The Learning and Development Center

The Center for Excellence

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Access New Professional Skills at the Learning and Development Center

A division of HR
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Featuring Charles T. Thompson, Chief Information Officer of the City of Houston

This interview with Charles T. Thompson, Chief Information Officer of the City of Houston, was conducted and condensed by Mahogany Johnson.

MJ: You bring a wealth of knowledge to the City of Houston due to a variety of different experiences in the private sector. At one point, you were a senior manager in Seoul, Korea as an expatriate. How did that influence your path?

CT: Having worked in the private sector, there is a pace and an expectation around accountability. That pace and accountability has allowed me to lead a team of information technology (IT) professionals who want “to serve” the public. As we know, public service is a great thing, and you have to have a desire and a passion to want to do so. When I lived in South Korea, the sense of national pride is one of the strongest I’ve seen outside of the United States, and I still say the United States is one of the greatest countries in which I have ever lived.

However, there is a rhythm and a pace that is slightly different, which allowed me to capture the sense of patience to be able to deal with some of the negative aspects of government service; those being delay and bureaucracy. I don’t see those as negatives working for the City of Houston because the Mayoral form of government that allows decisions to take place much faster. So, having worked in the private sector and having international experience as an expatriate has given me the people skills and organizational management skills to be successful here in the City of Houston.

MJ: How and why did you get into information technology?

CT: Two things allowed me to venture into what I call being an IT professional: I started out my college career and wanted to be an electrical engineer because that was the profession of choice at that time. I quickly realized that my logical skills far exceeded my mathematical and physics skills, and there was a major called Information Systems Management that was based on logic and process, and those are key attributes to being an IT professional. It involves being able to understand what’s needed and logically break it down into small components and develop a process by which that solution can be delivered.

Once I switched my major to Information Systems Management at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, everything fell into place. The second piece is that there is something called the Clinger–Cohen Act of 1996. This federal legislation quietly defines the roles of the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, and how those two roles are partners, working together to drive solutions in their requisite divisions of government.

MJ: What have your experiences as an IT professional taught you about leadership?

CT: In the private sector there are different motivations from the public sector. You must have a desire “to serve” the public. Our mission here in Houston Information Technology Services (HITS) is ‘providing innovative service delivery supporting our customer’s customers. Our customer’s customers are the public; however, we generally don’t touch them directly. We touch them indirectly through public facing departments. What I’ve learned about leadership is that when you wish “to serve,” doing the right thing is essential to leading people. The largest component of what I do day-to-day is not about technology, it’s about people management and people leadership.

MJ: How do you get people on your team to live your leadership philosophy?

CT: We lead by example on the HITS leadership team. We make ourselves available at any time, because IT should work when other folks don’t, and IT should work when folks need it. I don’t ask my team to work the number of hours that I do, I just ask them to lead by example and put yourself in the position of the person who consumes the services that you provide. If you were dissatisfied by what is being provided to you, then what would you do? Well, as an IT professional, you can make it better. Our leadership goal, by example, is to make sure that we are available and our services have value, and that folks realize that we’re going to work when other folks don’t.

MJ: It seems that IT can often be a thankless job. How do you get people to better understand that multifariousness of the IT process?

CT: What we need to do is demystify it. IT used to be a black hole where you’d wait, wait, wait and all of a sudden something would come out, and it wasn’t what you’d asked for. Now what we do is engage those folks who consume our services internally, by bringing them into the discussion. It used to be business and IT; now it’s IT inside the business. Because, you can’t drive a car, you can’t go into a building or anything today that doesn’t require some level of technology or process.

MJ: Tell me about your last project. Who was involved and what was the biggest challenge?

CT: Our project management methodology is very programmatic in nature. There is no such thing as having a project go live and then you’re done. Because, there are continual improvement capabilities on everything we deliver. Something that we just delivered for the HR department with IT inside the business was the Employee Self Service (ESS) portal. Once upon a time, you would log into an application called ESS and you could view your paycheck, and you could do a few things and that was its only use.

In the spring, open enrollment will use this same portal. We’ll be able to manage the self-service so that we can try to cut down on the time to list a candidate, interview a candidate, hire someone and have them be a part of the city as quickly as possible. On the other end, we’ll be able to deal with the people that are leaving, deprovisioning them and all of the security components that are required. That project is really multi-phased; by definition our project management methodology says, if there are multiple phases inside the project, then it becomes a program. That program is loosely known as SAP FIRST.

