Coaching vs. Therapy

coaching-vs-therapy1Coaching is a relatively new field and is undergoing an identity crisis as it seeks to define itself within the broad field of workplace learning, consulting, human resource management, career development and in many cases, psychotherapy.

One essential question that is often asked by those seeking coaching services or initiating a coaching practice is how does coaching differ from therapy?  Here is my take on the difference:

Coaching:  typically involves a short term relationship focused on performance improvement.  Appropriate clients are those who have achieved a certain level of success and are seeking to move forward by improving their skills, relationships, or knowledge.

Therapy:  According to the APA, therapy refers to treatment for psychological problems. Therapists and clients work together to understand problems and come up with plans for fixing them. The focus is generally on changing ineffective thoughts, emotions or behaviors.

What do you think of the definitions?  Can you add to them or provide examples of when coaching or therapy is the correct choice?

Posted in Careers, Coaching, Human Performance Improvement, Learning Theory, Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.” Or, do we?

by Vince Cyboran, Ed.D. Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Training and Development Roosevelt University

Much like the enigmatic emblems on Scout uniforms, “digital badges” are among the latest efforts for documenting skill competencies in individuals.  Mixed with an updateable–and up-to-date–portfolio, professional certification(s), and a wisely chosen graduate degree, badges supposedly signify not only the ability to “do,” but to “do well.” And, like the Scouts’ merit badges, digital badges must be earned.

What is a badge? According to a 2012 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: “the MacArthur foundation says it’s “a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest,”.” Got it? Please keep reading anyway.

AdobeEducationWho are awarding badges?  The usual suspects–including Microsoft and Adobe–award a variety of badges through their elaborate formal and informal learning programs and partnerships. Even institutions of higher education are jumping on the badge bandwagon. As universities and colleges struggle to re-establish their relevance and accountability, they are wisely reclaiming their place in the world by championing lifelong learning and awarding credit(s) for experiential learning. Two examples of digital badgers are the University of California at Davis (UC-Davis) and Concordia University (several locations).

badge-backpackWhere are digital badges displayed? The not-so-simple answer is anywhere that we share information about ourselves, particularly our “professional” selves.  If you go the ‘open badges’ route from mozilla, you would proudly display them on your ‘badge backpack.’ Of course, you could simply include them on your LinkedIn profile. And, for specific instructions on how to do this, you could consult the Open Badges Blog on tumblr.

What benefits do digital badges provide? At a minimum:

  • Badges are portable. They travel with individuals as the move through their careers and lives.
  • Badges are institution- and organization-free. They can be earned through formal and informal learning environments.

While it’s too soon to tell whether digital badges are here to stay, they have certainly gained traction amongst the learnarati. It is clear that all professionals in the field of Organizational Learning and Development must be able to speak “badge.”  For more information about digital badges, please check the links in the References and Resources section of this post.

But why badges and why now? In the wise words of Craig Mindrum of Accenture, “The late twentieth century was the era of knowledge work and knowledge workers. The first part of the twenty-first century will be about ‘value work’ and ‘value workers.’” Can ‘value badges’ be far behind?

What experiences have you had with badges?  Do you think they are or will become relevant?

References and Resources

Bull, B. You Can Now Earn a Master’s Degree in #EdTech Through Competency-Based Digital Badges:

Carey, K. (2012). A Future Full of Badges.

Chronicle of Higher Education.

How to Display Badges on LinkedIn Profiles:

Microsoft Partners in Learning Badge System:

Mindrum, C., p. 171, in Vanthournout, D. (2006). Return on Learning:  Training for High Performance at Accenture. Chicago: Agate.

Open Badges:

Pearson Learning Solutions. Exploring Badges:  A New Method to Recognize Professional Credentials. (Webinar recording; 56 minutes):

Pwc (2014). 17th. Annual Global CEO Survey:

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E-Learning Course Design and Development: A New Design for TRDV439 and TRDV453, Part 1

Kim Heintz teaches e-learning course design and authoring at Roosevelt. She also is a Technical Writer/Instructional Designer for Follett School Solutions.

Kim Heintz teaches e-learning course design and authoring at Roosevelt. She also is a Technical Writer & Instructional Designer for Follett School Solutions.

In the Training and Development department at Roosevelt University, we faced the dilemma of the “chicken or the egg?” when it came to sequencing two courses, E-Learning Course Design and E-Learning Course Authoring.  No matter which course we placed first, students had to work hard to bridge the knowledge gap from other class in order to be successful.

