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…

Research Benchmarking

Research Benchmarking is the process by which your learning interventions are benchmarked against research-based best practices.

While random-assignment between-group research is likely to be too expensive and time-consuming for most of us, and benchmarking our work against other industry players is likely to push us toward mediocrity, Research Benchmarking offers a potent alternative.

Learning programs are examined to determine how well they (a) create understanding, (b) support long-term remembering (minimize forgetting), and (c) motivate on-the-job performance. They will be research-benchmarked against the 12 most decisive factors in learning design.

If you’d like to discuss research benchmarking further, contact me, Dr. Will Thalheimer, at 1-888-579-9814 or email me.


March 2010 Speaking Events
If you want to see me speak, there are lots of opportunities in March. Also, I've got a screen cast you can watch below introducing my four sessions at the eLearning Guild Learning Solutions Conference.

Tuesday, March 2
ISPI Massachusetts Chapter
Newton, Massachusetts
TITLE: Learning Measurement: Overcoming Myths, Research Wisdom, and Full-Source Evaluation

Tuesday and Wednesday March 23 and 24th
eLearning Guild, Learning Solutions Conference

Orlando, Florida

SESSION (FOUNDATION INTENSIVE): Research Answers: What is the Value of e-Learning? What Designs Work Best? Tuesday, March 23, 11:30a-12:15p
SESSION (ID ZONE):  Nine Biggest Mistakes in Learning Measurement. Wednesday March 24, 11:45-12:30 at the ID Zone.
SESSION 203: Assessing e-Learning Results: Fundamentals, Myths, and Special Opportunities. Wednesday March 24, 1:00p – 2:00p
SESSION 302: Improving Systems Training by Adding Informal Learning to the Blend. Wednesday March 24, 2:30p – 3:30p
SESSION (Free Consulting and Question-Asking at Speaker Clinic):  Wednesday March 24, 4:00p – 5:00p

Watch my brief (3 minute) introduction:

Sign up to attend the conference:

It’s not every day that a valued client “retires” from a
company to which she has devoted a good part of her career. I’ve known Annie
Laures for almost half a decade in my role as an outside consultant and
work-learning auditor. I’d like to take a moment and acknowledge her work at
Walgreens—and wish her well as she begins a new adventure as a consultant to
chief learning officers, training directors, and learning professionals.

Annie retired as Walgreens Director of Learning Services
after a 32-year career helping Walgreens’ pharmacists, store managers, service
clerks, corporate managers and others learn and succeed in their jobs. 

Here's Annie's picture from a relaxed informal moment.


Annie’s accomplishments are too many and varied to recite
here. Here’s a short list. In her learning-executive role heading up learning
services, Annie directed the overall learning strategy for Walgreens, led
multiple teams and units of learning professionals, and worked closely with
business management and operations. Annie has also led the Performance
Development and Training and Development units at Walgreens. She’s led
leadership development. She led the transition from classroom-only training to
an integrated e-learning system. She’s created customer-service initiatives, developed
videos, done executive coaching, managed instructional design, built 360-degree
instruments, and helped Walgreens as it merged with other corporations.

Annie has long been active in the International Society of
Performance Improvement, won an award, and earned her Certified Performance
Technology designation. Annie has presented at various industry conferences,
including a presentation she and I did together titled “Is Your Learning Organization Healthy?”

Annie’s colleagues remember her as a person of integrity,
wisdom, and a deep and practical knowledge of learning. They also remember her
as someone with a quirky sense of humor. “Often
she would tell you a story that was off-the-wall but she would do it with such
a straight face that you believe her. One time she mentioned that the new hire
missed her dog so much that we agreed she could take it to work.

For me, Annie represented the best kind of client. She
wanted to do the right thing and create learning interventions that really
worked. She was politically savvy enough know what would fly and what would be
derailed by management. She worked within the system to get the best results
possible. Annie was also just a joy to work with—friendly, open, direct, personable,
and caring. She also had great instincts about learning and performance. Her
recommendations and thinking were almost always aligned with research and best
practices. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Annie was her
willingness to be open to new ideas and improvement in learning-and-performance
design. Her inquisitive non-defensive nature helped her and Walgreens Learning
to continue moving forward in continuing cycles of improvement. Annie just
seemed to want to do what was right for the learners of Walgreens. It never
appeared to be about her.

When a person has a passion to make things better, when they
are focused on the general good (and not themselves so much), when they are
skilled at getting things done, and when they are open—truly open—to learning,
the world will become a better place because of their actions. To me, that
seems the story of Annie Laures career at Walgreens.

I want to acknowledge Annie’s Walgreens work and also thank
Annie for hiring me when my research-and-consulting practice really needed the
work. I also want to wish Annie the best as she opens up her consulting
practice. If you’d like to inquire about Annie’s consulting services, contact
her at this email.

Thanks Annie!!

Searching for "learning research," Work-Learning Research is fairly highly rated.

Google: #4

Bing: #4

Yahoo: #6

I'm honored and want to thank all the fans who make it so.

Magna Publications invited me to speak to its members about Situation-Based Learning Design. We had a great discussion in an online webinar. While the participants came because they were college professors/instructors interested in online learning, I emphasized the general application of the principles and concepts.

I even gave an example of how teaching poetry could be situation-based.

Magna was so pleased with the results that they are now selling CD's of my webinar presentation.