MJ: What tactics have you put in place so the City of Houston can get faster business results by leveraging emerging technologies?

CT: The cornerstone of where we’re headed is mobilizing folks so that they have self-service capabilities. The days of having to call the service desk, or what was once called the help desk, could be a thing of the past, but it will continue to be required for some folks who don’t want to do self-service. Remember the transition from full-service gas stations to self-service gas stations? The only reason why the state of New Jersey, and I believe one other state, still have this is because it is a job that they don’t want to take away from the entry-level person. However, the average person doesn’t mind pumping their own gas, because it allows them to get in and out as quickly as possible.

We believe that if we empower folks to do self-service, we can enhance their productivity and ability to deliver a better service to the public. In that same vein, we’re trying to figure out a way to allow people to change their own password and synchronize it, so that you don’t have to know six passwords every time you change it. That is a project that has become a program, and we call that One Password Management. These types of initiatives, projects and programs, allow us to increase productivity and keep expenditures at a level or even reduced state.

MJ: Tell me about the time you realized you had the power to do something meaningful.

CT: I was coming back from Korea and I met with the CEO of a Fortune 50 Company. He and I met with a well-known Korean company’s leadership. They came to the United States to do an executive briefing in San Jose. The CEO is a very open man; he’s very talented, and he’s done amazing things for his country and his company. He was going to present after me, and I was presenting what we were going to do for the Korean company as it relates to their infrastructure. But, I was on my way back to the states, and I was going to stay. He pulled me to the side and said, “Charles, what will you do when you’re solvent—financially?” I said, “I’d like to serve,” and he said, “I will keep that in mind.”

Shortly thereafter, I got a call that said, “Would you like to be the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia public schools?” “It’s a challenging environment that needs someone that’s a change agent who can turn it around.” So, I served three and a half years in DC public schools. I served two years in Orange County public schools in Florida, five and a half years as the CIO at the City of Phoenix, and I will be with the City of Houston for three years in January of 2015.

Like I said at the beginning of our conversation, the desire “to serve” must be innate; otherwise you’ll fall short on your dedication, your effort and your accountability. I get that from my family. My mother worked for the Department of Defense for thirty-three years as a budget analyst. My uncle worked for the Postal Service for thirty-five years and retired with three years of vacation and two years of sick leave. We don’t stop working, we don’t get sick, and we take vacations when we want to, but at the same time, we have the desire “to serve.”

I spend a lot of time one-on-one with my direct reports and in meetings, where I try to listen longer: I call it listen first, talk second, and manage by the facts. It’s a guiding principle. A few others are “trust but verify” and “first do no harm.” These guiding principles allow us to be internal service providers.

Mayor Annise D. Parker Proclaimed December 1-5, 2014 Employee Learning Week

Employee Learning Week (ELW) is a campaign started and sponsored by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) to increase awareness and highlight the important connection between learning and achieving organizational results

Houston, TX December 10, 2014 – To increase awareness about the strategic value of learning in organizations, the Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD, declared December 1 – 5, 2014, as “Employee Learning Week.” This is an opportunity for organizations to showcase the important link between developing employees skills and achieving organizational results.

ATD research shows that organizations continue to invest in growing the knowledge and skills of their workforce. “Increasingly, business leaders realize that the most important asset in our knowledge economy is talent, and a skilled workforce is the key to realizing results. We encourage all organizations to demonstrate their commitment to learning by recognizing Employee Learning Week,” said Tony Bingham, ATD President and CEO.

The Learning and Development Center hosted a webinar during ATD Employee Learning Week, December 1-5, 2014. In this webinar, the Learning and Development Center provided an introduction to ATD’s Houston Chapter Employee Learning Week, addressing the growing skills gap and the increased need to develop a knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce.

Last year, 51 organizations and ATD chapters recognized Employee Learning Week through events, meetings, and communication with members. Nine ATD chapters recognized the week through Employee Learning Week proclamations in their city, county, or state.

To learn more about the Learning and Development Center—the Center for Excellence and their recognition of Employee Learning Week, visit, or email to

About LDC

The Learning and Development Center (LDC), formerly the E.B. Cape Center, is a strategic development and employee performance improvement organization offering comprehensive training solutions that significantly affect performance and institutional outcomes.

LDC’s consultancy is comprised of an experienced team of professionals with the knowledge and capabilities to design and implement strategies that help our clients achieve their goals. LDC’s primary focus is to provide transformational learning programs that enhance skills and job competencies, as well as to improve performance and overall satisfaction for the City of Houston's workforce. For more information, visit

About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD, is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. These professionals take the knowledge, skills, and abilities of others and help them achieve their full potential.

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports the work of professionals locally in more than 125 chapters, international strategic partners, and global member networks.

Started in 1943 as the American Society of Training Directors, this organization evolved to become the American Society for Training & Development. As the scope and the impact of the training and development field has grown, the profession’s focus has broadened to link the development of people, learning, and performance to individual and organizational results. For more information, visit


Outage of the Learning Management System (LMS)

Beginning: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

Ending: Monday, December 15, 2014 at 5:59 a.m.

Impacted Services Saba: Learning Management System (LMS)

Impacted Departments/User Groups: All city departments will be affected by this event.

Background: The current LMS is being upgraded to the new Talent Management System (TMS) to enhance the user learning experience.

Notification Plan: Periodic updates will be sent out with status messages.

Before the Outage

· Training courses should continue as scheduled.

· Unless otherwise noted, all records must be manually maintained during the blackout period.

During the Outage

· Attend any classes that you registered for prior to the outage.

· If you need to register for a class after the old system is no longer available and before the new system is ready, please contact your departmental administrator for assistance.
Click here to view the TMS Department Administrators Listing*

· Review the LMS to TMS Overview Presentation, highlighting some of our new features.
Click here to view the presentation*

Note: Must be on the city’s network to view presentation and department listings noted above.

After the Outage

· Verify your access in the new TMS when it is available.

· Enjoy enhanced functionality with your new system!

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New City Accreditation Program for Supervisors (CAPS) courses to begin the last week of January. Participants must complete and submit the CAPS registration form with their supervisor's approval via Citypointe.

CAPS is our middle management multi-track program consisting of 18 sessions designed to assist supervisors to develop competencies in managing various circumstances regarding employee workday considerations and performance. CAPS courses are held every Tuesday and Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Administrative Development Program (ADP) is slated to begin in February!

Click on the following link to register: http://citypointe/FASvcs_DEPT/DEPT/HR/ldc/Programs/Lists/CAPS/AllItems.aspx


Check out the latest AP 3-21: Workplace Violence training video:

Workplace Violence Training

The following self-paced, web-based training modules will allow you to take advantage of these course offerings at your own pace from the convenience of your desk.

You must complete the video training in the new TMS system in order to receive credit. It will be available in January 2015.


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Interview with Patricia Smith: Retiring Human Resources Manager of the City of Houston’s Learning and Development Center—the Center for Excellence

Mahogany Johnson sat down with Smith to reflect on her work with the City of Houston and to find out what retirement has in store.

MJ: I'd like to start off by saying thank you for 25 years of great leadership. You have truly taken this department to the leading edge of the industry. We thank you for all you have done and all you have taught us, and send our very best wishes for a happy retirement!

PS: Thank you Mahogany.

MJ: Can you believe your professional career with the City of Houston ends this month?

PS: It’s most definitely surreal; I’m still pinching myself at the thought of starting over in an entirely new direction – one chapter of my life closing, turning the page, and beginning an entirely new chapter.

MJ: What are your thoughts on the future for the City of Houston?

PS: The City of Houston, I believe, has an incredibly bright future. Each and every day it is attracting and onboarding bright and super-talented individuals, such as yourself. And you my dear are among the best and the brightest! The creativity and innovation that you bring to the table will ensure ongoing and continuous success for our great city. The current leadership is impeccable; and, new leaders, as well, are emerging every single day.

The workforce, as a whole, is comprised of an awesome group of people who are committed to making this city as successful as it can possibly become. The majority of our employees work extremely hard, make monumental sacrifices, and I believe, give the best that they can possibly give in order to ensure that this organization continues to adhere to and strive for high standards of excellence, productivity and performance.

