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What do our most popular blog posts say about our field—the learning field?

A few months ago (in the last half of 2018), I reached out to bloggers in the learning field to find out. This blog post includes the numbers, wit, and wisdom from these bloggers. In addition to me, there are 18 other bloggers who generously shared their most popular blog posts.

I’m thrilled with the cross section of bloggers who are included here. We’ve got mega-bloggers (people who get over 25,000 people coming to their homepage each year, we’ve got medium bloggers, and we’ve got folks with small but passionate audiences. We’ve got some of the biggest names in the learning field. We’ve got folks focused on workplace learning and folks focused on education. We’ve got about an even split between men and women. Most of all, we have a group of folks bold and generous enough to share the reality of their blogs.

My Observations From the Results

I highly encourage you to peruse the contributions below. Each blogger shares his/her most popular blog post—the post that gets the most yearly visits—and reflects on what makes it so popular. They also share their feelings about why they’re blogging in the first place.

Some of the most popular posts are short. Some are long. Some are personal, even intimate. Some recount research with cold steely precision. Some have a negative slant, raging against poor practices. Some have a positive slant, reveling in the wonder of learning and service to others.

So what makes for a popular blog post in the learning field? Well, we have a relatively small and certainly not-fully representative sample, but the most important thing seems to be providing people with information that is perceived as valuable and/or unique. Some characteristics that seem especially important:

  • Answering important questions—questions that often get asked.
  • Providing definitive or research-based information.
  • Debunking myths or arguing against common traditional practices.
  • Providing a list of information.
  • Providing links where readers can learn more.
  • Introducing a creative or unique concept or idea.
  • Focusing on a topic of current popular interest.
  • There is a visual element to the blog post.
  • The topic is one likely to be assigned by university professors.
  • Timeless topics, because over time they engender lots of links.
  • Topics that help people do their work better.

These are some of the lesson learned from my reflections. You will probably see other things in the list of most popular blog posts. Please add your observations and conclusions in the comments below.

The bloggers are listed in random order below.

What the Blog Posts Say about the Learning Field

Our sample of bloggers offer thoughtful reflections on the practice of learning and development. It seems readers are hungry for useful, validated, and unique information—as long as it is presented in ways that are pithy, straightforward, and powerful.

To me, as a research-to-practice guy, I’m encouraged by the interest in evidence-based information and the number of people searching for information on learning myths. I’m also delighted that none of the most popular blog posts are advocating silly or harmful fads. This could be a result of the kinds of people likely to respond to a call to action from me, someone known for a certain perspective and approach. On the other hand, I did ask people to share the call-to-action widely and we did get quite a broad range of bloggers.

The most popular blog posts also suggest that blog readers in the learning field are looking for information that they can use right away—that add value and help them do their work.

Our readers also want unique perspectives. Not the same old thing. Some of the most popular posts talked about humble leadership, training ghettos, being human on social media, and digital body language—topics so compelling that readers can’t help but engage.

What do you think the list of most popular blog posts say about the learning field? Respond below! I’d love to hear multiple perspectives on this.

I got interested in the popularity of different blog posts because one of my blog posts is ridiculously more popular than my blog itself, regularly getting more than three times more traffic than my home page!! I’ll give you my stats first, and then share each blogger’s responses one at a time—shared in a random order.

Will Thalheimer

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Will’s Blog (formerly Will At Work Learning)

Blog Address:

https://www.worklearning.com/wills-blog/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

My blog is designed to share research-based practical wisdom with the workplace learning field and news and research of importance to those who follow my work. Focuses more and more on learning evaluation.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://www.worklearning.com/2006/05/01/people_remember/

What is the title of this blog post?

People remember 10%, 20%…Oh Really?

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

34,135

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

9,994

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

The post debunks the myth that people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, etc. These numbers have often been associated with the learning pyramid and Edgar Dale’s Cone. This was my original blog post from 2006 and has been updated over the years.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

The myth is so widely shared and so many people have taken responsibility to debunk this myth on their own blogs and websites that lots of traffic gets pointed to this post as it was among the first warnings posted on the internet.

Mike Taylor

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Ask. Learn. Share.

Blog Address:

https://mike-taylor.org/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Share useful things from the intersection of learning, design, and technology.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://mike-taylor.org/2011/06/10/21-questions-to-ask-before-designing-any-training-program/

What is the title of this blog post?

21 Questions to ask before Designing Any Training Program

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

2,244

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

7,254

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

This page is just a collection of the most recent posts.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

I think this is a very key foundational idea for how to get started on any learning-related project.

Andrew Jacobs

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Lost and Desperate.

Blog Address:

https://lostanddesperate.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Writing about learning in a way which helps me reflect and tries to move the industry forward.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://lostanddesperate.com/2014/03/14/50-big-ideas-to-change-l-and-d/

What is the title of this blog post?

50 BIG IDEAS TO CHANGE L AND D

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

151

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

1,097

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

There are lots of ways you can develop your L&D offer that just need you to think a bit bigger.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

It’s aspirational, it’s practical, it’s a bit evangelical.

