21st December 2014
Neon Elephant Award Announcement
Dr. Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning Research announces the winner of the 2014 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel for their book, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning—a book that brilliantly conveys scientific principles of learning in prose that is easy to digest, comprehensive and true in its recommendations, highly-credible, and impossible to ignore or forget.
Roediger and McDaniel are highly-respected learning researchers and Brown is an author and former management consultant. The book is singularly successful because it brings together researchers with a person who is highly skilled in conveying complex concepts to the public. Where too often important scientific research never leaves the darkened halls of the academy, Roediger and McDaniel demonstrate incredible wisdom and humility in collaborating with Peter C. Brown.
2014 Award Winners –
Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel
Peter C. Brown is an author and retired management consultant. He’s written non-fiction books and even a novel, which was reviewed favorably by many of the top media outlets. Indeed, the Washington Post said this: “Peter C. Brown’s sure and often lyrical evocation of the wild Alaskan coast speaks not only of knowledge but also of love.” His contribution to Make It Stick surely was in his skill in taking cold steely knowledge and bringing warmth and relevance to it.
Henry L. Roediger is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He’s had a long and distinguished career as a learning-and-memory researcher. His bio highlights his research background: “Roediger’s research has centered on human learning and memory and he has published on many different topics within this area. He has published over 200 articles and chapters on various aspects of memory.” Roediger has served as an editor on numerous scientific journals and helped found the journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, which reviews research and makes it available and accessible to the public. He was President of the American Psychological Society (now the Association for Psychological Science), the largest psychological organization dedicated to scientific psychology. He’s held a Guggenheim fellowship. He has been named one of the most highly-cited researchers in psychology.
Mark A. McDaniel is a Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He’s also had a long and distinguished career as a learning-and-memory researcher. As capture on his faculty webpage, “His most significant lines of work encompass several areas: prospective memory, encoding processes in enhancing memory, retrieval processes and mnemonic effects of retrieval, functional and intervening concept learning, and aging and memory. One unifying theme in this research is the investigation of factors and processes that lead to memory and learning failures. In much of this work, he has extended his theories and investigations to educationally relevant paradigms.” He has been a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and President of the American Psychological Association, Division 3.
Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel are being honored this year for their book, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. By creating this wonderful work, they have reached thousands and will continue to influence many teachers, professors, trainers, instructional designers, and elearning developers for years to come. Already, within the same year of publication, the book has over 100 Amazon reviews!!
It is difficult work to synthesize research into digestible chunks for public consumption. Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel have done an absolutely superlative job in making the research relevant, in engaging the reader, in conveying deeply complex concepts in a manner that makes sense, and in motivating readers to feel urgency to make learning-design improvements.
I know they’ve already made a difference in the workplace learning-and-performance field because my clients have told me how valuable they’ve found Make It Stick. I’ve even seen senior managers (non-learning professionals) get a new religion for learning by reading Make It Stick. By seeing the gaps between ideal learning practices and current learning practices, I’ve seen a senior military leader engage his folks in an intense learning audit to determine how well their current learning was aligned with the learning research. It’s only when research creates action like this that its full benefits are realized.
For bringing potent learning research to the public, the workplace learning-and-performance field owes a grateful thanks to Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel.
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