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…

 

 

 

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.

 

 

21st December 2009

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2009 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Ruth Clark for her many years in leading the workplace learning-and-performance field with research-based insights and recommendations, and—by so doing—helping to professionalize our field.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2009 Award Winner – Ruth Clark

Ruth Clark, EdD, a recognized specialist in instructional design and technical training, holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from the University of Southern California. Prior to founding CLARK Training & Consulting, Dr. Clark served as training manager for Southern California Edison. She is past president of the International Society for Performance Improvement and author of six books and numerous articles. Dr. Clark is the 2006 recipient of the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from ISPI. Ruth is the author of numerous books, searchable at Amazon.com under her full name Ruth Colvin Clark, including:

  • The New Virtual Classroom: Evidence-based Guidelines for Synchronous e-Learning,
  • Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load,
  • e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning,
  • Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials,
  • Developing Technical Training: A Structured Approach for Developing Classroom and Computer-based Instructional Materials,
  • Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement. Click to purchase it here: Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement

In addition to her lifetime of work, she is honored this year for the 3rd edition of her excellent book, published just a little over a year ago, Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement. Although this is said to be the 3rd edition, the research cited is fresh and up-to-date. This book may be Ruth’s masterwork. It covers a wide swath of the learning research. It’s written by a research translator at the height of her powers. It’s a must-read (and must-study) for everyone in the field of workplace learning-and-performance.

It’s not easy to examine learning research from refereed scientific journals and compile it so that it is practical for others. The time commitment is incredible, the research skills must be of the highest caliber—and it requires guts and gusto. Some of what the research reveals cuts against the common wisdom. Sometimes it chaffs and brings angst and heat. Ruth’s continuing perseverance over the last three decades is testament to her passion and tenacity. Her work itself is testament to her integrity and skills.

I would imagine that over the last two decades there is no one in our field who has improved the work of as many instructional designers, trainers, and e-learning developers as Ruth Clark. For me, she continues to be a beacon—proof that research-based work is valued by our profession. For our field, Ruth’s work is simply indispensible.

Using evidence-based reasoning and recommendations is not just useful in practice. It is what respected, successful professions are based on. We owe Ruth Clark our most grateful thanks.

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

 

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.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

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)

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

 

22nd December 2007

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winners of the 2007 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Sharon Shrock and Bill Coscarelli for advocating against the use of memorization-level questions in learning measurement and for the use of authentic assessment items, including scenario-based questions, simulations, and real-world skills tests.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2007 Award Winners – Sharon Shrock, Bill Coscarelli

Sharon Shrock and Bill Coscarelli have worked together for over 25 years building world-class expertise in the area of learning measurement and criterion-referenced test development. Their lifetime of work embodies the values of the Neon Elephant Award.

The third edition of their book Criterion-Referenced Test Development: Technical and Legal Guidelines for Corporate Training, released late this year, is a standard reference in the learning-and-performance field, having won two professional society awards as the year’s outstanding publication. Their workshops and consulting on Level 2 Assessment and Certification are based on sound methodology and real-world expertise.

In addition to their lifetime of work, they are honored this year for their paradigm-altering recommendation that memorization-level questions are inadequate for use in measuring learning as it relates to workplace competence. This recommendation is absolutely stunning given that current practice in evaluating learning relies, almost without exception, on memorization-level questions. That the most highly-regarded text on criterion-referenced testing advocates for this change—especially given its focus on legal liabilities—should send shockwaves through our industry.

Bios and more information about Sharon and Bill can be found on their website at www.shrockandcoscarelli.com.

You can read a review of Sharon and Bill’s book on Will Thalheimer’s blog at this link.

