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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
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NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

Teaching old dogs new tricks


Teaching old dogs new tricks

Catherine Ward

Last Wednesday, while most 9-to-5 professionals fled to pubs and restaurants for midweek happy hour treats, the NogginLabs team gathered outside for the best treat of all: puppies.

No, we didn’t eat the puppies -- we played with them. Now, don’t get too jealous just yet; this isn’t a weekly thing here; instead, this visit was the lovely result of some recent fundraising.

Rallied by Senior Content Producer Lesley Windle, Noggins donated to the all-volunteer nonprofit New Leash on Life to support their fabulous work. Not only did the fundraising promise to help New Leash find homes for dogs in need, but it also allowed us to name two puppies recently rescued and fostered through the organization. After much deliberation, we called the shy boy Niles and confident girl Dezzie (named in memory of beloved office dog Dez). Niles, Dezzie, and their siblings visited the office for cuddles, bellyrubs, and lots of playtime. 

Watching a bunch of e-learning professionals chase a litter of puppies got me thinking about training. Dogs face the same problem e-learning does: Pervasive myths often take root in public thought where the truth should be, making it hard on dogs and learners alike. Most people take for granted that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. We can say with confidence, “That’s total garbage.”


Our team takes on projects with diverse audiences and is no stranger to the older learner. Unfortunately, we’re also well acquainted with the absurd but very prevalent idea that older learners are less capable than anyone else. As Founder Brian Knudson must get tired of saying by now, a key element of successful training is to never underestimate the learner. What we often find is that, instead of refining a training platform to better serve an older audience, a client’s instinct is to simplify the platform altogether.


Do older audiences really struggle with more contemporary approaches… or do they just keep getting served the same glorified PowerPoint presentation because someone assumes that’s all they can handle? Many times, the older learner has been in a certain job role for years, so unless you deliver something new to challenge them, you won’t see a meaningful change in behavior.

There are a million ways to do this, and NogginLabs is dedicated to working with its clients to find and implement them. (We’re too far from a mountaintop to shout it from there, but hey - in the digital age, any blog post is its own mountain, right?)