TRDV Alumna Wins Award

Nicole Hajdrowski, VP of training and development for West Corp. Unified Communication Services, accepts the 2016 Chicagoland Learning Leader of the Year Award from Caveo Learning CEO Jeff Carpenter

Nicole Hajdrowski, VP of training and development for West Corp. Unified Communication Services, accepts the 2016 Chicagoland Learning Leader of the Year Award from Caveo Learning CEO Jeff Carpenter

TRDV alumna, Nicole Hajdrowski, has been named the 2016 Chicagoland Learning Leader of the Year by Caveo Learning. Nicole graduated with a Master of Arts in Organization Development in 2009.

The Chicagoland Learning Leader of the Year award honors the ideal of a modern learning leader—thoughtful and strategic, willing to question the status quo, and most importantly, aligned with the goals and objectives of the business. The winner was selected by Caveo Learning, which is committed to elevating the learning & development industry by helping learning leaders deliver significant and measurable value to their businesses.

Hajdrowski, the vice president of training and development for West’s Unified Communication Services business unit, has spent 17 years with West, building its learning organization from the ground up. Hajdrowski is responsible for training more than 6,000 internal associates, as well as more than 50,000 external customers annually.

In her role at West, Hajdrowski leads a team of 60 instructional designers, trainers, and managers to implement learning solutions for employee development, sales training, new-hire training, career and management development, leadership training, instructional design, and customer training for the global organization.

Caveo Learning will honor Hajdrowski at the Association for Talent Development, Chicagoland Chapter, holiday party on December 8. Caveo will make a donation on Hajdrowski’s behalf to the Dr. Deborah Colky Student Award, a scholarship fund benefiting college students pursuing a career in learning & development.

For more details click here.

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ADDIE: Relic or Still Relevant?

Prior to starting the MATD program at Roosevelt, most of my training and organizational experiences came from someone at work saying, “Hey, we need this. Can you do it?”. Therefore, I’m constantly grilling, er, speaking with instructional design professionals about their experiences.  One theme that has come up frequently in these discussions is that the ADDIE instructional design methodology is rarely replicated in the workplace the way it is taught in school. To be honest, I freaked out just a teeny tiny bit.  What if the way I learned instructional design was antiquated? What if I show up to job interview sounding like I’m from 1976?


1970’s~ Women working in technology with what is probably a room-sized computer.

Before we delve too deeply into grad student angst, let’s take a second to review some basics. The image below offers a quick primer on ADDIE for readers who are unfamiliar with this instructional design approach. ADDIE is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. It maps out a path to instructional design that works to ensure that the design process flows as seamlessly as possible from one action to the next, building on the work of the previous step.


Sourced from ADDIE Solutions reference below.

I sought to answer the question of relevance by polling colleagues and classmates via LinkedIn and researching the topic online. The consensus, in my unscientific LinkedIn poll, was that although ADDIE was not used stringently, it was the basis of other methodologies. Reasons for using these offshoot approaches varied, but a consistent theme of time and budget constraints were cited.

After combing the Internet, I uncovered some useful articles that mirrored my polling.  ADDIE is not irrelevant; it is evolving and still very much in use.  Rapid prototyping, SAM/Agile  and other in-house developed processes are often employed more frequently.  Faster outputs with fewer revisions and a need for ongoing evaluation of the process, and product seem to be driving the changes (Gutierrez, 2015; Pappas, 2015).

Well, there you have it. ADDIE is still alive and kicking. It looks like we will be using it or a close cousin of it for years to come. Hurrah! I won’t seem like a 70’s throwback in my job interviews. I should have known Roosevelt University would not let me down.

Continue the Conversation
What has your experience with ADDIE been? Good? Bad? Ugly?
Do you wish you had read another blog post, because duh, so obvious? Why or why not?

