Modeling and Social Learning

Modeling and observational learning are essential ingredients for social learning. When people are inspired, have positive role models, and improve their self-efficacy, they are more likely to embrace learning and new experiences. Not only will social learning improve, you are likely to see an improvement in morale and productivity as well.

Inspired by Leaders
Leadership inspires much of the company’s culture for better or worse. There is an obligation to inspire others to perform well. The best way to accomplish this is to lead by example. When people see specific behaviors and ideals modeled for them, they understand what is expected of their behavior. Modeling behavior also generates respect for leadership.
Ways to Inspire:
• Present a positive attitude
• Communicate clearly and openly
• Avoid bias and preconceived ideas
• Recognize and reward achievements
• Encourage questions, and answer them

Boosting Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is the personal belief that one is capable of reaching a goal. This belief motivates learning and improves self-esteem. People with high self-efficacy are more likely to take action and achieve success. People with low self-efficacy are more likely to fail. While much of self-efficacy is personal perception, there are ways to boost it in others, and observation is a useful way in boosting self-efficacy. When you see someone else perform a task, you are motivated to try the task yourself. People are more likely to try something new the more that they see modeled. As they succeed in learning, their self-efficacy will improve.

Peer Role Models
Peer role models provide informal modeling and observational learning. Like any other role models, peer role models ought to exhibit traits and actions that should be repeated. Mentoring programs may be peer modeling programs, but peer modeling does not have to be an official work relationship. Peer modeling occurs anytime when one peer learns from another. Peers may provide a point of view that leaders cannot. Peers are effective at modeling:
• Tasks
• Ethics
• Communication

Generating Engagement
Learning is not possible without engagement, and if people are truly not engaged in the learning process, nothing will engage them. There are, however, ways to generate and improve upon engagement that already exists:
• Rewards: Create an environment that encourages learning with intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
• Opportunities: Provide opportunities to grow and learn.
• Tools: Provide the tools that people need.
• Respect: Maintain a culture of respect.
Source: Social Learning Workplace

River Street Consultant

Levels of Evaluation

A good evaluation will cover all four dimensions of learning. This post is an overview of Donald Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation, which correspond loosely to Kolb’s four learning stages.

Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model measures four elements:
Each level is based on the level before it, so in order to achieve results; participants must have a positive experience with the first three levels.

Level One: Reactions
The most basic level of evaluation is the participants’ reactions to the training.
• Did they like or dislike the training and the trainer?
• How did they feel about the training environment?
• Did they think the training was useful?
• Did they feel comfortable?
• Did they feel they had ample opportunities to participate?
This level can be measured with a few simple tools:
• Verbal feedback during and immediately after the workshop
• Subjective questionnaires during and immediately after the workshop, such as happy sheets (where participants circle a happy face or sad face for each question)
Reaction feedback is fairly easy to gather and measure. It should be gathered as close as possible to the desired time period. (For example, if you wanted to measure reactions to the first day of a workshop, you should gather reactionary feedback at the end of the first day.)

Level Two: Learning
The next level of evaluation assesses how much the participant learned. It looks at two basic areas:
• Did trainees learn what we wanted them to learn?
• Was the training experience what we wanted it to be?
This level is typically measured via tests immediately before and immediately after the training. It is important that these assessments are tied closely to the learning objectives.
Note that this level can be measured on an individual or group level. For example, you could have a verbal group-style quiz, or you could have individual assessments. When assessing group performance, however, make sure that each individual can be evaluated.

Level Three: Behavior
This level evaluates how much trainees applied the learning and changed their behavior after the training. Key questions should include:
• How quickly did trainees put their knowledge into effect back on the job?
• Were skills used correctly and relevantly?
• Was the behavior change sustained?
• Is the trainee aware of how they have changed?
• Would the trainee be able to share their knowledge with another person?
It can be challenging to evaluate changes at this level, particularly with soft topics like communication and leadership. It is important to develop a well-rounded, accurate evaluation system before training begins. Trainees will need to be evaluated on an ongoing basis in a way that is not intrusive on their daily duties. Tools like case studies, 360 degree feedback, and self-assessments can be useful as long as they are well-designed, consistent, objective, and appropriately timed.

Level Four: Results
The final level of evaluation is quantifiable results. This assesses the effect of the training on the person’s environment (their workplace, home, etc.). These are typically measurements that are in place via normal business systems, such as:
• Number of sales
• Percentage of customer complaints
• Timeliness
• Absenteeism
• Quality ratings and failures
• Third-party inspection ratings (such as food and safety)
This is an important level of evaluation as it is often what high-level executives look for when evaluating the training. They want to know numbers and figures, with proof to back the data up.
These evaluation processes should tie in with day to day business procedures and not cause a lot of extra work. It is important, however, that the trainee knows what measurements are tied to the training before the training begins. This will help them apply context to the training and achieve better results.
As a final note, be careful of outside factors that can cloud ratings. For example, let’s say that you send your salespeople on training and you expect their sales to increase by 5% per month as a result. If the economy crashes two months after the training, your results will be clouded by outside circumstances.

Types of Measurement Tools
Previously, we talked about how evaluation should take place at four different levels. In order to effectively evaluate each level, you will need a variety of tools.
Goal Setting
Individual goal setting is an excellent way to measure behavior and results. Trainees should set goals during the workshop and then evaluate their progress at predetermined intervals afterwards.
In order for goals to be effective, make sure they follow the SMART acronym:
• Specific: Success coach Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles that, “Vague goals produce vague results.” In order for you to achieve a goal, you must be very clear about what exactly you want. Often creating a list of benefits that the accomplishment of your goal will bring to your life, it will give your mind a compelling reason to pursue that goal.
• Measurable: It’s crucial for goal achievement that you are able to track your progress towards your goal. That’s why all goals need some form of objective measuring system so you can stay on track and become motivated when you enjoy the sweet taste of quantifiable progress.
• Achievable: Setting big goals is great, but setting unrealistic goals will just demotivate you. A good goal is one that challenges, but is not so unrealistic that you have virtually no chance of accomplishing it.
• Relevant: Before you even set goals, it’s a good idea to sit down and define your core values and your life purpose because it’s these tools which ultimately decide how and what goals you choose for your life. Goals, in and of themselves, do not provide any happiness. Goals that are in harmony with your life purpose do have the power to make you happy.
• Timed: Without setting deadlines for your goals, you have no real compelling reason or motivation to start working on them. By setting a deadline, your subconscious mind begins to work on that goal, night and day, to bring you closer to achievement.

Self-evaluations are effective at the first three levels of evaluation, and can be effective at the fourth level depending on the topic. Common types of self-evaluations include:
• Pre-workshop and post-workshop tests to assess learning
• Reactionary questionnaires
• Personal assessment quizzes
• Self-reporting metric systems
When measuring reactionary feedback, open-ended questions such as, “How did you feel about the training?” are fine. However, you should also include scale-based questions so that you can evaluate the group as a whole and evaluate the individual on an objective basis. When measuring learning, behavior, and results, questions that are objective and closed or scale-based are necessary for accurate assessment.

Peer Evaluations
Peer reviews are an excellent tool for measuring behavioral changes. However, you must ensure that the assessment system is well designed to prevent bias.
One excellent tool is 360 degree feedback. This system is designed to gather feedback from all of the people around an employee – their co-workers, subordinates, superiors, clients, etc. There are many resources available that can help you design a good 360 degree feedback system. If the topic that you are training on has high value, it can be worthwhile to take the time to develop a peer review system to accurately measure behavioral changes.

Supervisor Evaluations
Supervisor evaluations are an important part of evaluating behavior changes and assessing results. Like peer reviews, a behavioral evaluation system should be set up before the training. It should be ratings-based and include closed questions to help the supervisor stay objective. When asking supervisors to measure results, those results should tie in with the employee’s regular metrics whenever possible. This achieves two things: it ensures that the measurements are relevant to the employee’s day-to-day duties, and it minimizes the amount of extra work that the supervisor has to do. (Often, if measuring training causes more work for supervisors, they will often avoid completing the evaluation, or spend minimal time doing so.)
Two notes of caution about supervisor evaluations:
• The employee must know which metrics will be evaluated after the training.
• Like peer evaluation, supervisor evaluation can be biased. Develop your metrics accordingly.

High-Level Evaluations
Depending on the scenario, you may want to ask high-level executives in the organization to complete an evaluation. This will typically reflect behavioral changes and or measurable results. They will be particularly effective at helping you determine if your training was effective for the entire group. Make sure that these types of evaluations are necessary, focused, and short.
As well, although company executives are typically not involved in the nuts and bolts of training, they may want to see a high level evaluation report, particularly if the training was expensive, required by law, or was expected to have a high impact.
When you are planning the training, make sure to gather expectations from these key stakeholders, including timelines for results and the level of detail desired. Then, use this framework to build a results report tailored to their needs. The report will typically reflect behavioral changes and or measurable results.
Source: Measuring Results from Training workshop

River Street Consultant

Networking and Personal Branding

Digital citizenship is a large part of networking and personal branding. This requires you to monitor your online presence and be careful in the way that you present yourself. If you are proactive in your sharing, persona, and social networking, you will be able present an effective online image that helps you create social connections.

