A selection of representative works, as of an artist.
(Definition from Webster’s New World Dictionary)
Every professional should have a portfolio of their work, and I appreciate that the definition above highlights that a portfolio often represents some form of artistry. I do think that the work I do to conceptualize frameworks, design workshops, and write articles and posts is something of an art – albeit art that is often a work-in-progress since ideas evolve over time.
Writing and teaching allow me to satisfy my mission in life – to help learning and development professionals be the best they can be so they can have impact through the work they do. I see my role as a translator – taking useful frameworks and research-based recommendations and making them practical for use in the real world. I hope I achieve that with my writing, courses, workshops, and presentations. I relish sharing what I have learned and – just as importantly – engaging with colleagues around important techniques, trends, and ideas. Writing and talking about a subject are sure ways to explore ideas, clarify thinking, seek input, enrich mutual understanding, and hear differing views.
This page collates my portfolio of public contributions since opening my consulting practice, which has focused on a number of key topics. Full disclosure: this page is as much for me as it is for you. These are lists and links I need to reference with some frequency, and it’s quite handy to have them all in one place.
I do hope you find it useful!
If you would like access to any of these materials, please email me for a copy. And if you’d like to explore development programs or consulting in these areas, contact me for a free consulting session to explore the possibilities.
For well over a decade now, it has been patently obvious that the L&D field needs to expand it scope of influence well beyond formal training to encompass a wide range of modes for learning. Learning strategists and designers need to curate from the internet’s treasure trove of materials and leverage emerging techniques and activities to create a cohesive strategy – at an overarching level, and at the project level. My work on learning environment design and modern learning strategy has been meant to give learning professionals a place to start.
Several forces have converged to make do-it-yourself learning more popular and possible than ever. People can access learning resources through the internet and their network contacts; companies are not offering as many formal training opportunities; and people aren’t willing to sit through a formal workshop when their needs are more focused. But self-directed learning isn’t as easy as it looks. I have enjoyed exploring what long-standing theory and research can tell us about how to support self-directed learning without overengineering it. And those insights help us as individual learners as well.
The success of modern learning strategies – which include informal, self-directed, digital, social, and experiential elements – hinges on the quality of the organization’s learning culture. The concept of learning culture has been examined by theorists for decades in the form of research and models on culture, learning organizations, and organizational learning and we can use that foundation to inform our efforts to influence and cultivate learning culture.
So much of what we learn is through and with other people; therefore, understanding the dynamics of social learning is critical to making effective recommendations. Theory and research in this arena divides by type of social relationship – communities of practice, coaching, peer-to-peer learning, mentoring, personal knowledge networks, and more. But some core principles emerge across those separate streams of literature, and we can draw from these foundations to support social learning in all forms.
I learned to appreciate the treasure trove of theory and research in our field through my doctoral studies and have since been a strong advocate for grounding our practice in the theory and research of the field. That mode of operating goes by several different names: scholarly practice, research-informed practice, evidence-based practice and more. In my work in this arena, I’ve tried to provide some guidance on how to be a scholar-practitioner with emphasis on doing that as a practitioner in the field, with all the opportunities, challenges, and constraints that brings.
Instructional design, which these days includes learning strategy design in all its forms, is at the core of my work. In developing professionals in our field, I’ve spent time analyzing both the art and the process of design as well as the expansive set of skills that are needed for mastery in this ever-evolving activity.