Webinar (free) Trends in Talent Development in Industry and Academia

Friday September 25, 2015, 10am-11am CT, please join us for this free webinar.

The link to join the webinar is: https://usfconnect8.stfrancis.edu/cobhafall2015/


Introductions by:
Dr. Orlando Griego, Dean College of Business and Health Administration
Dr. Bonnie J. Covelli, Director School of Professional Studies


Joseph Ferrallo, Instructor
University of St. Francis (moderator)

David Freiberg, Director
CS Programs and Technology, Adobe

Dr. Donna Gardner Liljegren, Director
Elmhurst College Online Center

Maribeth Hearn
Director, Career Success Center
University of St. Francis

Latoya Bailey, Talent Development Administrator
Alexian Brothers Health


Are You An Authentic Leader?

This post is co-written by Bonnie J. Covelli and Iyana Mason.

Are You An Authentic Leader?

Businessman and author Bill George popularized the theory, authentic leadership, by reflecting on his success in the business world spanning 30 years with his publications, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value and True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, published in 2003 and 2007 respectively. According to George (2003), the five dimensions of authentic leadership include passion, values, relationships, self-discipline, and heart. Authentic leaders embody the following characteristics: 1) understanding their purpose, 2) practicing solid values, 3) leading with heart, 4) establishing connected relationships, and 5) demonstrating self-discipline (George, 2010). Rather than completing these characteristics in a sequential process, authentic leaders develop these qualities over the course of their lifetime because authentic leaders are not born that way (George, 2010).

George (2010) believed that authentic leaders lead with their hearts and learn from their own and other people’s experiences but strive to be authentic with their values and convictions. A central tenet of George’s authentic leadership model is the importance of the leader’s life story in his or her development. A study of more than 125 leaders of various ages, racial/ethnic, religious, etc. backgrounds to learn how people develop their leadership abilities conducted by George, Sims, McLean and Mayer (2007) found that there were no universal traits, styles, or skills of successful, authentic leaders. Rather, in this study, the authors found that for respondents, being authentic made them more effective as leaders. Furthermore, George asserts that the authenticity of the leader, rather than his or her style, is most important (George, 2010).

As you reflect on your own leadership characteristics, can you point to a spirit of authenticity?


George, B. (2003). Authentic leadership: Rediscovering the secrets to creating lasting value. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. [Kindle paperwhite version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

George, B. (2010). Authentic Leadership. In J. T. McMahon (Ed.), Leadership Classics (pp. 574-583). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

George, B., Sims, P., McLean, A., & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership. Harvard Business Review, 129-138.

Guest Post: 10 Signs You Were “Born to Train”

This post is provided by guest blogger, Wendy Frushon Tsaninos, alumna University of St. Francis, MS Training and Development program

While many employees may sigh loudly, roll their eyes, or make a scrunchy face at the mere mention of training, there are those of us who break into a wide smile, raise our hands to volunteer, and say, “Yay!”   We just have a passion for this process. Here are some lighthearted ways in which natural-born trainers reveal themselves.

  • You’re usually the one to read the instructions to the new board game and explain to others how to play. Only after the first full round do you start to relax, once everyone has demonstrated competency. You might even throw out a “How are you liking this so far?” to get a sense of what new training opportunities, er, board games would be fun for this group.
  • Your family members recall that once you learned how to read, you wanted to teach everyone how to do it too. Siblings, cousins, even the family dog. The dog was ok with it until you learned how to ride a bike.
  • When you are in line at the store and a cashier has to stop to figure out how to change the paper roll, ring in a special discount, or some other task, you have to hold yourself back from helping or grabbing the manual. After self-restraint has been achieved, you wonder about the training program that store has in place.
  • Whenever your parents asked you “what you learned in school today,” you answered in Fitzpatrick levels. You shared your opinion of the topic first. Next, you explained what you learned and casually remarked about avoiding or taking more of the subject’s classes “once I get to high school.” You made sure to tell them how you will “never use geometry” or how you are “going to try inventing a better ___” based on the experiment in science class. A few of you might have even thrown in ROI – “and then I will become a millionaire with my new design!”
  • You were way more savvy than the other kids since you knew how to identify your stakeholders at an early age. They had no clue about leveraging grandparent support for the family vacation or getting the school coach to advocate starting a new sports team. You then approached your parents and the principal with confidence…ready to go to Disney and be captain of the new badminton team.
  • You believe in those stock photos of business people in which they appear excited about the training they’re receiving. You think that’s what actually happens in your training classes. You allow no rain on your training parade.
  • When people like the dish you bring to a potluck, you don’t give them the recipe – you invite them over so you can show them how to make it.
  • After working with “the new guy” for a day, you ask for his evaluation of your training and what you could’ve done better. You are annoyed by any one-word answers and vow to create more open-ended questions for the next person you train.
  • You taught practical subjects to pretend participants in your imaginary classroom as a kid, so you could determine your success with post-training outcomes. You even held a graduation ceremony. Over in the other imaginary classroom, your sister was teaching her fake students about unicorn care. You’re a trainer and she’s a teacher now.
  • You have children named Addie and Sam.