Jo Cook

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Lightbulb Moment Blog

Blog Address:

https://lightbulbmoment.info

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Virtual classroom and webinars, but also learning and development more broadly.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://lightbulbmoment.info/2018/04/04/what-is-digital-body-language/

What is the title of this blog post?

What is Digital Body Language?

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

704

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

6,189

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

That there is an online equivalent of body language for when delivering virtual classrooms.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

It’s a new concept on an area where people don’t have much experience or confidence.

Ryan Tracey

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

E-Learning Provocateur

Blog Address:

https://ryan2point0.wordpress.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

To provoke deeper thinking about digital learning in the corporate sector.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://ryan2point0.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/taxonomy-of-learning-theories/

What is the title of this blog post?

Taxonomy of Learning Theories

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

1,113

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

8,019

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

A brief overview of, and a proposed taxonomy for, key theories that apply to workplace learning.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

Because practitioners are confused by different theories and are uncertain as to how they apply to their role.

Wilfred Rubens

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

WilfredRubens.com over leren en ICT

Blog Address:

http://www.te-learning.nl/blog/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

I am very interested in how technology can enhance and facilitate learning. I use my blog to share information about technology enhanced learning.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://www.te-learning.nl/blog/voor-en-nadelen-gebruik-sociale-media-door-jongeren/

What is the title of this blog post?

Voor- en nadelen gebruik sociale media door jongeren

Translated into English by Google: Pros and cons of the use social media by young people

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

16,515

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

14,227

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Overview of pro’s and con’s of the use of social media by young people. People who are currently arguing in favour of ‘ban the media’ are gradually putting themselves outside social reality. It is better to focus on sensible use, using the possibilities of social media. That is more effective than fighting against windmills.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

Actual for more than ten years. Content is appealing. Food for thought. Well indexed by search engines.

Julie Drybrough

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

fuchsia blue blog

Blog Address:

https://fuchsiablueblog.wordpress.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

I write about organisational learning/ change/ culture as I see them. I write vignettes about my consultancy work and observation pieces about our profession/ field. I try to get folk thinking more deeply or oddly about what they do.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://fuchsiablueblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/the-power-of-humble-leadership/

What is the title of this blog post?

The Power of Humble Leadership

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

208

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

2,852

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Intro to fuchsia blue – about me etc

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

It’s the front-page when you hit the site, generally

Neil Von Heupt

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Divergent Learning

Blog Address:

https://divergentlearning.wordpress.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

I try to write things that will add value to those who might read them.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://divergentlearning.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/a-human-social-media-experiment/

What is the title of this blog post?

A human social media experiment

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

99

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

163

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Being human on social media

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

It had two things going for it – a trip down memory lane via childhood books, and a curated list of L&D reading material. And it was quite visual, so I guess that’s three!

Brett Christensen

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Workplace Performance

Blog Address:

https://workplaceperformanceblog.wordpress.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Promote the science of performance improvement.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://workplaceperformanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/needs-assessment-or-needs-analysis/

What is the title of this blog post?

Needs Assessment or Needs Analysis

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

521

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

3,577

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

There is a difference between needs assessment and needs analysis.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

Because it’s a common question and I hope I am writing in a way that connects with everyone.

Dennis Callahan

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Learnstreaming

Blog Address:

http://learnstreaming.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Sharing my thoughts on workplace learning.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://learnstreaming.com/learning-means-believing-in-yourself/

What is the title of this blog post?

Learning Means Believing in Yourself

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

4,440

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

Not Sure

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

To learn, you need to have confidence in yourself, You can do it!

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

With so much change and uncertainty, you are always the constant. Trust and believe in yourself and you can grow.

Mirjam Neelen and Paul Kirschner

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

3-Star Learning Experiences

Blog Address:

https://3starlearningexperiences.wordpress.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Our blog aims to present learning professionals with evidence-informed ideas on how to make both the instructional and the learning experience more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. We discuss fads & fallacies, we try to find nuance, and we provide our readers with concrete ideas on how to design 3-star learning experiences based on the evidence out there!

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://3starlearningexperiences.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/no-feedback-no-learning/

What is the title of this blog post?

No Feedback, No Learning

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

5,761

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

13,583

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

This blog discusses why feedback is critical for learning as well as different types of feedback for learning and how they hurt or support learning.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

I think people realize that feedback is one of the most, if not the most important tools for supporting learning. Giving effective feedback has also been found to be one of the most powerful educational interventions to improve learning. Effective feedback positively affects learning outcomes and motivation to learn, and can help build accurate schema.

Christy Tucker

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Experiencing E-Learning

Blog Address:

https://christytucker.wordpress.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Mostly instructional design for elearning, especially scenarios for workplace learning.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://christytucker.wordpress.com/2007/05/26/what-does-an-instructional-designer-do/

What is the title of this blog post?

No Feedback, No Learning

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

32,246

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

7,141

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

It’s my explanation of what instructional designers do, as a response to all the times I have had to explain my work to others

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

It answers a question people genuinely have (what is instructional design). It used to rank better in search engine results, but has dropped because the post is now over 10 years old.

