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]


Tired of Default Training Methods?

“Every year we have to provide sexual harassment training, but the people are either bored because they’ve done it before and have to check the box, or they are completely freaked out because they are new. Either way, I don’t think the issues are really being understood.” While there is plenty of default training, defined as “well, we have just always done it this way” … I pick on the absolute worst experience of them all: [important] training required by … [Read More]


What are you measuring for success?

Do we measure opera singers by their technical skill? Do we measure jazz players by their musical exactness? Do we measure writers by their grammatical skills? If that’s how these artists measured their success, would our souls be moved? So why do we judge ourselves on things that don’t matter to our customers? Being moved to tears by the new Pia de’ Tolomei opera at Spoleto Festival in Charleston this week reminded me how I didn’t even notice the performance’s … [Read More]


Discerning the real learning needs

Remember when you felt that frustrating surge through you because “they just were missing the point”? Remember when you felt that pang of fear of totally not following what was going on and really hoping there would be documentation you could read up on so you wouldn’t have to make an idiot out of yourself? 


Let’s learn OUTSIDE the room too!

When we hear “we’ll be doing some training” from the boss, is it met with a groan? A silver lining that you’ll at least get to catch up on email? As the boss, do you promise yourself that “this training will be different for them … THIS one will truly engage positive change” while you cross your fingers? Training is an important aspect of the learning process. Thankfully, we have great ways now to engage the adult learner much more … [Read More]


Effectively using taxonomies to structure an amazing learning experience!

Last year I wrote about a course mapping process that I created to help any individual structure a learning experience that would include measurable outcomes (cognitive), proficiency, and true engagement (affective). Once the scope of a course is established, a frequent next step is to select action verbs to ensure participants know what they will measurably achieve (cognitive taxonomy). However, measuring cognitive understanding is not the same thing as becoming proficient in practice. As such, setting up a graph such … [Read More]


Let’s Look at Collaboration Models!

It is only human to find collaboration natural. Collaboration is the oil that keeps us running smoothly, but too much oil can reduce effectiveness. A couple examples are the “squirrel” effect that prevents completion, or context shifting that makes completion take longer than necessary. There are huge benefits to collaboration, but it’s easy to forget the soft dollar costs that are absorbed with the meetings, email, and continual communication online or in an open floor plan … all this culminating … [Read More]


Moving from pedagogy to andragogy … and why.

The most common differentiation I hear between pedagogy and andragogy is the simple definition … the art and science of teaching children (pedagogy) or teaching adults (andragogy). Well, that defines the term, thank you … but how are these differences conceptualized? How does it change how I look at 1) designing learning, 2) planning for facilitation, or 3) evaluating outcomes? This infograph is a representation of why we look at pedagogy and andragogy differently in all three critical roles of 1) instructional designer, 2) … [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: Writing Skills

We’ve covered three major areas for academic coaching to target with adult learners, including Academic Expectations, Communication Skills, and Grammar Skills. It can be easy to consider grammar and writing as the same strategy for improvement, but it’s an important differentiation for students, faculty, and coaches to value. Writing skills directly influence stronger communication skills, and in that we focus on flow, articulating thoughts, and presenting information effectively. It’s a natural tendency for academics to want students to focus on … [Read More]


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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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