My Generation: My Learning?

by Vince Cyboran

Generations at workMuch ado has been made about the differences among generations:  Veterans, Boomer’s, Gen X, and Gen Y (Millenials). Certainly, a cottage industry has grown around capitalizing on what to do with these generations in the workplace, including how to address their training needs. While some authors focus on how to cater to the learning needs across the generations (Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 2013), most focus exclusively on Gen X and Millenials. For example, when training Millenials, Werth and Werth (2011) recommend including multimedia elements, and Carstens and Beck (2005) recommend that the trainer include the use of games.

Finding empirical evidence to support generation-specific recommendations for training different generations is made more problematic by the lack of specificity in how the topic is approached. For example, a recent forum on LinkedIn posed the question: “Do you find Millennial Learners Are Not Traditional Learners?” One might ask, “What is a traditional learner?” Further, one might ask: “What exactly are you asking?” Such topics-because of their non-specificity–invite diffuse discussions.

While it is true that the different generations have been introduced to various technologies at different points in their lives, there is no solid, empirical evidence that the act of learning itself differs by generation. In our effort to provide learners and organizations with the best and newest techniques, we sometimes get distracted by bright, shiny objects: micro-learning, gamification, etc.  We suffer from what the late educational theorist Paolo Freire described as the ‘fetish of method’ (Bartolomé, 1994). That is, if we can just use the right method in our training, all will be well.

Questions to consider:

  • What challenges have you experienced with cross-generational learning at work?
  • What advice do you have for designing or delivering cross-generational training at work?


  •  Bartolomé, L. (1994). Beyond the methods fetish: Toward a humanizing pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 64(2), 173-195.
  •  Carstens, A., & Beck, J. (2005). Get ready for the gamer generation. TechTrends, 49(3), 21-25.
  •  Werth, E. & Werth, L. (2011). Effective training for millennial students. Adult Learning, 22(3), 12-19.
  •  Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (2013). Generations at work: Managing the clash of boomers, gen xers, and gen yers in the workplace (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: AMACOM.
Posted in Learning Theory, Training | Tagged | 17 Comments

The CPLP: Driving Success

cplp_v3Celebrating its 16th birthday this year, the CPLP exam has established itself as the certification of choice for workplace learning professionals who meet the testing criteria of five years of experience in training related areas (your MATD counts toward this). The CPLP certification offers training professionals a way to demonstrate and communicate their mastery of the ATD competencies.

Even though our curriculum is mapped to the ATD competency model, our students and alumni still need to prepare for the exam.

To learn more about the updated exam visit the  CPLP Certification section of the ATD website. Also, check out an upcoming webinar on Friday, September 16th  CPLP CERTIFICATION: WHAT’S NEW? WHY NOW? 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW .

If you plan to take the exam, here are ways to prepare:

  1. Review a free planning guide from ATD: CPLP Interactive Guide.
  2. If costs are not prohibitive, consider these resources:
    1. ATD Learning System: a comprehensive document that contains all potential content for the exam, with information about each area of expertise, review quizzes, and case studies. At a cost of nearly $500, this is an investment.
    2. Attend a two-day workshop offered by ATD for nearly $1,000 but registration also includes electronic access to the Learning System.
    3. Trish Uhl, a consultant who specializes in CPLP test preparation, offers access to content on her site, the Owl’s Ledge, for 30 days for around $100.
  3. For a no cost or low-cost option, consider joining a study group. Study groups typically meet weekly for a period of time just before the exam. Study groups can be very motivating also a good way to get to know others in the field. Here is a list of study groups and contacts from Trish’s site.


Some study groups have created and published extensive content online that may also be helpful. See the Austin CPLP Study Group and the Atlanta CPLP Study Group wikis.

Most importantly, think about your learning style and formulate a plan that works for you. If you are a “social learner,” consider a class or a study group. If you are self-motivated and learn well from text, you may benefit from the study guide or online content.  In any event, create a plan of action and plan to spend at least 5 hours per week preparing for at least 6 weeks prior to the test.

Check out related posts on our blog: Professional Designations: Do you need more letters after your name? and CPLP and You- Frequently Asked Questions Answered!

Questions for discussion. . .

  1. Are you considering the CPLP? If so, why or if not, why not?
  2. If you’ve taken the exam, can you offer words of wisdom about preparation?
Posted in Learning at Roosevelt, Training | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The American Dream Reconsidered: The T&D Perspective

AmericanDreamBeginning on Monday, September 12 and closing  with a campus-wide service day on Thursday, September 15, Roosevelt University will be hosting the inaugural instance of this conference on its Chicago campus.  You are cordially invited to attend. Here is the link to the program. Attendance is free, but you must register.