EL1Initailly, we placed the design course first in the sequence—the natural choice, as it is first in the e-learning course creation process. Students were challenged to see what the final product could look like because they had no experience with any authoring tool and did not know what it could and could not do. Through evidence-based principles and concrete examples, they were able to walk away having created an impressive detailed design. However, it did come with some additional work to bridge the knowledge gap, and a common theme we heard when students got to the E-Learning Course Authoring course was that they wish they had known more about how Captivate worked when writing their design.

EL2This gave us the idea to place the authoring course first in the sequence to give students baseline knowledge to draw from when it came time to design. This sequence did  give them that information, but, when it came time to create a final project at the end of the semester that included elements of design, they had to work hard to create a design to build out in the authoring tool.

8 Week Opportunity

With Roosevelt moving to the new 8-week schedule from the former 12-week one at the start of Fall 2014, we used this opportunity to address this dilemma. Based on student feedback and our own experiences with design and development, we decided to weave these two courses together so that students learn design and development simultaneously. As a result, these two courses now build on each other in a “Part 1” and “Part 2” fashion in what is now the series TRDV439: E-Learning Course Authoring-1 and TRDV453: E-Learning Course Authoring-2.

In this new design, students are introduced to design and development each week, giving them a chance to become familiar and comfortable with each through readings, lectures, and practice exercises. They also have the chance to apply what they learn to concrete assignments.

The capstone project of the series begins early in the first course and follows the students through the end of the second. With this project, they design and develop a topic of their choosing and end up with four deliverables to showcase the progression: EL3

Solution: Combine the Chicken and the Egg

Because they learn design and development each week, students continue to refine their deliverables as they continue to work toward their detailed designed and developed lesson. They also collaborate in peer review of each other’s work, which provides additional perspective to their assignments beyond the instructors. Peer review provides two-way benefit in that the students who are reviewing the work also have the chance to be inspired for their own work.

Much like what we had in the original course designs, structured and open forums exist and are encouraged for students to collaborate, share frustrations, ask for help, share “ah-ha” moments, post lessons learned, post general information/articles, and more. These work much like any online forum such those on the Adobe Communities or in LinkedIn groups; the one added benefit in these forums is that everyone has similar experiences at the same time.

In addition to the four projects included in the capstone, students also create three additional projects in Adobe Captivate as they learn the authoring tool. They do this by completing workbook exercises, working through the details of a pre-designed storyboard, and following step-by-step instructions.

With one semester now completed, it seems that our “chicken or the egg?” dilemma has now successfully been solved! Students were able to connect the design with the development because they had the ability to get into the tool and experiment.  They were able to connect the development with the design through the guiding principles and instructional design standards.

The students who completed the Fall 2014 term were huge supporters of one another and the work that they did, and the student output was incredibly impressive!

In a future post, we’ll have three students share their initial concerns or impressions going into these courses, their experiences, and what their end result was.

Now, we want to hear from you. What questions do you have about these courses or the E-Learning Graduate Credential at Roosevelt? What about self-paced e-learning in general?

Contact our Program Coordinator, Tara Hawkins at, to register for these classes for the Fall Term.

Posted in Careers, E-Learning, Instructional Design, Learning at Roosevelt, online learning, Technology, Training, virtual classroom | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Coaching Theory: Don’t put the cart before the horse

cart-before-the-horseCoaching is all about doing –having conversations, using tools, assessments, making plans, following up and evaluating performance.  It’s not about theory and models and research, right?  Unfortunately, this belief is all too common in coaching and has led many experts to question the validity of the coaching field.   When we put the cart before the horse, with the cart being practice and the horse being theory, we take a backwards approach to coaching practice and do a disservice to our clients and also our profession.

So let’s take a careful look at the horse, or the theory that drives coaching.  A great place to start is by reading Stober & Grant’s book Evidence Based Coaching.  Each chapter is devoted to the discussion of a different theory that drives coaching practice–from behaviorism to humanism to positive psychology–for a total of twelve theoretical discussions.

What’s my fav?  I am a big fan of positive psychology and feel that this relatively new theory lends itself to the practice of coaching.  In fact, I believe that coaching is the practical manifestation of this theoretical premise.  Here is a link to a Ted Talk by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the movement. Remember, if you are viewing this in Blackboard, you’ll need to right click the link to open a new tab.

What are your thoughts about positive psychology and coaching?  What other theories do you think lend themselves to coaching practice?  Why have you selected them?

