Idea Learning Group

"training-program" Posts

IdeaLearning Group is On the Road in October

October is promising to be a busy month at IdeaLearning Group. Here’s a list of the events we’ll be attending and/or presenting at. Hope to see you there!

  • The Oregon Chapter of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) has invited Jillian to speak on the benefits of onboarding at their October 19th Fall Conference.
  • Finally, on October 25th Jillian and Jennie reprise their presentation “Your Brain is Not a Bucket: Learning Through Experience” for the ASTD Cascadia Annual Conference.

Balancing Face-to-Face And Virtual Meetings

We rely on an amazing amount of technology to stay connected to our business partners and teams: phone, email, text messaging, social networking sites, and video conferencing. How do we choose the most appropriate mode for the situation?

A Time and Place for Face-to-Face

One of the obvious benefits of meeting in person is the ability to pick up on body language and other non-verbal cues. (Most agree that emoticons are a poor substitution.) Whenever possible, we try to meet with our clients face to face, especially for kick-off meetings. It’s part of our commitment to personalized customer service, and it helps us to get to know and bond with our clients.

According to a Forbes Insight survey of more than 750 businesses, 58% percent say they travel for business less today than they did at the start of the recession in 2008. And eight of ten executives say they prefer face-to-face to virtual meetings. Those surveyed who prefer face-to-face meetings cite social interaction, the ability to more easily persuade, greater accountability, and a better environment for decision-making as primary reasons for their preference.

The Value of Virtual Meetings

We acknowledge that face-to-face is best, but we’ve learned to take advantage of alternative ways to communicate when needed. Many companies rely on virtual meetings when face-to-face is not possible, too expensive, or too complicated to arrange. Without virtual technology, keeping in touch with international and opposite-coast clients would be much more complicated.

Last year, Shannon and I had the opportunity to travel to Germany and Denmark to meet with our clients at Vestas. After a single face-to-face kickoff meeting, we had spent several months meeting and collaborating virtually. When we finally did meet face to face we found that the relationship we had forged with the aid of technology was solid and it felt as if we had always had the advantage of face-to-face interactions.

Meeting virtually helps businesses accomplish certain tasks more efficiently without squeezing the budget. Virtual meetings can also enhance face-to-face communication. When we reserve the “less important” topics for video calls, we can make better use of time when we do have the chance to meet in person. Discussing project scope, timelines, or team roles, for example, can all be done online and then expanded upon during a face-to-face session.

When we plan a virtual meeting, we plan a succinct agenda send any materials ahead of time that may be relevant for our call. The Harvard Business Review has an excellent list of tips for making the most of virtual meetings.

So really it’s not an either/or question. Knowing when and how to use virtual communication helps to strengthen and enhance business relationships in new and exciting ways. What are some of your tips for balancing face-to-face and virtual communication?

By the way, we’re still waiting for someone to invent the “morning mask” for early-a.m. video call.

IdeaLearning Group Case Study: Northwest Community Credit Union

Northwest Community Credit Union was founded in 1949 and remains a member-owned, not-for-profit organization with branches throughout Oregon. Nearly everyone who lives or works in the state is eligible for membership and can benefit from a full range of financial products and services.

Northwest Community is a great example of IdeaLearning Group’s success in embedding ourselves in our clients’ workplace in order to produce the most effective, results-driven experiences for our clients and their learners. Since we began working with Northwest Community Credit Union in February 2012, IdeaLearning Group has managed a wide range of projects, including training courses focused on new employee orientation, software training, and management development. In just a short while, our team has become an integral part of the extended Northwest Community family.

And because we’ve spent time really getting to know the NW Community culture, values, and mission, we consistently make valuable recommendations to train staff members as they transform and roll out their new business model and supporting programs.

LoansPQ Training

Northwest Community Credit Union needed database training for the new LoansPQ system, which is a web-based consumer loan management application that allows effective cross-sell of loan products to consumers. The purpose of the training was to introduce the concept of computer-generated loans and to provide practice using the new loan system. The training program included two-hour webinar sessions with supporting materials. The timeline was aggressive—six weeks from concept to completion—and IdeaLearning Group partnered very closely with Northwest Community to ensure content integrity and a smooth roll-out.

The program manager for Northwest Community Credit Union reports great success with the program.

“The results have been phenomenal,” he said. “We initially set up a ‘war room’ to prepare for what we assumed would be a flood of support calls as our staff went live with the new system. But it was almost a non-event! We answered fewer than 20 calls a day, although we were prepared with four full-time help desk staff members. The training and the supporting materials provided were a key component to the success of our launch. We hit this one out of the park!”

eXperience Culture Training

Northwest Community Credit Union needed to roll out a new training program designed to empower employees to deliver consistently delightful experiences to members, have better conversations more often among branch staff and managers, and improve the effectiveness of their decisions. The training also focused on demystifying the complexity of bank regulation that is added to the industry—layer after layer, year after year—so that staff members can help customers feel more comfortable with the risk and regulation inherent in banking.

The training program involved a series of sessions with managers and assistant managers, who participated in the training and shared it with their staff members. The program manager describes the overwhelming success of the program.

Learning Quotient: Measuring the Inquisitive Mind

We live in an era and culture that’s preoccupied with tracking personal metrics, or quantitative assessment. Attempting to attain self-knowledge through numbers is more popular than ever. But is it possible to discover our “learning quotient,” or our ability to learn new things and adapt new skills and behaviors?

Attempting to measure cerebral matters is nothing new. After all, we’ve got ways to tally one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Motivational Quotient (MQ), Experience Quotient (XQ), and even Emotional Quotient (EQ). In their book Learning to Work, the authors suggest that these are the factors that seem to predict our “learnability”:

  • Education
  • Age
  • Family/social background
  • Cognitive ability
  • Personality (openness, conscientiousness)
  • Self-esteem
  • Motivation to learn


The authors suggest that a traditional mathematical equation isn’t possible for assessing LQ, but it is possible to measure each of the above factors on a scale to determine a “pattern of learnability.” For example, you can rate one’s educational background on a scale that includes “highly successful” on one end and “very poor” on the other. Or in measuring social background, the extremes might be “encouraged to work and read” and “no encouragement at all.”

Adrian Furnham continues examining the role of LQ at work in his book Management Intelligence. “People with higher LQ cope better with ambiguity and complexity: they experiment and handle new ideas deftly. They are characterized by curiosity and imagination.” He goes on to suggest that organizations should put more emphasis on LQ early in their employees’ tenure and make LQ resources available, so that employees can develop meaningful career paths.

Of course we’re getting into tricky territory when we talk about making assessments based on age, family background, etc, especially in the workplace. But I do believe that willingness to learn and dedication are important factors to consider when developing a training program. The more we know about the audience’s desire and readiness for learning the material, we can structure the materials accordingly so that they get the most out of the learning experience.

What do you think of “LQ,” and how does your organization consider “learnability” when training staff?

NEW BUSINESS Contact us with business inquiries or to discuss your project needs and vision.
CAREERS We always enjoy connecting with talented professionals in the learning and development field.
CONNECT 503.208.3256
LOCATION 2701 NW Vaughn St #103
Portland, OR 97210

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