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Nancy Bacon Consulting

March 2020

A monthly resource exploring ideas and resources at the intersection of learning, leadership, and nonprofits.  

This month's theme is learning strategy. Spring is a great time to focus on strategy. What groundwork we can lay for fall programs? How has the Coronavirus impacted our need to expand online learning? Here are some ways to think about strategy. Stay healthy, my friends! 

Why have a learning strategy
Learning is more than training. It is shorthand for whatever it takes to transform an individual from where they are now to where they want and need to be to succeed.

I've been talking a lot lately about the power of having a learning strategy. I believe we will see the change we hope for in the nonprofit sector if we invest in research-based, strategically-aligned learning resources that support our goals. Talking about strategy made me want to write about it. 

What do you think about the power of having a learning strategy?

Read more about learning strategy
Strategy begins with them.

Here's an exercise to help stand in the shoes of the people for whom you are designing programs.

You run programs to make a difference for someone else. Let's spend some time reminding ourselves what our audience knows, feels, and can do. What do they want out of your program? What can you learn about them by standing in their shoes for a while?

We recently kicked off a conference strategy session thinking about someone we know comes to this conference. We used sticky notes to come up with everything we believed they would want from this event. We sorted the sticky notes into categories, and that gave us important guidance on how we should design the conference.

Give this exercise a try if you are building a new workshop or curriculum, or if you are refreshing a longstanding event to make it more relevant. These worksheets come from "How to Design for Action."

Download "focus audience" worksheets
A short note about being boring

Boring talks run longer

We believe in research-based learning solutions, here's a finding by Nature. I'll be short: boring talks run longer. That's painful for the folks listening, and it doesn't translate into learning. What can you do? 

  • Have clear objectives going into a talk. Ask yourself: what will people know and/or be able to do because they spent time with you?
  • Chunk your content into maximum 10 minute sections and pause for engagement. Chunking help here.
  • Eliminate the extra stories and explanations. 

Don't be boring! What you have to say is too important.

Read for yourself
Last chance: Strategic conference design
Webinar with Association Trends

I have one more presentation about Conferences on my calendar, this time on March 31 with Association Trends. It is based on the ebook Mark Nilles and I wrote on conference design. Join me!

Do you have any upcoming conference that you would like to think together about? Be in touch! 

About the webinar on March 31
Resource of the month
Aim for Action

This short video, masterfully made by Margaret "Meps" Schulte, explains how to help someone move to action. That person could even be you. We review the four barriers to action and three accelerators of action. We tell the story using the example of nonprofit advocacy.

This work is based on the action mapping model by Cathy Moore and Turning Learning Into Action by Emma Weber. Cathy's book Map It is a must read for people designing learning programs.

From the archive

Maximizing time is an important topic in shaping a learning strategy. Here are two ways that I have thought about time and how we might use it better.

Timebank: Nonprofit Version

I was a German literature major in college, which prepared me well to work with nonprofit boards. 

Grains of learning in a mayo jar of time

I got a catalog in the mail. Seemed silly to pay for a mayo jar for a lesson on time.

Lies weiter (read more)
Pass the mayo!
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Thank you for all you do!
Nancy Bacon Consulting

Our mission is to revolutionize the role that learning plays in the nonprofit sector. 

Seattle, WA
United States

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