Happy Birthday Work-Learning Research!! 20 Years Old

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On August 25th 1998, Work-Learning Research was officially born in Portland, Maine, in the United States of America. Please help me celebrate an eventful 20 years!!

In lieu of a big birthday-party bash, I’d like to offer some thanks, brag a little, and invite you to leave a comment below if my work has touched you in any beneficial ways.

If you want a history of the early years, that’s already written here.

I set out 20 years ago to help bridge the gap between scientific research and practice. I had some naive views about how easy that would be, but I’ve tried over the years to compile research from top-tier scientific journals on learning, memory, and instruction and translate what I find into practical recommendations for learning professionals—particularly for those in the workplace learning field. I haven’t done even one-tenth of what I thought I could do, but I see only a little harm in keeping at it.

Thanks!

I have a ton of people to thank for enabling me to persevere. First, my wife, who has been more than patient. Second, my daughter who, still in her mid-teens, brings me hope for the future. Also, my parents and family who have built a foundation of values and strength. A great deal of credit goes to my clients who, let’s face it, pay the bills and enable this operation to continue. Special thanks for the 227 people who sponsored my Kickstarter campaign to get my smile-sheet book published. Thanks also for the other research-to-practice professionals who are there with ideas, feedback, inspiration, and support. Thanks go out to all those who care about research-based work and evidence-based practice. I thank you for standing up for learning practices that work!

Brags

I’ve made a ton of mistakes as a entrepreneur/consultant, but I’m really proud of a few things, so permit me a moment of hubris to share what they are:

  1. Work-Learning Research has freakin’ survived 20 years!! As the legendary Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione might say, “Can you believe it?”
  2. I have avoided selling out. While vendors regularly approach me asking for research or writing that will publicly praise their offerings, I demur.
  3. I published a book that added a fundamental innovation to the workplace learning field. Performance-Focused Smile Sheets will be, in my not-so-humble opinion, an historic text. I’m also proud that 227 people in our field stood up and contributed $13,614 to help me get the book published!
  4. I was talking about fundamental research-based concepts like retrieval practice and spacing back in the early 2000’s, over ten years before books like Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel (2014) popularized these concepts, and I continue to emphasize fundamental learning factors because they matter the most.
  5. I have developed a new Learning Evaluation model (LTEM) that enables us to abandon the problematic Kirkpatrick-Katzell Four-Level Model of Evaluation.
  6. I have developed a number of extremely useful models and frameworks, including the Learning Maximizers Model, the Learning Landscape Model, the SEDA Model, the Decisive Dozen, etc.
  7. I have pioneered methods to overcome the limitations of multiple-choice tests, specifically enabling multiple-choice tests to overcome its recognition-only problem.
  8. I have created a robust catalog of publications, blog posts, and videos that share research-based practical wisdom.
  9. I have, at least a little bit, encouraged people in our field to be more skeptical and more careful and to be less inclined to buy into some of the biggest myths in the learning field. I’m attempting now to reinvigorate the Debunker.Club to enable those who care about research-based practice to support each other.
  10. I have, in a small way (not as much as I wish I could) attempted to speak truth to power.
  11. I have, I hope at least a little bit, supported other research-to-practice advocates and thought leaders.
  12. I have had the honor of helping many clients and organizations, including notable engagements with The Navy Seals, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Bloomberg, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Walgreens, ADP, Oxfam, Practising Law Institute, U.S. National Park Service, Society of Actuaries, the Kauffman Foundation, ISPI, the eLearning Guild, ATD, and Learning Technologies among many others.
  13. To make it a baker’s dozen, let me say I’m also proud that I’ve still got things I want to do…

Celebrate with Me!

While I would have loved to host a big party and invited you all, in lieu of that dream, I invite you to leave a comment.

Thank you for embracing me and my work for so many years!

Maybe it’s weird that I’m leading the celebration. Maybe it seems sad! Let me just say, f*ck that! The world doesn’t hand out accolades to most of us. We have to do our own work and celebrate where we can! I’m happy it’s Work-Learning Research’s 20 anniversary. I invite you to be happy with me!