MJ: What's your best advice to "pretirees"?

PS: To know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when it’s time for you, personally, to “throw in the towel.” Trust me, when that time comes, there is a “knowing” that one cannot dismiss or deny. There is an “internal” gauge, of a sort, that dictates when that time has arrived. For me, it was definitely a prayerful decision, one that I would not have made without seeking divine guidance from God.

MJ: The industry of learning and development is constantly evolving. If you will, take us back down memory lane. What are some of your earliest and most significant experiences with the City of Houston and some of the changes you've encountered?

PS: First of all, I want to thank God for the opportunity He afforded me to serve our awesome City for the past 25+ years, and the benefits He provided to me and my family in the process of doing so. I will be eternally grateful for the excellent leadership I have been provided during my tenure here, for the staff members that I had the pleasure and privilege of working with, and for the wonderful friendships and relationships forged along the way. I must admit that this 25-year journey has not been without its challenges; however, the work, and the people far outweigh any obstacles I’ve encountered in the process.

I can’t help but recall the first day that I stepped through these doors (April 4, 1989) and walked into my supervisor’s office. In the middle of the floor of his office were boxes filled with books and other training materials. He looked at me and basically said “tag, you’re it!” In other words, we were starting from the ground floor in executing a city-wide training initiative for the City of Houston. At that particular time, he and I were “it” staff-wise in the “Personnel” Department (now Human Resources).

I recall, as if it were yesterday, that at this juncture, personal PCs were unheard of; and, we had absolutely no clerical support. Needless to say, I began researching, designing, and then developing training material with the use of a typewriter, having that material duplicated by the print shop located in the basement of City Hall. I recall so vividly filling up my little “rolling cart” with my training material, overhead projector, flip chart, markers, etc., and off I’d go to the Health Department, to Municipal Courts, to Parks, to PWE…you get the picture! It was not until 1999 that I received a PC! Can you believe that?

We advertised our course offerings by placing flyers and brochures in the break rooms, lunch rooms and on bulletin boards throughout the city. After we got rolling, the phone calls started, and we were on our way! I’m guessing around 1992, we did hire clerical support and added a couple of additional trainers to our staff. From rolling carts all over the entire city, to now delivering learning and development services from our state-of-the-art Learning and Development Center (LDC), we have certainly evolved! I am so proud to have been a part of that evolutionary process, whereby, we have been able to harness cutting edge technology; to research, design, and develop hundreds of courses to offer to our City population, and to create supervisory and leadership programs that stand head and shoulders with our industry’s standards and specifications. We’ve come a long way, baby!

MJ: Pat, you've had a very robust career with the City of Houston and you possess so many great talents. What do you plan to do in your retirement?

PS: “Whatever the good Lord finds for my hands to do!” I do have a few immediate plans – the first, to disconnect the alarm clock! Seriously, I most look forward to spending more quality with my family – I have two daughters (a son-in-law), two granddaughters, and an 82-year-old mother. I’m sure they ALL have plans for me, and will fill in some of the gaps. In addition, I will volunteer to provide some much needed assistance at my local church and in my community, (to give back more in another capacity – loving on some other people) and do a little bit of traveling although traveling has never been a burning passion for me.

There are, however, a few places on the radar that I’m pretty excited about visiting. I do have an extreme passion for designing/decorating; for sure I will devote a great deal of time to this area of interest, for myself, as well as for others. I already have several projects lined up! I’m also an avid reader; I will spend tons of time catching up on my reading and studying for personal growth and development, particularly from a spiritual standpoint.

MJ: Is there anything else you would like to share? What would be your parting words of wisdom to the next generation of leaders?

PS: For New Leaders: To always know and recognize that employees appreciate and deserve honest, open, and genuine communication from the people who are charged with leading them. Folk need to know that their leaders care about them and their success and want to be treated fairly. People can/do detect hypocrisy, mere “noise,” selfishness, “wishy washyness,” and fickleness when they prevail. Leaders should always, always, always remember those folk who “always had their backs” with the understanding that, someday, they may need them to have it again. They also need to remember that there are no “indispensable” people; and at the same time, and more importantly, there are also no “expendable” people.

