Alice MacGillivray's CSTD workshop

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The 2014 Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) conference was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre earlier this month. Almost all conference participants work full-time in learning, development, training and related fields. Most have strong backgrounds in traditional instructional design models, for example, Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE), However, based on conversations with organizers and participants, few have worked with problem-based learning.

The topic of the half-day workshop I presented was the use of problem-based learning (PBL) as a new form of training or an alternative to training. Eighty people registered and took part in small group brainstorming sessions to explore the feasibility and mechanics of trying PBL in their organizations. We touched on several approaches (including face-to-face, online and blended) but focused primarily on face-to-face retreats using actual, current, complex challenges: an approach used in some RRU graduate programs.

Participants were very interested in the potential of this approach for relationship-building with the operations sides of their organizations, authentic learning and the development of innovative ways of moving forward with the challenges.

Many participants thought the greatest challenge would be overcoming current expectations, patterns and cultural norms around learning and development shops. Leaders in the "real business" parts of the organizations sometimes view training and learning in a more compartmentalized way.

This is one of my hand-outs for the workshop, which gives you an idea of some of the ground we covered.