Remembering Deb Colky

Deb Colky was one of my best friends. She was intelligent, personable, hardworking, and down right funny. Those who had the great fortune of first hand experience with Deb know exactly what I mean.  Most of all, Deb loved the profession of Training and was a highly skilled presenter and designer. I feel fortunate to have known and worked with her for nearly 7 years. deb-colky1

In her honor, CCASTD and her husband, Mike Colky sponsor a scholarship (see earlier post and link to the application).

As I remember Deb, I’d like to share with you the content of a professional interview that Deb gave one of our TRDV 400 students back in 2006 that really explains her passion for training and her love for learning.  Here is the interview content:

Interview with Professor Deb Colky, Program Director of the Graduate Program in Training and Development at Roosevelt University

Can you explain the path you followed to get to the T & D field?
It was a circuitous route! I started out as an English major and high school teacher. I moved into Higher Education Administration and stayed at the college level where I enjoyed adult students and adult education. Being an educator in different educational fields I was asked to speak to groups and that lead to being asked to train! Back then there were no expectations for “trainers”.

Would you choose this field again?
Yes! Training is very much needed! There have been great strides into making this a respected profession. And, trainers are working hard to get the recognition and respect they deserve.

What do you like best about T & D?
It’s exciting! It’s always different! I like the fact that it is helping people learn and making information easy for them

What do you like least about T & D?
The profession is misunderstood and this leads to it getting cut from the budgets.

If this is generally the first thing to be cut when businesses are cost cutting, where does that leave the trainer? What options do they have?
Most businesses are not really cutting their training budgets. Only those businesses that are not forward thinking! We have been moving away from a manufacturing economy and are now moving into a service industry which is people important. Most training occurs in the workplace where “Learning Departments” are being led by performance professionals. There is a big boom in training and from what I read and hear, I believe training is in good shape.

What skill sets are developed in this field and to what areas can these be transferred?
The communications skills, speaking and writing are very important. Business understanding and strategy and an understanding of learning and teaching also are good skills to have. These skill sets can transfer very easily into sales. I also see them being used by coaches. Not physical trainer coaches but life or job coaches.

How much difference is there between online teaching/learning and training?
As a teacher you are more of the expert, you develop thinking skills and the effect is more long term. As a trainer, your goal is different, it is skill based. You provide the tools and the solutions. Training needs to make behavioral changes and changes in attitudes. The end goal is to help people perform better. It is a short term solution. It is on the job and informal.

A trainer’s job is to train. The trainer is not the expert and generally is not the subject matter expert. You have the Designer, the Instructional Designer and then the Trainer.

 Today, how much training is face to face as opposed to computer based?       And, how quickly do you think that percent will change?
Face to face training used to be the norm. But now, computer based training has finally surpassed that and is now used for over 50 per cent of training. There is a saying: “High tech needs high touch.” I believe the trend is for training to be blended.

 Where do you see this field going in the future?
The trend for the future is in blended learning. We must have a seat at the table in business. Our job is to help humans learn how to work.

What is an average day like for a trainer?
On an average day the trainer will rise early to check out the presentation area. He will go over his notes and then train for ½ or a full day. After that training session it is back on the road (traveling can be a big part of training) and back to work to begin working on the next training session.

Comments from student interviewer:
I appreciated the time that Professor Colky spent with me and the insights into the Training and Development field that she shared. What I wasn’t expecting was her joy and enthusiasm for this field and this profession.   Having attended my first professional meeting and having conducted my first T & D professional interview in the same week, the enthusiasm shown by all of these T & D people was overwhelming.

It has become very apparent that people who work in this field LOVE their jobs and it shows! Positive Mental Attitude is a must! Their joy is contagious!

Like a few other students, I too found it hard to capture all that was said as the conversation moved more rapidly than I could write. When you find a person who is so excited about their job/career and is so willing to talk about it, you get drawn in and start soaking up their enthusiasm and wisdom. After these two assignments, it has become very apparent to me that this is a field well worth looking into!

As we remember Deb, please take a moment to share a story or an experience if you had the great fortune of knowing this wonderful teacher and friend.

Posted in Careers, Instructional Design, Training | 1 Comment

Dr. Deb Colky Scholarship

ScholarshipCCASTD is now accepting applications for the 2014 Dr. Deborah Colky Student Award. Now in its seventh year, the Colky Award recognizes students who demonstrate excellent potential in the Workplace Learning and Performance profession. The 2014 recipient of the Colky Award will receive a $1,000 cash scholarship, along with a one-year membership to CCASTD.

The winner will be honored with a commemorative plaque during CCASTD’s annual Holiday & Volunteer Recognition Party on December 4 in Oak Brook.

The deadline to submit applications is Friday, November 14. For more information and to apply, please visit

Posted in academic studies, Learning at Roosevelt, Social Justice, Training | 1 Comment

Career-changer finds prospects to be even better than expected in the field of training and development

Kerri Leo is a student and graduate assistant for Roosevelt's Training and Development Program.

Kerri Leo is a student and graduate assistant for Roosevelt’s Training and Development Program.