References and Links
ADDIE Solutions. (n.d.).The Addie Model. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Bottom Line Performance. (2016). Agile vs ADDIE: Which Is Better for Learning Design? Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Gutierrez, K. (2015, July 9). The Ins and Outs of Rapid Prototyping for eLearning. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Hodell, C. (2015, January 13). All About ADDIE. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Inc., A. I. (n.d.). Agile eLearning Development with SAM | Allen Interactions. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Pappas, C. (2015). The Power Of AGILE Instructional Design Approach. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Russell, L. (2015). Methodology Wars: ADDIE vs. SAM vs. AGILE. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Special Thanks to LinkedIn Respondents
Kristal R. Conner M.Ed., CDEI
Camille Harris
Crystal Johnson, M.Ed., BA
Kerri Leo, MATD, CAE, CHCP

Niké (Nee kay) Basurto, MSW, CAE
Version 2Niké is an instructional designer and trainer with a passion for organizational development, dancing, laughing, fabulous live music and a great meal. Currently, she is a full-time student in the MATD program at Roosevelt University and is thoroughly enjoying working as a Graduate Assistant for the Training and Development department.  Due to her naturally social nature and an upcoming graduation date of May, 2017, she is looking to connect with as many ID and OD professionals as possible. Here’s how:


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Work Backwards & Define Results First: Measuring Informal Learning Strategically

by Tom Ford, MATD candidate

Informal learning is one of the greatest learning tools of the 21st century and also one of the biggest headaches for the modern trainer to evaluate effectively.   Kirkpatrick’s  4 Levels of Evaluation (Reaction, Learning, Behavior and Results)[1] offers a starting point for tackling this problem but lacks a clear implementation framework.  The problem is further exacerbated by inconsistent organizational policies around the use of one of the biggest informal learning platforms in existence today:  social media.  Therefore, how do you create a comprehensive evaluation framework to capture the wide variety of informal learning possibilities that exist in an organization while also promoting the adoption of an informal learning program?  To begin, always start by working backwards through the 4 levels:


  1. Create a clear, company-wide definition of what is and what is not informal learning that everyone is upheld to in the company in order to ensure that managers do not discredit or discourage employee time spent on informal learning. Creating this definition will also help with the development of organizationally relevant informal learning groups.  As Mattox writes, these groups include:  communities of practice, virtual knowledge sharing, performance support, and mentoring. [2]  Understand what the end results or goals are and work with leadership to remove organizational barriers to achieving these goals before designing your program.
  2. Develop a qualitative feedback system with quantitative components for managers to evaluate their employees’ behavioral growth from informal learning. This could be as simple as sending out a survey with data showing the groups of informal learning employees have taken during a quarter that includes a numerical ranking system for managers to indicate the perceived impacts, or lack thereof, that specific informal learning groups have had on the performance of their direct reports.  Both managers and employees should have a clear understand of what the groups mean and how they are used in the evaluation process.
  3. Gather feedback from employees on what will motivate them to document their informal learning experiences so that they will be willing to A) briefly explain what they learned and B) briefly describe how they plan to practice their new skills. Motivation to do so could come in the form of points system.  For example, every time an employee documents an informal learning experience they will earn 100 points redeemable for purchases in an online store that sells merchandise, gift cards, and paid time off!   As always, set the expectations with the employees in the beginning of the program.
  4. Establish a system where employees can document their reactions to different learnings and use the groups to classify their informal learning experiences. This system of record could be an LMS like MoneyBall for Sales or it could be an HRIS like Workday.


When creating any evaluation program, it is essential to start with a strategic approach by defining the desired organizational results first.  Once you know the expectations, the challenges of analyzing behavior, documenting learnings, promoting program adoption, and choosing the right system of record become much easier to manage.   Has your organization recently implemented an informal learning program?  If so, how are you measuring the results and what challenges have you encountered?

[1] Kirkpatrick, D., & Kirkpatrick, J.  (2006).  Evaluating Training Programs:  The Four Levels.  Oakland:  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.


[2]Mattox, John R., II. (2012). Measuring the effectiveness of informal learning methodologies. T + D, 66(2), 48-53,8. Retrieved from


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Hillbilly is the New Black: Why T&D Professionals Need to Read J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”

by Vince Cyboran, Ed.D.


1963:   Q. What do you call a rich hillbilly? A. A Mount William.

2016: Q. What do you call a rich hillbilly? A. J.D. Vance.