I am truly grateful…

One more thing… the official anniversary is in a week, when I’ll be pleasantly lost in a family vacation… Apologies if I can’t respond quickly if you leave a note below!

 

Neon Elephant Award 2017

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15th December 2017

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, Inc., announces the winner of the 2017 Neon Elephant Award, given to Patti Shank for writing and publishing two research-to-practice books this year, Write and Organize for Deeper Learning and Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning—and for her many years advocating for research-based practices in the workplace learning field.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2017 Award Winner – Patti Shank, PhD

Patti Shank, PhD, is an internationally-recognized learning analyst, writer, and translational researcher in the learning, performance, and talent space. Dr. Shank holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation, Instructional Technology from the University of Colorado, Denver and a Masters degree in Education and Human Development from George Washington University. Since 1996, Patti has been consulting, researching, and writing through her consulting practice, Learning Peaks LLC (pattishank.com). As the best research-to-practice professionals tend to do, Patti has extensive experience as a practitioner, including roles such as training specialist, training supervisor, and manager of training and education. Patti has also played a critical role collaborating with the workplace learning’s most prominent trade associations—working, sometimes quixotically, to encourage the adoption of research-based wisdom for learning.

Patti is the author of numerous books, focusing not only on evidence-based practices, but also on online learning, elearning, and learning assessment. The following are her most recent books:

In addition to her lifetime of work, Patti is honored for the two research-to-practice books she published this year!

Write and Organize for Deeper Learning provides research-based recommendations for instructional designers and others who write instructional text. Writing is fundamental to instructional design, but too often, instructional designers don’t get the guidance they need. As I wrote for the back cover of the book, “Write and Organize for Deeper Learning is the book I wish I had back when I was recruiting and developing instructional writers. Based on science, crafted in a voice from hard-earned experience, [the] book presents clear and urgent advice to help instructional writing practitioners.

Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning also provides research-based recommendations. This time, Patti’s subject are two of the most important, but too often neglected, learning approaches: practice and feedback. As learning practitioners, we still too often focus on conveying information. As a seminal review in a top tier scientific journal put it, “we know from the body of research that learning occurs through the practice and feedback components.” (Salas, Tannenbaum, Kraiger, & Smith-Jentsch, 2012, p. 86). As I wrote for the book jacket, Patti’s book “is a research-to-practice powerhouse! …A book worthy of being in the personal library of every instructional designer.

Patti has worked many years in the trenches, pushing for research-based practices, persevering against lethargic institutions, unexamined traditions, and commercial messaging biased toward sales not learning effectiveness. For her research, her grit, and her Sisyphean determination, we in the learning field owe Patti Shank our most grateful thanks!

 

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Neon Elephant Award 2016

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21st December 2016

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning Research announces the winner of the 2016 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul A. Kirschner, and Casper D. Hulshof for their book, Urban Myths about Learning and Education. Pedro, Paul, and Casper provide a research-based reality check on the myths and misinformation that float around the learning field. Their incisive analysis takes on such myths as learning styles, multitasking, discovery learning, and various and sundry neuromyths.

Urban Myths about Learning and Education is a powerful salve on the wounds engendered by the weak and lazy thinking that abounds too often in the learning field — whether on the education side or the workplace learning side. Indeed, in a larger sense, De Bruyckere, Kirschner, and Hulshof are doing important work illuminating key truths in a worldwide era of post-truth communication and thought. Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the truth-tellers!

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

2016 Award Winners – Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul Kirschner, and Casper Hulshof

Pedro De Bruyckere (1974) is an educational scientist at Arteveldehogeschool, Ghent since 2001. He co-wrote two books with Bert Smits in which they debunk popular myths on GenY and GenZ, education and pop culture. He co-wrote a book on girls culture with Linda Duits. And, of course, he co-wrote the book for which he and his co-authors are being honored, Urban Myths about Learning and Education. Pedro is an often-asked public speaker, one of his strongest points is that he “is funny in explaining serious stuff.”