Being a “career-change” student in the Training and Development program, I’m often asked, “So, what kind of job do you want when you graduate?” After managing the job board for the TRDV blog for a few months, I’ve discovered the possibilities are endless. Training and Development is truly a hot field right now and opportunities abound in various industries. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a few recent graduates of the program to gain insight into where the program can lead me.

Mallory Gott-Ortiz is a 2010 graduate of the TRDV program, having earned her master’s degree in Human performance Improvement. She is now the Director of Education Development at Association Forum. In addition to developing educational programming and evaluating training needs for the organization’s 3500 members, she also speaks at various events around Chicago.

Jessi Underhill is a 2014 graduate of the TRDV program, having earned her master’s degree in Training and Development. After teaching high school social studies for eight years, Underhill decided to leave the field, but she still wanted to be able to use her skills. She entered Roosevelt’s TRDV program in January 2012 and is now the Training and Implementation Manager for Medtelligent. She develops training materials, provides on-site training for clients and manages client relationships. She and Kim Heintz will be presenting a webinar on Preparing for a Career in E-Learning on Nov. 12.

Kim Heintz is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program in Training and Development at Roosevelt, as well as being a graduate of the program. She received her Masters of Arts in Training and Development from Roosevelt with graduate certificates in e-learning and instructional design.  She also is a DDI certified trainer and holds ASTD certificates in Designing Synchronous Learning and Project Management for Trainers. She currently works full time as a Senior Technical Writer and Instructional Designer for Follett School Solutions.

The employment opportunities for graduates of Roosevelt’s Training and Development program go far beyond what I imagined when I enrolled. I’m excited to see where my degree will take me and look forward to being counted among these distinguished graduates. If you’re looking for another opportunity to network and advance your career, be sure to join us on Nov. 4 for a CCASTD Professional Development Network event, Growing Your Brand with Twitter Chats – Flipping Training with Technology PDN at the Gage Building to learn what other opportunities await you as a graduate of the TRDV program.

Posted in academic studies, andragogy, Careers, E-Learning, Human Performance Improvement, Instructional Design, Learning at Roosevelt, Technology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Faculty and Alumni Collaboration: Designing Medical Meetings that Get Results

PR-TRDV-October2014On September 26th Vince Cyboran, Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Training & Development collaborated with 2010 graduate, Mallory Gott-Ortiz to deliver a scenario-based learning strategy to members of the Association Forum of Chicagoland. The learning event, “Medical Meetings: Evolve or Expire,” was directed at senior level members and was designed to enhance the development of unique and valuable educational experiences in the highly competitive arena of healthcare meetings. Vince Cyboran, Ed.D. teaches graduate level classes in instructional design and e learning design and development at Roosevelt University, and Mallory Gott-Ortiz holds a M.A. in Human Performance Improvement from Roosevelt University and is the Director of Education Development for the Association Forum of Chicagoland.

Posted in Human Performance Improvement, Instructional Design, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Eight-Week Sessions begin on October 27th!

All cldont-forgetasses in the Graduate Programs in Training & Organization Development are offered in consecutive eight-week segments allowing students to complete two sessions in one semester. Our first session has ended and our second eight-week session begins on October 27th. If you are interested in taking additional classes during the Fall 2014 semester, there is still time to register for:

• TRDV 400 Introduction to Training & Development (Online)
• TRDV 411 Instructional Methods (Online)
• TRDV 427 Organization Analysis & Design (Online)
• TRDV 441 Human Performance Improvement (Chicago)
• TRDV 450 Learning Technologies (Online)
• TRDV 453 E Learning Course Authoring 2 (Online)
• TRDV 470 Instructional Design 2 (Online)
• TRDV 499 Master’s Portfolio (Online)

If you have already registered, please be aware our classes are accelerated and they move quickly! Be sure to log into your course site in Blackboard ASAP on Monday October 27th to download the syllabus and look over the first Module activities. Please don’t delay!

To learn more about success strategies in accelerated classes, please see an earlier post “Accelerated Online Courses: Strategies for Successful Learning.”

If you have questions about registration or classes, please contact our Program Coordinator, Tara Hawkins at

Posted in academic studies, Learning at Roosevelt, online learning | Tagged | Leave a comment

In Defense of Energizers: Incorporate physical activity into your work, training


Kathy Iverson is a professor and department chair for Roosevelt University's Training and Development graduate program. She teaches organization development, cultural diversity, research methodology, training foundations, consulting, and evaluation.

Kathy Iverson is a professor and department chair for Roosevelt University’s Training and Development graduate program. She teaches organization development, cultural diversity, research methodology, training foundations, consulting, and evaluation.

It’s no surprise that obesity and sedentary lifestyles are negative by-products of our plugged-in society, but did you know that working and learning at your computer for long periods of time can lead to an early demise? A large body of research links physical inactivity to higher rates of morbidity and mortality (McCrady & Levine, 2013). Compounding this finding are new developments that reveal sedentary behavior as a unique health risk independent of physical activity. Long periods of sedentary time (distinct from too little exercise) are associated with increased mortality, increased obesity, high blood pressure, elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and adverse metabolic profiles (Stamatakis, et al. 2013). Even dedicated gym rats are not immune from risk. One hour at the gym does not make up for 10 hours at the desk.