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming US presidential race, we are now faced with a peoples who have once again hitched their hopes onto a set of fatuously flawed candidates. The long slog of a campaign has left us tired and raw, partly due to the incessant picking of our own emotional scabs. What hath we wrought?

We hath wrought a resurgence of interest in Appalachia. Not just the geographic location, but the metaphorical brand, the polar opposite of Brooklyn. We are once again dumbstruck, blindsided by the rage of a ridiculed, mostly forgotten segment of the American diaspora: whites of Scots-Irish descent hunkered in their “hollers” (aka “hollows”), psychically self-isolated by a mixed-blessing of group identity. Though this time around, Appalachia represents the broader white, working class, the focus of Vance’s book remains Appalachia.

Vance presents us with what social scientists term a “case study.” A case-study memoir with loosely drawn boundaries around the unit of analysis. Vance is an “insider, insider” researcher: He is from Appalachia and he is writing about Appalachia. He is writing about his own family. He is writing about himself. His story tracks his immediate family from rural Kentucky to industrial Ohio; a migration taken by many others. Vance himself manages to graduate from a state university in Ohio, and, eventually, Yale Law School.  He clerks for a federal judge. He is now a principal with a successful, San Francisco financial firm. He is a frequent guest on television news panels.

To be sure, there is the requisite admixture of abuse, alcoholism, and alienation necessary for a modern memoir. But, it is Vance’s almost think-aloud narrative, his ability to surprise both the reader and himself with his insights that makes this more than a good read. That, and the hard data from research findings about Appalachians. What makes this a necessary read for T&D professionals is the treatment of informal, incidental, and formal learning. What role does social-class identity play—positively or negatively—in our lives? How does a group of people purloined for decades in popular media pull itself up by its collective and individual bootstraps? Vance is “saved” by an amalgam of key family members and by a stint in the Marine Corps.

Popular media has not been kind to these folks. From the Ma and Pa Kettle films of the 1940’s and 50’s, through the unmitigated hegemonic television series from back-in-the-day Beverly Hillbillies, Hee Haw, and The Dukes of Hazzard, to the modern-day, reality TV exploits of Hillbilly Handfishin’ and Duck Dynasty. And, lest we forget, Li’l Abner: The iconographic comic strip that ran for some 43 years in hundreds of U.S. papers, and even in foreign papers! Authored by a Connecticut Yankee, Al Capp, it “had a profound influence on the way the world viewed the American South” (Inge, 2011).

It is believed by some that education is the escalator out of poverty. It is imagined by many that a dramatic, upward change of social class requires a “My-Fair-Lady” miracle: the dedicated workings of a Professor Henry Higgins and his colleague, Professor Pickering. The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but as Vance’s MawMaw told him, “…even though you never start a fight, it’s maybe okay to start one if a man insults your family.” (Vance, 2016, p.66).

The term “hillbilly” itself is understood by some to be ugly and derogatory. To others, it is simply who they are. It is the term used unapologetically by Vance. He uses it in much the same way that gay people reclaimed the term “queer.” Currently, the topic and term hold some cachet, particularly in the North. A companion to Vance’s tome is White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, also published in 2016. And mostly because of the contentious presidential campaign, hillbillies and white trash—whether or not they are merely attention-getting synonyms for a subsection of the white, working class—are “hot.” But nothing remains “hot” for long. Hopefully, we will learn and do something useful this time around.  We ignore hillbillies–and white trash–at our own peril.

Question: How do social class and class identity affect learner analyses?

Thomas Inge, “Li’l Abner, Snuffy, Pogo, and Friends: The South in the American Comic Strip,” Southern Quarterly (2011) 48#2 pp 6–74. Accessed October 31, 2016.

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Spring and Summer Registration

registrationSpring and summer schedules are now available. Registration codes are being sent out to your RU address this week. Please contact Tara with any questions.

