21st December 2022
Neon Elephant Award Announcement
Dr. Will Thalheimer, Principal at TiER1 Performance, Founder of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2022 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Donald Clark, for writing the book, Learning Experience Design: How to Create Effective Learning that Works, and for his collation of the Greatest Minds on Learning (both in the podcast series with John Helmer and in Donald’s tireless work researching and curating critical ideas and thinkers in his Plan B blog).
2022 Award Winner – Donald Clark
Donald Clark is a successful entrepreneur, professor, researcher, author, blogger, and speaker. He is an internationally-renowned thinker in the field of learning-technology, having worked in EdTech for over 30 years; having been a leader in many successful learning-technology businesses (both as an executive and board member); and having written extensively on a wide range of topics related to learning and development—in books, articles, and his legendary blog. Relatively early in his career, Donald earned success as one of the original founders of Epic Group plc, a leading online learning company in the UK, an enterprise subsequently floated on the Stock Market in 1996 and sold in 2005. Since then, as Donald has described it, he has felt “free from the tyranny of employment,” using this privilege to the advantage of the learning field. Donald has becoming an advocate for research-based practices and intelligent uses of learning technologies. He has also founded, run, and supported learning-technology enterprises, which has further helped spread good learning practices.
Donald Clark’s most recent book—Learning Experience Design: How to Create Effective Learning that Works—stands above and apart from most writing on Learning Experience Design. It is fully and thoroughly inspired by the scientific research on learning and on real-world experience in using and developing learning technologies. Chapter after chapter it shares an inspiring introduction, a robust review of best practices, and a concise set of practical recommendations. Anyone practicing learning experience design should buy this book today—study it and apply it’s recommendations. Your learners and organizations will thank you. You will build wildly more effective learning!
Donald Clark’s compilations of our field’s best thinkers and ideas is legendary—or should be! Over many decades, he has tirelessly curated an almost endless treasure-trove of golden nuggets on many of the most important ideas in the learning field. This past year, he has brought these to a larger audience through his excellent collaboration with John Helmer, known most famously for his Learning Hack podcast. Donald Clark’s and John Helmer’s Great Minds on Learning webcast and podcast collaboration is fantastic. Donald’s written reviews provide us with an overview of the deep history of the learning field. Here is a blog post that lists many of Donald’s reviews of the great thinkers in our field.
Notable contributions from Donald Clark:
- Book: Learning Experience Design: How to Create Effective Learning that Works
- Book: Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development
- Podcast/Webcast: Great Minds On Learning (with John Helmer)
- Compilation: 200 learning theorists… 2500 years of learning theory… from Greeks to Geeks!
In his decades of work, Donald Clark has been a tireless advocate for improvements and innovation in the field of learning-and-development and learning technology. He often refers to his work as “provocative,” and deserves admiration for (1) urging the learning field to embrace scientifically-informed practices, (2) urging us to be more forward looking in our embrace of learning technologies (particularly AI), and (3) being one of our field’s preeminent historians—reminding us of the rich and valuable work of researchers, writers, and practitioners from the past centuries to today. It is an honor to recognize Donald as this year’s winner of the Neon Elephant Award.