Posted in Coaching, Learning Theory, Mentoring, Organizational Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Mid- Semester Program Notes

Spring 2015

What will you do during your week off between classes?  One suggestion is to register for summer and fall semesters.

As a reminder, taking summer classes allows you to finish your degree in one to two years plus you can use financial aid awarded for the academic year. Please contact financial aid for more information or refer to in RU Access (under “Tuition and Fees”) to view your availability.

View the full schedules here Registration codes were sent out last week so you should have received it by now, if not please contact Tara, We have many great classes being offered, here are a few descriptions…


TRDV 423 Team Building and Leadership: Examines issues surrounding team building in organizations with a focus on the design and development of teambuilding initiatives. Topics include processes critical to team performance including interpersonal and managerial communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Dynamics of leadership as they relate to team performance.

TRDV 450 Learning Technologies (pre-requisite for e-learning classes): Technological approaches applied to training delivery including classroom technology uses, electronic job aids, performance support systems, self- paced tutorials, instructional games and simulations, decision support and expert systems, mobile and wireless applications, asynchronous and synchronous delivery, and virtual reality


TRDV 445 Executive Coaching: Provides an overview of the principles and practices of executive coaching within organizational settings. Areas addressed include entering and contracting, assessment, coaching models, theoretical foundations, communication, feedback, and the ethics of coaching.

TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring 1: Design, development, and evaluation of self-paced e-learning applications. Application of instructional strategies to storyboarding, course development, and evaluative approaches. Key human factors such as considerations for interface design and usability testing. Exploration and comparison of software tools for creating storyboards and critique of e-learning courseware. Creation and presentation of an Instructional Design Plan (IDP) and detailed storyboards for a self-paced e-learning prototype.

TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring 2: Development and delivery of self-paced e-learning applications. Application of instructional strategies and programmatic interactions to course development. Considerations for rollout and administration, including both maintenance and recordkeeping. Exploration and comparison of software tools for creating e-learning courses. Creation and presentation of a self-paced e-learning prototype.

Save the date! On 3/24 from 7-8c the TRDV program will host the virtual event “Learning to Give: Professional Development and Social Justice”. Three panelist will discuss how volunteering has expanded their personal and professional experiences. We’ll have more details forthcoming including registration.



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Are MOOCs Doomed to Fail?

By Paulina Merino
MATD Graduate
Mathieu Plourde/wikipedia

Mathieu Plourde/wikipedia

Are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) a revolution in higher education or will they forever be just a form of knowledge sharing? Are MOOCs even a “real” education? Their proponents speak about energy, enthusiasm and change happening in today’s education sector and call it “education innovation” (Boyers, 2013). At the same time, many educators believe it to be a form of commercial transaction — distributing information rather than teaching it, pointing to a lack of interaction and the little or no value of completion certificates (Gitanjali, 2013).

What is a MOOC?

As Koller (2012) describes them, MOOCs are massive, in that even thousands of students can be enrolled in the same class at once. They are offered online, which makes them accessible around the globe and affordable. Most importantly, they are teaching events — courses, usually two to several weeks long, with structured teaching, assignments and progression of instructions. They are also developed and taught by highly qualified educators, from top-tier universities, including Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Columbia and Duke. And, maybe most importantly, they are free. Consequently, MOOCs offer an incredible array of subjects to curious minds from anywhere and any budget.

MOOCs in the muck

What is wrong with MOOCs then? Why the dramatic title of this article? The most frequently repeated argument against MOOCs is that they provide limited opportunity for interaction between the professor and the student. A student can move through an entire course with little-to-no direct communication with the professor and receive feedback only from their peers (Boyers, 2013). Stacey (2013) furthers this argument, citing an example of K-12 teachers and their contract agreements about limited class sizes. How can someone effectively teach thousands of students simultaneously?

Evolution in education

Some twenty years ago, online teaching was considered vastly inferior to the classroom-based instruction. The credentials offered via online courses were questioned and only brick-and-mortar schools were considered “real” universities. Are we now facing similar phenomenon? Are traditionalists blocking social media’s evolution as a teaching tool because it questions the values on which they built their careers? Many disparage MOOCs dramatic dropout rate. Gijtani (2013) cites a completion rate of 10 percent or less as proof of MOOCs’ ineffectiveness, noting that those who try them lose interest even before the course is over. However, Haber’s 2013 review of completion/dropout data showed a 48 percent completion rate for students who watched at least one video and completed one assignment in a course. Similarly, some are critical of MOOCs’ limited interactivity while others contend interactivity can be achieved through creative use of technology (Koller, 2013).