Guest Post: Prior Learning Assessment – Earning Credit for Your Experience

The University of St. Francis has been a leader in providing prior learning credit to students, particularly adult students. The Prior Learning Assessment Program offers a way for earning credit granted for verifiable college–level learning acquired through life or work experiences that can be documented in a portfolio and is equivalent to a college course (experiential learning, training, employment, and certifications). For example, students who have earned the CPLP (Certified Professional in Learning & Performance) designation from ATD (Association for Talent Development) (formerly ASTD) can earn 3 semester hours of credits towards their MS in Training and Development at St. Francis.  This helps students move through the program quicker and provides credit for knowledge they have already achieved.

The following post about prior learning assessment is provided by guest blogger, Pat McClintock, Coordinator of Adult Student Advising and Prior Learning, University of St. Francis

Can prior learning assessment (PLA), recognition of prior learning (RPL), or prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) play a role in your educational and professional endeavors?

Yes, PLA, as it is most commonly known, can play a huge role in attaining credit toward a bachelor’s degree as well as some graduate work. As a trainer, you may have certifications or work experience that could translate into college credit. Or, you may have students who are currently working toward a degree that may have certifications or examinations that may be eligible for college credit.

For many years, higher education institutions have used this process to help adult learners to receive college credit for college-level learning from work and life experience. According to the results of an American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO, 2014) survey, more than two-thirds of responding institutions reported that they accept one type of prior learning credit and most accept more than one.

PLA is assessed in many forms: DSST and CLEP course challenge and oral examinations; standardized tests; credits earned through the American Council of Education’s Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences (ACE Guide, n.d.); and submission of a portfolio that correlates with coursework in a degree program.

Consider checking out the ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training: http://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=browse.main . It contains ACE credit recommendations for formal courses or examinations offered by various organizations, from businesses and unions to the government and military. If you are a trainer for a specific course or exam, you can request a credit review at: https://www2.acenet.edu/salesforcecreditwebinquiry/


American Council on Education. (ACE). (n.d.). National Guide. Retrieved from: http://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=browse.main

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). (Dec. 2014). 60 Second Survey Results: Credit for Prior Learning Practices. Retrieved from: http://www.aacrao.org/docs/default-source/PDF-                        Files/aacrao_dec_2014_60_second_survey_credit_for_prior_learning_practices.p   df?sfvrsn=4

University of St. Francis.  (2015).  Credit for work experience. Retrieved from: http://www.stfrancis.edu/admissions/adultdc/credit-for-work-experience/#.VMlXjnbwvqc

University of St. Francis. (2015). MS Training and Development. Retrieved from: https://www.stfrancis.edu/academics/master-of-science-training-development/

Guest Post: What is nano-learning?

This post is provided by guest blogger, N. Heidi Hess, current student in the MS Training and Development program

Earlier this year I was introduced to the idea of nano-learning. One of the biggest challenges we face in learning is simply time. How do we find time or even make time for learning? How do we sell stakeholders on investing time into training? Nano-learning may offer some solutions.