Personal Branding
The first step in personal branding is defining your brand. These questions will define your brand and help you market yourself. When you create your personal brand, it is essential that you remain consistent with your shares and posts. This is why you need to be mindful in what you post and think about what you are communicating. Do not shift your message or tone. This will cause people to question your sincerity.

Ask yourself:
• What are my skills?
• What is my message?
• Who is my audience?

Be Yourself
Whether you are online or offline, it is important that you be yourself. People are attracted to sincerity; so only communicate something if you genuinely believe it. People who come across as insincere or fake are not easily trusted. It is important that you communicate honestly in person and in your online persona. When you are yourself, you know that people in your network are drawn to you and your message, not a fictional character.
Remember, there is such a thing as oversharing, so it is important that you establish professional boundaries when you are being yourself.

Social Networking
Social networking is essential to your branding. When done correctly, social networks are useful tools that expand your community. When not used correctly, social networking can have lasting, damaging effects.

• Choose the right networks – Choose networks that your customers use. You cannot effectively use them all.
• Post regularly – Post at regular intervals to keep the attention of your audience.
• Monitor it – Monitor your social networks and respond to comments and questions.

If You Share It, Expect Everyone to See It
When you share something online, expect everyone to see it. You must come to the realization that there is no such thing as privacy online. Do not be fooled by the ever-changing privacy settings that social networks have. What you share online can and will be shared by other people. It only takes seconds for a post to be shared or a screenshot to be taken. Even if you remove a post, the damage may already be done. This is why thinking before posting cannot be emphasized enough.

Introduce Colleagues
Networking requires give and take. While you network to meet new people, you also need to facilitate meetings between colleagues as well. If you know two people who would benefit from meeting each other, introduce them. Consider hosting mixers or other parties to help people meet each other in person and put faces to names.
It is also possible to introduce people via email. It is a good idea to discuss the idea with your friends before sending the email so that you are going to introduce them so that the email does not come as a surprise. Introducing people online can make it easier for them to meet in person.

Email Example:
Subject: Sam meet James; James meet Sam
Sam, I would like to introduce to James. He has been a graphic designer in our department for three years, and I believe that you could benefit from his expertise in layout and design.
James, Sam is a senior editor with the eBook division. I know that you spent a great deal of time assisting his artists with the new software.
Sam, I know that your department is having difficulty with the change in software, and James could help with the transition.
Good luck,

Volunteer to Help Others
Helping others and volunteering is good for people in your network and for you. Helping others does not have to be complicated or time consuming. Simply find out who needs a favor and volunteer your services. It is a good idea to share on social media when you volunteer your time and services. This encourages other people to volunteer with you, and it shows your network that you are willing to help the people who are in your network.
You should also consider volunteering in your community. This helps you meet new people with similar interests. It also provides you with the opportunity to learn new, marketable skills. Many companies prefer to hire and advance people who actively volunteer.

“Start a blog” is advice commonly given to professionals who want to expand their networks. Blogs are only effective when they are done correctly. It is better not to start a blog than to begin one that you have no interest in maintaining.
How to Blog:
• Make a point – Only blog if you have something to share.
• Be thorough – Proofread your posts for accuracy and grammar.
• Be consistent – Update your blog on a regular basis.
Blogs require commitment. If you take the time to post regularly, it can benefit your personal brand.
Guard Your Reputation
Reputations are made or destroyed online. You need to guard your reputation carefully because it is valuable. There are steps you can take to guard and defend your reputation:
• Monitor your online activity – Make sure that your accounts are not hacked.
• Keep information private – Do not share any personal information.
• Be careful lending technology – People can pose as you when using your technology.
If your reputation becomes damaged for any reason, you need to defend it. Address any misinterpretations other people make, and issue apologies if necessary.
Finally, you need to promote your reputation. Do this by sharing your successes and posting testimonials and recommendations from others.
Source: Digital Citizenship workshop

River Street Consultant

Meeting Roles


Roles and Responsibilities

Establishing clear roles and responsibilities in your meeting helps to manage the meeting effectively. When roles are established, the participants have a clear understanding of what is taking place because the person in a specific role has a job to fulfill. Assigning roles also alleviates the task you have to manage. This way you can focus on the role you are to manage within the meeting time. Remember that you do not have to do it all. Get others involved.

