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I was recently in a meeting during which everyone was talking about “TM”. Having held the position of training manager (aka TM) for many years, I at first thought they were talking about training managers. But then given the context of the conversation, I knew they weren’t.

So I kept listening. Were they talking about:

  • Trademarks? No.
  • Telemarketing? No.
  • Time management? No
  • Transition management? Yes!

I know, I know… I should have just asked. But there are times in a discussion when you don’t want to interrupt. This was one of those times.

What can this “TM” moment teach us as eLearning designers? Stay away from the acronyms as much as possible!

If you must use an acronym, be sure that you spell it out. Even then, don’t assume that someone will remember the acronym. Make sure the meaning is clear by restating the words, speaking the full definition in a voiceover, or using visuals to make sure that participants know what that acronym means.

So, after all, that, what is transition management? According to Wikipedia:

“Transition management, in the financial sense, is a service usually offered by sell-side institutions to help buy-side firms transition a portfolio of securities.”

Unless you’re creating a course about financial securities, that definition doesn’t really fit.

Another definition, again according to Wikipedia:

“Transition management is a governance approach that aims to facilitate and accelerate sustainability transitions through a participatory process of visioning, learning and experimenting.”

If we were in a story about Goldilocks, this chair would also not fit.

Finally, according to Business Dictionary, transition management is: Systematic planning, implementing, and monitoring change in an organization.

That’s the transition management that, in my experience, has the most impact on eLearning.

There are many types of organizational changes or transitions, but what’s critical is the company’s ability to gain employee support of the change. Effective change management processes include tools that allow the organization to communicate about the transition, align expectations, and train employees about any new behaviors.

The majority of my work in training and development focuses on how to help facilitate change in regards to a new:

  • organizational structure
  • system
  • product
  • market
  • approach to business

If you’re creating a course to address transition management needs, check out this post for tips and suggestions about how to approach the project. As a designer, you need to approach the project in a way that not only engages learners with the content, but also helps them adapt to the change—that’s your role as part of the TM (transition management) team.

And while you’re creating that course? Please promise me you’ll do your best to stay away from those pesky acronyms.

LizSheffieldBioLiz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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