Paul A. Kirschner (1951) is University Distinguished Professor at the Open University of the Netherlands as well as Visiting Professor of Education with a special emphasis on Learning and Interaction in Teacher Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. He is an internationally recognized expert in learning and educational research, with many classic studies to his name. He has served as President of the International Society for the Learning Sciences, is an AERA (American Education Research Association) Research Fellow (the first European to receive this honor). He is chief editor of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, associate editor of Computers in Human Behavior, and has published two very successful books: Ten Steps to Complex Learning and Urban Legends about Learning and Education. His co-author on the Ten-Steps book, Jeroen van Merriënboer, won the Neon-Elephant award in 2011.

Casper D. Hulshof is a teacher (assistant professor) at Utrecht University where he supervises bachelors and masters students. He teaches psychological topics, and is especially intrigued with the intersection of psychology and philosophy, mathematics, biology and informatics. He uses his experience in doing experimental research (mostly quantitative work in the areas of educational technology and psychology) to inform his teaching and writing. More than once he has been awarded teaching honors.

Why Honored?

Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul Kirschner, and Casper Hulshof are honored this year for their book Urban Myths about Learning and Education, a research-based reality check on the myths and misinformation that float around the learning field. With their research-based recommendations, they are helping practitioners in the education and workplace-learning fields make better decisions, create more effective learning interventions, and avoid the most dangerous myths about learning.

For their efforts in sharing practical research-based insights on learning design, the workplace learning-and-performance field owes a grateful thanks to Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul Kirschner, and Casper Hulshof.

Book Link:

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Neon Elephant Award 2015

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21st December 2015

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning Research announces the winner of the 2015 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Julie Dirksen for her book, Design for How People Learn — just recently released in its second edition. Julie does an incredible job bridging the gap between research and learning practice. Based on decades of working with clients in building learning interventions, Julie utilizes her practical experience  to draw wisdom from the learning research. Her book is wonderfully written and illustrated, utilizes research in a practical way, and covers the most critical leverage points for learning effectiveness. Julie speaks with a voice that is authentic and experienced, providing a soothing guidebook for those who dare to learn the truth and complexities of learning design.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2015 Award Winner – Julie Dirksen

Julie Dirksen is the principal at Usable Learning, providing consulting services in learning strategy and design. For almost two decades, Julie has been working in the workplace learning-and-performance field; playing roles such as instructional designer, elearning developer, university instructor, learning strategist, keynote speaker, and consultant. Julie is one of the leading voices in our field in recommending research-based learning design and is one of the authors of the Serious eLearning Manifesto.

 

Why Honored?

Julie Dirksen is honored this year for her book, Design for How People Learn, and for her ongoing work bringing research wisdom to learning design. By creating this book, and updating it just this month, Julie has built a foundational platform to help people get a full and accurate view of learning design. Amazon reviewers speak warmly about how valuable and accessible they find the book.

Like last year’s award winners — Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel; authors of Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning — Dirksen excels in the difficult work of research translation. Julie’s unique value-add is that she speaks from years of experience as an instructional designer and learning strategist. When we read her book we feel led by a wise and experienced savant — someone who has an incredible depth of practical experience.

For her efforts sharing practical research-based insights on learning design, the workplace learning-and-performance field owes a grateful thanks to Julie Dirksen.

 

Some Key Links:

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Neon Elephant Award 2014

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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.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

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.

 

Why Honored?

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.

 

Some Key Links:

 

 

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Neon Elephant Award 2013

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21st December 2013

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2013 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Gary Klein for his many years doing research and practice in naturalistic decision making, cognitive task analysis, and insight learning–and for reminding us that real-world explorations of human behavior are essential in enabling us to distill key insights.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

2013 Award Winner –   Gary Klein

Gary Klein is a research psychologist who specializes in how people make decisions and gain insights in real-world situations. His research on how firefighters made decisions in their work showed that laboratory models of decision making were not fully accurate. His work in developing cognitive task analysis and his co-authorship of the book Working Minds have provided the training-and-development field with a seminal guide. His recent work on how people develop real-world insights is reorienting the field of creativity research and practice. In 1969 Klein received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1990’s he founded his own R&D company, Klein Associates, which he sold in 2005. He was one of the leaders in redesigning the White House’s Situation Room. He continues to be a leading research-to-practice professional.

