Check Out Our New and Updated Social Justice Page


To highlight the importance of our commitment to social justice as both an essential
mission of Roosevelt University and the Graduate Program in Training and Development, I’d like to direct you to our new and updated page detailing the social justice initiatives of our students and alumni. Here you will find two initial stories about our alumni who are making a difference both locally and globally.

Dr. Rayford Barner is a 2006 graduate of the MATD program who is leading a national educational program to improve the relationship and build trust between law enforcement and the community in six U.S cities. His work is a direct application of the curriculum we teach:  instructional design and delivery and evaluation as applied to a critical need in our society.

Zindaba (Zindie) Nyirenda, a 2010 graduate of the MATD program, has not only crafted a successful career in instructional design with Pfizer, but is also an author, founder of a non-profit organization, and a global leader in efforts to fight poverty, AIDS, and educational need in her native Zambia.

Please follow this link to our Social Justice in Action page to learn more about the work of these amazing alumni. You can also click on the “Social Justice” link in our menu bar to stay abreast of new stories about our students and alumni.


  1. Do you have a story to share about work you are doing that addresses a social or societal need?
  2. Can you think of other ways we might apply the principles of training and organization development to issues in social justice?
Posted in Careers, Human Performance Improvement, Instructional Design, Learning at Roosevelt, Learning Theory, Social Justice, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

O, this learning, what a thing it is!

Robin Smith, M.A. Training and Development 2015

Robin Smith, M.A. Training and Development 2015

The training and education provided in the MATD program focused on adult learning in the workplace and in the academic environment. As this semester and my MATD studies draws to an end, I pondered the question: What is adult learning?  

Adult learning is described as formal college education, job related training, community education, or self improvement classes. American educator, Dr. Malcolm Knowles, (sometimes referred to as the grandfather of adult education), introduced the concept of andragogy as a way to encapsulate the rapidly growing educational theories and practices designed for adult learners. The fundamental definition of andragogy originally meant the art and science of helping adults to learn but has since evolved to also mean learner-focused education. One basic principle of andragogy is that the adult learner is internally motivated.Tree

Motivation is the force that drives people to fulfill a need (Malamed, 2014). It creates energy for participation in adult learning while barriers drain energy.  During my MATD studies, maintaining internal motivation has been challenging.  I attributed my deficiency to the sundry annoyances, distractions and inconveniences of adult life that seemed to quietly wait in abeyance before charging at me one after the other.  As an adult learner, it’s indisputable that my motivation to pursue and attain this degree was sown, germinated and cultivated from a place within.  I could not allow my circumstances to prevent me from finding a way to get back my “mojo.”

Adult learners are motivated when their learning has meaning.  The training in the MATD program was designed and delivered in a way that tapped into my intrinsic motivation and thankfully, allowed me to get myself back on track.  I found inspiration in this quotation by Dr. Martin Luther King:

If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

–Martin Luther King, Jr.        

We live in a society that forces the adult learner to face challenges and responsibilities that can often reduce internal motivation.  Melamed (2014) offers facilitators a few suggestions for motivating the adult learner:

  1. Create meaningful and relevant learning experiences
  2. Facilitate exploration
  3. Accommodate group interaction
  4. Offer just-in-time resources

Wlodkowski (2008) also offers strategies for motivating adult learners in an education setting:

  1. Establish inclusion with respect and connectedness
  2. Develop a positive attitude with personal choice and relevance
  3. Enhance meaning with engaging activities
  4. Engender competence with authenticity and effectiveness

Questions for discussion. . .
What factors influence your motivation as an adult learner?
What can facilitators do to engage and motivate the adult learner?
Do you have other suggestions for training activities or creative training strategies that can stimulate motivation?

Posted in andragogy, Careers, Guest Student Post, Learning at Roosevelt, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Energizing Your Team For Success

Mark Fijor M.A. Organization Development Roosevelt University 2015

Mark Fijor M.A. Organization Development Roosevelt University 2015

Every organization has that person; the one who is always first to make a negative comment or point out flaws when new ideas are presented. They suck the life out of every committee or team they are on. In my organization, we had more than one, and I knew that as long as they were out there, our organization could never achieve the “culture of learning” specified in our strategic plan.

While researching leadership and management books and articles, I came across the exact term to describe these colleagues – “Energy Vampires.”  We learned that creating a successful team involves JGBlock-EV more than identifying and removing our vampires. To accomplish this we had to shift our focus to also create a culture that was energized to learn and work together.  Using the strategies identified by Jon Gordon in his book, The Energy Bus, we not only tamed the vampires, but also energized our organization for learning.