They have a place

The ever-growing costs of higher education paired with high unemployment among college graduates may simply force young people to look for non-standard ways of learning. Like many others, I think MOOCs offer real benefits to knowledge-thirsty minds across the globe and that they will only gain in popularity. In 1943, IBM Chairman Thomas Watson said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Sometimes what we know is just not enough to accurately predict the future.

What do you think?

Have you ever taken a MOOC? What was the subject, and do you feel it was as effective as other types of courses you’ve taken? Have you ever taught a MOOC? Were students engaged? Were you overwhelmed by the class size?

Koller, D. (2012, August 1). What we’re learning from online education Retrieved from
Boyers, J. M. (September 2013). Online Done Right: The importance of human interaction for student success. eLearn Magazine. Retrieved from
Haber, Jonathan (25 November 2013). MOOC Attition Rates – Running the Numbers, in College. in HuffPost (December 14, 2014). Retrieved from
Stacey, Paul (May 2013). The Pedagogy of MOCCs. [Blog post]. Retrieved from
Gitanjali, M. (December 2013). MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) Redefining Learning. [Online Portal]. Retrieved from
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“Don’t Clap, Throw Money”: Misadventures in Employee Engagement

Is your glass half empty or half full?

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.

Having been asked this seemingly innocuous — but heavily coded — question several times over the years at employee workshops, I’ve developed a standard response: “You have a glass?” This generally stops the conversation.

At one organization in which upper management realized that low-employee morale was rampant (after three years without staff raises, hefty annual increases in health insurance contributions, etc.), an outside consultant was brought in to conduct a mandatory, full-day workshop. After a rather long self-introduction, he proceeded to walk around the room, pointing directly at random people, and pointedly asking: “What could you being do better?” We then formed small groups to make lists of ways in which each of us—through personal improvement (that means, at no cost to the organization)—could better contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. I left midway through the list-making process, returning my free copy of the book authored by the consultant on the way out, and mumbling that I was coming down with something. Luckily, there is always “something going around.”

Before engaging expensive outside consultants, sending out another employee survey, or painting the walls in motivational tones, it’s a good idea to take an inexpensive but enlightening look at what’s happening inside of your organization, albeit at a high level. One way to do this is to examine your environment through the lens provided by Frederick Herzberg.

Based on his workplace research, Herzberg introduced the Hygiene-Motivation—or Two-Factor–Model of Workplace Motivation in his 1959 book The Motivation to Work. Herzberg identified two sets of factors that could lead either to dissatisfaction or to satisfaction at work. The following table contains lists of the two sets.

Lead to dissatisfaction
when removed
Lead to satisfaction
when added
Organization policies·SupervisionInterpersonal relationships with boss/supervisor and with colleagues

Work conditions


Achievement·RecognitionWork itself




Figure based upon that of NetMBA:  Business Knowledge Center.

Hygiene factors don’t motivate employees.  For example, employees don’t generally accept jobs based on the variety of coffees offered in the break rooms or the cleanliness of the restrooms.  However, hygiene factors must be viewed as at least acceptable by employees, or dissatisfaction will set in. Keeping both sets of lists in mind and adjusting items as necessary is required to create a healthy workplace in which employees can thrive. The goal is to achieve both high hygiene and high satisfaction.

To increase employee motivation, Herzberg recommends techniques such as job enrichment and job rotation. Both of these techniques touch upon multiple motivational factors.

Because the model was introduced so long ago, much of what Herzberg discovered is now taken for granted. Most of us have heard formally or informally that salary doesn’t truly motivate employees. Unfortunately, it is the detailed distinction of dissatisfiers vs. satisfiers that has often been forgotten in favor of newer models. Much like the ADDIE instructional design model, the Two-Factor Model itself does not—for some critics–provide enough detailed guidance on how to achieve the proper balance of factors in the workplace. That’s what the newer models are for.

What workplace experiences have you had that address either ‘hygiene’ or ‘motivation’ factors? Were the initiatives successful?

Brenner, V. C., Carmack, C. W. & M. Weinsten (1971). An Empirical Test of the Motivation-Hygiene Theory. Journal of Accounting Research 9(2): 359-366.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. (1959). The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.
Herzberg, F. (January–February 1968). “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”. Harvard Business Review 46 (1): pp. 53–62.
Schultz, D. & Schultz, S. E (2010). Psychology and Work Today: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology (10th ed.). New York City: Prentice Hall. pp. 38–39.
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