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ATD Blog

What’s New in Evidence-Based Learning?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

During the last 25 years, instructional research scientists have accumulated a mass of experimental evidence regarding the best instructional methods to achieve your learning goals. But much of this wisdom is not readily accessible to practitioners. Published in technical journals and handbooks, many of us don’t have the time to review and synthesize this research. Here’s where my new ATD book, Evidence-Based Training, Third Edition, will fill a gap.

I wrote the first edition of this book in 2009. What have we learned in the time frame since then? In this latest edition, you can read the most recent research answering these questions:

  • Can learning games be as effective as traditional lessons?
  • Are there some techniques shown to make games more effective for learning?
  • What are the instructional trade-offs between animations and still graphics?
  • How can animations be optimized for learning?
  • How much practice do you need?
  • Where should you place practice activities to maximize learning?
  • What kind of feedback is most effective?
  • How can negative feedback avoid demotivating learners?
  • What have we learned about instructional methods that promote motivation?

I designed Evidence-Based Training to accommodate different levels of interest in research evidence. Do you just want the bottom-line lessons learned? Chapter 17 and an appendix summarize the evidence-based guidelines reviewed throughout the book. Are you interested in guidelines about specific topics? Each chapter includes several evidence-based guidelines and a bottom-line checklist at the end. How about research evidence behind the guidelines? Each chapter summarizes several research studies along with outcome data. An end-of-chapter reading list suggests technical review references for an even deeper dive into the evidence.


The chapters focus on important instructional methods along with application examples to help you see how to apply research to your own instructional materials. Specifically, you will learn evidence-based guidelines regarding graphics, use of text and audio, design of examples, practice, and feedback. You’ll also learn best practices for explanations, procedural lessons, and scenario-based instruction, and get up-to-date on evidence-based games.

When applied, the guidelines in this book will discourage wasted investments in unproven training myths in favor of methods proven to improve learning and motivation.

About the Author

Ruth Clark is a specialist in instructional design and technical training, determined to bridge the gap between academic research and practitioner application in instructional methods. She holds a doctorate in the field and is president of her own company, Clark Training & Consulting. Her books and articles focus on various aspects of training and e-learning.

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Disappointed that this is NOT research here but an advertisement. Don't we pay enough for membership without being tricked into reading adverts, too?????
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With the 2nd edition on the shelf, I can say I appreciate the research provided to give legs to our developed solutions. I did hope this was an article with more insights. I'm reminded of a scene in certain christmas time movie that involved a little orphan annie decoder ring experience.
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Ruth, I've been trying to reach out to you. Just wanted to let you know you are invited to ATDCFL's vlog Off-the-Cuff
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