While most training modules start at about fifteen minutes in length, nano-learning refers to shortening training to about two minutes. An expert in adult learning, Malcolm Knowles explained “the perfect teachable moment as the intersection of a small question with a great small answer” (Masie, 2006). In these moments, we are ready to learn and be receptive to that learning. These moments need not be buried in hours of tedious highly technical training, but very simple, short, and direct to the point training that can be delivered electronically when the learners are ready to receive it. Training of this sort might be in the form of a power point, an infographic, a white paper, a printable job aid, a youtube video, or an interactive activity. Two minutes may not be enough time, but it seems quite reasonable to ask retail employees to spend five minutes reviewing a quick course to help improve performance. Ideally, employees would even be able to learn on a computer on the sales floor between customers so that the training may immediately be put into use.

While any minimalists reading this may be celebrating, the rest of us may be struggling. How can we possibly fit complex information into short bursts? If we look at training in a modular format and focus on one learning objective per module, the idea becomes more achievable. We can still train complex topics by focusing in on one idea at a time. A more complex topic will just require more modules versus a less complex topic that may require something as simple as an infographic. Look for the greatest small answer you can find.


Masie, E. (2006, January). Nano-learning: Miniaturization of design. Chief Learning Officer, 5(1), 17.

Competency-based Education as a Disruptive Innovator

Summary of presentation to the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) annual conference. October 28, 2014. Las Vegas, NV

Competency-based education is a current “buzz” topic in higher education due, in part, to large funders such as the Gates and Lumina Foundations supporting research and new models of education. Competency-based education places an emphasis on the assessment of learning outcomes. Learning is broken into individual competencies that students must demonstrate they have mastered. In some models, prior learning is converted from competencies to credit.

The theory of disruptive innovation developed by Harvard University professor Clayton Christensen, “describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors” (Christensen, 2014). Disruptive innovation revolutionizes an expensive, inconvenient and complicated industry to one that is more affordable, convenient and simple (Christensen & Horn, 2013). Is higher education expensive, inconvenient and complicated? Competency-based education can help make the industry more affordable, convenient and simple, if done right. Continuing education units, in particular, have the opportunity to drive the conversation due to the nature of working with non-traditional populations and entrepreneurial systems.

Competency-based education is not a new phenomenon. In the 1970’s, the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) put forth grant support for innovators in prior learning assessment (PLA). Initiatives such as student portfolios for credit, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), American Council on Education (ACE) credit equivalents and the Military Assessment of Training for Civilian Hiring (MATCH) programs have been providing competency–based credit at institutions for a long time. Some of the newer models go further by thinking outside the credit box. For example, Western Governors University is exclusively competency-based where students advance based on demonstrating mastery of content rather than credits. Therefore, the student has the ability to progress quickly depending on their prior learning. Southern New Hampshire University also evaluates direct assessment of learning not tied to the credit hour. The University of St. Francis in Joliet converts prior learning to credits using a portfolio process to measure competencies and also provides block credit for credentials such as military training.

There are numerous other examples and best practices in competency-based education. Continuing education managers are encouraged to view the topic through the lens of disruptive innovation and to think differently about how to apply the concept within their unit. For example, is there a technology enabler that can speed up a portfolio process? Is there a business model for prior learning assessment that can revolutionize the institution? Can prior learning assessment be moved from the advising office to the admissions office? How can students quickly advance through the process of education without losing the value and integrity of programs?

Competency-based education has the potential to add value to the adult education field. It is outcomes focused, provides benefits to the adult learner’s emotional and cognitive connection to learning, and has the potential to lower the cost and time to attainment of a degree. Competency-based models also have the potential to disrupt our industry. However, as units of continuing education, we have the opportunity to participate in the disruption by promoting new models on our campuses.


Christensen, C. M. (2014). Disruptive Innovation. Retrieved from:


Christensen, C. M., & Horn, M. B. (2013). How disruption can help colleges thrive.

Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(5), B30-B31.

Eduard C. Lindeman: a Father of Adult Education

Is adult education the formal classes hosted by institutions of higher education and for-profit training centers? Or is it the other side where informal training experiences help advance knowledge and cognitive understanding in a particular subject matter?

