Jennifer K. Snyder

Developing People; Engaging Employees

Category: Uncategorized

An Artist’s 7 Secrets to Stimulate Creativity

by equusnyder

“My mom was cool!” announced my brother to a group of a hundred who’d gathered to celebrate her life. Indeed she was. To say she was creative is like saying the Hope Diamond is shiny.

For example, I grew up in a sheep barn. (Yes, I’ve heard all the jokes.) She was the mastermind behind renovating a 100-year-old sheep barn on the family homestead into a 3-story work of art. She drew the floorplans, threw the moldy hay out of the loft, cleaned out the pigeon poop,

Handmade loomed sheep

“Louie” the sheep traveled with Mom and Dad as they moved from home to home. While living in the sheep barn, Mom made the frame, loomed the wool body, sewed the legs and head, and did the original embroidery on the face. Unfortunately, his face deteriorated and had to be replaced.

laid the tile, slate, and wood floors, designed the door to the secret staircase, laid the stone in the fireplace, painted, did all the interior decorating, etc. all while working as a marketing manager for a plastics company.

But it doesn’t end there. She was a master at cooking, drawing, painting, sculpture, wood carving, gardening, and landscaping.

However, to Mom, her own creativity was not nearly as important as cultivating creativity in others. As a child, I enjoyed coloring books, but more often, she would give me a blank sheet of paper (or two, or ten) and encourage me to create my own coloring book. To get me started, she would put four or five random dots on my page. That was the beginning of my masterpiece.

Wendy Severson Art

Artwork in multiple medium. By Wendy Severson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

She inspired many who knew her. Here are seven tricks she used to foster her own creativity and encourage it in others. Read the rest of this entry »

LMS, A Piece of the Learning Puzzle

by equusnyder

Our primary use for our LMS is a storehouse.

Our primary use for our LMS is a warehouse.

I am so grateful for the extraordinary sharing that goes on in our learning community. Experiences, lessons learned, best practices, and shared examples abound. Despite our occasional competition, we are, by and large, an industry of great collaboration.

Case in point: I recently posted a piece on my blog about my experience in standing up an LMS. The willingness to share, support, and comment was encouraging and very helpful.

One comment in particular by Clark Quinn ( made me stop and consider the purpose of our LMS. Do I consider it a piece of learning? How important is it in the framework of our overall learning strategy? What else is out there that I’m overlooking?

While I’ve always considered it a tool, I have never explored how it fits into the overall picture.

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Turning People ON to Learning

by equusnyder

Learning“I need people to learn how to use this software.” She sat down and pushed some papers across my desk. “I was thinking I could build a PowerPoint and we could teach some classes on it.”

I look at the documents and answered, “That would be one way we could do this. You’re talking about training a lot of people. It’s going to take a long time to get them all trained.”

I knew the next question was coming. It was the same question I received every few weeks. “Could we put the PowerPoint on the LMS and just have them take the training that way?”

It doesn’t matter how often I hear the question, it still makes my stomach sink. I asked what the ultimate goal was – what did she want the learners to be able to do by the end of the “training.” (See my previous post, “When Training is Not the Answer.”)

This opened the door to a discussion on a commonly used learning quote, “Tell me, I’ll forget; Show me, I’ll remember; Involve me, I’ll understand.” I get a chuckle when I see this quote because I’ve seen it attributed to both Benjamin Franklin and the Chinese, as a proverb. Perhaps Ben took it from them. Regardless of the original pen, it makes a valid point, and is simple enough to understand for those just starting to learn about learning.

As we discussed this, the expression on her face changed. She got it. I could see the wheels spinning. I told her about the eLearning software we used and the ability we had to do screen captures and make them fully interactive, so that the learners felt they were engaging with the actual software.

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When Training is Not the Answer

by equusnyder


Will a job aid suffice?

I repeatedly receive requests from various departments that want to “train” on this or that. I am all about fulfilling my clients training needs, but quite often my response is no. At least that’s what I say to myself.

I try to be objective. I hear them out. They describe their training to me. “We have so many people breaking the rules and not following our policy. We just have to give them some training.”


That’s the kindest and most beneficial answer I can give them. Of course, I don’t really say it like that, and, in my mind, it doesn’t end there.

In fact, for me, this is where it gets fun!

I ask them, “By the time the learners have completed your training, what do you want them to be able to do?”

Then I begin steering the conversation. I might start with a question like, “What’s preventing them from doing that right now?” In other words, is it a knowledge or skill gap that’s causing the problem? Do they really not know what they’re supposed to do? If not, why not? Has it ever been directly explained? Did they know before and they just don’t remember?

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Corporate Learning: The Power to Change Lives

by equusnyder

empower sign
Empower your employees to improve their skills, their careers and their lives.

The best use of Corporate Learning is to empower the employees to improve their skills, their careers and their lives. It should be about more than an employee checking off a box that they’ve completed their compliance or safety training. Employees should be able to learn. Teaching employees useful office skills, such as computer programs, only scratches the surface of what Corporate Learning should be.

First, notice I use the term “Learning” as opposed to “Training.” I can train a dog, but people Learn. I don’t want to train them to complete a task, I want them to learn it – to understand it, to bring into their world, some metacognition.

With an arsenal of learning options for their employees, corporations have the power to change lives. Here’s how and why:
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9 Lessons Learned from Standing Up an LMS (Twice)

by equusnyder

learningI joined medical device manufacturer, Wright Medical, shortly after the announcement that the OrthoRecon (hips and knees) division would be sold to MicroPort Orthopedics. I was to join team of 500 or so employees who would be going to the new company.

It was quite an opportunity for me – building a Corporate Learning and Development department from the ground up.

But before that chapter could begin, I had three months in which I needed to stand up a new Learning Management System (LMS) for Wright Medical. It was mid-October when we started and the system HAD to be in place upon the sale of the company, January 9. (Shortly after, I would stand up the same system for MicroPort.)

This, I’m told by many in the industry, is a VERY rapid stand up. In fact, a colleague with a major hotel chain was standing up the same system, except she started three months earlier and would finish shortly AFTER we implemented.
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Overcoming the Fear That’s Greater Than the Fear of Dying

by equusnyder

The man glaring at me from across the table waited for my response to his simple question, “Why do you want to work here?” So many voices in my head shouted the “perfect response” and I could not distinguish a single one. My response, like an unsuccessful souffle, was flat, “Um, everyone seems really nice.”

I shudder to think how often I gave a performance like that in other conversations.

It wasn’t just in high-stakes conversations that my brain would get the best of me. Even in everyday interactions with my colleagues my mind would move faster than my tongue, causing me to trip over my words with mispronunciations, sometimes flipping words out of order, using a word with a similar but not-quite-right meaning, and on occasion, stuttering.
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Converting a Swimming Pool to a Hot Tub – Purpose in mLearning

by equusnyder

mLearning is learning from a mobile device. That may be a mobile phone, a tablet, an eReader or even in some cases a laptop computer. mLearning is NOT a course converted to mobile. In fact, expecting to “convert” previously created courseware to a mobile device is like converting a swimming pool to a hot tub. They just have different purposes.

shutterstock_78332233As with all instructional design, a thorough and adequate assessment should be done prior to any design. But with mobile development there are added elements. The questions below are just the beginning of considerations that must be taken before the product can be developed.

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by equusnyder

Shirley, Jim, Jennifer, and Stella Snyder

With the kids in Arlington, Tennessee’s town square.