Linking In with Matt

Matthew Richter posts daily comments in LinkedIn—well almost daily. You can follow him and join the conversation by going to For the benefit of our readers, we decide to compile and reprint some of his provocative pieces from the past. Let us know what you think.

Endless Learning

Good training should never end. The idea that a person takes a course and that's it, she is now fully trained is laughable. Today, we tend to talk about follow-up as coaching, or potentially eLearning, even subsequent course offerings, and other options. This is all great to consider. But, I think we should also change the paradigm, the frame, that a course is one day, or two days, or four hours. We should think of development as life-long. As long as we continue to think of training as having finite time boundaries, we don't come up with other viable options for continuous development. Our very way of thinking that a program is scheduled for a set amount of time limits the ways in which we explore learning. And, now we have gone further. For example, microlearning condenses the way we conceive of training. I know... it is intended to widen scope, but really it is just another way to shrink schedules. Yes, practically and logistically, there are many reasons for training to be scheduled. I get that. I don't have an answer... yet... just a thought. But, I think we should explore training as lifelong, endless learning and see where that takes us. Let's change the frame.

Instructional Activities

All activities are not made the same. They have different purposes and yield different results. When I was young (and had hair), I liked to always use the same games, regardless of objective. I figured I was good enough to Rorschach the heck out of it and make the connections needed some way. Because I got really practiced and good at those activities, the infotainment quotient was high. People rated their experience as top notch. Unfortunately, I couldn't say the same for my effectiveness. Activities need to have a point. They need to be relevant and serve the ultimate outcomes. My favorite Thiagi game is the Hello Game (an opening participant needs analysis). To use it, I need to ensure I have the appropriate amount of time allotted, the need for needs analysis, the need to train participants to play, etc. In other words, the game needs to fit. Activities should be used with proper intent and have appropriate instructional value.