Eduard C. Lindeman was an early contributor to the study of adult learning and his reflections and teachings continue to provide a foundation for scholarly discourse within the field of adult education.

Lindeman (1926) seems to support both avenues of adult education in his broad definition. He states:

“If we are to make the most effective use of whatever quantity of intelligence is available, we shall need to grant the right of each personality to rise to its own level. This means that increased inventiveness will be required to discover the kind of education which will most effectively meet the needs of varying capacities. Formal educational discipline cannot be accepted as the criterion for ability to learn” (Lindeman, 1926, pg. 18).

Lindeman (1926) was right when he said that intelligence is an individualistic concept. And to achieve each persons’ actualization of intelligence, both formal and informal educational techniques are needed. For instance, the leader of a Girl Scout troop, with no formal education, can achieve a high level of status, power, knowledge, and intelligence through informal training techniques targeted towards areas related to fostering achievement and leadership in youth. This example supports Lindeman’s concept that formal education is not the only criterion to showcase the adults’ ability to learn.

Later in his book, Lindeman makes several statements which move into an idealistic concept of education and how education supports society. For purposes of this short discussion, I will focus on the second: “How can education supply directive energy for collective enterprise? By transforming the battle of interests from warfare to creative conflict” (Lindeman, 1926).

Creative conflict in a diverse society is often contrary to human instinct. Creative conflict certainly occurs in ivory towers and Paris coffee shops, but for those of us who live in the real world, warfare, of varying types, often makes the decision. While this may be controversial, I think it is real. It would be a wonderful ideal if education can strive towards developing future leaders to embrace creative conflict; however, in reality, I think this will be a struggle.

Lindeman, E. (1926). The meaning of adult education. (1989 edition). Norman, OK: Harvest House, Ltd.

How Disney Makes Training Enchanting

When you visit a Disney Park, there is energy and magic that inspires you to smile, relax, imagine and dream. It is no wonder that Disney has bottled this magic into their one-of-a-kind Disney University and Disney Institute.

Disney University is an internal program that provides training using a curriculum centered on storytelling and tradition and communicates the “three magic imperatives: 1. Keep the park clean. 2. Create happiness. 3. Do your job” (Allerton, 1997).

Disney Institute offers customized professional development to businesses. The external programs extend the Disney magic into outside organizations and include training in personnel management, leadership development, and customer service management (Disney Institute, 2014).

Allerton (1997) describes what is coined as the “Disney Difference” at both the Disney Institute and Disney University. This “Difference” is summarized by a few key points: create fun in training; create a consistent organizational theme; empower staff; communicate priorities and their order of importance to staff; celebrate people who have moved positions within the organization; and, finally, guests (customers) perceptions are reality (Allerton, 1997).

The “Difference” promotes fun, infuses fun and practices fun in training. The “Difference” provides unexpected surprises in training. The “Difference” creates positivity in training, a concept both young and old can relate to and embrace.

Innovative, positive, fun training techniques will help a diverse group of learners to rally together. Disney demonstrates the success of this model. Hopefully, you can add the “Difference” to your next training program.

Allerton, H. (May 1997). Professional development the Disney way. Training & Development, 51 (5), 50-57.
Disney Institute. (2014). Our story. Retrieved from: http://disneyinstitute.com/about/our-story/

eLearning – Beyond the Buzz

eLearning –Beyond the Buzz

The concept of eLearning is hot. Blogs, wikis, tweets and even journals are proclaiming the rise in eLearning as one of the fastest growing phenomena in higher education, or so it seems. Computer-based education has actually been around a long time. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign introduced a computer-based Education Research Laboratory project in 1959 (Lepi, 2012; SAM, 2012). The University of Alberta Department of Medicine offered early versions of online courses in 1968 (Lepi, 2012; SAM, 2012). The University of Phoenix opened its online doors in 1989. The University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. launched its fully online MBA in 1997. These brave instructors and administrators were pioneers in eLearning education! So folks, eLearning is not new. There just happens to be much more bandwidth these days, and it seems everyone wants to jump on board.

