Our most recent posts have discussed two of our three pillars in our plan to overcome obstacles and assure success.  These three pillars (or strategies); simple, standardized, and shared, offer guidance when developing and initiating do-it-yourself (DIY) training programs at your organization.  As a training organization, we have given in-depth thought to these strategies… now is the time we begin sharing them.

Our Bricks training community serves as a collaborative community with a cooperative spirit.  Without collaboration, ideas, strategies, standards and guidelines plateau and are unable to improve or become more efficient.  Collaboration and cooperation are such vital components in assuring success in training initiatives that we knew our plan to overcome obstacles must include the pillar, shared.

Of course there has to be some sort of filter for sharing, and protecting each other’s ideas and proprietary properties.  Mastery Bricks offers two trusted sources to aide in protecting these concerns; YouTube, and our own organization, Mastery Technologies.  YouTube is the trusted source for only allowing members of our community to share, collaborate and connect to each other.  Mastery Technologies serves as the curator for protecting the community and ensuring content meets the community’s standards. 

Mastery is making the commitment to share all that we can (that is not proprietary) of practices within our organization.  We use our internal functions and employees to share their personal best practices for daily tasks and operations.  The power of collaborating within our Bricks community will ignite discussion and spark innovation for a variety of workplaces and industries.  Are you ready to share in our collaborative community?

In our last post we discussed one of our three pillars in our plan to overcome obstacles and assure success.  This plan is based on three pillars (or strategies); simple, standardized, and shared.  When discussing the simple pillar, we decided that in order to achieve simplicity in DIY training initiatives it requires that we create a fine-tuned result statement, are able to break a broad task into smaller steps, and to let the video speak first and audio second.

Today’s post focuses on our second pillar; standardized.  Giving a lot of thought to standards is essential to promote consensus and commitment within a community, in order to facilitate and enable the practices of sharing and reusing.  In giving thought to these standards, we believe there are three elements that every training initiative must encompass:

1.  Title; that communicates the expected result

  • What is the exact result this brick will create?

2.  Media; video (.mp4)

  • Every training presentation should be output or converted as video (.mp4) file

3.  Length; roughly 1-4 minutes long

  • Once we enter the three-plus minutes range, we should re-assess and see if this result can be broken down into two (or more) useable pieces which produce a different outcome

It is also important to be flexible during any process.  For instance; think of a DIY training project as a collection of bricks.  When constructing something such as a fire pit or walkway, modifications occur during the course of the project.  When disruptions or variations cause us to adjust the plan, it is not the brick we are going to change, it is what and how we are going to assemble the bricks to still reach the desired result (such as the fire pit or walkway).   This holds true to different training courses within an organization.

The best practices that we find create standards.  Strive to adhere to the standards first, why make a process more difficult than it needs to be?  The enemy is complexity.  When we create simplicity by agreeing to standards, we enable the practice of reusing and sharing – which is our last pillar in assuring success for DIY training programs.

Do you have a daunting task that you feel could be standardized, maybe even broken into multiple tasks?

In our last post we discussed potential challenges to making bricks; challenges mainly consist of issues regarding lack of time, lack of resources, adopting do-it-yourself (DIY) training initiatives and the sharing of training programs (both internally and externally).  Though these challenges may arise, we have developed strategies to overcome obstacles and assure success.  These strategies are based on three pillars; simple, standardized, and shared.

This post is focused on one of these three pillars, simple.  To make it simple, we;

  • Fine-tune the result statement
  • Break a broad task into smaller steps
  • Let our video speak first and audio second

A fine-tuned result statement keeps us focused and efficient.  When a training program is focused on being simple it is easier to break into smaller steps and becomes more manageable.  Letting your video speak first, makes it easier to think visually and say less.

To assure success in developing and initiating training programs, it must be simple.  In our next post we will discuss our second pillar to our strategy; standardized.

Why do you think simplicity is difficult to achieve when launching DIY training initiatives?

Starting a Do-it-yourself (DIY) project can be daunting for almost anyone, especially if we feel it places our reputation and career at risk. Our core concept for the Bricks DIY training community is to help ease problems and concerns that arise when developing training programs.  Some common reluctant feelings we thought of toward DIY initiatives are; fear and jealousy for the initiator’s own job stability, uncomfortable feeling of taking risks, and questioning own wisdom; am I training my replacement?

To address these areas there are obstacles to overcome:

  • DIY training adoption
    In order to adopt DIY training practices, we must address the lack of resources; including the lack of personnel, tools, skills, and time.  When any of these resources are absent, the process of development and roll-out of product becomes very difficult.  By adopting DIY training initiatives, we are able to break through this dilemma.
  • Sharing
    Overcoming concerns and feelings such as fear and jealousy for their own career, and risk of failure, will allow us to multiply the results of individual and organization’s efforts by standardizing our work.   By standardizing training programs, we can share those results with the Bricks community when appropriate (we will work as a community to ensure that information remains within the owner’s control).

What fears do you have, or find, in the development of training and/or DIY initiatives?

In our next post we will discuss our strategy in making Bricks designed to address all the above issues and concerns.  This strategy is based on three pillars:

  1.  Simple
  2. Standardized
  3. Shared

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Brick as “a handy-sized unit of building or paving material,” and also, “a good-hearted person.”  Our vision with the Mastery Bricks training community incorporates both of these definitions.  A brick is needed to build something, and the more bricks needed the greater or more intricate the result may be.  Similarly, with training, you start with not-so-difficult training for someone new to an area or the organization, but as the worker progresses you add more training for the more complex tasks.  Good-hearted, energizing and inspiring people at organizations will take the initiative and begin applying these principles and motivate others to participate.