For ALL Employees: To always strive to co-exist peacefully with the folk you work with on a daily basis. Liking them (or not) is not a requirement; and you don’t have to take them home with you. Keep “the greater good” in the forefront of all that you do – providing service to others, doing the best job that you can possibly do; and remembering, that “it ain’t about you” – never has been, isn’t now, nor will it ever be.

Patricia Smith

For the past 25 years, Patricia Smith has been the HR Manager of the Learning and Development Center—the Center for Excellence, formerly the E.B. Cape Center. In her role, she’s overseen the professional learning and development platform for the City of Houston. Prior to coming to the City of Houston, she worked 15 combined years in the public sector for the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)/Program Planner; Communities in Schools (CIS)/Project Manager; and the Houston Job Training Partnership Council (HJTPC)/ Special Projects Manager.

Patricia is a graduate of the University of Houston having matriculated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She enjoys spending her spare time with her family and friends, serving in her local church, and participating in community functions where she resides.

To nominate an employee who has obtained significant learning and development accomplishments from internal and external opportunities for the Employee Learning Spotlight (ELS), email

Check out highlights from the LDC's FY15 Strategic Kickoff featuring a Special Retirement Farewell to Patricia Smith!


Become a Learning and Development Center (LDC) Adjunct Instructor

We're expanding our instructor force to meet the growing demand for our learning programs.

The LDC is seeking third-party support on matters related to the Center for Excellence's quality of professional education programs offered as part of our newly developed course curriculum. This information is also designed to help your Learning and Development Center more effectively serve you to ensure that all requirements for course instruction have been met prior to the start of class.

Our Awesome Courses:

Come Partner with Us:

Turn your technical expertise, on-the-job experience and great communications skills into a rewarding volunteer training opportunity.


Monday - Friday

8AM - 5PM

Please complete the following form and provide as much of the information as possible.

Check Out Our Latest Course Offering(s):

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MS PowerPoint 2010 - Level 1

Wednesday, Dec. 10th 2014 at 8:30am-4:30pm

Learning & Development Center | 4501 Leeland Street Houston, TX 77023

If you need to create PowerPoint presentations, this course is for you. If you want to learn how to insert and modify clip art, this course is for you. You will learn all these things and much more in PowerPoint Level 1.

Description: Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to organize a presentation, work with text, and use graphics. Participants will also be able to create speaker notes, work with transitions and animations, apply a design, and create a background.

This course focuses on:

  • Creating a new presentation
  • Editing text and working with placeholders
  • Inserting and modifying AutoShapes
  • Inserting and modifying clip art
  • Creating a table
  • Adding speaker notes to a presentation
  • Setting transitions and animations
  • Adding a design
  • Creating a background

Instructor Led: Bonnie Sandberg

Price: $35.00

Manager Approval Required: Yes

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HEAR Process for Supervisors & Managers

Tuesday, Dec. 16th 2014 at 8:30am-4:30pm

Learning & Development Center | 4501 Leeland Street Houston, TX 77023

The Houston Employee Assessment and Review (HEAR) Process training is designed to introduce the core principles of the HEAR performance management process, procedures, and requirements to Managers and Supervisors of unclassified employees within The City of Houston. This training will introduce participants to the HEAR process, procedures, schedules, forms, ratings, terminology, guiding principles and governance. Participants will learn how to develop SMART goals that ensure organizational alignment throughout the department. Training will also incorporate best practices intended to increase supervisor-employee engagement through on-going communication, coaching, and feedback

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Apply coaching and feedback best practices for increased supervisor-employee engagement.
  • Communicate performance expectations and identify professional growth and development opportunities.
  • Develop SMART goals that align with departmental goals.
  • Develop a work plan using the new plan forms.
  • Understand the steps to conduct a work progress meeting.

Instructor Led: Bonnie Sandberg

Price: $35.00

Manager Approval Required: Yes

Upcoming Industry Webinars & Events

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The Innovator’s Method: How Great Innovators Lead Differently

Featuring Jeffrey H. Dyer, the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy, at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, and Nathan Furr, an Assistant Professor of Strategy at INSEAD.

Companies that are successful innovators rarely make and win a few big bets; they are successful time and time again because they have developed a process of bringing new offerings to market more reliably, with less risk. And because innovation is a process of discovery amid uncertainty, successful innovation leaders create environments where discovery can flourish. These environments involve pushing boundaries, generating insights, and conducting small, fast, inexpensive experiments.

On December 10, in an interactive Harvard Business Review webinar, professors Jeff Dyer and Nathan Furr will share insights about a process and leadership approach for sustained, repeatable innovation that creates a competitive advantage.

If your organization has made innovation a priority but wants to become better at innovation, join Dyer, Furr, and HBR on December 10 to learn the innovator's method.

About the Speaker(s):

Jeff Dyer, Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at Brigham Young University

Jeff Dyer (Ph.D UCLA) is the Horace Beesley professor of strategy at BYU as well as a professor of strategy at the Wharton School. Before becoming a professor, Dyer spent five years as a consultant and manager at Bain & Company. His book The Innovator's DNA, co-authored with Clayton Christensen and Hal Gregersen, is a business bestseller, has been published in more than 13 languages, and won the 2011 Innovation Book of the Year Award from Chartered Management Institute. The December 2009 article of the same name was runner-up for the prestigious McKinsey Award for best Harvard Business Review article of the year. Professor Dyer's research has been covered by Forbes, Economist, Fortune, Business Week, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and many other publications.

Dyer is co-author of The Innovator's Method: Bringing the Lean Startup into Your Organization from HBR Press (September, 2014).

Nathan Furr, Assistant Professor of Strategy at INSEAD

Nathan Furr earned his PhD from the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University and is transitioning to assistant professor of strategy at INSEAD after being an assistant professor of innovation at Brigham Young University. Nathan is a recognized expert in innovation, entrepreneurship, and change, co-authoring The Innovator's Method and Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation.

Nathan's research focuses on innovation and technology strategy, particularly how new and established firms manage the uncertainty of technology change and innovation. His research has been published in leading journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal as well as being featured in Forbes, Sloan Management Review, and similar outlets.

Furr is co-author of The Innovator's Method: Bringing the Lean Startup into Your Organization from HBR Press (September, 2014).

Topic: The Innovator’s Method: How Great Innovators Lead Differently

Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST | 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST

Host: Harvard Business Review

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Proofread with Perfection: Proofreading and Editing Techniques for Flawless Communication

"I have been correcting the proofs of my poems. In the morning, after hard work, I took a comma out of one sentence… In the afternoon I put it back again." - Oscar Wilde

Poor proofreading can cost you your job.

A misplaced decimal, a name spelled wrong, a word misused, a number transposed - brush it off and the consequences can be dire.

Don't leave this important job to chance. Find out the tricks the pros use, and catch the mistakes that can hurt your credibility and ruin your career.

Learn to proofread with perfection, get a grasp on grammar rules and sharpen your editing skills. Your written communication needs to be letter-perfect. We can help. Join us Tuesday, December 16, for Proofread With Perfection: Proofreading and Editing Techniques for Flawless Communication.

A misplaced decimal, a name spelled wrong, a word misused, a number transposed - brush it off and the consequences can be dire.

Don't leave this important job to chance. Find out the tricks the pros use, and catch the mistakes that can hurt your credibility and ruin your career.

Learn to proofread with perfection, get a grasp on grammar rules and sharpen your editing skills. Your written communication needs to be letter-perfect. We can help. Join us Tuesday, December 16, for Proofread With Perfection: Proofreading and Editing Techniques for Flawless Communication.

In this 75-minute webinar, Fred Kniggendorf, Ph.D., will discuss the most common types of errors, what you can do to catch - and fix - them and the skills you need to produce effective, flawless communication.

Program highlights:
• When to use a comma before the seven coordinating conjunctions
• How to practice proofreading by watching the news on television
• One very outdated proofing tip you'll hear about at practically every writing seminar
• Why it's important that you have a style guide available when you write
• Should bulleted items have periods? We'll talk about it.
• Why you need to know basic punctuation rules
• How to recognize trite and overused business words and phrases ("Pursuant to," "We are in receipt of") and some suggestions of what to use instead
• What to look for when proofing and editing displayed and paragraphed lists
• Editing out wasted words (e.g., "that are," "which is," "who was")
• Why you should read a document aloud. (You'll catch errors and determine how it will sound to the reader as they sub-vocalize.)

Topic: Proofread with Perfection: Proofreading and Editing Techniques for Flawless Communication

Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Host: Business Management Daily

About the Speaker:

Fred Kniggendorf, Ph.D., Training and Education Consultant

Fred has more than 30 years' experience in business and manufacturing, primarily in the areas of management, customer service, training, and business writing with U.S. Steel, the American Management Association, and, most recently, as president of Gravyloaf, L.L.C.

He is a sought-after speaker at conferences and on-site corporate training courses, and has travelled extensively throughout the United States and abroad facilitating training courses for a wide variety of clients.

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State of the Industry

Laurie Miller, director of Research Services at ATD, and David Frankel, research specialist, will discuss benchmarking data from ATD BEST Awards Winners, and other organizations from 2006 to present. ATD estimates that U.S. organizations spent $1,208 per employee on training and development in 2013. The content from this webcast is drawn from ATD's 2014 State of the Industry report, which is sponsored by Skillsoft and the Ken Blanchard Companies.

Topic: State of the Industry

Date: Thursday, December 18, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST

Host: Association for Talent Development

About the Speaker(s):

Laurie Miller, Director, Research Services, ATD

Laurie Miller is the director of ATD Research Services. In that capacity, she serves as ATD’s senior research program strategist and designer. She provides oversight and direction for all of ATD’s internal and external, industry specific, and market research services. Laurie can be contacted at

David Frankel, Research Specialist, ATD

David began his ATD career in July 2012. He helps in the quarterly release of the Learning Executives Confidence Index (LXCI) and is involved in the process of conducting, analyzing, editing and publishing research reports as well as conducting market research internally at ATD. He wrote the Learning & Development Trends in India, 2014 report. He also supports the ATD Forum and their members.

David holds a bachelors of arts in psychology from the University of Michigan with a minor in applied statistics. He can be reached at

About the Learning and Development Center-The Center for Excellence

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At a glance...

The Learning and Development Center (LDC) develops and provides programs designed to empower and enhance employee skills and competencies for improved performance and job satisfaction. Our services also extend to external businesses, organizations, and communities.

Our mission is to build a world-class, responsive and results-oriented workforce by providing the following:

  • Learning that meets critical business goals and needs
  • Lifelong learning opportunities that will prepare employees for life and work in an increasingly technological society

Facility Features

The LDC is a two-story, 54,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility featuring:

  • An auditorium capable of seating 150 with fold-down desktops
  • Instructor computers connected to HD projectors and the Internet
  • 170 available campus parking spaces
  • Break-room area with microwaves and refrigerators
  • Welcoming lobby area
  • Open atrium for al fresco activities

Internal & External Room Rental Request Forms

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Enhancing Learning through Technology in Lifelong Learning: Fresh ideas; innovative strategies

This book provides an essential resource for both new and experienced teachers, trainers and lecturers looking to harness the benefits of technology in their approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. Those working across the Lifelong Learning Sector, including schools and universities, face increasing pressures in demonstrating their purposeful engagement with technology to provide outstanding teaching and learning, and professional standards place a clear emphasis on the demonstrable use of emerging technology.

Underpinned by a theoretical and critical discussion, the book presents a rationale for the use of technology in today's 21st century classrooms as teaching practitioners prepare themselves for the arrival of technologically mature and digitally literate 21st century learners with high expectations of their learning journey.

It offers 25 activities that are presented in a user-friendly and accessible format, illustrated with case studies from across the sector to bring the ideas to life. Each example demonstrates how freely and easily accessible technologies can be used to create engaging, interactive and learner centric lessons which promote retention, achievement and the development of digital literacies.

Example technologies include:
•Social networking and micro-blogging
•PowerPoint alternatives
•The use of avatars and virtual characters
•Mobile devices and applications (apps)
•Creative technologies

Whatever level of technical ability, teaching practitioners and those supporting learning in lifelong learning, schools and universities will find new and innovative ideas to easily and quickly enhance their approaches to creative teaching and learning with the use of technology.

About the Author

Steve Ingle is a freelance Consultant, Inspector, Examiner and Associate Lecturer at the University of Cumbria.

Vicky Duckworth is Course Leader for the full-time program in Post-Compulsory Education and Training and Schools’ University Partnership Lead at Edge Hill University.

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LDC TIP: Try Social Learning as an Employee Development Solution

What is Social Learning?

Social learning, or Learning 2.0, is a general name given to multiple collaborative online tools for sharing knowledge, building relationships, and interacting with content and with other members of the online community. These tools allow learners to learn independently, more quickly, and more efficiently, and to be more productive and effective as a result. Most of the content in these systems is user generated and user rated for interest, relevance, and helpfulness. The tools most commonly used by organizations for social learning purposes are wikis and social networking tools such as discussion boards, blogs, video uploading platforms, and podcasting.

How Does Social Learning Work?
Every employee with access to an Internet connection and a computer can benefit from social learning as a development tool. Regardless of their levels of expertise or tenure, all employees can benefit from sharing information, creating connections, and getting access to the cross-cutting organizational body of expertise and knowledge of other employees, anywhere, anytime.

New employees can gain information easily and quickly to help them onboard more smoothly. Seasoned employees can discuss and learn from their peers across the organization and expand their network of internal contacts. And subject matter experts can easily document and share their knowledge of organizational products, services, processes, procedures, workarounds and shortcuts, and systems. And all employees can share expertise and intelligence gathered from outside the organization such as vendor information, industry news and knowledge, client needs and feedback, and competitive insights.

Managers and leaders can use these tools to improve team and organizational performance and gain insight into key employee concerns and interests. They can also use social learning tools for building and developing teams as well as providing performance support mechanisms to teams and individual staff members.

What Are the Benefits of Social Learning?

Benefits to the learner include:

  • Credible information and advice (peer-judged by other users).
  • Just-in-time, fast, and targeted learning opportunities.
  • Sense of ownership of learning process.
  • Wide access to the full organizational network.
  • Creativity and new thinking about business issues and challenges.
  • Increased job satisfaction.
  • Higher engagement.
  • Skill and knowledge development.
  • Career development.
  • Positive attitude toward learning, which leads to learning more efficiently.
  • Benefits to the organization include:
  • Performance improvement and support.
  • Reduced learning costs and increased efficiencies.
  • Reduced errors.
  • Improved organizational performance.
  • Improved onboarding process.
  • Knowledge management.
  • Improved launch of new products or organizational initiatives.
  • Performance support for the organization’s client-facing workforce.
  • Improved relevance and accuracy of documentation.
  • Increased collaboration among geographically dispersed employees.
  • Continuous learning culture.
  • Improved cohesion of disparate workforce.

Social Learning Implementation Tips

Social learning is here to stay. Face the fact—social learning is not going away. It’s going to grow in prevalence and importance, so we might as well take the leap and embrace it.
Change will happen. Social learning is in its infancy, and it will continue to evolve.

Social learning is not enough. Blend it with other development methods—social learning is complementary, not meant to replace other methods.

Take baby steps. Avoid the all-or-nothing approach—phase it in slowly, incrementally.
Help it grow. Create some seed content and get some early commenters to get the conversation started. This grassroots effort will build momentum and lead to culture change over time.

The learners are your target. Maintain your focus on the learners, not the system, the content, or the bells and whistles. It must serve the learners’ needs and address their expectations, or they won’t find it valuable and won’t use it.

Listen to users. Ask them questions and be open to changing what you’re doing along the way.

Balance flexibility and control. Strike the delicate balance between allowing full freedom for the open-space “sandbox” experience and measuring metrics so rigidly that it inhibits or restricts the ease of participation, collaboration, and users’ interaction with content and each other.

For more information contact Halelly Azulay.

About the Author

Halelly Azulay is a consultant, facilitator, speaker, and author with 20 years of professional experience in the fields of workplace learning and communication in corporate, government, regulatory, not-for-profit, and academic organizations. She is the author of Employee Development on a Shoestring (ASTD Press, 2012), in which she provides managers and supervisors hands-on tools and techniques for developing employees outside the classroom and on a budget.

Azulay is the president of TalentGrow LLC, a consulting company focused on developing leaders and teams to improve the human side of work. She is also past president of the board of directors of the award-winning Metro DC chapter of ASTD where she served in various board leadership roles from 2005 to 2010;

TIMELINE | The Learning and Development Center Story

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