Paul Reali

Paul Reali, MS, MBA
OmniSkills Founder & Principal
336.926.8833 * E-mail Paul

The OmniSkills Difference

Unique concepts and content, created here, available only from us

Dynamic trainers who involve participants actively in the learning

Effective design that extends the learning before and after the classroom event


OK, we admit that you have to be a bit of a learning wonk (which we mean in a good way) to want to read this page. But if you want to understand what makes OmniSkills different - and we mean different - then please read on.

Here's the question we set out to answer: Why is so much training so much…less than it can be? We think there are two reasons. First, because so much training is designed in a haphazard way, by trainers who are not instructional designers, and who have just anecdotal knowledge about what works. And second, because the classroom event is being asked to do too much.

At OmniSkills, we know what works. We have developed an expertise in instructional design that goes beyond our own classroom training experience into continuous research on adult learning and learning design. From this, we have adopted the Torrance Incubation Model for Teaching and Learning (TIM) as our framework for learning design.

Developed by education and creativity pioneer E. Paul Torrance, and advanced by the faculty of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, the model recognizes that learning is a process, not an event, and that learning should be designed with more than the classroom in mind.


TIM’s three-phase structure is: heighten anticipation, deepen exploration, and extend the learning. Simplifying, this could be thought of as what happens before, during, and after. Some training does attempt to do this; and given the over-focus given to the in-class aspect of classroom training, this of itself is an improvement. Learning should be extended in both directions from the classroom event.

But TIM goes even further, and so do we.

TIM’s three-part structure can be applied throughout the learning process. OmniSkills applies it in three ways: to design individual topics; to design entire courses; and to design the delivery of courses. This means that for each unit of learning, from the topic to the course we follow the three stages.

Torrance Incubation Model for Teaching and LearningLet's look at how this is applied to a course.

First, we move some of the learning and preparation to the weeks before the classroom event. During that time we heighten anticipation by involving the learners in personal reflection and goal setting, and by providing some base knowledge, either through pre-reading, audio podcasts, or video presentations. By completing this prework, learners arrive at the class ready to learn, because they have already been learning for several weeks.

Second, we deliver the class itself. Because we have moved the core concepts learning outside of the classroom, we can take full advantage of what the classroom does best: collaborative learning. Guided by an experienced OmniSkills facilitator, we deepen exploration of the content, learning from each other, with each learner making deep connections between the subject matter and their own work.

Third, we extend learning outside the classroom and back to the workplace with follow-up that is unmatched in the industry. Our post-class interventions include support by e-mail and videoconference, downloadable documents and tools, and a community collaboration system that allows the conversation to continue.

Taking TIM further, we also apply it to a topic within a course. Imagine we are about to begin a new topic. First, we heighten anticipation through an exercise, self-reflection, video, or other means. Then, we dig into the topic, deepening exploration in ways that only the classroom can do - that is, not lecturing, but involving the learners. Finally, we leave the topic by providing a way for the participant to extend the learning after they leave us.

So, that's it in a (fairly large) nutshell. Have we heightened your anticipation of learning more? Contact us to learn how we can put TIM to work for you.