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The Actors in Training Development: Instructors

Article: The Actors in Training Development: Instructors

If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, did it really make a sound? This question is at the heart of the need for people who help training reach students. It’s only by helping students through the course that it has had any impact or value. There’s no good in a course that sits on the shelves, never to be used. Distribution staff, of which instructors are a part, are the bridge from the completed training to the impactful implementation.

The instructor is probably the most recognizable part of an instructor-led training process; it’s in the name. The instructor is the powerful person who takes the development work and helps it reach the students.

What Is an Instructor?

For instructor-led training, the instructors are the front-line workers who are in the trenches every day helping students learn. Even in computer-based training where live assistance is needed, they’re supporting actors who may not hold the lead role but are nonetheless essential to the delivery of the content.

Part of the series, the Actors in Training Development. Read more…

The Actors in Training Development: Author

Article: The Actors in Training Development: Author

The phrase most likely to describe the author in the training and development process is “and then the magic happens.” The author is at the core of the content development process. He or she takes the input from the SMEs and the coaching from the learning designer and makes it happen.

What Is an Author?

The author of a course creates the bulk of the content and works with SMEs and learning designers to develop the most effective ways to teach it. He or she may be adept at creating instructor-led materials, computer-based training, productivity aids or supporting materials. The author will have his or her fingers on the keys pounding out the prose that students will absorb in the form of learning.

What Is Expected of the Author?

Authors are expected to have a basic command of their chosen tools. Certainly, a word processor and a presentation program top the list of tools in which they’ll need to be proficient. They may also be skilled in one or more of the content authoring tools and design programs necessary for creating visuals or productivity aids to appropriately communicate the material.

Part of the series, the Actors in Training Development. Read more…


Article: SharePoint Development in 2017

When SharePoint first came out in 2001, development for the platform wasn’t easy. It was ASP—not ASP.NET, which was the first development approach for SharePoint. In 2003, the platform was migrated to .NET, but it wasn’t until 2007 that it had a proper customization strategy in the form of features and solutions. The world has changed since then, and SharePoint has had several development models come—and one has both come and gone. In this article, we’ll look at the development models available in SharePoint and Office 365 development and explain why one would choose one model versus another.

Introducing the Development Options

The last four years in SharePoint have been tumultuous, to say the least. Of the five models available, three were introduced in the last four years. These are the five models:

  • Server-Side Object Model (a.k.a. Server Solutions): Introduced in 2007 and available today for on-premises deployment, this model has the richest support and the greatest longevity, but puts a great deal of onus on the developer to write good code, because the code runs directly inside the SharePoint processes.
  • Sandboxed Solutions (a.k.a. User Code Host, Partially Trusted Callers): Introduced in 2010, these solutions allowed end users to write to a subset of the SharePoint API. These solutions had severe limitations but were designed to reduce platform instability with poorly-behaved developer code. It’s no longer available on Office 365/SharePoint Online and is not planned for further investments.
  • Add-Ins (previously known as “Apps”): Released with SharePoint 2013, these client-side-based applications run on other servers or in JavaScript in the browser, so they eliminate the challenges of server-side code. The complexity of this model, which includes the required wildcard DNS entries and authentication changes, required a different (and some say greater) developer skill set. Add-Ins are available both on-premises and online.

Full article at Read more…

Unity gauge

Article: Introduction to Unity: Creating a 3D Gauge in Unity

I’ve been developing software for more than 25 years now. I’ve learned dozens of platforms and frameworks. I expect, at some point, the process of learning a new platform will get easier. Each time it does, to some degree, but it’s never enough.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through my first successful Unity spike. The goal is three-fold: to demonstrate how to do something useful in Unity, to provide a framework that you can use to learn Unity—or any other environment, and to develop a small component that you might be able to leverage in something you’re building.

The tangible deliverable for this project is a working 3D gauge. It has 18 segments and scales from 0 to 100%. I decided on this as my first project, because it allowed me to familiarize myself with the platform with a challenge that was somewhere between “Hello World” and SkyNet. Ultimately, this 3D gauge created the need for learning several fundamentals.

Full article at Read more…

The Anatomy of a Software Development Role: Data Scientist

Article: The Anatomy of a Software Development Role: Data Scientist

Twelve years ago, when I wrote the first articles for “Cracking the Code: Breaking Down the Software Development Roles,” I made a conscious and perhaps controversial decision to not include the database administrator or a database architect as a part of the roles. The decision was made because there were few organizations who dealt with the scale of data that required this dedicated role in the software development process. The solution architect could take care of the organization’s need to design the data structure as a part of their overall role. However, the world of data has gotten bigger since then.

Big Data

Today, we’re facing more volume, greater velocity, and dynamic variety of the data sources that we’re processing. We’re not talking about the typical relational databases that have been popular for decades. The expansion of data requires a set of techniques and skills that are unlike historical approaches to data that we have been using.

Multithreading our processing of data is an improvement of the single threading approaches to data processing that popularized data processing in the 1980s; however, even these approaches, which rely on a single computer with multiple threads of execution, break down when the amount of processing necessary to extract meaning exceeds the capacity of a single machine.

Part of the series, Anatomy of a Software Development Role. Read more…

The Actors in Training Development: Learning Designer

Article: The Actors in Training Development: Learning Designer

Human brains are amazing things. They’re power-hungry biological machines that consume 20 to 30 percent of the blood’s glucose while being only two to three percent of the overall mass of the body. As complex engines for our cognition, it’s no surprise that we need people who are specifically focused on the tuning of these powerful engines. Those specialists are learning designers, also called instructional designers. These brain mechanics have a set of tools in their internal toolbox that allows them to identify how to improve the brain’s performance in new and novel areas.

This series on the actors in training development explores how the various roles in the training development process work together to create training that reduces the effort it takes for a student to learn a new skill. The learning designer is the central actor in making a subject easier to learn.

What Is a Learning Designer?

A learning designer is someone who uses his or her knowledge of how brains work and how people work to make the learning process easier. Learning designers turn the leaps from one topic to the next into small steps that anyone can easily take. Their job is often to reduce the cognitive load on the student by sequencing topics, simplification and elimination of extraneous information.

Part of the series, The Actors in Training Development. Read more…

The Actors in Training Development: Subject Matter Expert

Article: The Actors in Training Development: Subject Matter Expert

Since we don’t have the ability to read minds, enabling us to learn quickly from experts, we must settle for subject matter experts (SMEs), who can help us understand what employees need to learn to reach the desired outcomes and how to sequence that training effectively.

Among the actors in training development, the subject matter expert is second in importance only to the business owner, who provides the funding for the process. If you don’t have a subject matter expert available for your training development project, the project team is not complete, and it’s incumbent on the team to select someone to become the SME through self-education, to hire or contract with an SME, or to purchase content in which the SME expertise is already “baked in.”

Content produced without the benefit of a strong SME feels bland and unremarkable. It’s the result of a system designed to turn any starting content into training, but without the SME, the raw materials can’t make truly great training.

Part of the series, The Actors in Training Development. Read more…

The Actors in Training Development: Business Owners

Article: The Actors in Training Development: Business Owners

Any training process starts with a business need. That is, someone in the business wants or needs their employees to be more productive than they currently are and looks to training or a job aid to generate that productivity. The business owner is that person, who starts the process of improving productivity.

In this series on the actors in training development, we’re walking through the roles in the process and why they’re important. Ultimately, training services the needs of a business. Training needs a champion, and that champion has to own the development of training by providing funding, gentle guidance and sometimes a swift kick to keep it moving. The business owner role is the genesis of the training project and the person with whom we start.

What Is a Business Owner?

Literally, a “business owner” can be the owner of a business, but in the training development process, the business owner is the person who is responsible for the need and who typically has the budget to support the development of training. They ultimately set the goals and decide whether the progress made with the training meets the goals they set. As the final arbiter of what they want and believe they need, they’re the ultimate customer, but likely not the ultimate consumer, of the training.

Part of the series, the Actors in Training Development. Read more…


Article: The Actors in Training Development

There’s a lot of attention on new delivery models, the desire to create shorter courses and the attempt to apply metrics to the training process. However, relatively little is being said about the fundamentals of the content development process. While there are absolutely differences in the way content is generated from one medium to another and from one organization to another, there are more similarities than there are differences. This article is the first in a series that will walk through the roles in the process, including how the process fits together and how the individual roles add to the result.

What is Training Development?

Training development refers to the creation of a training course or program designed to address a skill or cultural need. It’s development and not creation because, in some cases, the development of the training program will involve sourcing rather than creating. Sometimes, it will mean sourcing raw materials and customizing them to meet the specific organizational needs.

It’s always best to start with a search for off-the-shelf training. Much like how software developers often start coding before looking for existing tools and resources, training professionals often know they can create the training themselves. However, in many cases, that’s not what’s best for the consumer.

The start of the series, the Actors in Training Development. Read more…


Article: Anatomy of a Software Development Role: DevOps

It’s been nearly a dozen years since I first wrote “Cracking the Code: Breaking Down the Software Development Roles” and the associated specific role articles. The world has changed substantially in the last dozen years, but strangely, relatively little has changed in the roles for software development—except in the transformation of the deployment role into what is now being called “DevOps”—a contraction of Development-Operations. In short, we’ve changed how we operationalize the deployment of our code into our environments and into customer systems. It’s time to address the changes that have come to the world of software deployment.

Part of the series, Anatomy of a Software Development Role. Read more…

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