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Designing Instruction for All Generations of Adult Learners

There have been major changes for my husband and me this year as we moved from our residence of 33 years to a new location and struggled to downsize our “stuff.” As you can imagine, there was a lot of it! During the purge, I came across a set of encyclopedias, Better Homes and Gardens how-to books, and Speak & Read/Math/Spell learning toys. When my 9-year-old grandson looked at me puzzled while holding the Speak & Math, I began to reflect on how learning has changed over the years as I explained that his mom used it to learn math.

As a designer of eLearning and virtual instructor-led training at Maher & Maher, I am constantly challenged with developing instruction that keeps every learner engaged. We know all too well that dumping the “kitchen sink” into a PowerPoint, adding some narration, and… Read more →

What’s Trending in Learning?

Moving to microlearning is just one shift that we have been helping our clients navigate as they refine their Talent Development strategies.  There are others that are essential to engage Modern Learners and allow them to excel by onboarding and upskilling in both an effective and efficient manner.   We focused on the value of storytelling and social / peer learning in our last newsletter, but there is even more we can do.  Time is money, regardless of industry.  It is critical that as our workloads expand and continue to shift to address the pulls and pushes of our economic times, we are driving a learning strategy that is framed for success.

We’d like to share an article that summarized key learning trends in the corporate world to give a flavor of what can be done to move our learning strategies in… Read more →

Video as a Medium for Microlearning

As a working mother, it is important to find ways of balancing my time wisely between family, friends, the causes I support, and career goals.  That’s a tall order in today’s busy world and the tools that enable me to achieve that balance are essential.

Video is one of those tools. How, you ask?  Let me tell you a brief story. 

Two years ago, right in the middle of the weekend crunch to get my family’s school uniforms, dance leotards, and work clothes ready for the coming week, my washing machine stopped working. I stood amid the stillness of the laundry room and stared into a wash bin full of clothes floating in soapy water. No draining, no rinsing. I was certain the washing machine was broken.

After some consideration, my husband I… Read more →

Peer to Peer Learning

As Maher is working with several organizations to redesign their customer service flows, and others to shift to a culture of continuous improvement, including both Kaizen and Lean principles, we see firsthand the value of peer to peer learning. We work with our client organizations to leverage peer insights in Communities of Practice, online and in-person forums, and other peer collaborative activities embedded in Technical Assistance and Learning Solutions. We, too, use peer networks to capture and share best practices relative to the way we work and service our clients. We'd like to share an article we found of value that discusses some key trends, defines peer to peer learning, lists its advantages and discusses participation options.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in Neptune, NJ and in Washington, D.C. The Firm’s Private… Read more →

Meet Sue Brown, Maher’s Newest Instructional Design Talent

Susan (Sue) Brown joins Maher as a Senior Instructional Designer in our Private Sector Practice. She works directly with our Chief Learning Officer and Learning Strategist to assess client needs and craft innovative and effective learning solutions for our clients. She also works with our Project Managers to ensure design workflows are effective and timely to produce high-quality learning deliverables.

Sue comes to Maher after serving as a Lead Instructional Designer and Project Manager at Optimized Learning Solutions. Prior to that she was Manager of Multimedia Training at U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

Bringing 20 years of experience in a mix of learning roles from sales trainer, systems training design and facilitation, eLearning producer, lead designer, and Project Manager, Sue is a versatile new asset for the Firm. She is not only knowledgeable in adult learning theory, she excels in technology-enabled learning, with a passion for visual… Read more →

How Do You Learn?

As Chief Learning Officer at Maher, I get asked, “How do I develop myself professionally? What do I do to learn and advance my knowledge base and skills?”

While I’ve always wanted to pursue my PhD and I’d like to say I’m actively engaged in some formal advanced education, I don’t have that personal bandwidth to do so at this point in my life. However, I DO believe, and always have believed, we must continue to grow as professionals. We need to own that and be accountable for it. The world continues to change; we must keep up. One thing I know from working in the Talent Development field for more than 20 years is that a key trait of top performers at any organization is that they are continuous learners.

So, what does a busy… Read more →

Why and Who of Storytelling

One of my favorite TV shows out right now is This is Us. This show is such a mega hit because there are several different storylines running concurrently throughout the season, and there is literally something in each show that anyone, from all walks of life, can relate to. It touches the viewers on an emotional and realistic level. Plus, it draws us in week after week, wondering how the story is going to develop.

As an Instructional Designer, I’m of the mindset that my role is equivalent to that of the Director of a show like This is Us (except, my pay check might have a few less digits!). Instructional Designers are the best people to make learning come to life through storytelling because we can connect the needs of our clients and the expertise of the subject matter experts (SMEs) with the talents… Read more →

Change is in the Air (again!) …What’s Your EQ?

Today’s challenging, competitive environment means most of us working in talent development are working at a fever pitch. Long hours, tight deadlines and students that “don’t have time to train.” Constantly changing markets and mandates, and the need to pivot on a dime, all adds up to a high stress environment.

At Maher we have been working to help client organizations with change for 30 years, and our research in organizational resiliency tells us that an individual’s ability to cope is rooted in individual (and organizational) traits, rooted in personality, but also able to be developed. But individual development starts with self-awareness and self-management.

Taking the time to “manage you” and de-compress isn’t always easy, but we found this short article that might help you see how emotionally intelligent folks might cope – and… Read more →

Personalized Learning – the Future of Talent Development

We’ve known it for years; we’ve experienced it personally. “One size fits all” is dead. In his essay Death to the Mass, Jeff Jarvis develops an argument he has been making for years. Treating the public as “a mass” is no longer appropriate or effective. Google allows us to organize the entire web to answer a specific question or find a product. We choose what news we want to see, what programs, movies, or sports we watch when, and who appears first and frequently in our Facebook timeline.

Put simply – if the “mass media” is moving to “me media”– we wonder why corporate training too often seems to be clinging to a “one size fits all” learning model?

What if we could transform corporate training the way Jeff… Read more →

The Role of Business in Closing the American Skills Gap

The skills gap in America offers an opportunity for the private and public sector to merge their missions and develop true partnerships. The skills gap may be one reason why, since 2004, U.S. worker productivity has been expanding at its slowest rate in the post-war era.  This ominous gap is a key focus for Maher as we partner with our clients to create talent development solutions to up-skill workers. It’s also top of mind as we provide technical assistance to workforce systems challenged with helping job seekers advance their skills to achieve economic security and a meaningful career path. 

For our two worlds (private and public) to share common challenges is not new.  However, the pain associated with this specific challenge goes deep for both private and public entities.

The skills gap is a real and growing challenge – and… Read more →