You can purchase their book through Amazon.com by clicking on this link: Criterion-referenced Test Development: Technical and Legal Guidelines for Corporate Training

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

 

22nd December 2006

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the inaugural edition of the Neon Elephant Award, awarded for 2006 to Cal Wick of the Fort Hill Company for leading the development of the first commercially-viable training-follow-through e-learning software and his work as co-author of the book, The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

2006 Award Winner – Cal Wick

Cal Wick embodies the values of the Neon Elephant Award. In 1999, he founded the Fort Hill Company because of his frustration with the way typical management-training programs produced virtually no impact when the learners returned to their jobs. Cal’s answer to this problem was the development of Friday5s—an e-learning platform that enables training results to be channeled to on-the-job implementation. By tracking learners’ progress toward goals and connecting the learners’ managers and learning administrators to the progress of implementation, Friday5s enables a revolution in how we think about training. No longer is training about information. No longer is it an event. With an online training-follow-through platform, implementation can become part of the training contract. Since the 1980’s the field has moved from training to performance improvement. Cal and his team’s invention provides a bridge between training and performance. It’s not one or the other. The goal is on-the-job performance. Now training can be outfitted to support that performance.

Cal and his team at the Fort Hill Company do more than create and market their products and services. By utilizing results from both research and practice and by honestly evaluating their own on-the-job results, they have been able to build a continuing cycle of improvement in their own work efforts. They’ve also compiled their own learning in The Six Disciplines book, published this past April (2006), making it easy for the rest of us to improve what we’re doing. In the book, which I’ve previously reviewed as “nothing short of revolutionary,” they’ve laid out a coherent and well-tested system for getting training results. It’s not just about training-follow-through software. It’s about an attitude and a complete methodology for getting business results. To get the 2nd edition of the book, click here: The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results (Pfeiffer Essential Resources for Training and HR Professionals)

 

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

 

The Neon Elephant Award

The Neon Elephant Award is awarded to a person, team, or organization exemplifying enlightenment, integrity, and innovation in the field of workplace learning and performance. Announced in December—during the time of year when the northern hemisphere turns away from darkness toward the light and hope of warmer days to come—the Neon Elephant Award honors those who have truly changed the way we think about the practice of learning and performance improvement. Award winners are selected for demonstrated success in pushing the field forward in significant paradigm-altering ways while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. 

 

Why “Neon Elephant?”

The elephant represents learning, power, strength, and the importance of nurturing the community. The glow of neon represents enlightenment, illumination, and a spark of something unique and alluring.

 

Selection Methodology

The award is based purely on merit and the criteria detailed above. Proposals are not accepted, nor are any entrance fees solicited or accepted. While advice on the selection is sought from industry thought leaders, Dr. Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning Research is the final arbiter. Awards will only be made in years when exceptional contributions to the workplace learning and performance field are apparent.

 

Winners

The 2018 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Clark Quinn for writing a book debunking the learning myths, Millennials, Goldfish & Other Training Misconceptions: Debunking Learning Myths and Superstitions—and for his many years advocating for research-based practices in the workplace learning field.

The 2017 Neon Elephant Award, given this year 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.

The 2016 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Pedro De Bruycere, Paul A. Kirschner, and Casper D. Hulshof for their book Urban Myths about Learning and Education—a book that provides a research-based reality check on the myths and misinformation that float around the learning field.

The 2015 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Julie Dirksen for her book, Design for How People Learn—a book that wonderfully conveys practical, research-based wisdom through the authentic voice of an experienced instructional designer and strategist.

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.

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.

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 has inspired many others to translate his research into recommendations for use by performance-improvement professionals.

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.

The 2010 Neon Elephant Award was awarded to Richard E. Clark for his many years in leading the workplace learning-and-performance field by bridging the gap between academic research and practical application.

The 2009 Neon Elephant Award was awarded to Ruth Clark for her many years in leading the workplace learning-and-performance field with research-based insights and recommendations, and—by so doing—helping to professionalize our field.

The 2008 Neon Elephant Award was awarded to Robert Brinkerhoff for developing the Success Case evaluation method and for advocating that learning professionals play a more “courageous” role in their organizations.

The 2007 Neon Elephant Award was awarded to Sharon Shrock and Bill Coscarelli for advocating against the use of memorization-level questions in learning measurement and for the use of authentic assessment items, including scenario-based questions, simulations, and real-world skills tests.

The 2006 Neon Elephant Award was awarded to Cal Wick of the Fort Hill Company for his work developing methodologies and software to support learning transfer.

Thanks to Bill Ellet, editor of the unbiased Training Media Review, writes about the awards in our industry and how hopelessly biased and corrupt they are.

Click to read Bill's excellent article.