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Are You Developing Learning by the Numbers?

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Fri Jan 18 2013

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You may have noticed that the L&D Community, since its arrival last year, has placed a strong emphasis on the evidence behind learning practices. With the blog series from Ruth Clark and events with David Rock and the NeuroLeadership Institute team for example, we've made a thoughtful effort to inform and support instructional designers and facilitators with content that dives deeper than the nice-to-do approaches that can seep into learning literature.

As the New Year takes shape, we will continue to develop offerings that focus on research and scholarly evidence. But I'm curious: What exactly does this kind of effort mean to you?

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A bit over 15 years ago, medical professionals and content publishers helped push for something known as "evidence-based medicine." This was a long-held principle newly defined as "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients."

Pretty comforting, right? After all, we feel a lot better knowing that our neighborhood family physicians, oncologists, and neurosurgeons are all doing their homework—absorbing the latest research and gathering findings to safely and confidently treat our ailments.

Granted, the science of medicine and the workplace development field are not exactly twin entities. But as new trends and learning solutions emerge, are learning professionals seeking the supporting numbers and evidence, or independently tracking the effectiveness of some of these new practices?

This might be way too many questions for one post. But one of the ISD Network Yammerers posted this site, which lists numerous open-access articles on L&D, and it got me thinking. Many of the authors collect, and draw conclusions based on, research from various higher-ed institutions. Others report original study data and findings. I share this link because like many others, I think research and evidence is so incredibly important to what L&D practitioners do. Why not be “conscientious, explicit and judicious” about it!

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