Klein is honored this year for his lifetime of work straddling the research and practice sides of the learning-and-performance field. By doing great research and great practice and using both to augment the other, he has been able to advance science and practice to new levels.

One of Klein’s most important contributions is the insight that real-world human behavior cannot always be distilled from laboratory experiments. He has brought this wisdom to firefighting, military decision-making, and most recently to everyday insight-creation.

While we in the learning-and-performance field may focus on Klein’s work on cognitive task analysis as his most important contribution to our field, as we now look to discover ways to support employees in on-the-job learning–what some have called informal learning–Klein’s focus on naturalistic decision-making and insight-development are also likely to be seminal contributions.

For deeply exploring naturalistic decision-making and real-world insight–the workplace learning-and-performance field owes a grateful thanks to Gary Klein.

 

Some Key Links:

 

Some Key Publications:

  • Klein, G., & Jarosz, A. (2011). A naturalistic study of insight. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 5, 335-351.
  • Klein, G. (2008). Naturalistic decision making. Human Factors, 50(3), 456-460.
  • Klein, G. A. (1993). A recognition-primed decision (RPD) model of rapid decision making. In G. A. Klein, J. Orasanu, R. Calderwood, & C. E. Zsambok (Eds.), Decision making in action: Models and methods (pp. 138–147). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Klein, G., & Hoffman, R. (2008). Macrocognition, mental models, and cognitive task analysis methodology. In Schraagen, J. M., Militello, L., Ormerod, T., & Lipshitz, R. (Eds.). Naturalistic decision making and macrocognition. (pps. 3-25). Ashgate: Hampshire, U.K.
  • Kahneman, D., & Klein, G. (2009). Conditions for intuitive expertise: A failure to disagree. American Psychologist, 64, 515-526.

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Neon Elephant Award 2012

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21st December 2012

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2012 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to K. Anders Ericsson for his many years conducting research on expertise and creating a body of knowledge that is so potent that it has inspired many others to translate his research into recommendations for use by performance-improvement professionals.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2012 Award Winner –   K. Anders Ericsson

K. Anders Ericsson is Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. In 1976 he received his Ph. D. in Psychology from University of Stockholm, Sweden, followed by post-doctoral fellowship at Carnegie-Mellon University. Before focusing on expertise, he partnered with Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon in doing seminal research on how human verbal responses can be used in research. Ericsson also partnered with Bill Chase, Walter Kintsch and others in illuminating working memory.

Ericsson is honored this year for (1) his lifetime of research on some of the most important aspects of human cognition and memory, and (2) his seminal work on how people develop expertise. While the Neon Elephant Award is often conferred on (a) practitioners who utilize research, (b) translational researchers, or (c) researchers who create practical models or frameworks, Ericsson is honored for something unique. In his tireless work on expertise, he has created a body of work that has inspired others to translate research into practical recommendations. He didn’t just dip his toes into the field of expertise. He marched for years and years through a torrent of research, creating a ripple effect that has extended into our work in the workplace learning-and-performance field.

We know, based on Ericsson’s work, that people who develop the highest levels of expertise achieve their expertise, not because they were born better, but because they spend an extensive amount of time engaged in deliberate practice. This goes for all types of performers, including musicians, soccer players, doctors, and managers. In deliberate practice, learners are intentionally engaged in improving their skills. They focus concentrated attention in practicing, in getting valid feedback, and in working toward improvement.

The power of Ericsson’s work has inspired others to share the wisdom. Ericsson’s work has been taken up by the Freakonomics guys (Stephen J. Dubner & Steven D. Levitt), by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, in Dan Coyle’s The Talent Code, and in Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else. Ericsson himself has published (with Michael J. Prietula and Edward T. Cokely) an article on expertise in the Harvard Business Review

For laying the foundation for our understanding of expertise–and how it develops–we owe a grateful thanks to K. Anders Ericsson.