One session you maybe particularly interested in is a panel discussion featuring College of Professional Studies graduates.   Participating in the panel are the following T&D graduates:

  • Erwin Acox, Chief of Human Resources, Cook County Recorder of Deeds
  • Rayford Barner: City of Chicago and National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Trainer,
  • Zindie Nyirenda: Author, founder of Light on the Hill for Africa, and senior instructional designer, Pfizer, and
  • Fraser Smith: Associate Professor of Naturopathic Medicine, National University of Health Science.

The panel will be moderated by current T&D graduate student  and graduate assistant, Niké Basurto.

Questions to consider:

  • How do you see T&D–and OD– contributing to the American Dream?
  • How do you personally view the American Dream?





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Fall 2016 Kick Off


We want to extend an enthusiastic welcome to all TRDV students! We’re so excited to have you join us as we get back to class this week. Whether you spent your summer cheering on your favorite baseball team, chasing Pokémon, enjoying music festivals or laying by the pool- we hope you enjoyed it!

As we kick off the semester there are a few things to share with you…

We have a change in the TRDV Program Chair position. We want to let you know that Dr. Vince Cyboran is replacing Dr. Kathy Iverson as Chair of the Graduate Program in Training and Development (TRDV). Our department rotates the Chair position biennially and Kathy’s term is up.  Kathy will continue teaching and return to the chair position in 2018.

Are you looking for a way to get more involved and expand your academic/professional network? The student group is going in to its second year and looking for new members. The goal of the group is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for TRDV students. Please contact Tara if you are interested in joining the group

Speaking of professional development and networking we have two outstanding events happening this fall. The American Dream Reconsidered conference begins in Chicago on Monday, September 12 and closes with a campus-wide service day on Thursday, September 15. On September 12 the TRDV program will have panel of alumni sharing diverse perspectives as they debate the current status of the American Dream. For more details please visit

In November we are partnering with the Chicago International Society for Performance Improvement (CISPI) for their annual Cracker Barrel event. What is a Cracker Barrel, besides a roadside restaurant you visit while on a road trip? It’s a series of small table discussions running simultaneously over one hour. Each table will have an expert sharing his or her knowledge and experience on a particular topic. In the past topics have included creative performance improvement, starting your own e-learning business, steps to effective leadership and the soft side of project management. Plan to join us on November 2 on the Schaumburg campus.

We’ll have more details about both events in upcoming posts but please be sure to mark your calendar with these dates.

Finally, we hope you have a wonderful semester!



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On Summer Break Until Classes Resume on 8/29

See you back here on 8/29.


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What does Caitlyn Jenner have to do with training?

Guest Author Dr. Rayford Barner, MATD Alumni

Guest Author Dr. Rayford Barner, MATD Alumni

Recently, I was a guest observing a law enforcement training class that was lecture, facilitation, and scenario-based. During a scenario involving physical contact in a pat-down of outer garments, a trainer, role-playing, said, “I’m not on that Caitlyn Jenner stuff.” You can take the trainer’s comment to mean what you want; I will leave that to you. (In case you missed the headlines, you can learn more about Caitlyn Jenner at  The remark drew laughs from some participants while others were quiet. While I understood why the comment was made—to add realism to the scenario based on participants’ experiences of citizenry in the presence of a police officer—I could not help but wonder if some in the audience felt uncomfortable after hearing the remark. Would you?

I want to provide suggestions about how trainers can avoid remarks that may be perceived or viewed as offensive by participants, including opinions expressed  in an online learning environment.

My overall recommendation is that you thoroughly review training content beforehand to look for language or images that could be offensive. If you have co facilitators, brief them on your expectations. Additionally, listen carefully (or read carefully if online) to the comments expressed by participants. By doing so, you can anticipate when to make adjustments to the course content, respectfully correct participant behavior, and prepare for potential “hot-button” issues that can emerge from discussions on the topic. My suggestions are as follows:

Good Instructional Practice

  1. Be professional! Use neutral language.
  2. Adhere to the course lesson plan.
  3. Leave your unsolicited or biased opinions out of the discussion.
  4. Avoid using words that slur, label, or stereotype any culture, race, ethnicity, sex or gender.
  5. Use the correct language or terminology when referring to any culture, race,
    ethnicity, sex or gender.

Classroom Management Strategies

  1. Set clear directions during the course introduction for participant conduct, and remind participants often.
  2. Allow the expression of feelings or thoughts by participants provided they are respectful. Respond immediately to any participants(s) whose remarks may be considered offensive to correct the behavior.
  3. Be diplomatic and professional. Do not lose your temper when confronted with a situation; do not voice or write a disrespectful response.
  4. Communicate directly to the participant on a scheduled break or privately by email, explaining the situation and some possible solutions to modify the behavior.
  5.  If you are unsuccessful at modifying participant behavior, refer them to management or the stakeholder responsible for hosting the training. Do not allow them to disrupt training.