Donald H Taylor

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Donald H Taylor

Blog Address:

http://donaldhtaylor.co.uk/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Share my thoughts on learning and performance at work.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://donaldhtaylor.co.uk/are-you-in-the-training-ghetto/

What is the title of this blog post?

Are you in the Training Ghetto?

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

Not Sure

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

Not Sure

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Many L&D departments run the risk of being sidelined as they fail to adapt to change at the same speed as the rest of the business.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

People recognise the issues involved, and can place themselves on the 2×2 grid I provide.

Matt Guyan

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Learn. Show. Repeat.

Blog Address:

http://www.mattguyan.com/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

To share what I’m learning as well as my thoughts about eLearning.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://www.mattguyan.com/letter-to-an-elearning-creator/

What is the title of this blog post?

Letter to an eLearning Creator

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

4,760

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

2,615

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

I was venting my frustration at many of the things that are wrong with eLearning!

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

People seemed to relate to it either as a developer or user.

Guy Wallace

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Pursuing Performance

Blog Address:

https://eppic.biz/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Share on the topics and tasks of performance-based ISD and Performance Improvement, and pay it forward, as my many mentors had done for me.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://eppic.biz/2012/03/26/the-big-5-in-human-personality-assessments-canoe/

What is the title of this blog post?

The Big 5 in Human Personality Assessments: CANOE

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

12,815

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

43,428

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Sharing a valid approach to personality assessments: The Big Five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (common acronyms are OCEAN, NEOAC, or CANOE).

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

Those that become aware of the shortcoming of MBTI, DiSC, etc. in some uses within HR need something valid in its place.

Connie Malamed

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

The eLearning Coach

Blog Address:

http://theelearningcoach.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

My focus is on designing learning experiences in the workplace to support adult learners and to help them improve their performance at work. I try to cover topics related to this, such as instructional design, cognitive psychology, visual design and multimedia, technology-based learning, etc.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://theelearningcoach.com/learning/10-definitions-learning/

What is the title of this blog post?

10 Definitions of Learning

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

90,730

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

25,541

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

We all know that the human brain is immensely complex and still somewhat of a mystery. It follows then, that learning—a primary function of the brain—is understood in many different ways. Here are ten ways that learning can be described.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

I think the traffic is coming from any type of learning professional (IDers, teachers, professors, trainers) who are interested in the variety of ways to think about learning. They are trying to figure out what learning is or they have a philosophical interest. It could also be coming from students who need a definition for a paper they are writing.

Christopher Pappas

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

eLearning Industry

Blog Address:

https://elearningindustry.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

The best collection of eLearning articles, eLearning concepts, eLearning software, and eLearning resources.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

https://elearningindustry.com/the-20-best-learning-management-systems

What is the title of this blog post?

The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2018 Update)

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

151,345

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

288,334

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Choosing the right Learning Management System for the deployment of your eLearning courses might seem a daunting task. Care to find out about the best Learning Management Systems the eLearning industry has to offer? In this article, I’ll present a list of the 20 best Learning Management Systems for all needs and budgets.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

There are many organization that are looking to find or replace their Learning Management System. They are interested to read what eLearning Industry has to offer.

Michelle Ockers

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

It doesn’t have a name.

Blog Address:

http://michelleockers.com/blog/

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

(1) Thought leadership – opinions on role and future of L&D. Increasingly targeted at business leaders. (2) Daily dispatches – Narrating my work (term from Austin Kleon) http://michelleockers.com/daily-dispatches/.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://michelleockers.com/mo-blog/how-we-modernised-our-learning-and-development-model-mindset-and-capabilities/

What is the title of this blog post?

How We Modernised our Learning and Development Model, Mindset and Capabilities

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

Not Sure

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

Not Sure

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

Modernisation of L&D practices, mindset and capability.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

Case study. Tips.

Tracy Schiffmann

What is the name of your blog? (NOT YOUR URL)

Brain-Based and Trauma-Informed Teaching

Blog Address:

http://www.tracyschiffmann.com

What do you try to do in your blog? What’s your focus, goal, or slant?

Support teachers and trainers in working more effectively with trauma-impacted adult learners.

What is the URL of your most visited blog post?

http://tracy-schiffmann.squarespace.com/blog/2016/12/17/10-trauma-informed-classroom-strategies-for-navigating-behavior-emergencies

What is the title of this blog post?

10 Trauma-Informed Classroom Strategies for Navigating Classroom Behavior Emergencies

How many page views FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST in the last 12 MONTHS?

429

How many page views FOR YOUR BLOG’S HOME PAGE in the last 12 MONTHS?

66

What is the gist or main message of THIS blog post?

I introduce 10 practical strategies for responding to challenging classroom behavior that may be a result of trauma-impact. I then share a true story from my teaching experience and demonstrate how the strategies were used to respond to the upset adult learner.

Why do you think this post is so popular with your readers?

I have many readers who teach trauma-impacted adult learners in prisons, jails, community-based organizations, and community colleges. They see the impact of trauma on both behavior and on their student’s ability to learn. Institutionalized racism, natural disasters, bullying, childhood abuse, and even the current political climate are traumatizing.

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.