Godfatherly advice
How do we combat the negative effects of long sedentary hours spent designing and delivering e-learning? When it comes to movement, there are few better experts than James Brown, who famously prescribed: “Get On Up.” Likewise, we need to find opportunities to insert movement into our work day. Here are strategies that forward thinking organizations have adopted:

  1. Incorporate movement into the work day by encouraging employees to take walks during lunch periods and breaks. Some organizations are going so far as to provide employees with pedometers to track their activity.
  2. Interrupt work at regular times with short bouts of exercise. So instead of working intensely for four or more hours at a time, work for an hour and take a five or 10 minute activity break.
  3. Incorporate activity into tasks by investing in treadmill desks or Swiss balls instead of chairs.

Note that the first two interventions take employees away from their work, making some organizations fear that healthy bouts of exercise will result in lower productivity. The third practice, although somewhat extreme, works from the assumption that physical activity will not interrupt workflow.

Break, energize and move
As e learning designers and trainers, we can become more sensitive to the need for regular activity throughout the day by bringing energizers, or mini activity breaks, back to our training programs by building opportunities for brief movement into our delivery. We can also emphasize mobile delivery which gives participants the opportunity to move while they learn.

What do you think?
What strategies do you use to combat a sedentary work life and build regular movement into your work day? How can we build activity our training programs, particularly e learning programs?



McCrady, S., & Levine, J. (2009). Sedentariness at work: how much do we really sit? Obesity, 17(11), 2103-2105.
Stamatakis, E., Chau, J. Y., Pedisic, Z., Bauman, A., Macniven, R., Coombs, N., & Hamer, M. (2013). Are sitting occupations associated with increased all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality risk? A pooled analysis of seven British population cohorts. Plos ONE, 8(9).


Posted in Careers, E-Learning, Human Performance Improvement, Technology, Training, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gamification: Are you Ready?

By Vincent L. Cyboran, Ed.D.  Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Training and Development

Most Baby Boomers can remember the opening episode of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ in which Mary Richards is seated in the office of her new boss, Lou Grant.  After she answers a few of his questions and is grinning from ear-to-ear, Mr. Grant says to her:  “You know what you what you’ve got, Mary?  Spunk……I hate spunk!”  That’s how I feel about fads in learning and development.

As T&D professionals, we know better than to ignore or dismiss fads, especially when they are addressed at every conference and in every trade journal. The following graphic shows the results of a simple Google search on this topic:


Gen X’ers and Millenials grew up playing video games.  And while there is learning to be had from any kind of video game—first person shooter or role-playing—we are talking here about games to help employees learn and to assess their learning in the workplace. These games are not designed to be played on game consoles; they are designed to be played on standard-issue employee digital devices:  tablets, phones, phablets, and even computers.

Though I had every intention of writing a blog article, I found a free e-book that explains everything I was going to say, and it’s written by people directly involved in the gamification of learning. Click here to access the e-book. My referring you to this e-book is an example of social learning, not laziness.  “You’re welcome.”  J We are all learning together!

As T&D faculty, especially those involved in designing and teaching e-learning courses, we follow fads closely, for fads often become trends. We’ve been covering gaming for years in our ‘Learning Technologies (TRDV 450)’ course and in our Online Teaching credential courses. But sometimes, we jump in too soon for our students.  Back in 2006, when I was still teaching the e-learning design and authoring courses, I gave students the option of developing a simple game using Captivate. The text I had chosen was the now-classic Engaging Learning:  Designing e-Learning Simulation Games by Clark Quinn. That book was first published in 2005, nine years ago. Not one student was interested.

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

I will add a bit on what I would have written in my blog article.

  • If you cannot write a clear instructional goal, you are not ready to develop a learning game.
  • If you cannot write a clear performance objective, you not ready to develop a learning game.
  • If you cannot define what makes something a ‘game’—as opposed to a case study, a simulation, or simply an activity—you are not ready to develop a learning game.
  • If you think that gaming is all about the game-development tools, you are not ready to develop a game, and you have some serious reading and thinking to do.
  • Finally, if you think that games require extensive and expensive video and audio components, you are not ready to develop a learning game.

Happy gaming!

The references I am listing here are not the latest and greatest, but are seminal works in the field that are still on the bookshelves in my office.  Yes, there was great anticipation back in 2003-2006 for what we are now seeing in the workplace.  The K-12 world beat the workplace learning world to meaningful gaming.  I am purposely avoiding the term ‘serious gaming.’


Gee, P. J. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Prensky, M. (2006). “Don’t bother me Mom—I’m learning”: How computer and video games are preparing your kids for 21st. century success—and how you can help. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.
Taylor, T.L. (2006). Play between worlds:  Exploring online game culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Posted in Careers, E-Learning, Learning Theory, Technology, Training, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments