: Interview with Faith Daniels, Ferguson Enterprises

Each year, The Masie Center introduces us to 30 young leaders in the learning industry with its 30 Under 30 award. Maestro has the privilege of interviewing several of these individuals each year. We look forward to hearing their fresh perspectives and getting a glimpse of their predictions for the future of the learning industry. 

Today, we share with you an interview with Corporate Trainer at Ferguson Enterprises, Faith Daniels.

Tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.

Faith: Ferguson Enterprises is best known nation-wide as a wholesale distributor of plumbing supplies. We are becoming more prevalent in the HVAC, Industrial, and Waterworks divisions as well. My role within the company is (primarily) to provide professional development and leadership training to our associates. I am responsible for a program called Culture & Values, where our sales management trainees come to our corporate office for the better part of a week to develop perspective, teamwork, leadership qualities and communication skills.

I also “moonlight” as a web-based training developer, and assist with onboarding guides when the need arises.

Tell us about some of the things you are doing to keep learners engaged.

Faith: To better keep learners engaged, we are opening our ears to their wants and needs. I ask, as often as possible, what learners want and where the opportunity exists for me to improve and better meet their needs. In instructor-led classes, we are giving more opportunities to interact with learners and offering more breaks and open forum times. In web-based training, we are finding ways to include learners through Knowledge Checks and fill-in-the-blank resource guides.

How have you seen technology incorporated into learning?

Faith: We have done our best to incorporate technology into learning in a few ways. Recently, we invested in “clickers” and software to use for polling audiences through multiple choice questions. We are also in the process of finding uses for tablets, and many of our onsite classrooms offer SMART boards for instructors to use. There was recently a push for an investment in upgraded eLearning software, which we are thrilled to now be using, and are looking further into the possibility of allowing mobile learning and video use for our department.

What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders — people like you?

Faith: Truthfully, there are a few challenges for our generation. As we mentioned in our portion of the Opening Session of Learning 2014, people in older generations often assume that we want technology, technology, technology. If I am being honest, I don’t own a tablet… or an mp3 player …or an e-reader. I am old fashioned, and prefer actual books, CDs that come with the lyrics written in the jewel case book, and an actual computer in front of me. I don’t know that it is fair to assume that because I fall into a certain age range I prefer technology over anything else. I also foresee problems with the generation after us. Much like the Baby Boomers and Generation X experienced with us, I feel as though we will struggle with communication, attention span, and learning needs.

What excites you about the future of learning?

Faith: The future of learning will really be exciting. One (definite) positive aspect of the current and upcoming generations is that we/they are so brutally honest. If a learner isn’t having their needs met, they will voice the concern and usually offer an opinion on how to better meet them. There also seem to be endless ways to convey a message. I am looking forward to seeing more drones, robots, and video included in training. In the future, we will be able to convey a message in multiple ways so that all types of learners are engaged, and really get as much as they can out of learning. I truly believe that learning will become more of an experience than an event.

Want to learn more? Get connected with Faith!
Follow on Twitter: @Faith_Daniels57

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