We suggest making a visual model, such as a simple video that lasts around two minutes or less.  The model covers only one, useful, end result so that it stays simple, focused, and easily comprehended, for example; the procedure to hard-boil an egg.

Once the procedure of hard-boiling an egg is broken down into steps, you can use visuals, such as simple video, to help strengthen the understanding and mastery of the procedure.  Then, more complex Bricks can be assembled for other creations that evolve from the already mastered procedure, making a hard-boiled egg.  Examples of more complex Bricks from this first mastered procedure may include procedures for making deviled eggs, making egg salad or even dying an egg.

This collaborative training community will continually innovate and evolve.  If we can share some of our Bricks within our community, these sharable Mastery Bricks can be combined and assembled to construct customized courses, helping to reduce individual’s workload. If we can collaborate we can do it, especially if we appreciate that its right when it’s simple.

In the coming posts we’ll be discussing why Mastery Bricks can help overcome the overwhelming challenges that commonly occur when developing, maintaining and implementing training programs. What challenges do you face when working on your training and developing initiatives?

Keep a lookout for Bricks, video examples as well!

What is a “Mastery Brick”?

Posted: May 31, 2013 by Meaghan Priebe in DIY Training, Organizational Development


There seems to be common notions when it comes to developing training programs within organizations; the process is hard and usually overwhelming.  And though here at Mastery we understand these concerns (and can even relate), we are certain there is a way to initiate training to overcome the common challenges and fears stopping many from developing, implementing and maintaining their own training programs.  To help start these “DIY” training initiatives, we introduce our Mastery Bricks training community.

We have boiled down our definition of a Mastery Brick to this;

A simple lesson to master a simple result

In other words, a Brick is the smallest learning unit that can be used to pave a path to competency in a broader skill, concept or procedure.

The intentions of these lessons are to avoid complexity and confusion by being specific and to the point, by using the fewest words possible for easy understanding.  We can do this by creating an effective visual model to demonstrate each task and concept.

In the next post we will discuss what a Brick is and describe how to use an effective visual model.  Do you have a training initiative you’d like to activate in your organization?

There are some great insights for employee training that you can gain from developments in general education….

Consider the results of MIT’s radical decision to freely share lecture videos along with all related course materials ten years ago.  MIT’s 10-year-old OpenCourseWare (“OCW”) community now teaches every core class included in its undergraduate course catalog.  OCW has reached more than 100 million learners. 

Now, consider the decision of a young hedge fund analyst four years later to start a one-man academy to educate his nephew on high school subjects – his lessons became viral and his new learning paradigm may provide the impetus to change American K-12 education forever.  Khan Academy, a non-profit started by this selfless person has taught over 200 million 10-minute lessons in math, science, finance and humanities during its six years of existence.

These two revolutionary initiatives created huge collaborative learning communities that now expect high-level, free or low-cost online education.  They have incredible momentum and are transforming the way every nation educates its citizens.  OCW has been joined by 250 other universities and Khan Academy has inspired thousands of volunteer instructors, technicians, and private and corporate financial supporters.

The world is witnessing not only the transformation of education, but a transformation of the meaning of “community.”  There are reports of some college courses being taken by 100,000 students at the same time and all around the globe.  Learning is increasing exponentially and life is changing forever!

So, what’s going to happen when people educated in these communities feel empowered to start their own businesses or become responsible for business training?

Don’t you think they will want to use some of this newer education technology and train their employees differently than we do now?  On the job training (OJT) will never be the same!

It will take only a few enlightened and determined individuals to get the same transformation started in workplace learning.  Collaborative business communities will become powerful.  

How will we, educated by the old system, take advantage of this new market culture and help jump-start a new era of workplace learning?  Let’s get started together… now!

Don’t you sometimes check YouTube to see if there’s a video about fixing something around the house or with your car? Why not apply this concept to business training?  There are millions of smartphones and inexpensive digital cameras to help us. We can create short videos quickly to teach the policy elements, key values, unique concepts, job tasks, and procedure steps comprising the value our organizations offer our customers.

Some learning is common to multiple organizations and not subject to proprietary concerns.  Examples might be:  counting change at a cash register; cleaning a toilet; scanning a document on your favorite copier or scanner; using a certain model IP telephone.  Examples are endless!  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could adopt a video that someone else has already developed?

That’s what I’m talking about.  Businesses need a way to improve their efficiency by using videos that are developed using standards and someone to coordinate the whole process.  I haven’t seen as many short workplace training videos on YouTube as I have expected so something is holding this back.

It seems that a collaborative community of DIY (do-it-yourself) training producers could divide the work of building libraries of non-proprietary training.

I’m not suggesting competitors should be sharing information about proprietary processes and practices. To the contrary, the need to protect proprietary information has never been greater, and it has never been more difficult to do so.  But certainly it can be done, perhaps through this collaborative business community I’m suggesting.

A great example is the American farming community.  For over a century, farmers raising the same crops have formed cooperatives for many purposes when it was clear that they had many of the same needs and outsiders weren’t interested in helping.  So, why not today’s business community?

When organizations can capture and package their best practices and special know-how as simple, standardized building blocks of learning, our efforts will make a huge impact.  You would think that small businesses everywhere,  not to mention organizations like the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Warehousing Education and Research Council, and  National Restaurant Association, all real interested in the success of their industries, would jump on board quickly.

There’s a lot to think about.  In future posts, I will propose how this training can be easily structured so it can be quickly developed by a non-training professional.  I will also propose standards for this new kind of private enterprise collaborative learning.

But my ideas are still forming and there’s plenty of opportunity for you to collaborate and help mold the results.   Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section of this post.