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In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Dan Anderson, Manager at Life Cycle Engineering about “Real Strategies and Solutions for an Effective on-line training program”. Get the answers to your “Virtual Training” questions along with Dan's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get all right welcome you industry heroes. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. This platform right here the one that I'm pointing to right there, you can see it is dedicated to you, you professional, you are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly. And man Do you innovate? You're changing the lives and you're changing the world as we speak. Why not? Why not? celebrate you?




You know, we always have great interviews, right? We do. We just have great interviews it I take it for granted, you shouldn't take it for granted because it's an exceptionally great time to interview great people. In the hot seat, Dan Anderson, that's a n d e r s o n. And he is with a company called Life Cycle engineering. You go out to his stag party and you're gonna say, Yeah, he's smarter than everybody else, especially me. Anyway,


he's got to kind my friend,


Dan Anderson, right there, baby. Hey, Dan, before I got a quote, I got a quote that I want to share. Yeah, you got to do that. And then we're gonna go into that nice little 411 on who you are. Alright, listeners,


right here. I always have code. And of course, I'm using my computer computer. Anyway, this is from Winston Churchill. And I'm a big fan of Winston Churchill. Don't get me wrong. I am.


Now I I


sit there. And some quotes are fine. Some or some. You see it come across LinkedIn. And you go, Oh, that's pretty cool. But some are maybe a little. This one's good. And you guys, you got to take note of this a positive thinking, well, a positive thinker, sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. Industry right there. That's what you guys do you see the invisible you feel the feel the intangible, and you achieve the impossible because you guys are bold, brave and daring greatly. I love it. Dan, how you doing?


I'm doing great. Scott, How about yourself? Well, thank


you very much appreciate it. It is sort of an unusual time.


It is an unusual time still continues to be an unusual time of year, almost a year since it started being unusual.


I'm telling you, I it's it's funny. So many people come to me and say, Scott, what do you think is gonna happen?


I have


zero clue. I don't I don't see anything changing. Oh, I know, I know, I'm changing. I'm the one that just sort of sits in the salt mine right here and just does these podcasts and have no interest in going. I cook way too much. And we do all of these great things. Because I think we just industry. I'm telling you, man, industry is going to be changing in Portland in a positive way. All right. For the listeners out there, Dan, give us a little 411 on who you are.


So I'm Danny Anderson. I'm the manager of the life cycle Institute at life cycle engineering, which is the educational arm of our business. I've got a history in maintenance software and reliability. So, you know, worked in plants for a bit and also as a consultant for a while. So that's a little bit about me. I've been with LC for 14 years also serve on the SMRP board of directors. Yeah.


All right. As you can imagine, he's got some major reliability st credit out there. Once again, I'm looking at the stat card you want. You know what? We have 444 mutual connections.


That's amazing. I just, yeah, we run in the same circles. That is a and by the way, these circles are fantastic. I mean, these reliability professionals and what you're working in are absolutely. They they all have, they're passionate about reliability, they're passionate about helping you and they got big hearts. They all do.


Oh, yeah. learn something new every day, Scott in this business for sure.


How does that happen? I mean, how does I mean you're right in the thick of things, and you're, you're always engaged. You're always chirping with other people who are in reliability, and and it never stops you. It's


never stops.


Yeah, yeah. It's a wonderful thing. I mean, I've you know, as I hear very often it lifecycle engineering, a lot of the folks that we have working for us are in their second careers, they just are passionate about it, right. They're passionate about best practices and helping others really,


they're they're special people to have at a party, that's for sure to talk your ear off about a lot why it's important and, and it is don't get me wrong, it is. Okay. So listeners, this is what what makes this particular conversation very unique. And now we know about the pandemic, and I'm looking off, if you if you're looking at the video, you can see I'm looking at my other screen because that's where the document resides. So don't be distracted by my head turning this way. Now, what that means is that we're going to be talking, okay, the pandemic hits, we still have to be able to educate, we still have to be able to communicate, and educate people who are in need of this information. We all of a sudden had to say, Hey, we're in person, we go to this place, and we do these things, we have flip charts, and we do the typical learning. Now all of a sudden, we have to become virtual. And that's where dance steps in Dallas, let's start talking a little bit about the effective adult learning in a virtual world. I've got I've got this whole thing highlighted. What does that mean?


Well, it's just being able to effectively deliver education via an online platform. So you know, there's a number of online platforms out there, you've got WebEx, you've got Microsoft Teams, you've got zoom, you know, our preferences, zoom, because it does have the tools in there. But if you think about it almost a year ago, Scott, I mean, March 16 2020, you know, the LLC offices were closed down due to COVID. And, you know, we had to carry on with the business and providing effective adult learning to our clients. So, you know, we had folks that had signed up for classes. And we we, we host a little bit over 1000, folks a year through our open enrollment classes, through our on site classes, things like that. So we had to change our business quickly, and had to think of, you know, how are we going to deliver the same value to our clients that they were receiving from the classroom training, but do it through an online vehicle, and may seem very simple to some, you know, what do you do just deliver the slides via the internet? And no, it's a lot different, you have to go through and reconstruct the course, you have to really put a lot of rigor into making sure that you know, the participant on the other end, and now they're not in a classroom, they're not in their, you know, interacting with their peers. They're, you know, actually sitting at a computer at their house, how do you make it interesting and relevant to them?


Yeah, how did LC come to this? I mean, the reality is that LC pivoted real quick, and I hate using the word pivot. Sorry about that. Anybody loves me, but do you understand what I'm saying? It, it is core to your business, you do great training, you and you touch a lot of people in a positive and companies in a positive way. Now, you've got to go virtual. What were that, like that conversation you're having at in your organization? What was it like it was just saying, Hey, we got to do it. And it's my understanding, you guys did it relatively


quick. We did within a couple of weeks. I mean, we didn't convert all of our classes, but the ones that were on the high priority scale, you know, ones that we had classes coming up within the next two weeks, next month or so, you know, those took priority. And so, you know, we quickly went through and, you know, got our facilitators on board, got our instructional designers on board. Thank God, for my training coordinators, you know, they became quickly changed their job roles from, you know, somebody who would, you know, deliver materials and making sure the class goes off without a hitch, you know, those sorts of responsibilities to actually producing the workshops. So, you know, it was a lot of different, you know, because everybody was scared, everybody was afraid that, Oh, my gosh, with all this going on, are we going to lose our jobs, you know, how's it going to work out. And so you really just had to make the folks feel good, but have them understand that there was going to be a shift in priorities and job responsibilities. So, you know, the training coordinators are an easy one, because that we turn them into producers, where they were actually hosting a class. So they would join the subject matter expert on a class and make sure that, you know, everything went off without a hitch, there are no technical difficulties, everybody tested zoom in advance. And so when the SME got on the line, or the facilitator was there to teach the class, they could focus on just that teaching the class versus having to deal with volume issue or something like that. There's a


ton of questions that I have, and one would be, this is fantastic. But really, prior to the pandemic, LC he was on site or, or in, in classroom, that was your model, that's what you did. And then all of a sudden, we need to figure out some sort of a virtual way to make it engaging and, and achieve the same objective of, you know, adult learning. I'm consuming the content on it, and I'm not. I mean, did you guys just sort of sit around To say, something out on the internet that sort of gives us a guidance or did you just sort of say, Hey, we're gonna have to be different, we're gonna have to make it more


interactive, whatever


it might be, what was that, like?


What was going through I mean, my company generally uses WebEx, you know, that's a standard online platform. With this, though, we found the additional capabilities through zoom, were critical, because like you had mentioned, Scott, you know, in a traditional face to face classroom setting, you have folks breakout and flip charts learn from each other, you know, we needed the capabilities to have breakout rooms, and, you know, have a have a whiteboard within those great breakout rooms. So everybody could brainstorm through certain concepts and objectives with the course. You know, and then also, you know, we had self paced online learning modules already built. So, you know, we integrated those into the classroom experience, we integrated more videos to where, you know, there might be a storytelling by the by the facilitator, you know, we would possibly go through and have a video in there, so it resonate a little bit more, having online polls are great, you know, if you're taking if you're having folks brainstorm through a class, you know, having that capability, through zoom really helped us, you know, to share content, handouts, and all that stuff. So, you know, some of the things you take for granted, you know, on a typical conference call, where we're just talking to each other, you know, but to have those capabilities that, you know, really focused on the activity based learning of the participant. You know, that was critical for us, you know, and that was one of the first steps was just picking out, you know, what, what online platform we wanted to use. Yeah, it


was funny. Pre pandemic I've used, I've used zoom, I don't use all the capabilities of zoom, but it has a lot of horsepower, and pre pandemic, I remember having conversations like, Hey, I know it's zoom, you don't know too much about zoom, click the bottom, you know, there would be instructional things that we'd have to do. From my perspective, it's been a great boon. I never have any problems with anybody getting on zoom. Now. My life's easier as a result of the pandemic. Just a joke. Good joke. Now, I'm looking at the dog. And one of the things that stands out in and there are two things one, and this is for your listeners, right? If you think you're going to just sort of convert a classroom into a virtual type of environment. I think that that is a sort of a naive view of how to create a virtual classroom and virtual learning.


That's correct. That's one,


it's just you can't do it. And therefore you need somebody like, Dan and company to figure out, well, here's, here's real, here's virtual, what do I need to do? One of the things that stands out as a result of that, I see that you have 40 to 60 hours of professional instructional designers going into each one of these just for one hour of class. Yeah.




Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah. You know, depending on the fidelity, right, you know, so are the advanced pneus of the of the learning, right? So if you're just sitting there Central, simply lecturing, that doesn't seem like much. And one of the reasons why, you know, folks come to a professional consulting organization is for learning that produces results, right. And the end of the day, that's what we all want at a training is something that's going to give us something we could put in our tool belt, and it's going to cause us to do something differently, you know, that we were doing before. And so, you know, the instructional design, that's an interesting fact, there, Scott, because a lot of people don't know that outside of that. They think simply, well, how can we can't just convert the class that we used to deliver to virtual? Well, we put a lot of work into it, Scott, you know, we abbreviated, we took out a lot of we focused on the learning objectives, we chunked it out, took out some of the content, replaced it with, you know, some more things that would resonate better to the online platform, and, you know, really focused on, you know, what would this class look like? And how are we going to maintain the attention of our students that are going through this curriculum? You know, there's a lot of things that will distract you when you're sitting at your house, you know,


you can watch right over there that went that ham sandwich.


Yeah, that ham sandwich, you know, the laundry pile, but the garbage, all that stuff that goes on in your house has to be engaged and that's the most important part was starting with the end in mind and being engaged. So


okay, so that to me is like, that's a loaded question. Right. One of the things that I think is at the heart is that facilitator I might feel more comfortable with me going totally anonymous and and being on site. Be able to do that. But we're talking, we're talking a virtual facilitator, we're talking somebody that has to feel comfortable being in it. Talk to us a little bit about that as a success option.


Yeah, no, no, I mean, you'll, you'll never hear me call the folks that deliver our classes, instructors, they're always facilitators. And there's a reason behind that, because they're facilitating learning in the classroom. They're hoping folks to learn from each other. And so, you know, you got a dynamic person, you know, sometimes you have people that are subject matter experts, they know a lot, a lot, Scott, and can sit there and tell you stories all day long. But are they good in front of the classroom? Do they get people to interact with each other, learn from each other? And are they dynamic? You know, do they integrate energizers into their delivery? Do they just sit up there and tell stories? Or do they get everybody involved? And so, you know, that's definitely a critical aspect, especially when it comes to the virtual deliveries, because, you know, again, you're trying to energize folks and keep them engaged and always have them, you know, really on topic and, and contributing to the class and see, you know, you you receive non verbal communication in a, in a real setting, right? If I'm standing up, and I'm looking at a class, and I'm delivering whatever,


you know, content, I can see people who are engaged and people who are not, and it gives me the cue to go over to the people and say, Hey, what about what do you think about this and try to bring it back in and getting engaged in a virtual world that's even compounded even more, in a greater sense. And so that facilitator must have just tremendous capabilities to be able to make sure that everybody is engaged, because to your point, learning that produces results, requires that you keep the individuals engaged, right?


Oh, yeah, yeah. And that's one of the things too, is really critical about the zoom. You know, training sessions have people keep their cameras on, you know, there's, there's easy ways to go on mute and disappear, if you don't have your camera on. So we do highly encourage it. People have their cameras on, I never did that.


Never. I've never Yeah, it happens all the time. And that is a real good point. Because you do need to see that. You need to have those, those nonverbal communications happening, if you're truly interested in delivering a solid product. Now, we talked about the zoom. But let's talk a little bit about that this whole pandemic. What type of roadblocks Are you seeing out there from this desire to bring in this virtual


learning? Well, you know, first and foremost, even when, you know, we first started deploying it, Scott, a lot of people were just waiting for it to be over there. They were like, I want to get back to classroom I don't I don't want to do the virtual training. So it's getting over that negative connotation. I think a lot of times, too, that people feel that it's not as effective because maybe they have sat in on a an online training session, and we're bored to death. And, you know, just for like, oh, gosh, this is horrible. I don't ever want to do training,


I have to interrupt. It is it is it's biblical proportion, that scenario, sitting through a virtual training environment, and being bored out of my mind. It is biblical, it happens all the time. Kudos to LC continue. I'm sorry, I had it I had to jump in, because that is a big deal.


No, it is. And it's one of the things that a lot of people leave and still have a hard time getting over. So, you know, I'd highly encourage you to, you know, if you ever get the chance to sit in on one of our classes got you know, you'll find it really engaging, and you'll see the difference. And so a lot of times too, I've been having to work with folks just through their, hey, we're gonna wait until things get back to normal. Well, we don't know, the normal, you know, when is it going to get back to normal, I don't think it'll ever change, we're always going to have this virtual type environment. I mean, we're, we plan on going back to face to face training, when it's a suitable time, a safe time for us to do it. But we're also going to this has opened up a whole new product line for Scott, you know, to reach people on, you know, maybe the other side of the world that can't travel to the US for for this stuff. So it's a I think it was very difficult getting over that getting over that negative connotation initially.


Yeah, you know, it's interesting, and I think still people are, you know, like, again, kudos to LTE to be able to recognize the necessity to truly adjust the way you deliver. You know, training that's huge from a virtual perspective. Now you have a bonafide model of being able to do that and do it effectively and keeping people engaged. Powerful. I, I find that people, unlike LTE, sometimes companies want to do it. Yeah, and do shortcuts. I can't, I can't look at a crystal ball and think that, you know, things will go ever back to whatever pre pandemic normal, maybe, maybe 10 years, I don't know, when you when you're always receiving news that we're gonna, we're gonna stop people from travel anyway, I think that personally, if you can crack this nut, I think you forever change the DNA of me and how I learned because I I want to learn, but I don't want to be bored. But if you can satisfy that learning and make it entertaining, and I'm consuming it, I'm forever changed. I think you guys are onto something pretty big.


Thank you, Scott. Thank you. Yeah, we're definitely in the business of learning that produces results, right? You know, because there's a lot of companies out there that just are, you know, if you want to check in the box, and I can sense it from a mile away, and somebody comes in and starts talking about price and this and that they're just looking to my boss said, I need to get this training, and they don't understand you know, why they're doing it, or what they want to do differently, you know, because of it, then, you know, we're not in that business, we're not in that business of just a check in the box, we want to make an impact on people's lives. So


if I'm interested, you're asked about on LinkedIn, because we've got 144, same connections. So yeah. But what what type? How can you I mean, I'm looking at this, you got a $400 voucher lifecycle, institution classes through March 30. It's a credit, it's a voucher. How does you know, tell us a little bit about that.


So just go, you go to the LC website,, lifecycle And there's a stimulus promotion that we're running through the end of March, march 31, is when we're going to be wrapping up the promotion, it's good for all of our virtual instructor led, and self paced elearning products. So if you want to sample it, and you're interested, you know, we're extending this voucher. Now, it's a COVID, stimulus voucher of sorts, to make sure that, folks, if you're looking for education, effective adult learning, and if you aren't comfortable with going back to the classroom, just yet, then, you know, we certainly are excited about the chance to provide that to you. And it's something that we're extended to our clients out there, along with them some scholarships, so folks that have been laid off as well, too, from their jobs. were willing to entertain that as well. So you know, just trying to help folks during this this period of time.


So let's say I'm interested in and I'm a company, and I can use your product, it's it's, it's important. I need this training, I mean, company, Acme, whoever I am. wants to take advantage of that's great. What if I have in house training, and I just want to talk to you about how I can make my training, more effective, and still do your stuff. But I have my own, you know, product, whatever it might be? Are you willing to entertain conversations like that?


Yes, of course, you know, we have an instructional design team within the lifecycle institute that helps helps folks with facilitator development. So if you have subject matter experts, and you want them to get in front of the classroom, and delivered effective training, you can do that as well, too. And, yeah, we're always available to support you in building a course or, you know, optimizing a channel like


that. LC E. Dan, with a big heart. All right, again, you know, listeners out there, we're all about one, remember this, we have got to be committed to education. That's one, two. Again, we've got to be committed to collaborating. We don't have all the answers. You got to reach out to Dan, he's got answers that can make your business your life much better. And then of course, a natural outgrowth is innovation. We're talking about making Virtual Training, more innovative. Dan, got it. Team. ltds. Got it. I'm just telling you right now, I'm gonna have that link out on this $400 voucher, out on industrial you're gonna get it. I'm gonna promote it. You're gonna get it, you know, and reach out to Dan, because I'm going to have his contact information, as well. Dan, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast.


Oh, thank you, Scott. My pleasure. Always a pleasure to connect with you, sir.


Nice, isn't it? I like that. All right. Let's do this. I want you to be bold. I want you to be brave. I want you to dare greatly because you are responsible for changing the world. I know it's heavy, but you are hanging out with people who are bold, hang out with people who are brave and daring greatly and I guarantee you will change the world. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. And, you know, be safe out there. We're gonna have another great interview right around the corner. Stay tuned.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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