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April 2014 Letter to the Community
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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As we rev-up for ASTD 2014, Community of Practice Managers have no shortage of things to talk about. So it’s just my luck that one of the things I get to discuss is ASTD’s newest Community of Practice, Science of Learning (SL). You may have already heard some of the buzz around this exciting new community—and many of you are already signed up to receive the newsletter (launching in mid-May) and are following @ASTDSciLearn on Twitter. I thought I would use this letter to the L&D community to spotlight the value of the SL community for design and delivery professionals:

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  1. Advanced insight into ISD and training delivery. With centers of interest including “Performance and Motivation” and “Learning and Memory,” the content for the L&D enthusiast will dive deep into topics such as how trainers can best convey training content to reduce cognitive load, space modules appropriately, and support long-term memory. These are areas where designers and facilitators need to get it right every time, and we are making efforts to get the new community’s content stream right every time as well.
  2. For ASTD Members, a really cool DIY research widget, plus premium content. You may or may not know that as a Member benefit, you have access to EBSCOHost as part of the ASTD Online Library benefit, boasting a wealth of research and scholarly papers in the areas of business and learning. The home page for the SL community will feature a DIY research widget and CoP-selected papers chosen just for you.
  3. Clearing out the clutter on neuroscience. Lately it seems a tidal wave of neuroscience experts has emerged. But who can you trust? Do those “brain games” really work?  And if this is about “science,” why are there so many conflicting ideas? As busy L&D professionals, you don’t always have time to get to the bottom of these questions. A chief goal of the SL community is to surface only the best content available, with concrete guidelines so that you can put the research into practice.
  4. An open invitation to help us separate hype from helpful. We want to hear from you! Everyone says that, I know. But we really mean it! Have you tried some of the research-backed best practices? How did it work? Was it worth your time? What did you measure? Contact us and share your experiences, pitfalls, and ideas for improvement.

So, these are just a few examples of how this community will start helping you work smarter, now and in the future, as the community and our body of knowledge continues to grow. The community’s official launch is on April 30, 2014, and kicks off with a special Science of Learning track webcast featuring Ruth Clark and top experts leading the Science of Learning conversation.

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