20th December 2008
Neon Elephant Award Announcement
Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2008 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Robert Brinkerhoff for developing the Success Case evaluation method and for advocating that learning professionals play a more “courageous” role in their organizations.
2008 Award Winner – Robert Brinkerhoff
Robert O. Brinkerhoff, EdD, professor emeritus, Western Michigan University is planning his retirement from his full-time work as a principal consultant and partner at Advantage Performance Group, where he has worked since 2005. His clients include Anglo-American Corp., Bank of America, Pitney Bowes, the Federal Aviation Administration, Dell, and the World Bank. He is the author of numerous books, including Courageous Training (with Tim Mooney), Success Case Method, High Impact Learning, and Telling Training’s Story.
In addition to his lifetime of work, he is honored this year for the development of the Success-Case Method and for his advocacy that learning professionals play a more “courageous” and integral part in organizational performance. Too many of us play order-taker roles when we should be partners in helping our organization/business get results. Brinkerhoff’s insight that overly-complex methodologies are generally ineffective because they can’t be understood easily by stakeholders is one that more thought leaders should embrace.
The Success Case Method, while it can’t provide a complete picture of the training-impact landscape, is an important tool in any training-evaluation toolkit. It embodies two key insights. First, training doesn’t have to prompt all trainees to utilize training successfully to have a major impact on the organization. If one person implements one insight that nets the organization millions of dollars, the overall impact of the training may hinge on that one result—not the average or median result from all the learners. The second key insight embodied in the Success Case Method is the understanding that we ought to be diagnosing the cause of training failures and then working to fix those failures. By diving into deep case analyses of failure instances, we can uncover obstacles and forces that are limiting training impact. To learn about the Success Case Method, see Brinkerhoff’s book “Telling Training’s Story: Evaluation Made Simple, Credible, and Effective.” You can purchase it by clicking here: Telling Training’s Story: Evaluation Made Simple, Credible, and Effective
Brinkerhoff’s latest book, entitled “Courageous Training: Bold Actions for Business Results,” and written with Tim Mooney, build’s on Brinkerhoff’s years of experience in evaluating learning. He has seen how training succeeds and how it fails. He uses wisdom gained from these evaluations to lay out a comprehensive and practical process for going from needs-identification to results. Mooney and Brinkerhoff’s book challenges us as learning professionals to go outside our comfort zones to make true performance impacts. It is an important book in the mold of Wick, Pollock, Jefferson, and Flanagan’s “Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning.” You can purchase it by clicking here: Courageous Training: Bold Actions for Business Results (Bk Business)