Jon Gordon is a graduate of Cornell University and Emory University.  In his book, Gordon identifies ten rules for the ride. These rules challenged the culture norms of our organization and lay the groundwork for a shift in thinking about collaboration that truly got people excited about learning.

10 Rules for the Ride of Your Life

  1. You’re the Driver of the Bus – Some of the negativity around professional learning comes when people feel they don’t have a choice in what they learn. The first and most important change for our organization was the introduction of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). In PLCs, each group had autonomy and choice and were able to drive their own learning.
  1. Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction – For this rule, we asked PLCs to focus on what they wanted to accomplish rather than dwell on problems. Their focus was on removing roadblocks rather than complaining about them.
  1. Fuel Your Ride with Positive Energy – Each time the PLC met there were opportunities for celebrations and announcements. Participants were asked to only focus on positives during their work, and in the face of challenges during their work, were asked to consider how positive energy and thought could be used to persevere.
  1. Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead – The PLCs were asked to reach out to others within the organization or outside of the organization to include and to get excited about their learning process. Often, the people invited were just as excited to see the solutions to the problems the PLCs were learning about, and continued to bring positive energy to the process.
  1. Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus- The groups were asked not to focus on the negatives, or those who did not want to join their efforts.
  1. Post a Sign That Says: NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED – As discussed before, there can be people in the organization that fit this description. Keep in mind that energy vampires can be valuable team members and may not be aware of their actions. Teams need to self-examine for this behavior and encourage positive behavior instead.
  1. Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes During the Ride- People in the PLCs were enthusiastic about their work and eager to share with others outside of the PLC. This enthusiasm sparked curiosity in those who were not involved, and generated excitement about the impact of the solutions.
  1. Love Your Passengers – Throughout the PLC, we stressed the importance of working together and learning from each other. It was important that everyone was valued, and that people enjoyed working together.
  1. Drive With Purpose – PLCs focused on a specific central theme. Each group found solutions to different problems around the central theme, but ultimately the entire organization shared a similar purpose.
  1. Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride – Most importantly, we wanted to convey that learning could be fun. Especially in times of stress, it was important that learning could be seen as a source of stress relief and enjoyment.

I hope these rules can help your organization change its thinking about learning and team work and that you too are able to create your own Energy Bus!


  1. Have you experienced energy vampires in your organization or team? If so, how did you deal with them?
  2. How can we encourage constructive feedback but still keep the tone positive?


DuFour, R. (2004). What is a “Professional Learning Community”? Education Leadership,61(8), 6-11

Gordon, J. (2007). The energy bus 10 rules to fuel your life, work, and team with positive energy. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Posted in assumptions, Coaching, Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Show Me Your Digital Badge: A new tool for higher education?

digitalbadgeThere’s a new badge in town and it’s digital, portable, and displayed in a multitude of locations including your resume, social network sites, and perhaps someday, even your diploma. A grown up version of merit badges earned by scouts and video game fans, digital badges both motivate and measure learning. Linked to course objectives or competencies, they can document learning and drive performance.

Digital badges are gaining traction with some of the most prominent businesses and learning organizations in the world, including Notre Dame University, Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California Davis, the Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar. Even the medical community is badging their constituents thanks to a pilot program offered by the University of Michigan Medical School.

Although a number of software companies offer interfaces for both universities and organizations, for example, Credly allows users to easily create and share badges and BadgeOS works as a WordPress plugin, they still coordinate with the leader in the badge movement, Mozilla, the organization that gave us Firefox. Mozilla’s Open Badge system is free, portable, and evidence-based. Although badges can be issued by virtually anyone, each badge has meta-data attached that describes the skills and competencies behind the badge and also information about the issuer. A digital badge issued by an accredited university will carry more weight than a badge from your relatives or friends.

The majority of digital badges are awarded for continuing education, non-credit certification, and mastery of open learning coursework. UC Davis pioneered a system that awards digital badges for the mastery of curriculum related competencies in a degree program. It is a value added feature that allows students pursuing degrees in sustainable agriculture to document their skill and tell a story about what they can do. Notre Dame has developed a system that allows students to link digital badges to e-portfolios.

Universities using the Blackboard learning platform (like Roosevelt) now have the ability to issue badges to students using the Mozilla interface. Badges, or Achievements as they are called in Blackboard, are issued based on criteria developed by the instructor. Ideally, these criteria will be linked to course objectives, readily measurable, and of value to the student. When awarded, students can view the badges in Blackboard and can store them in their Mozilla Backpack. Badges can be added to LinkedIn accounts, resumes, and portfolios by simply adding a hyperlink to the Mozilla Backpack.