 

Some Key Links:

 

Some Key Publications:

  • Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.). (2009). Development of professional expertise: Toward measurement of expert performance and design of optimal learning environments.
  • Ericsson, K. A., Roring, R. W., & Nandagopal, K. (2007). Giftedness and evidence for reproducibly superior performance: An account based on the expert performance framework. High Ability Studies, 18(1), 3-56.
  • Ericsson, K. A. (2007). Deliberate practice and the modifiability of body and mind: Toward a science of the structure and acquisition of expert and elite performance. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 38(1), 4-34.
  • Ericsson, K. A. (2006). The Influence of Experience and Deliberate Practice on the Development of Superior Expert Performance. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich, & R.
    R. Hoffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 683-703). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ericsson, K. A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P. J., & Hoffman, R. R. (Eds.). (2006). The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Plant, E. A., Ericsson, K. A., Hill, L., & Asberg, K. (2005). Why study time does not predict grade point average across college students: Implications of deliberate practice for academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 30(1), 96-116.
  • Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.) (1996). The road to excellence: The acquisition of expert performance in the arts and sciences, sports, and games. Mahweh, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Ericsson, K. A. (1998). The Scientific Study of Expert Levels of Performance: General Implications for Optimal Learning and Creativity. High Ability Studies, 9(1), 75-100.
  • Ericsson, K. A., & Charness, N. (1994). Expert performance: Its structure and acquisition. American Psychologist, 49(8), 725-747.
  • Ericsson, K. A., & Chase, W. G. (1982). Exceptional memory. American Scientist, 70, 607-615.
  • Ericsson, K. A., & Kintsch, W. (1995). Long-term working memory. Psychological Review, 102(2), 211-245.
  • Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. Th., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363-406.
  • Ericsson, K. A., & Lehmann, A. C. (1996). Expert and exceptional performance: Evidence on maximal adaptations on task constraints. Annual Review of Psychology, 47. 273-305.
  • Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1993). Protocol analysis; Verbal reports as data (revised edition). Cambridge, MA: Bradford books/MIT Press.

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Work-Learning Research highly ranked on search engines.

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The Work-Learning Research website is ranked as follows:

  • #4 on Google
  • #4 on Bing
  • #7 on Yahoo

When searching for "learning research."

Interestingly, we hardly ever get paid to do research. Mostly we get paid to use research wisdom to make practical recommendations, for example in the following areas:

  1. Learning Design
  2. E-Learning
  3. Training
  4. Onboarding
  5. Safety
  6. Learning Evaluation
  7. Organizational Change
  8. Leadership Development
  9. Improving the Learning Department's Results
  10. Making Fundamental Change in Your Organization's Learning Practices

Research for me is a labor of love, and also, a way to help clients cut through opinions and get to practical truths that will actually make a difference.

But still, we are happy that the world-according-to-search-engines (WOTSE) values the research perspective we offer.

And here's a secret. We don't pay any search-optimizer companies, nor do we do anything intentional to raise our search profile (who has time or money for that?). Must be our dance moves or something…

Neon Elephant Award 2011

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22nd December 2011

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2011 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Jeroen van Merriënboer for his many years conducting research on learning and translating that research into practical models for use by learning professionals.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

2011 Award Winner –  Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer

Jeroen van Merriënboer is Program director for Research in Education, the research and PhD program of the School of Health Professions Education at Maastricht University (in Maastricht, The Netherlands).  He is also scientific director of the Interuniversity Centre for Educational Research. His main area of expertise is learning and instruction, in particular instructional design and the use of new media in innovative learning environments. He has published widely on four-component instructional design (www.tensteps.info), cognitive load theory, and lifelong learning. He holds several academic awards for his research and has been a supervisor for over 25 PhD students.

