We started out simple, right?

“Put simply, I’m passionate about making it easier for employees to excel in their roles.”

Okay, complex version below:

“Put more complex: I’m a learning and development practitioner that designs instructional experiences and skill progression pathways, by blending the ‘art and science’ of today’s instructional design methods/principles/practices, that drives “adult learner/employee workplace performance improvement and role mastery, when – and only when! – training is defined as the solution (or one of the solutions) to solve a business challenge…(phew!)”

At this point you’re saying “Ummmm…what?”, right? Let me break this down a little more!

I’m a learning and development practitioner…

Definition of “practitioner”: a person actively engaged in an art, discipline, or profession, especially medicine. (Dictionary.com)

Why use the word ‘practitioner’ instead of ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’? Well, you could use ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’….They’re not wrong. I just prefer ‘practitioner’ because, to me, it means that I not only must know all learning and development methods, practices, principles and theories available, but I must also know how to ‘practice’ and implement them in order to select the best approach when a business challenge arises. You could also use the word ‘consultant’. Simply, it means that, I can help you diagnose problems within the business, and, if the solution requires a training and/or learning and development component, I can also provide a solution as your resident learning and development practitioner.

…that designs instructional experiences and skill progression pathways…

Instructional experiences and skill progression pathways are my fancy way of talking about the actual design of the training intervention. But I’m not just talking about the design of a single e-learning…In order to create such learning experiences, you must understand all the touchpoints that make up the experience. It’s not just when the learner ‘takes the training’. Think of a full ‘skill progression pathway’ as a learning journey, complete with different experiences that all link to the overall learning topic, engaging different modalities and approaches. The 70/20/10 is a great example of this because adults learn through different experiences to close skill gaps and learn new behaviors. How can you layer experiences, relationships and formal training to create one colossal, immerse learning experience that engages different touchpoints that fully integrates the learner into the topic or skill at hand? You cannot accomplish this through one single ‘learning event’. The learner must learn the knowledge and continue to apply the knowledge in order to retain, embed and ingrain it. Developing this entire learning experience, with a variety of touchpoints, takes a great deal of experience, as does understanding how adults learn and grasp new knowledge and scaffold new concepts on top of knowledge they already have. This is where the science of learning and human performance improvement (HPI) starts to kick in…

…by blending the ‘art and science’ of today’s instructional design methods/principles/practices

Even now, the ADDIE and SAM instructional design approaches are becoming outdated, or at the very least, are being customized and catered to an organization’s appropriate needs. What steps do you need to keep? What steps can you bypass (if any?) There is an art and science to creating the instruction of today, especially with all of the technological advancements pushed forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been thrust into a new era of workplace learning with just-in-time training solutions, mobile-first learning experiences and learning experience platforms that can track training not just within your LMS but across multiple public websites like LinkedIn Learning and YouTube. Understanding today’s modern learner, their needs, the modern learning environment and the elements of Human Performance Technology (HPI) can help us create the new standard for learning success in our organizations. Layering on maintaining a strong learning culture that seizes the hearts of ’employee learners’ , helps to keep employees engaged, confident and inspired, which brings the ‘art’ piece into the ‘art and science’ of creating instruction.

…that drives “adult learner/employee workplace performance improvement and role mastery

When you think about the clients of a workplace learning professional or learning practitioner, who would you define them as? If you said employees, you’re correct! We need to take a consultative approach to ensuring that our clients are happy, satisfied and that they have all the tools they need in order to complete their jobs and remain successful. Our success as L&D practitioners is only defined by the success of our learner’s performance. That’s why the majority of training outcomes and goals should be for the employee to improve their performance on the job (however that might be defined as your company as a metric or KPI). Depending on who your client group is (the sales team, HR, new employees, etc.), you must deliver training or development program that sits against a core criteria of KPI and metrics that you can evaluate performance and role mastery in some way shape or form. Our overall goal is help make employees excel at their jobs!

…when – and only when! – training is defined as the solution (or one of the solutions) to solve a business challenge…

Did you know that training is not always the solution to solve a business problem?! Mind blowing, right? I can’t count the number of times I have been invited to a meeting with stakeholders who want to create a learning module to help improve workplace performance and behavior. Let’s say for instance your call center wants to decrease the time call reps are spending on each customer call. The overall goal is to increase customer satisfaction (decrease time spent on individual customer support calls will increase the number of calls taken in one hour, which will decrease the ‘on hold time’ for the customer, which will hopefully increase customer satisfaction!). But before we say that training is immediately the answer, let’s take a step back to see how many interventions we must consider first prior to taking a stand that training is the solution: Have we considered the software our reps are using?, Have we considered how confusing the phone system hardware is?, Have we considered how they’re being incentivized (are they being rewarded for higher customer satisfaction scores? Or highest amount of calls taken in an hour? If they’re being goaled on the former, they may take more time with their calls to build a relationship to max out their chances of getting a good score…then your ‘number of calls taken in an hour’ number falls). Can you see where this is going?

Taking an investigative, research and observation-approach to solve business problems will help the business save time and costs on unnecessary training expenses and instead ‘cut to the quick’ of the issue for a more valuable resolution. Good training experts first see if training is needed…Trust me when I say that a good learning and development practitioner, is also an excellent business analyst 😉


I know right? I promised you an ‘un-simplified’ version and I hope this met/exceeded your expectations on what I do on a daily basis for organizations!

If this didn’t quite ‘scratch the itch’ you have for learning more about learning and development, please check out the blog for more of my musings on L&D, instructional design and human performance improvement!