Differentiating Academic Coaching Roles

Extending the conversation from Academic Coaching for Adult Learners, I am finding that the word coach is a bit ambiguous, even within the context of academics only. As the coaching concept has established itself as a norm in business training, both internally and external consulting, more higher education adoptions have become evident, transitioning from terminology of mentorship to academic coaching, but what is that, exactly? One of the major outcomes of Dr. Buch-Wagler and Dr. Rose’s testing my recently developed … [Read More]


Options-Based Learning

I believe in prescribed learning for adult learners. I believe in options-based learning for adult learners. Isn’t that a conflict? Not in my mind, and here’s why. Prescribed learning, whether higher education curriculum or corporate training programs, provides the framework that is assured to scaffold throughout the program. Strong programs have an excellent architecture in place supported with well-designed learning. The prescribed flow is best developed in a centralized capacity, guiding the experience and knowledge of subject matter experts into … [Read More]


Growth Mindset: The Pursuit of Unachievable Perfection

He was 14 years old, sobbing. He was successful in anything academic that he touched. He regularly beat his dad’s grown friends at Pac-Man when he was 4 years old. He was the unofficial school IT department when he was 5 years old. He put together his first computer when he was 10 years old. But there he was. Tears pouring down his cheeks desperately trying to get out of a class that he perceived that he couldn’t do. You … [Read More]


Academic Coaching for Adult Learners

  In the non-traditional world of adult learning, academic coaching is becoming more and more of a premium need to help our learners towards a path of self-reliance and growth mindset. Universities are needing to focus their degree programs on competencies while also ensuring the soft skill development decision making, critical thinking, and communication. Add in the complexity of relying on adjunct faculty to provide the deep real-life expertise that may or may not have fully understand the educational practices, and … [Read More]


Mindsets for Flow in Agile ISD

An inherent value to the agile mindset is the respect and implementation of continuous improvement, especially, in my mind, to a framework based on agile principles. True to that belief, we have taken the the agile instructional design model that Scott Marsee and I developed back in 2011 that focused on iterative stages of course development into another state of improvement through simplication. The framework of Scrum gave us the insights to help put aside the frustrating limitations that the … [Read More]


Facilitating Collaboration

Whether we are facilitating a small brainstorming group, training a large class, or teaching an academic course, we fall susceptible to the “it’s really important to collaborate” practice. What in the world does that mean? Just chat about it? If you are shuddering at the thought of “discussion items” on a meeting agenda as much as I am, we both know it’s not about dropping a topic bomb on the table and seeing where it goes.


Representing Affective Learning in the Materials

We crave expression of feeling, as proven by our incessant need to construct emotional representation in our typing. Remember <3 ? Then it got exciting when we got the red heart. Now we have broken hearts, beating hearts, and rainbowed hearts, but you see my point. Words are never enough. So, my dear instructional designers, trainers, and facilitators out there, why do we settle for cognitive learning instead of blending it with affect?


Facilitating Beyond the Topic

It easy for me to discuss how fast a facilitator can go tunnel vision with their learners because I’ve fallen into the trap so many times. Even with a good start for a course, the best of intentions can quickly disintegrate into assessment/interaction and appropriately timed updates. Mechanical being the optimal word here. I was snapped out of my reverie when a student left me the painful feedback that “it felt like she just had a process and there wasn’t any … [Read More]


The Value of Guidelines over Rules

It may be my natural rebellion against rules. It may be my frustration when I say something in the declarative as a consultant and it’s received as a rule. It may be my annoyance watching people make up rules because they simply aren’t able to explain the why. Whatever the motivation, I’m becoming more aware of the need to embrace guidelines instead of set rules when coaching or training individuals or teams working with models. For example, instructional design focuses … [Read More]


Reviving Personal Curiosity….

In our digital age of overwhelming information and sound bytes, group think is terrifyingly easy. A professor I recently spoke to stated, “if you want to get social media hits just start slamming MBTI.” His point was that despite the fact that it is incredibly tested backwards and forwards and continually improved upon, it’s always popular to throw it against the wall and get some fake cred.


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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.

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