The Chairperson

The meeting chairperson is responsible for directing the proceedings of the meeting. They are time managers, referees, and enforcer of the rules when they are broken. The chairperson does not necessarily have to be you all the time, but when you do defer the chairperson’s duty to someone other than you, make sure you are confident the chairperson you choose can handle the role. The chairperson must be able to lead the meeting and be firm throughout the meeting.

Here are additional responsibilities of the chairperson:

  • Be aware of the rules of the meeting if present
  • Keep to the aim or objective of the meeting
  • Remain fair with all participants
  • Start the meeting
  • Transition from agenda topic to the next
  • Introduce the next presenter
  • Handle disruptions

Some of the qualities a chairperson should possess are as follows:

  • They should have some level of authority
  • Demonstrate flexibility
  • Remain impartial
  • Display maturity

The role of the chairperson is essential if the meeting is to have some form of control. If you are the chairperson, make sure you do not take on additional roles. You want to remain focus on the tasks associated with the role of the chairperson. If you select another person to be the chairperson, it is a good practice to meet with him or her in advance of the meeting to coordinate the agenda and set expectations. You want to avoid miscommunication during the meeting, which could hurt the credibility of both your chairperson and yourself.


The Minute Taker

Taking minutes requires some basic skills. For instance, a good minute taker will possess great listening skills, and attention to detail. Furthermore, they should have excellent writing skills and communication skills. The person you select must be able to maintain focus and not be carried away with the meeting, missing crucial meeting information. It is best to select someone who is not directly involved in the meeting, allowing them not to participate. Here is a list of tasks the minute taker should handle:

  • Before the meeting
    • Determine what tool to use for recording the minutes (ex. Laptop, paper, recording)
    • Become familiar with the names of the attendees and who they are
    • Obtain the agenda and become familiar with the topics
  • During the meeting
    • Take attendance
    • Note the time the meeting begins
    • Write the main ideas presented in the meeting and the contributor of that information
    • Write down decisions made and who supported and opposed the decision
    • Note follow up items
    • Note items to be discussed in the next meeting
    • Note the end time of the meeting
  • After the meeting
    • Type up the minutes immediately after the meeting (if manual notes or recordings were taken)
    • Proofread the minutes and correct any errors in grammar and spelling
    • Save or send the document to the meeting owner


Using a template helps to keep the minute taking consistent. Remember to meet with the person you choose to be your minute taker before the meeting to go over the template.


The Attendees

The attendees are not excluded from assuming a role or having a responsibility in the meeting setting. Of course, you cannot force the responsibility on to your attendees, but you can attempt to influence them. The attendees are the biggest success factor of your meeting. If they feel that they accomplished something in the meeting, they will applaud you. However, if they walk away feeling they wasted their time, this could affect your credibility. The following are responsibilities your attendees could assume:

  • Prepare
    • Be prepared to contribute to the meeting
    • Be prepared to arrive early and avoid being late
    • Be prepared for the meeting by jotting down ideas and questions ahead of meeting
    • Be prepared by reading the agenda before the meeting
    • Be prepared for a long meeting by getting enough rest the night before
  • Participate
    • Ask questions
    • Take notes
    • Share ideas
  • Productive
    • Avoid carrying side conversations
    • Remove distractions like cell phones and PDA’s
    • Keep to the allotted time if on the agenda


Setting up expectations is the best way to communicate the role of the attendees. This is accomplished in either the meeting invitation, or separate email to the attendees. In any case, it is worth the time. Remember that all participants play a vital role in the meeting. Your job is to remind them of their role and the responsibility that comes with that role.


Variations for Large and Small Meetings

Large meetings present very different dynamics than smaller meetings. Managing a larger meeting requires more resources and assigned roles. If you are chairing the meeting yourself, you will need to rely on others to ensure all things are well executed. Here is a list of additional roles you may want to add when managing a large meeting:

  • An extra minutes taker for better accuracy
  • A person to distribute all the materials related to the meeting
  • A person to greet attendees
  • A person to run the audio and visual equipment
  • A person to manage the hospitality aspect of your meeting
  • A co-chairperson
  • A person managing the presentations

On the other hand, in small meetings, you can assume multiple roles. For example, you can be the chairperson, technical person, and the minute taker in a small meeting. Small meetings are less formal and you can leverage the informal environment to multitask. You may need an assistant if the meeting is comprised of important people. In any situation, careful planning and assessing the risk of working with less roles will help you to determine what roles need to be filled. When in doubt, get more help. Err on the side of caution.

Source: Meeting Management workshop


The River Street Consultant