Presentations that achieve the purpose of the training are the direct result of good facilitation. Do not allow your personal opinions or commentary to distract from the goal the lesson. My suggestions should be viewed as a starting point. Remain mindful of the dialogue participants express in class or online to reduce the chance of offensive language.

Regarding comments expressed by other trainers who are co facilitating, I concede that it is impossible to moderate with absolute certainty, but should you encounter or experience awkward dialogue, respectfully carry out the necessary adjustments to ensure the discussion remains on topic. Your participants will not be left wondering what Caitlyn Jenner has to do with your training.

Good luck to you!

Questions for Discussion

1. Can you think of any other behaviors that a trainer can demonstrate in class or online to avoid offending participants? If so, what are they?

2. What are some respectful classroom or online management practices you have used to address offensive comments made by participants? If so, how did you deal with the participant?


Caitlyn Jenner. (2016, February 21). Caitlyn Retrieved from

Renner, P. F. (1993). The art of teaching adults: How to become an exceptional instructor & facilitator. Vancouver, Canada: Training Associates.

Ukens, L. L. (2001). What smart trainers know: The secrets of success from the world’s foremost experts. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

You can learn more about Rayford Barner by visiting our Social Justice page.

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You’ve Graduated… What’s Next?

dana p

Guest Author Dana Primeau 2016 MATD Graduate

Being a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development must mean that I have my plans after graduation neatly organized and planned out right? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

As excited as I am to graduate and “be done,” I am secretly freaking out. My palms get sweaty and my heart beats a little faster when the inevitable question of “what are your plans for after graduation?” comes out of the mouth of EVERYONE who knows of my impending graduation ceremony. As exciting as it is to graduate, whether it’s with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate, we all have to figure out “what’s next.”

I’ve put together a list of the top 5 helpful tips that apply to anyone who is graduating (or will graduate in the near future):

1. Make a Plan : You’ve just graduated and you want to take a break from writing, thinking, and reading. My advice is to keep the ball rolling. What I mean by this, is spend a chunk of time making a plan for yourself. Make goals that inspire you to keep working towards what it is you want out of your career. It’s not realistic to think we will all land our “dream jobs” after graduation but you can definitely start heading in that direction. Where do you want to be in 6 months after graduation? How about a year after graduation? Set your sights on where you want to be, write them down, and map out how you are going to get there.

2. Network, Network, Network: When people tell you to network and get your name out there, they mean it. When looking back at my previous jobs, most of them have been referrals from people I know. It is more likely that an employer will hire someone as a referral from someone they know and trust, then someone who they know nothing about. While this isn’t always the case, it doesn’t hurt to make yourself known to a prospective employer through networking. Networking can be done in the form of social media, such as LinkedIn, but it can also be done through professional networks and pastor current colleagues. Do your due diligence and figure out how you can benefit from who knows who!

3. Have a Few Sets of Professional Eyes Look at Your Resume: Your resume will likely be the first glance into who you are by a prospective employer. Make sure it’s a good one! Having a professional look at your resume and give you constructive feedback will only benefit you in your job search. It’s important to make sure your resume doesn’t only show what your skills are, but it’s important to give specific examples. Use your resume as a way of showing your prospective employer how you can benefit their organization. Put your experience on display and use your resume as the outlet to do that!

4. Keep Learning: You’ve graduated and received your diploma so now you are done…. Not so fast! A degree program is just the beginning of your lifelong learning. Earning your degree has given you the knowledge needed to enter a career field, but working in the field is what gives you the experience. It’s said that one doesn’t truly master something until they are able to teach it to someone else. Think of what you have learned in school as just the beginning to your quest in experiencing maximum proficiency in your area of interest.

5. Be Humble and Don’t Give Up: Looking for a new job or position can be challenging and it can take time. Don’t become discouraged if it takes longer than you anticipate. While interviewing, you might receive feedback that you didn’t expect, which can be tough to hear. Instead of feeling frustrated or discouraged, be humble, and use it as fuel to keep moving forward. Putting one foot in front of the other and doing all the right things, is the only sure way to get closer to the position that is right for you. Keep your eye on the prize!

Questions for discussion:

  1. Are you planning to stay in your current organization or seek a position at a new organization?
  2.  What key phrase will you use to position yourself on your resume?
  3.  What are your short- term career goals? What are your long- term career goals?

Congratulations Graduates!


Acuff, J. (2015, May 6). 21 Things Nobody Tells You When You Graduate College. Retrieved from

Matt, S. (2016, May 11). 7 Things You Have To Look Forward To After Graduating From College. Retrieved from

Posted in Careers, Guest Student Post, Mentoring | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments