Though in learning now, I started my career in Direct Marketing and Loyalty Card Marketing and Product Development (yes, apologies for calls interrupting your dinner and your exploding mailbox…) I pivoted into HR and led the L&D Technology Products and Implementations for a Fortune 500 Bank. Having to re-invent myself and learn rapidly, I’ve become both fascinated and intrigued at the parallels of marketing and learning. More importantly, I’ve become convinced that L&D could use some marketing love!

But what marketers figured out (and where L&D professionals could benefit) was how we used data to get the right offer to the right customer at the right time while delivering an aspirational customer experience. The result? Engaged customers, changed behavior, and customers coming back for more.
Everyone in L&D and HR is currently obsessed with employee engagement. This has only been increased by everyone trying to figure out how to capitalize on both digital and social transformations, and their impact on employees, work and the workforce. Despite this, nobody is buying what we’re selling in L&D. We need to appeal to our learners, but “appealing” is a marketing problem, not a learning one.

Deloitte data says that nearly 7 out of 10 people they surveyed indicated they’re having a hard time getting workers to engage with L&D offerings.

engagement1

I believe the key to achieving success is treating our learners like customers, and then understanding just who they are – the demographics, goals, motivations, frustrations, daily activities, and buying experience/behaviors. You then use that knowledge to cater the message and experience – delivering compelling, relevant offers and products that are meaningful and aspirational.
To understand your customers, I suggest you start by creating learner personas by segmenting your learners based on demographics, goals, motivations, frustrations, daily activities, learning needs and touchpoints. Google definition of a Persona: A persona, (also user persona, customer persona, buyer persona) is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of a specific segment.
You might have 2 personas, you might have 10. But the goal of a persona is to group your learners into categories around goals, challenges and how they operate.

Here is an example.

tucker

Here are 5 marketing practices you can use to increase engagement after defining your customer.

  1. Brand – develop a compelling aspirational brand and value proposition that is relevant for your employee segments. This includes compelling creative (look and feel), communication and messaging. (Think Nike!)
  2. Design – personalize the experience and make them want what you are “selling,” and make it personal. (Think Apple!)
  3. Market – target, make the offer and sell. And make them want to come back for more. (Think about the last time you went to Amazon to buy those killer heels. It starts with serving up relevant experiences, and more expensive shoes with each interaction!)
  4. Listen – get feedback, measure, and use the data collected to adjust. (Simple as thumbs up or down!)
  5. Loyalty – build a continuous relationship with your employees by communicating regularly. (All the retailers above do that well!)

The results
Understanding your customer, the employees, are the key to ensuring you deliver the right experience and get the engagement you expect for your L&D programs and technologies — and a return on your investment. Feel free to check out my recent ATD Webinar on How to Think Like a Marketer. It provides several specific marketing techniques learning practitioners can leverage in their daily work.

So, what are you doing to better understand your employees and encourage them to engage with what you are selling? We would love to hear your ideas!

Even the concept of a career wasn’t immune to today’s disruption. People are changing jobs at record rates, working for more companies doing a variety of jobs throughout their career, and they aren’t immediately cashing out and retiring at 60. Likely at the root of the radicalization of the career is a simple, basic fact: people are living longer.

As said by the authors of the 100-year life in an article for MIT Sloan, “If life expectancy continues to grow at the rate of two to three years every decade, as it has done over the last 150 years, then a child born in Japan in 2007 will have a more than 50% chance of living past the age of 107.”

This translates into 60 – 70-year careers. To stay relevant and employed, the workforce will need to deepen their skills numerous times, and might even want to re-skill entirely in new areas.

“Individuals will take an interest in skills with value that extends beyond the current employer and sector. Skills and knowledge that are portable and externally accredited will be particularly valuable,” wrote Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott in their recent Research feature, The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives.

While ultimately responsible, it’s not just the individual that has a role in continuous development.

The most successful organizations are supporting employees for their roles now and in the future, recognizing their best investment is their people. Top talent is likely the most engaged, and thus, retaining (and attracting!) these people will be a key driver of business outcomes and success.

To keep up, Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report suggests chief learning officers (CLOs) must now become the catalysts for next-generation careers. “They should deliver learning solutions that inspire people to reinvent themselves, develop deep skills, and contribute to the learning of others,” states the report.

Gratton and Scott suggest decentralized and flexible approaches to learning that are driven more by the learner than the employer.

So how do we help our employees deepen the skills they need now, as well as support future development?

To enable learning leaders to better target their learning and development (L&D) investments and help companies close skill gaps, Degreed recently announced a major upgrade to its personalization engine with the release of skill plans.

Leveraging BurningGlass data and machine learning, Degreed’s innovative platform automatically recommends a daily feed of learning resources focused on the skills required for a person’s current job as well as their professional interests and career goals.

“Resolving the persistent gap between the skills employees have – and the ones they need to move into new roles – requires sophisticated personalization capabilities. These recent product upgrades are a giant leap forward for Degreed’s ability to help our users build and recognize the expertise they need for the future,” commented Degreed’s CEO and co-founder David Blake.

Skill plans empower organizations in four main ways:

  • Give purpose to learning activity by tying learning to skills, and skills to roles in your organization.
  • Customize these roles with the competencies and skills that fit your company.
  • Assign employees to specific roles, which will automatically link them to associated learning content.
  • Create learning pathways, and link them to roles.

Want to see what skill plans can do for your organization? Create your Degreed profile today.

For a long time, perhaps too long, the HR and training functions have dictated learning for employees. But workers have started taking things into their own hands as they realize their competitive advantage, their employability, is tied directly to their skill set. This shift from relying on L&D to self-directed has left many organizations wondering what their next move should be.

The best place to start is putting yourself in the learner’s’ shoes and examine the human behaviors around growth and development.

At Degreed LENS, Tim Quinlan of Intel shared the value of approaching your workforce, the learners, as consumers or customers.

“I said, “How do you learn today? What do you want to learn about and how do you learn? If you’re curious about something how do you do it?” And [the management team] said, ‘Well, I have this trusted third party I go to or I do a Google search.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s my experience as well… I think what I want is something that will seriously complement or compete with a Google search because that’s the learning tool at Intel.”

Degreed research compliments Tim’s story. Almost 85% of survey respondents said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week, nearly 70% learn by reading articles and blogs every week, and 53% learn from videos in any given week.

HR, training and L&D provide the mostly high-value learning experiences people need sometimes, whereas Google or asking a peer or boss for guidance happens all the time, every day, right at the moment of need and not 3 weeks down the road. Recognizing that learning is happening all the time, not just through L&D offerings, it makes sense that “a new type of employee learning is emerging that is more “consumer- like,” commented Josh Bersin during his presentation at Degreed LENS.

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“Learner-centric” practices are at the heart of what more effective organizations deliver in their learning. Organizations that are more mature and advanced tend to deliver a lot less training through traditional methods and more through experiential, social, collaboration. Learning teams that are aligned with and meeting expectations of the larger organization empower “always-on learning, and a culture of exploration and discussion to enable continuous invention1.”

The most important tool in your kit for 2017? Your workers. “If you’re not focused on the experience of the employee, and you’re focused on what you want to do and the content you want to build and how great it is, you’re missing the boat,” added Bersin.

Want to hear more about how organizations such as Intel and Atlassian are embracing the consumer mindset? Check out the highlight video from Degreed LENS in San Francisco.

For more content from the LENS event, visit the Digital CLO content library!


1 – Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital, Bersin by Deloitte, 2016

The workforce is changing and it’s affecting how we all work every day. It’s also changing the expectations that people have about who they work with, how they work, and where they work. I recently met with a group of Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) and learning leaders to talk about the four trends disrupting the workforce today and how that impacts the way we think about learning in the corporate environment. We uncovered four common trends.

  1. Different generations in the workforce

People have been talking about this for years now, but the reality is that we have many generations working together in the workforce today.  By 2020, 70% of the workforce will be made up of millennials, but in addition, boomers are working into their 70s and 80s.  What does this mean for the workforce and learning?  It means that we are more diverse and have greater opportunity to learn from each other.  As for learning, although it may be true that millennials are digital natives and generally very comfortable with technology, the CLO group I was speaking with agreed that the way people like to learn has less to do with age and more to do with personal comfort level with technology.

Judy Dutton, Senior Director at eBay, shared that there is a large increase of millennials coming into the company. The 32nd most recognized brand in the world according to Interbrand in its annual ranking of Best Global Brands, many don’t know that eBay also does a lot of slick things with technology including big data, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In 2017, their HR function is focused on new ways to attract top talent, especially millennials, by revamping their intern program and recruiting from more diverse universities. Their learning teams are embracing a new digital and in-person on-boarding experience, and completely rethinking their career development and approach to development.

  1. Rise in digital technology

Technology is changing the way we think about both business and learning.  As I wrote in a previous blog, learning leaders need to be tech savvy and include a digital learning component as part of their overall learning and employee experience strategy.

At eBay, a learning technology manager helps drive the ongoing technology requirements for the global Talent and Organization Development team.  This new role has also become more heavily involved with IT, the office of the CIO, and HR analytics since the learning technology need is increasingly prevalent.  But it’s not just about technology; there has to be learning expertise among each employee too.

These are just two of the four workforce trends that are changing the role of learning leaders. We will visit the remaining two trends, an increasing rate of change and the new relationship between employees and employers, in Part 2 next week.

Before you read any further, indulge me for a moment. Tuck your phone away (unless you happen to be reading this on your phone). If you’re reading this on your computer, close the other 10 tabs you have open. Shut down your email. Now, take a few deep breaths. Are you with me?

Ok. Remember this feeling. Let’s begin.

At Degreed, we often talk about how learning happens all the time. I certainly believe that to be true. Given our infinite access to information these days, there is no shortage of opportunities to be learning something at any moment of the day. However, with the daily grind of our jobs, family activities, and continuous digital connection, it can be tough to pinpoint those exact moments in our lives where true learning happens.

Linda Stone refers to a behavior called continuous partial attention. Perhaps you steal a few minutes in your day to peruse Facebook where you come across a Nifty video on how to remove permanent marker from your skin. Or maybe you’re in Flipboard and you come across This Cheat Sheet Full of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Shortcut Keys. Our lives are full of these serendipitous nuggets of learning.

The problem is, when we rely solely upon serendipity, we lose focus of our true personal learning objectives. Not that serendipity is bad, but relying upon it as your only method of learning can serve as a hindrance to retention.

These constant distractions and competing priorities in our lives have powered a movement around mindfulness in the workplace. The benefits of mindfulness, as it relates to productivity, are well documented. It’s time that we pause and consider the benefits of being a mindful learner.

Taking time to learn is often thought of as an indulgence. Instead, consider learning as a necessity in order to acquire knowledge to complete a task, solve a problem, or generate new ideas. To gain these benefits requires a more mindful approach to the time we invest to learn.

When I refer to being a mindful learner, I’m referring to creating the conditions by which our mind can focus on the present learning opportunity. Mindful learning is about creating conditions by which your mind can focus on deep learning and comprehension.

Here are 4 ways you can begin creating optimal conditions to learn:

  1. Setup your physical space. Figure out where you learn best. Ideally, some place where you can remove yourself from as many distractions as possible. Turn off your phone or anything else that might steal your attention. If you are going to be using your mobile device as your learning tool, consider turning off  notifications. If you’re going to read a book, set it out so that it’s staring at you when you’re ready.
  2. Plan your learning time. Schedule it on your calendar and honor the time. Don’t ignore it, don’t let someone else schedule over top of it. Remember, this time is an investment in you. Invest a little time in yourself now, in order to grow later. If you think you can’t commit 30 minutes or an hour, start with 10 minutes. Split this time between spending 5 minutes reading on a subject that interests you or watching a video. Use the other 5 minutes to capture what you learned. Speaking of capturing what you learned…
  3. Reflect on your experience. This part is important. Jot your learnings down in a notebook or write post about it on Twitter or LinkedIn. If you’re using a Kindle, use the Notes function to highlight and capture your thoughts. Do something that will cause you to take a moment to reflect on the time you just invested to learn.
  4. Take a cue from Google’s “20% Time.” If you’re a in a leadership position at your company, you have the ability to set the tone for what behaviors take place. Google is well known for giving their employees time to work on side projects they believe could benefit Google. This, in part, is successful because they actively promote the effort, give people the time, and have given people the permission to do it. You should do the same for allocating time and space for people to learn. Perhaps consider a “Study Hall” campaign where the entire company blocks a day to learn. Encourage people who are interested in similar topics to Meetup and share their learnings.

So, now that you’ve spent  a few minutes learning about how to be a more mindful learner, what are your takeaways? While you’re thinking of it, jot them down. Tell someone else about what you learned. If you took the steps I recommended at the start, congratulations! Remember how it felt to give yourself permission to focus. Remember to give yourself that same permission the next time you invest the time to be a more mindful learner.

 

 

If you don’t think your organization is creative enough to implement design thinking, think again.

Design thinking isn’t about how good you are at design tools such as Photoshop, but rather it’s about using human elements when figuring out how to create products that addresses the real needs of people.

Tim-Brown-quote_v1

Using the design thinking process, everyone is a designer and design is everywhere – the way you plan out your day, the way you arrange furniture in your room, the way you match clothes. In the corporate setting, it’s important to find out and integrate the end users’ needs from the beginning, so that you don’t end up spending all your time solving the wrong problem.

As Degreed’s Project Manager Ryan Seamons pointed out on the Design Thinking webinar with Chief Learning Officer, it’s important to realize that design thinking isn’t something you tack at the end of a project, but rather, it’s a mindset. It’s the process of constantly trying to understand the user and the problem at hand.

This diagram shows you a simple framework for approaching a problem using Design Thinking:

Design-Thinking-Graphic

As you can see, this framework is applicable to many types of organizations. Earlier this month, I wrote about how a design thinking program at a local high school positively impacted the students’ confidence and creativity. Here are the 4 actionable steps you can take to implement design thinking and bring its benefits to your organization:

1. Focus on the problem to solve

Companies fail to effectively solve their problems or meet their goals because they don’t correctly identify the person or problem.

Tips for identifying the problem:

  • Listen. Put yourself in other people’s shoes or problem and think from their perspectives what the problem is
  • Ask questions. What is the problem? Who is it for?
  • Have un-siloed conversations. Engage with not only one but multiple people; sit in that area and aim to understand what their life is actually like
  • Stay unbiased. Don’t impose what you think the problem is or the solution. Be open-minded and you might find something else you weren’t expecting

2. Get design thinking skills on your team

In past, ideation phase of the design thinking process were typically saved for Project Managers or Engineers, but that doesn’t mean it can only be used by that department or function. Since design thinking is the mindset of asking questions, understanding and testing, everyone has the ability to do this. Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget for a new role.

Tips for getting design thinking skills:

  • Practice the mindset. Start implementing the process in your role whenever you can. For example, if you oversee onboarding, think about ways you can test a new approach or understand the new employee mentality by getting  feedback via survey
  • Foster interests in design thinking. If you have someone on your team who wants to take initiative and expand their skillset, make sure to nurture that interest, whether it is encouraging experimentation or reimbursing them for design thinking classes

3. Have more debriefs (or start having them)

This is the part that people have the most trouble with: it’s important to understand that design thinking isn’t a one time thing, but rather it is a process of iterating on previous experiments so that the product can improve and become better. However, learnings can’t be implemented if there is no feedback process.

Tips for creating a learning culture:

  • Be open about what went wrong. Set an example that it’s okay to talk about what tests failed and use that to determine what can be better next time.
  • View failure as learnings. If one approach did not work, it narrows down the list of possible approaches and gets you closer to the approach that will work.

4. Embrace the feedback loop

The goal of design thinking isn’t perfection, but to get the best answer possible. The best answer likely won’t be the first answer; thus, there needs to be a constant loop of getting feedback and testing new assumptions.

Tips for implementing loop:

  • Test and iterate as much as possible. Find new ways and angles to test your assumptions, you might come across something you would’ve never thought of otherwise.
  • Have feedback sessions often. When you embrace feedback, not only does it create a safe space to innovate but also by talking about it, it prevents the same mistakes made again.

Design thinking can help leaders like you to identify and solve meaningful problems for your organization. Like anything new, the process is like a muscle that you need to build and use. With a design thinking mindset, you can spend time effectively on solving the right problems and building things that will impact your organization’s success – and you can start now.

Disney doesn’t sell theme park tickets. GoPro doesn’t sell cameras. They sell stories.

Storytelling is the underlying narrative behind every brand. The greatest brands of our time realize that the physical products and services they offer are secondary to the way that they make us feel. We follow brands whose products fit into the picturebook story of our better selves.

In 2015, GoPro flew athletes to a storytelling camp where their training, product development, and media production teams taught the athletes how to create the best possible stories through their content. On GoPro’s instagram page, each photographer tells a story about the shot they’ve taken.

Storytelling

Stories are how we connect with others and affirm who we are. We all secretly envy that friend who manages to enthrall the dinner table with their most recent epic adventures. Beyond the dinner parties, great storytelling helps develop strong business strategies, makes you a better marketer, and helps you sell yourself as you grow your career.

Nowadays, there are dozens of online courses about storytelling, and we’ve rounded out 3 of our recent favorites.

OneMonth – Storytelling for Business

Taught by Master Storyteller Kevin Allison, from the popular podcast ‘Risk!’, this is an intensive 30-day workshop that breaks down every aspect of storytelling. Take this course if you want a deep dive on storytelling from a pro. This course registration ends on May 27th (this Friday!), so you’ll need to sign up quickly. OneMonth is also giving our readers 10% off their course by clicking this link.

IDEOU – Storytelling for Influence

From the great minds at IDEO, this course gives you a flexible tool kit for storytelling from the Design Director at IDEO who led the consultancy for brand strategy and storytelling for Marriott, Mattel, and others. You’ll learn from actual case studies from IDEO in order to build your storytelling tool kit.

Udemy – Storytelling for Public Speakers: From Zero to Hero

For a lighter introduction to storytelling, this Udemy course will give you the tools to improve your public speaking. This course is taught by Alex Glod, a trainer and TEDx speaker.

There are also hundreds of free resources across the web. Sign up for a Degreed account, search for storytelling, and start learning today.

1984 wasn’t just a dystopian novel by George Orwell, it was also the year Richar Saul Wurma materialized his idea for bringing technology, education and design together into a unique learning experience called TED. Now TED talks touch on almost every topic imaginable. One of my favorite additions to the TED family is TED-Ed. These are short, animated videos that dissect a thought-provoking topic in an easy-to-digest lesson. Writing this particular article took me longer than I anticipated, mostly because TED-Ed videos are addicting. But eventually your mind becomes numb and unable to be hold anymore, and that’s when you watch one more and call it a day.

The following six videos are some of my favorites from TED-Ed. But just a word of warning: you may want to make sure you have some time to kill before you start because it will be hard to stop with just one or two videos.

First up is one that was just recently uploaded to the TED-Ed channel. It dives into the science of snowflakes, which is pretty fascinating. If you have ever wondered why snowflakes are different than ice even though they are both just frozen water, or if the rumor that no two snowflakes are the same is true, this is a worthwhile watch.

1. The science of snowflakes

 

It’s hard to drive anywhere in this world we live in without seeing a car tagged with a 26.2 sticker or one of the many other humble-bragging variants. There are also more varieties of 5k races than there are jelly beans (that may or may not actually be true.) Either way, running is popular. And that means treadmills are out there being put to good use. But did you know the treadmill has a rather dark past? And have you ever wondered why it’s called a treadmill? The early days of the treadmill was nothing like today’s cardio cinema, and this TED-Ed video will show you exactly why.

2. The treadmill’s dark and twisted past

 

If you’ve ever listened to the smash-hit podcast, Serial, you’re well aware of the inherent problems with the human memory. It’s almost impossible to remember specific details of things that happened even two weeks ago. Do you remember what you ate for lunch two Tuesdays ago? If you do, do you know why you remember? This video explains the science behind how memories are stored as well as how they are lost in our minds.

3. How memories form and how we lose them

 

Have you ever wondered why left-handed people are far less common than right-handed people? What’s interesting about handedness is that left-handed people have been far less common than right-handed people for the last 500,000 years. You would think that over time lefties would begin to catch up to righties, right? Well the reason lefties still only make up about 10% of the population is a little more involved than you might think.

4. Why are some people left handed?

 

These last two videos are a bit different than the previous four. These are lessons in philosophy.

This first video is deep, but will still leave enough of your mind unblown so that it can be sufficiently blown with the next video.

5. How do you know you exist?

 

How do we know that what we are experiencing is reality? Do we discount the knowledge of others because we are ignorant, or are other people ignorant to the truth that we know? This one will really get your head spinning.

6. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Hopefully at least one of these videos served as a springboard for you to explore more from TED or TED-Ed. It’s pretty remarkable that we live in a time where so much knowledge is readily presented and available at our fingertips. You should definitely be taking advantage of that. Don’t forget to record what you learned by clicking the “add to Degreed” button below, and check out the newly redesigned Degreed.com!

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Long-distance running is not an activity to be taken lightly. Running, in general, is the kind of sport that is truly humbling. You, and you alone, are the only person standing in the way of what you define as success. Up until 2013, I had never understood the weight of strength and difficulty that it took to run a half marathon or marathon. I had always considered myself a strong runner, as I was a very committed athlete throughout high school.

In the Spring of 2013, I signed up for a half marathon and marathon back-to-back, just on a whim. I had enough confidence and arrogance from my youth and assumed that it would carry me across the finish line. Little did I know, there was so much more to long distance running than just guts.

Training for a half-marathon or marathon, along with any other race of further distance, requires a great deal of commitment – you submit yourself to months of training yourself physically and mentally, rest, proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and many other factors that come into play during the time leading up to the big race.

After that length of time throughout a marathon training period, one earns knowledge and ability. Becoming stronger in their movements and in-tune with their capabilities. After such an intense training period could one be considered an expert?

Merriam-Webster defines an expert as “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced”

What makes a person an expert in any given field is the amount of time and work that it took for that person to arrive at where they are; to be able to speak confidently, act, and react with their abilities to handle a given situation.

Marathon training is all about time and effort. The time that it takes to prepare, the time that it takes to recover, and the time that it takes to finish the race. Marathon training is a long game, made up of concentrated efforts that built up over time to create the endurance needed to accomplish a goal.

It may take more time for some individuals to do any of the things required to successfully prepare for a marathon, but that doesn’t discount their level of expertise in relation to knowing what it takes to complete a race of that distance.

A full marathon is 26.2 miles. 26.2 miles worth of mistakes. 26.2 miles worth of pain and joy. 26.2 miles of focus and dedication- just like the journey to expertise.

The average global time it takes for an individual to finish a marathon is 4 hours and 21 minutes.  That’s a lot of time that could be used to accomplish a thousand other things, yet, instead you’re running.

Behind the final race time is weeks and months, sometimes years of preparation. Marathon training teaches us about expertise because it teaches us about time and hard work, the very things that are essential to learning, practicing, and perfecting any skill. The very things that make people into experts.

November

When the temperature begins to change from “bearable with a hoodie” to “don’t go out without a coat” you know November is upon us. To me, it seems like once Halloween is over, everyone goes into Christmas mode and November just gets skipped over. I’m a strict no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving kind of guy. I’ve always felt bad for November. So to stick up for the month that gets ignored, here are three things to learn that will help you slow down and appreciate all that November has to offer.

  1. Why Election Day is on a Tuesday in November

Voting is one of the most important functions of our society. Back in the day, states used to be able to hold their voting day any time within a 34-day window before the first Wednesday in December. However, that started to cause some problems. The outcome of earlier elections swayed heavily the outcome of elections held closer to December. In 1845, in order to make the process more effective and fair, congress passed a law that mandated all elections be held the first Tuesday of November.

So what’s up with Tuesday? You can blame that on the farmers. Most people in the 1800s were farmers and the polling locations usually required a day’s worth of travel to get to. Since most people were in church on Sunday and farmer’s markets were generally on Wednesday, Tuesday was decidedly the most convenient day for everyone to be able to make it out to vote.

In addition, the beginning of November was also most the convenient because it didn’t interfere with the planting or harvesting season, and the weather wasn’t usually as cold and unbearable as it is in December. So there you go, we vote on a Tuesday in November because it allowed 19th century farmers to go to church and sell their crops while still being able to cast their votes.

  1. Where Veterans Day came from

On November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m., an armistice to end World War I went into effect. At the time, World War I had been considered the “war to end all wars.” Little did anyone know how untrue that was. However, to commemorate the end to the war, the year after the armistice president Woodrow Wilson organized the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

On June 1, 1954, November 11 officially became Veterans Day instead of Armistice Day in order to honor all American veterans “for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

  1. How football and Thanksgiving became two peas in a pod

The annual Turkey Bowl: the one time a year uncle Dave gets to relive his glory days and everyone has to listen to him spout off his tall tales. Even if he did throw the game-winning touchdown in high school, you’d never be able to tell with how many interceptions he throws Thursday morning. The tradition of football on Thanksgiving dates back a lot further than I ever thought. In fact, it’s said that sports and activities were even part of the very first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Football evolved from an apparently “crude game of ball kicking” on college campuses around the 1840’s. Eventually people began implementing rules and football became a popular college sport. The very first organized college game was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. At that time the rules prohibited players from running with the ball. They could only throw it, kick it, or head butt it.

Over the next six years, more college teams formed and an actual Intercollegiate Football Association was created. In 1876, the IFA scheduled the championship game to be played on Thanksgiving Day in front of an eager crowd of paying spectators. From there, football became an integral part of Thanksgiving day.

And there you have it! Three things you probably didn’t know about November. If you have any other interesting facts about November, I’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below or tweet them at me @bradensthompson, and  follow me on Degreed here.

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