His forthcoming book:  

  • Ten Steps to Complex Learning: A Systematic Approach to Four-Component Instructional Design
    (2nd Edition arriving August 2012) 

His recent books include:

  • Ten Steps to Complex Learning: A Systematic Approach to Four-Component Instructional Design
    (2007, with Paul A. Kirschner, First Edition).
  • Training complex cognitive skills: A four-component instructional design model for technical training.
    (1997, winner of AECT’s Outstanding Book-of-the-Year Award)

Selected Publications:

Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer is honored this year for (1) his lifetime of research and (2) for his exhaustive efforts over the years in bringing research to practice (especially as represented in his Four-Components Instructional Design model (4C/ID) and his book and articles related to the Ten-Step framework (www.tensteps.info)

Jeroen should also be acknowledged for his seemingly inexaustible efforts on many fronts. He’s twice won the Best PhD Supervisor Award by the PhD Student division of the Netherlands Educational Research Association (NERA). He’s Associate Editor for the journal Learning and Instruction (ranked #3 in Educational Psychology and Educational Research). He is, or has been, involved in editorial boards on more than 10 other publications. He is involved in management as a director of research. He runs several funded research projects. He has developed software prototypes. He has authored over 100 articles in scientific refereed journals. He’s been an invited speaker over 100 times.

For his lifetime of work and for his ability to translate complex research findings into reasonably simple models for instructional design, we owe Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboe our most grateful thanks.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

Neon Elephant Award 2010

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22nd December 2010

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2010 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Richard Clark for his many years in leading the workplace learning-and-performance field by bridging the gap between academic research and practical application.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

2010 Award Winner – Richard E. Clark

Richard E. Clark is Professor Of Educational Psychology and Technology at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. He is also director of the Center for Cognitive Technology. Richard Clark is currently focusing on the design and practical application of research to the areas of complex learning, performance motivation and the use of technology in instruction. He teaches courses in adult learning theory, motivation research, and instructional design.

His most recent books include:  

  • Handling Complexity in Learning Environments: Theory and Research
    (2006, Elsevier, with Jan Elen;  
  • Turning Research Into Results: A Guide to Selecting the Right Performance Solutions
    (2002, CEP Press, with Fred Estes) which received the 2003 International Society for Performance Improvement Award of Excellence and
  • Learning from Media: Arguments, Analysis and Evidence
    (2001, Information Age Publishers).

In 2002, he won the Thomas F. Gilbert distinguished professional achievement award from the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI) and in 2003 he received the Socrates award for excellence in teaching in the Rossier School of Education. He is an elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 15, Educational Psychology), a Fellow in the Association of Applied Psychology and a Founding Fellow of the American Psychological Society.

Richard Clark is honored this year for (1) his lifetime of research and (2) for his exhaustive efforts over the years in bringing research to practice (especially as represented in his association with ISPI and his book (Turning Research Into Results – A Guide to Selecting the Right Performance Solutions )

Dick’s 1983 research review of media effects has become a classic.

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

With this one article, Dr. Clark brought a profound insight to the forefront: When two different types of instructional media (for example Video and PowerPoint) use the same learning method (in other words present the learning material in the same way), learning results will be equivalent. In other words, it’s not the media that matters, it’s the learning methods that matter. Of course, when different media utilize different learning methods, then results will not be equivalent. Dick’s grand insight helped pave the way for hundreds of thousands of instructional designers (and other learning professionals) to have intelligent conversations about learning media. While people will still ask us, “is e-learning better than classroom instruction?” we now know to counter their simplistic query with wisdom about how learning really works.

In 2006, Richard Clark contributed to another classic research review.

Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.

Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) argue that learners do better when instructional designers help provide appropriate guidance during instruction.This article launched a thousand ships—spurring research, discussion, and changes in practice.

And just last year, in 2009, Dr. Clark contributed to the enormously important book, Constructivist Instruction: Success or Failure?, a book that pits researchers arguing each side of the issue to get to the bottom of this essential debate.

And here’s one little known fact: Dick worked as an Associate Producer for Television News and Public Affairs, WHYY-TV and WFIL-TV Philadelphia, PA back in 1964-1965, when I was a youngster in the Philadelphia area. So that I don’t flatter Dick too much, I’ll have to tell him that Gene London (a Philadelphia Mr. Rogers) was much higher on my radar back then. Still, I often wonder whether such practical experience is what allows some researchers to bridge the gap to practice, while other’s ideas lay dormant within the ivory tower.

For his lifetime of work and for his ability to speak practicality from the academy, we owe Richard Clark our most grateful thanks.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

Note: Because researchers pride themselves on precision, let me note that yesterday was the actual winter solstice, when the Neon Elephant Award is typically released. Something came up.