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A Career Magic Wand: 8 Ways to Leverage Your Portfolio

by Niké Basurto, MSW, CAE


Hermione Granger, Wand Wielder Harry Potter

Sometimes I wish that Hogwarts existed and that magic wands were really a thing. After creating brownies that didn’t make you gain weight, I would really like a magic wand to help guide me through my career. Seriously, take a second to think about it. Would you ask for easy breezy interviews? Or maybe you would ask for a magical resume or a “Room of Requirement”, where project ideas would just magically appear on demand?

It’s not made out of unicorn hair and an oak branch, but your work portfolio can be almost as useful as a magic wand for your career. Your work portfolio (sometimes referred to as a career portfolio) is a set of professional products you’ve created that showcase your learning and development and/or organizational development skills. In TRDV 499 Professional Portfolio, a required course in the Graduate Program in Training and Development, we organize and fine-tune our portfolios based on projects completed throughout the program.

Okay, back to the magical powers of your work portfolio. How are some ways to leverage your portfolio outside of getting a great grade in TRDV 499? Glad you asked!

A Work Portfolio Can…

Give you an advantage in a job search by:

  • demonstrating your experience
  • showcasing your skills
  • standing out from other applicants

Give you an advantage in interviews by:

  • showcasing your potential value to the organization
  • giving you a reference point to connect your work product as a solution to their pain points
  • bridging the gap between past work experiences and future career aspirations

Boost your current work situation by:

  • demonstrating new ideas and solutions for your department or organization
  • promoting your value which you could leverage for a pay raise or promotion
  • revealing skills you are able to contribute to expand your future opportunities in the organization

Portfolios can be web based or electronic documents. You might want to print out some samples for interviews or to share with decision makers in your organization. Some organizations are even requesting work portfolios as part of the job application process.

There you have it, the magic of your work portfolio! Go forth an use your power wisely.

Building a Work Portfolio Instructional Design
Building a General Work Portfolio ( a little dated, but good overview)
Sample Instructional Design Work Portfolio
Case for TRDV Portfolio Form Completion

Thanks to Harry Potter for the magic wand inspiration.

Also, a very special thanks to current students, graduates of the TRDV program and other professionals who responded to my LinkedIn request for contributions to this post:

Mary Channon, MATD
Tom Ford, CSOP
Kerri Leo, MATD, CAE, CHCP
Amy Lyons, MATD
Howard Prager
Ute Westphal, MBA

Let’s Continue the Conversation
Are there other ways a work portfolio could be useful?
What are some work portfolio pitfalls to avoid?

Version 2Niké (Nee kay) Basurto, MSW, CAE
Niké is a seasoned nonprofit professional transitioning into instructional design and training with a passion for organizational development, dancing, laughing, fabulous live music and a great meal. Currently, she is a full-time student in the MATD program at Roosevelt University and is thoroughly enjoying working as a Graduate Assistant for the Training and Development department.  Feel free to connect with and follow her:

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LinkedIn Groups: Are you in?

LinkedIn Groups: Are you In?

by Vince Cyboran, Ed.D.

There are a variety of reasons to join LinkedIn, such as networking, job hunting, or keeping up with colleagues from former jobs. But some people also use it for learning, and by that I mean informal and incidental learning. Much like subscribing to trade publications—think Chief Learning Officer—you can browse the posts of fellow group members and read in detail the ones that catch your eye. LinkedIn groups offer advantages over trade publications. The chief one is participating in online conversations about a topic.

To access potential groups, simply click Groups from the Interests menu.


Then click Discover. Based upon your profile, you will be presented with a list of possible groups you might want to explore and join.


Some groups are completely open to all newcomers. Others require approval from a moderator. And some groups are ‘Invitation Only.’


After you’ve joined groups, each time you access LinkedIn and click Groups, you will be presented with a listing of your most active groups. This provides with a quick means of determining where you might want to focus your energies. For example, here are my most active groups for today.


If you are new to the field of Training & Development, you might want to spend time reading and absorbing new information before jumping in with quick responses to queries or sharing your opinion on topics. And, of course, you may find yourself expanding your professional network as you discuss topics with your fellow group members.


  • If you are a member of LinkedIn groups associated with T&D or OD, which would you recommend to someone who is new to the field?
  • What have you learned recently from a group?







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