Although there is an increasing body of information on digital badges, here are a few sites that you don’t want to miss:

  1. An introduction to digital badges from the NY Times:
  2. Digital badges and the Blackboard interface:
  3. Mozilla’s open badges: and their wiki:
  4. The March 30th blog post by Vince Cyboran on digital badges:

Tell us what you think. . .

  • As a student, instructor, or alumni, what are your thoughts about digital badges?
  • Would you like to see them incorporated in our curriculum and courses?
  • How might you use and benefit from digital badges?
Posted in academic studies, Digital Badges, E-Learning, Learning at Roosevelt, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to students, faculty, and alumni! The start of a new semester always brings a sense of anticipation about new possibilities. This semester is no different as we begin the 2015-16 academic year with some exciting changes and additions:

A big welcome to Roosevelt University’s new President, Ali Malekzadeh who brings a renewed focus on helping our students achieve their American dream.  You can read more about his background. I am sure that our program and the University as a whole will benefit from his expertise in strategic management.

Another big welcome to our new adjunct faculty member, Toni Thompson, who will teach TRDV 435 Organization Development this fall. Toni is a MATD alumni with many years of experience in both training and organization development.

You will see a revised and updated curriculum for both our M.A. in Training and M.A. in Organization Development that reflects critical skills and expertise needed by practitioners in both fields. You can learn more about the updated MATD curriculum here and the MAOD curriculum here. Students enrolling in our program prior to Fall 2015 will have the option of following the old curriculum.

Welcome also to our newly formed Alumni Board that includes graduates working in a variety of occupations related to training and organization development. Our new board includes:

  • Erwin Lee Acox, Jr., Chief of Diversity Recruitment and Outreach at Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Jeff Carpenter, Principal at Caveo Learning
  • Jenny Massoni, Global Head of Training & Communication at Astellas Pharma
  • Mallory Gott, Director, Education Development, Association Forum Chicagoland
  • Darryl Calhoun, MATD, Director of Programs and Operations at South Suburban PADS (non-profit helping the homeless)
  • Reggie Jackson, Academic Technology Analyst at the University of Chicago and TRDV adjunct faculty member
  • Kim Heintz, Product Trainer at Silk Road and TRDV adjunct faculty member
  • Mary Channon, Senior Training Professional, Mariano’s
  • Mallory Gott, CEO, Advanced Events
  • Janet Castelli, Instructional Designer, Motorola
  • Jay Semla, Sr. Professional Development Manager, Society of Actuaries
  • Israel Vargas, Assistant Provost for College Access and Targeted Recruitment Programs, Roosevelt University
  • Leslie Rae, Senior Program Director- Business Transformation, ADP
  • Dr. Kathy Iverson, Program Chair and Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Training and Development, Roosevelt University
  • Dr. Vince Cyboran, Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Training and Development, Roosevelt University
  • Tara Hawkins, Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Training and Development, Roosevelt University

We are exploring the addition of digital badges to our online course. Stay tuned for more on this in next week’s post.

We hope you have an enjoyable and valuable semester!

Posted in academic studies, Organizational Development, Training | Tagged | 2 Comments


We’re off for summer break and will return 8/24.

summer break

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Graduate Credential in E-Learning

E-LearningWhen posting training jobs on the blog, I notice most, if not all, employers are looking to hire someone with e-learning skills. Whether organizations want you to work directly with learning tools like Captivate or manage the e-learning function, the need in this area is great and continues to grow.

Earning a Graduate Credential in E-Learning will enhance your degree and show an expertise in e-learning. The Graduate Credential requires you to take five courses. Three of the courses are embedded in the MATD and they include: TRDV 400 Introduction to Training and Development, TRDV 450 Learning Technologies and TRDV 451 Instructional Systems Design-1. The remaining classes consist of two of the following three elective courses:

TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring-1

TRDV 452 Designing and Facilitating for the Virtual Classroom

TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring-2

TRDV 439 and TRDV 453 are made to be taken in succession and are both being offered this fall.

To learn more about TRDV 439 E-Learning Course Authoring-1 and TRDV 453 E-Learning Course Authoring-2 click here.

Still trying to decide if e-learning is right for your or how classes prepare you for the workplace? In the fall we hosted a Webinar on preparing for a job in e-learning and we discuss these topics. You can review the recorded Webinar here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Finally, be sure to check out the job board this week where we highlight e-learning opportunities.

Contact Tara Hawkins , TRDV program coordinator, with any questions you may have about electives, Graduate Credentials, or enrollment



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