What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


Facilitation Quick Tips: Phrase Craze
January 15, 2015

Facilitation Quick Tips: Phrase Craze

By Debra Christopher, MSM | January 15, 2015
Director, Professional Learning Systems, ETR

Here’s an activity that helps training participants consolidate learning. It actually activates and strengthens neurological connections, increasing participants’ ability to hold key concepts in long-term memory. Quick and engaging.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Professional development, Training design, Facilitation
Power Makes a Difference: Youth-Adult Partnerships Work!
December 16, 2014

Power Makes a Difference: Youth-Adult Partnerships Work!

By Annika Shore, MPH | December 16, 2014

My work as a professional development consultant at ETR focuses on developing the knowledge and skills of people in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Our goal? To collectively enhance the health and well-being of young people.

When I think back on the most powerful moments of my career, they all share one thing in common: they were moments when young people and adults worked closely together for a shared goal. Some of those moments occurred when I was the young person, working with mentors in a health education program. Some were more recent, when, as an adult professional, I joined with youth to co-plan conferences or workshops.

By Annika Shore, MPH
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Tags: Teens, Intergenerational, Youth voice, Mentoring
Facilitation Quick Tips: Pledge, Boogie & Own It!
December 10, 2014

Facilitation Quick Tips: Pledge, Boogie & Own It!

By Debra Christopher, MSM | December 10, 2014

This activity was developed as a closing activity for participants attending last September’s Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Training Crafting Trainings That Work for All Adult Learners. We got so many positive comments about it, we wanted to share it here.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Professional development, Training design
Facilitation Quick Tips: Health Pictionary
October 21, 2014

Facilitation Quick Tips: Health Pictionary

By Erin Fogarty, PhD cand, and Ryan Erbe, PhD cand | October 21, 2014

Here’s an energizer that was used with great success at the 2014 American School Health Association conference this month. The entire closing general session was revitalized with this one, so give it a try when your training needs an energy boost. 

By Erin Fogarty, PhD (cand.), and Ryan Erbe, PhD (cand.)
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Tags: Training design
Training Matters: What Training Success Looks Like
August 18, 2014

Training Matters: What Training Success Looks Like

By Stephanie Guinosso, MPH

This year I had the pleasure of developing a new workshop on a topic near and dear to my heart—fostering resiliency among vulnerable populations of youth. For this workshop to deliver a powerful impact, I had to tap into these experiences, guide participants to acknowledge and question their subtle assumptions, and reinvigorate their attitudes toward the topic. To do that, I had to gain their trust. Only then could they draw from their internal motivation to make use of the research and best practice.

By Stephanie Guinosso, MPH
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Tags: Training design, Professional development
Facilitation Quick Tips: Groupies
August 7, 2014

Facilitation Quick Tips: Groupies

By Debra Christopher, MSM

Breaking a full participant group into small groups to work collectively on a learning activity is a savvy (and brain-friendly) strategy for increasing participant learning. Here are some clever grouping ideas that can make your trainings and presentations more dynamic and engaging.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Training design
Facilitation Quick Tips: Pocket Talk
June 12, 2014

Facilitation Quick Tips: Pocket Talk

By Debra Christopher, MSM

If you deliver trainings or presentations, the tips in this ongoing column can help make your trainings more dynamic, engaging and effective. Try them and let us know what you think! This month, learn about using "Pocket Talk" for introductions, team-building or priming participants for the upcoming workshop.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Training design
Facilitation Quick Tips: Quotables
May 12, 2014

Facilitation Quick Tips: Quotables

By Debra Christopher, MSM

If you deliver trainings or presentations, the tips in this ongoing column can help make your trainings more dynamic, engaging and effective. "Quotables" is an exercise you can use to introduce a topic, do team-building or invite participants to share something about their own perspectives or experiences.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Training design
Training Matters: Technical Assistance - Deliver Guidance That Works!
April 15, 2014

Training Matters: Technical Assistance - Deliver Guidance That Works!

By Patricia A. Lauer, PhD

While there are numerous publications and guidance documents on effective training, the literature on effective delivery of technical assistance (TA) is sparse. To address this void, ETR’s Professional Development team recently conducted a focus group of ETR staffers who are experienced TA providers. We also searched the Internet for information on how organizations can provide technical assistance to clients that will result in positive outcomes.

By Patricia A. Lauer, PhD
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Tags: Training design, Professional development, Technical assistance
My Take: Make It Brief and Work It
February 26, 2014

My Take: Make It Brief and Work It

By Debra Christopher, MSM | February 26, 2014

I was recently on a business trip in New York City. While roaming the city one evening after dinner, I passed by a street vendor who was selling small canvas bags with colorful messages stamped on the sides. One message caught my eye, and it’s turned into a new mantra for my professional development work. The message: “Make it brief . . . and work it!”

This statement relates directly to what the science of learning tells us about how the human brain functions—specifically, how human memory systems operate. We know the human brain holds information in short-term memory for only about 18 seconds. If that information isn’t attached to something quite meaningful, or if there’s no time to organize the information and process its relevance, it leaves the brain as quickly as it entered. Without some type of emotional hook or cognitive engagement, the content simply cannot stick.

By Debra Christopher, MSM
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Tags: Professional development, Training design

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