Blog Archives

Engaging the Whole Person in Learning

  Why is it that we spend so much on training (over $150 B in just one year, industry-wide) but see so little change? I watch instructional designers, trainers, and course writers work painstakingly to provide a clear message to the receivers, but then see the learning bounce and skip off, never fully landing at a level that creates true retention. Using the phases of learning that Bloom presents in his cognitive taxonomy is a solid tactic for good instruction. … [Read More]


Creating the Environment for Improvement over Churn

Those who do not study the past are condemned to repeat it. ~Santayana Envision the situation: A team is contracted to build a new statistics course for a bachelor’s degree program. This is exciting because it’s the first offering, and building is always more fun than editing. The scope is set to help students understand statistics enough to better analyze scholarly studies and develop healthy skepticism practices towards research. There is always a rush of pleasure for a writing team … [Read More]


Academic Coaching Practices

This post represents the culmination of a series on values, mindset, and practices around academic coaching. In reality, coaching is difficult. If we really want to make a difference in the overloaded lives of our adult learners, we can take a page from Daloz’s book, Mentor, and see the challenges, heartbreak, and most importantly, the incredible transformation that gets experienced, both for yourself and the learner. Whether you are an administrator looking to increase retention, a professor who wants to provide the … [Read More]


Academic Coach Target Areas: Communication Skills

As a continuation of focusing on the specific target areas as a learning coach to adult students, we move from Academic Expectations and into the realm of communication skills. It has been surprising to me how many students nod their heads sagely either virtually or in-person when I discuss the high value of communication skills. Everybody understand the need. And… many think that they are pretty decent at it. Communication is crucial in all types of academic coaching. As a … [Read More]


Academic Coach Target Areas: Academic Expectations

I had mentioned that there were two major practice levels that an academic coach needs in order to focus on the learning strategies for adult learners in my post titled Inspect and Adapt: A Learning Coach Practice. In that post, I had explored the “big picture” approach to coaching with the underlying goal of helping students transition away from fixed mindset thinking. This second level digs into the target areas for a learning coach to focus along with strategies on addressing … [Read More]


Inspect and Adapt: A Learning Coach Practice

There are two major practice levels that an academic coach needs in order to focus on being a learning coach for adult students need in order for them successful in a fast-paced learning environment. The first level is what I would call “big picture” approach of coaching, regardless of the gaps and goals, there is a mindset towards inspecting and adapting. The second practice level, which I will address in future posts, focus on specific target areas and strategies for addressing … [Read More]


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]


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?


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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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