So moving beyond this latest hype surrounding eLearning, let us focus on the tactics of eLearning. There has so many tools to produce effective synchronous and asynchronous learning modules, but most of us who are teaching in the medium are not doing enough to incorporate these tricks of the trade into our course designs. And the tricks mean more than simply linking to a YouTube video or recording an opening introductory audio “welcome to class” recording. The advantages of eLearning are that we can incorporate features into an online course that do not even exist in the face-to-face format. eLearning provides us with the ability to interact using writing collaboration tools (i.e. GoogleDocs), real-time interactions between instructors and students (i.e. webcasts), learner-created resource guides (i.e. wikis) and much, much more.

The eLearning buzz needs to push the envelope a bit more. The eLearning buzz should be about: are we doing it well?


Lepi, K. (2012, November 12). Who actually started online education? Edudemic: Connecting Education and Technology. Retrieved from: http://www.edudemic.com/online-education-starters/

SAM. (2012, October 9). 11 early online education pioneers who paved the way for today. [blog post]. Avatargeneration. Retrieved from: http://www.avatargeneration.com/2012/10/early-online-education-pioneers-who-paved-the-way/

Unplug 101: Is the internet driving you mad?

Unplug 101: Is the internet driving you mad?

Have you ever thought about just getting away, and, dare I say, unplugging yourself from everything?

We are constantly on the move; we are on our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and sometimes, we even fire up our desktops. The question we need to be asking is what is all of this connection doing to us?

According to numerous studies conducted in more than a dozen different countries, it is definitely not all good. On average we spend half our waking hours looking at a computer screen, and The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has added “Internet Addiction Disorder” to its list of disorders (Dokoupil, 2012).

In 2006, one in eight individuals showed an unhealthy attachment to the internet (Dokoupil, 2012). That was before Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone!

In the summer 2012, Newsweek ran a cover story titled “Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy?”  It chronicled the overloaded screen time that each of us faces on a daily basis.  And that was in 2012. Just think about how much has changed since 2012.

The irony of this is not lost on me.  As I write this article (on my computer) warning about the hazards of the internet, you are reading this article via the internet.  The world wide web is a great resource, but we need to find that proper balance.

In my personal life, I have definitely found there are challenges with the age of the internet and trying to raise a family. My husband and I have stayed on the cautious side – we were the last to buy our kids phones; we still have “parental controls” turned on for our teenagers; we know their passwords; we read their text messages. But it is tough. Our whole family is screen-time heavy, and I do worry about the dangers and potential psychological damage pointed out in the Newsweek article.

“The computer is like electronic cocaine,” says Neuroscientist Peter Whybrow (as cited by Dokoupil, 2012).

“The internet ‘leads to behavior that people are conscious is not in their best interest and does leave them anxious and does make them act compulsively,’” says Nicholas Carr author of the Pulitzer nominated book The Shallows, about the web’s effect on cognition (as cited by Dokoupil, 2012).

According to the Newsweek article:

“The brains of Internet addicts, it turns out, look like the brains of drug and alcohol addicts. In a study published in January, Chinese researchers found ‘abnormal white matter’—essentially extra nerve cells built for speed—in the areas charged with attention, control, and executive function. A parallel study found similar changes in the brains of videogame addicts. And both studies come on the heels of other Chinese results that link Internet addiction to ‘structural abnormalities in gray matter,’ namely shrinkage of 10 to 20 percent in the area of the brain responsible for processing of speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory, and other information. And worse, the shrinkage never stopped: the more time online, the more the brain showed signs of ‘atrophy’” (Small, 2008 as cited by Dokoupil, 2012).

I have heard my colleagues and extended family joke about how family time is everyone sitting in the living room on their laptops, and they talk to each other through Facebook rather than turning to the person sitting right next to them. I think we need to be cognizant of the advantages of technologies, but also the disadvantages.

I am reminded of the television commercial in the 80’s/90’s about drugs. It was the one where all you see is the egg being cracked and then fried on the stove: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” (Partnership for a Drug Free America).  The next public service announcement should be:

“This is your brain. This is brain on the internet. Any questions?”


Dokoupil, T. (2012, July 16). Is the onslaught making us crazy: What the new research says? Newsweek. Retrieved from: