Some agency IT staffs arrange for a different reminder message to appear each time employees log into their computers. These messages usually deal with IT issues or management priorities. Some ethics officers get their messages into the rotation. Here’s an example on the theme of personal use of government resources.
Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell are leading lawyers who have shared their knowledge for a number of years with the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on the Legal Talk Network. Their newest project? A series of three podcasts on presentation skills for lawyers:
- Presentation Tips for Legal Professionals
- Panel Presentation Pointers for Legal Professionals
- Webinar Presentation Pointers for Legal Professionals
Of course, this type of instruction is just as relevant to ethics trainers. Check it out.
Government Executive reports that GSA is increasing its use of online training for employees government-wide, to cover “conference etiquette,” among other things:
The agency has teamed up with the online learning platform Blackboard to provide Web-based training to federal employees across government. A manual and in-person process for registering for and attending classes is moving online, allowing feds to register, pay for and attend classes via Internet. The Blackboard platform also provides tools such as discussion boards to collaborate, Concklin said.
GSA plans to launch its first online course, “Travel Basics,” through Blackboard in January, Concklin said. Another course – “How to Attend a Conference” – will go live in February or March, she added.
“Thanks to the big mistake we had in the last year, GSA is using that as an opportunity to say, ‘here’s what we did wrong,’ and helping other federal agencies to learn from our mistakes,” Concklin said. “So ‘How to Attend a Conference’ is one course that’s going to be piggybacked off that theory.”
The new online platform also is enabling GSA to offer training in a more creative, game-like setting. “There is a difference in the way generations like to be trained, but one thing we know for sure is that the old click-style of PowerPoint training isn’t always the most effective, especially when it comes to training employees on things like travel,” Concklin said. “Doing it in a more integrated, creative way is more engaging.”
Most online training I’ve seen has been marginal at best. It allows you to “check the box” and say “We had training on Topic X,” but it is rarely as effective as in person alternatives. I look forward to seeing if GSA’s efforts are more effective.
Lifehacker is a website devoted to providing practical advice on real-life problems. Their article How Can I Save Un-downloadable Online Video Content to Watch Offline? addresses an issue relevant to ethics training:
There are many videos from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc. that would be excellent additions to training programs. However, many training rooms do not have the Internet connections needed to show streaming videos. The article discusses ways to save such content to a laptop, so you can show it to audiences without an Internet connection.
Government Executive has a fascinating article about the use of computer games to teach federal employees about contracting. The article mentions a Dec. 18 solicitation from the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service and goes on to explain:
The games must allow users to branch out on different paths based on decisions they make rather than each decision being simply rated “right” or “wrong,” the agency said. Users should also receive some reward, such as earning points, for decisions that result in a successful contract.“
Virtual environments allow the user to make mistakes in a risk-free setting through experimentation and at the same time keep the users engaged,” the solicitation stated.
The solicitation lists numerous government-built games the designers can use as partial models, including the Centers for Disease Control’s Solve the Outbreak app and Charge!, an Android game in which players use the Federal Acquisition Regulations to outfit secret agents with tools to battle “a nefarious evil genius who is out to take over the world.”
Let’s hope the agency or agencies who commission similar games for ethics training have enough foresight to draft their contract specifications broadly enough so that the end product will be readily adaptable for government-wide use.
Sure, you could include just talk about the Principles of Ethical Conduct, and show a text-only slide of them. Isn’t it more effective to include a picture of a printout of the Principles?
“But no one in the audience can read the tiny print on the picture?” Right. It doesn’t matter. You’ll quote (or probably even better, paraphrase them, as in this slide from NASA. The point of the picture is to add visual interest. It also subtly enhances the presenter’s credibility. You are not just standing in front of the group making things up.”Seeing is believing,” right?
Here’s a copy of this slide you can insert into your own slide show. Lots more on the importance of using graphics later.
OGE’s YouTube Channel is one of their more aggressive and significant initiatives in recent years. Many streaming videos are available, including some chestnuts like “The Battle for Avery Mann” that will be familiar to old timers and some valuable newer products.
The 2010 Training Awards video is one of the smartest additions. It’s not the most dynamic imaginable, but it doesn’t need to be. There is tremendous value in highlighting innovative approaches. Including the name and phone number of a contact at each prize-winning agency makes it easier for the good ideas to spread. It’s also great to give the best performers a pat on the back and provide a goal to other ambitious ethics trainers. Good job!
- Limit class size to 50-75% of the class size you would teach in a classroom
- Maximum effective class size is near 20
- Common error: Creating huge classes because the Web conferencing platform allows it