Click to learn more…

Tomorrow (Friday January 23rd, 2009), I'm holding a webinar on the Myths the Business Side Has About Learning.

I've gathered a list of myths from learning professionals (folks on LinkedIn, clients, books, me), have done a card sort on the myths, and I'd like to share those myths with you and get your additional thoughts. I hope also to have time for a discussion regarding what WE (as learning professionals) need to do to overcome these perceptions. What responsibility should we take?

I got started on this because a client has asked me to build a course to teach the business side about learning and their role in supporting learning, both formal and informal. Confronting myths directly is one thing I'll need to do in my course design.

You can sign up for the webinar by clicking here.

FREE Webinosh on Instructional Objectives

This Friday January 9th, 2009, I will talk about Instructional Objectives, and some research, thereof.

Instructional Objectives:

  • Do they produce learning results?
  • Are they all the same?
  • Do we have to use them?
  • Do prequestions work just as well?
  • How specifically do they have to be worded?
  • Can I use the word “Understand”? Answer: In some of them, but not others.
  • Hey Will, do you have a new taxonomy for us?

Click to Sign Up:


I’ve been busy again thinking about the nexus between LEARNING and LEARNING MEASUREMENT.

You can peruse some of my previous thoughts on learning measurement by clicking here.

Here is a brand new article that I wrote for the eLearning Guild on how to evaluate Learning 2.0 stuff. Note: Learning 2.0 is defined (by the eLearning Guild) as: The idea of learning through digital connections and peer collaboration, enhanced by technologies driving Web 2.0. Users/Learners are empowered
to search, create, and collaborate, in order to fulfill intrinsic needs to learn new information.
Evaluating Learning 2.0 differs from evaluating traditional Learning 1.0 training for many reasons, one of which is that Learning 2.0 enables (encourages) learners to create their own content.

Steve Wexler, Director of Research and Emerging Technologies at the eLearning Guild, and I are leading a Webinar on Thursday September 4th on the current state of eLearning Measurement. We’ve got some new data that we’re hot to share.

Finally, Roy Pollock, one of the authors of the classic book, Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning, and I are leading a one-day symposium on measuring learning at the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn 2008 conference in November. It’s a great chance to go to one of the best eLearning conferences around while working with Roy and I in a fairly intimate workshop, wrangling with the newest thinking in how to measure learning. Choose Symposium S-4. Note that it may not show Roy’s information there yet–the Guild is still working on the webpage–but let me assure you that Roy and I are equal partners in this one.

Questioning Strategies for
Audience Response Systems:
How to Use Questions to Maximize
Learning, Engagement, and Satisfaction

by Dr. Will Thalheimer


The buzz in the learning industry is focused on e-learning, m-learning, wikis, and blogs; but one of the most powerful learning technologies is being overlooked, probably because it’s an in-the-classroom technology—audience response systems. In this research-to-practice white paper I offer a blueprint for how to use audience response systems to maximize higher-order learning in the classroom and beyond.

What One Reader Wrote to Me

Dr. Thalheimer,

Just wanted to drop you a little note this morning to express my gratitude for your paper "Questioning Strategies for Audience Response Systems: How to Use Questions to Maximize Learning, Engagement, and Satisfaction."

A friend recommended that I read it to prepare for a Higher Order Questioning staff development class that she and I are teaching together (in conjunction with some CPS [audience response] training we’re offering). To tell you the truth, I really wasn’t looking forward to reading it because I expected it to be dry and full of boring I’m-trying-to-sound-snobbily-intellectual writing, but I LOVED it. 🙂

I enjoyed your approachable style and dry sense of humor so much I read all the way through (including the endnotes!) and had many a good laugh along the way. In addition to being a blast to read, the paper challenged and inspired me to find new ways to push my questioning skills to a higher level for the next school year.

Thanks again, for the inspiration and for the great read. I’ll be checking out your website later today and hope to find that equally enjoyable.


Liz Walhof

Spanish Teacher

From the Paper’s Introduction

"Audience response systems have enormous potential for transforming lectures from dry recitals into rich jam sessions of deeply resonant learning. The technology is widely available, but the key to success is not in the technology; it’s in the instruction. To maximize meaningful learning, instructors must become adept in using questioning and discussion techniques. Unfortunately, some of us may come to believe that we can simply sprinkle our lectures with a few multiple-choice questions. This approach is emphatically inadequate, and is simply not worthy of our profession.

This report provides a near-exhaustive list of questioning strategies, and a comprehensive guide on using questions to facilitate classroom learning. No other resource exists that is research-based and comprehensive, while also being practical and useful. It has been designed specifically to provide practical guidance for trainers, teachers, and professors so that their learners—whether they are eight, forty-eight, or eighty years old—can experience deep and meaningful learning."

Special thanks to eInstruction for agreeing to license the paper for distribution to their clients. Such underwriting helps move the audience-response field forward and demonstrates an enlightened commitment to effective learning in classrooms of all types throughout the world. Other underwriting opportunities are available for research on audience-response learning. Contact Dr. Thalheimer with inquiries.

Additional Information

  • Number of Pages: 124
  • Number of Research Citations: 54
  • Publication Date: March 2007
  • Available to you Immediately as downloadable Electronic file (PDF).
  • Purchasing utilizes industry-leading security.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
  • Cost: $40.00 (US)

Click here to purchase…