Message from: 

Diane Edwards
National President

Greetings from the chilly arctic!  I am currently in Tromsø on an island in the far north of Norway. 

What I love about my job are the great opportunities it gives me to travel to different parts of the world. 

It isn’t all play of course, as I do have to work. But having the chance to meet different people and experience different cultures is truly special and adds to the rich tapestry that is life-long learning.

I often write about the importance of life-long learning. It has become a buzz word in our rapidly evolving world where the skills and knowledge needed to succeed are constantly changing. But it is also, for that very reason, a necessity.

Sometimes learning is unconscious as we absorb lessons from everyday life and experiences, fuelled by our own innate curiosity. Other times we can enhance our life-long learning by making conscious decisions to seek out new skills and knowledge. Furthermore, we can validate what has been previously learned as we encounter new contexts. In this past three weeks I can think of examples of all three of these different ways of embracing life-long learning.

Firstly, unconscious learning came from my first foray into the far north. I learned that the seasons are not the same everywhere. Still October, but after the equinox, the temperatures were already preceded by a minus sign, the sun was low in the sky at midday and the people were wearing clothes clearly designed to see them through the coming months of cold and darkness. Yet commerce is thriving while the locals go about their everyday life working, shopping, studying, planning, playing, worshipping and dreaming, just as they would in more moderate climes. Without being conscious of it, until I started writing this, I learned that the ability to adapt to context and turn adversity into opportunity is key to success. This is surely a key lesson for business too.

Secondly, actively seeking out learning for me came through my chance to meet the Sami people who, for thousands of years, have herded reindeer in the far north of what is now arctic Norway, Finland and Russia. Like many indigenous peoples, they have undergone their share of discrimination over the centuries as modern Europe developed.

Forbidden for long periods over the past centuries to publicly speak their own ancient language and follow their animist beliefs, many assimilated into the mainstream cultures of Scandinavia and Russia. But in recent years the language and culture has been rejuvenated and, as I saw in Tromsø, their right to follow their culture and religion has been restored. Of course, it is heavily influenced by the modern world, (children now attend mainstream schools, modern houses supplement the former totally nomadic lifestyle and they are using social media to spread the word!). Yet the tie to nature and spiritual connection to the harsh landscape and icy climate is evident in all they say and do.

My learning from this experience went beyond the normal respect for a different culture. I learned about the resilience of a proud people, the richness of diversity of thought and (sadly) that prejudice is still alive and well. The latter point reinforces the importance of cultural competency as one of the modern intelligences that will distinguish successful leadership in the future.

Thirdly, I validated something I knew from a workshop I attended while in Tromsø. Flagged as a chance to think about how technology is changing the employment landscape, something which is very relevant to me, I had high hopes. The facilitator made me feel uncomfortable when he started off by asking what our expectations were (nothing wrong in that) but then added, “because I don’t have any expectations – I’m just going to let this evolve. I decided to be positive and give him a chance as I found it difficult to believe that he had not prepared any objectives for the half day session.

But my fears were soon realised. The three hour session meandered from idea to idea, making interesting points but addressed neither the workshop subject, nor the attendee expectations. There was lots of laughter, some interesting YouTube clips and multiple coffee breaks, but at the end we left feeling that although we had had an enjoyable experience, we had not really achieved anything. Certainly we hadn’t covered much new ground nor new understanding about the new digital landscape, which was after all the whole point of being there.

But perhaps I should not have been surprised – I know of many trainers who also develop training with no clear learning objectives established. This particular workshop (others by the way were excellent!) reinforced for me why the NZATD competency framework places such high emphasis on being very clear up front which business objectives, performance objectives and learning objectives are set before designing, developing or delivering learning experiences. My workshop reinforced the importance of this step, not just to make it easy to plan and also measure outcomes (though this is, of course, important), but also to create the right expectations for learners and leave them feeling as though they have received value from the learning experience.

So my message for this edition of the newsletter is, that wherever you go or whatever you are doing, don’t forget to reflect on your learning experiences. They are everywhere.

Diane Edwards
National President

Branch Information

Auckland Branch –

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Auckland Branch

Bay of Plenty/Waikato Branch

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Bay of Plenty/Waikato Branch

Wellington Branch

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Wellington Branch, and Manawatu region

Canterbury Branch –

Click on picture to read the latest news from  the Canterbury Branch, and Southland region

Welcome to New Members


Alex Bozga, NZ Post; Belinda Williams, Douglas Pharmaceuticals; Stephanie Fegan, NZDF; Yvonne Bruce, First Security;

Bay of Plenty/Waikato:

Edwin Perera, Ace Training; Jennifer Field, L&D Specialist;


Annie Ellis-Garland, Goleman-National Training Co;

Wellington :

Andrea Pereira, EQC, Jaume Boix, EQC; Megan O’Donovan, EQC; Robert Burlison, NZ Defence; Samantha Read, EQC; Samantha Pfahlert, EQC;

NZATD Membership

Every year NZATD offers everyone who renews their membership on time a chance to go into the draw for a free membership.

We can now announce that this year the prize went to Anna Wilton from our Wellington branch. Ann was surprised and delighted when National President Diane Edwards called her to let her know that she was the lucky winner.

Congratulations Anna!

Elearning Guild –

Reflections from the past few weeks

I have been making specific use of my elearning Guild membership.  Two offerings in particular have got me thinking.

Accessibility webinar spotlight
This is the first time I have joined a Spotlight.  It is a series of webinars on similar topics with the presenter doing a chat session immediately after.  Start time is a little early perhaps for most of us in NZ – 4am. However if the topic interests you it can be worth an occasional early start.

The spotlight I joined was all about accessibility.  A current topic being discussed. 

In my workplace I am not aware of many people with accessibility issues. So I haven’t taken this into account particularly when designing learning. And that is just the point. Many accessibility issues are hidden so if considering how people view or respond to our offerings isn’t part of our planning we are disenfranchising people.

The webinars included some very practical ways in which we can provide for better accessibility.  One of my main take-aways was that considering accessibility will add considerably to my work for everyone.

Learning Styles – Research Review
Jane Bozarth is the author of this review.  After meeting her at our last NZATD conference I am an even bigger fan of hers.  So that was the first point that sparked my interest in this article.

And then, as a person who got drawn into the learning styles theory for a few years I knew I needed to read this research review.

It was worth my time too.  If I had any lingering doubts about the scientific basis for learning styles, I sure don’t any more.  The review is a summary of the wide range of research showing both the results and highlighting the lack of solid foundation of many studies.

The review was well written – easy to follow and understand.  I have found this is not always the case with research documents.

I have recently renewed my Elearning Guild membership through NZATD.  The quality and ease of access of these resources has reinforced the value of this investment in my ongoing professional development.

eLearning Guild ‘Pro Membership’
Special Group Discount for NZATD members
NZD92.00 + GST    (USD62)

For more information, including how to take up the offer, etc please contact Janette Stewart at National Office:
Phone: 04-570-2460

Kath Cherrie

Impact Training Tip : 

First, Let them Talk

Follow Dr Rich Allen on Twitter:

Whenever you ask participants for answers, ideas or reactions, let them first talk with a partner – or in a small group – before taking public responses. You might set it up like this:

“I’m going to hear what you think in a moment. Right now, take 30 seconds to talk to the people around you. What… do you think the answer is/are your ideas/is your reaction. Talk to the people near you – go.

Allowing this first moment of discussion creates many benefits, including: ·

–    Preventing ‘fast processors’ from dominating the conversation People who are quick to verbalize often dominate a lesson. We also want to hear from other students, whose brains process more slowly, but are often deeper thinkers than their fast-processing peers. The 30 seconds of conversation gives all your participants time to form their ideas, so everyone is ready to contribute. ·

–   Helping everyone to make sense of new content. When verbalizing, people are naturally sorting out new information and making meaning.

–    Allowing introverts to practice in a safe, small group before speaking in front of the class. For some people, talking in front of everyone is a risk. By first ‘practicing’ their answer by saying it to another person they may feel more willing to raise their hand and respond publicly.

–   Giving you a chance to think. While participants are talking, you can take a moment to review where you’re at in the session, what’s coming up and what you’re going to say next.

If you have a lot of introverts, experiment by offering “thinking time” before the peer-to-peer conversation. Time 30 seconds of silence where people think or make notes. Then let them have a small group conversation before, finally, opening the discussion up to the whole group. You’ll be amazed at how much more interesting and productive the conversation becomes.