Mirjam Neelen and Paul Kirschner have written a truly beautiful book—one that everyone in the workplace learning field should read, study, and keep close at hand. It’s a book of transformational value because it teaches us how to think about our jobs as practitioners in utilizing research-informed ideas to build maximally effective learning architectures.
Their book is titled, Evidence-Informed Learning Design: Use Evidence to Create Training Which Improves Performance. The book warns us of learning myths and misconceptions—but it goes deeper to bring us insights in how these myths arise and how we can disarm them in our work.
Here’s a picture of me and my copy! The book officially goes on sale today in the United States.
The book covers the most powerful research-informed learning factors known by science. Those who follow my work will hear familiar terms like Feedback, Retrieval Practice, Spacing; but also, terms like double-barreled learning, direct instruction, nuanced design, and more. I will keep this book handy in my own work as a research-inspired consultant, author, provocateur—but this book is not designed for people like me. Evidence-Informed Learning Design is perfect for everyone with more than a year of experience in the workplace learning field.
The book so rightly laments that “the learning field is cracked at its foundation.” It implores us to open our eyes to what works and what doesn’t, and fundamentally to rethink how we as practitioners work in our teams to bring about effective learning.
The book intrigues as can be seen in sections like, “Why myths are like zombies,” and “No knowledge, no nothing,” and “Pigeonholing galore.”
One of my favorite parts of the book is the interviews of researchers that delve into the practical ramifications of their work. There are interviews with an AI expert, a neuroscientist, and an expert on complex learning, among others. These interviews will wake up more than a few of us.
What makes this book so powerful is that it combines the work of a practitioner and a researcher. Mirjam is one of our field’s most dedicated practitioners in bringing research inspirations to bear on learning practice. Paul is one of the great academic researchers in doing usable research and bringing that research to bear on educational practice. Together, for many years, they’ve published one of the most important blogs in the workplace learning field, the Three-Star Learning blog (https://3starlearningexperiences.wordpress.com/).
Here are some things you will learn in the book:
Big Picture Concepts:
- What learning myths to avoid.
- What learning factors to focus on in your learning designs.
- How to evaluate research claims.
- Whether Google searches can supplant training.
- What neuroscience says about learning, if anything.
- How to train for complex skills.
- How AI might help learning, now and in the future.
- Types of research to be highly skeptical of.
- Whether you need to read scientific research yourself.
- Whether you should use learning objectives, or not, or when.
- Whether learning should be fun.
- The telltale signs of bad research.
This book is so good that it should be required reading for everyone graduating at the university level in learning-and-development.
Click on the book image to see it on Amazon (US).