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October 2020
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TD Magazine

Leading a New Learning Movement

Anthony Clemons

Title Faculty Educator

Organization Management Analysis Technologies

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Location Fort Knox, Kentucky

LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/anthonyclemons

Education Doctorate, education (in process; University of Illinois); master's degree, nonfiction writing (Goucher College); master's degrees, interdisciplinary studies in education and computing in education (Columbia University); bachelor's degree, criminal justice (Judson College); associate degree (Marion Military Institute)

Favorite Quote "While humankind collectively has increased its material powers a thousandfold, it has not advanced very far in terms of improving the content of experience." —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

While serving active duty with the US Army Cadet Command, Anthony Clemons trained incoming ROTC students at Marion Military Institute. That intersection of service and learning helped prepare him for a faculty educator role at Management Analysis Technologies, where he now trains incoming ROTC instructors.

You've branded yourself as an educational technologist, tech futurist, and educational philosopher. How do those titles relate to your work in talent development?

Talent development is a field that's informed by a combination of interdisciplinary perspectives. Many of those perspectives come from theory, and that's where my role as a faculty educator becomes pivotal.

Part of my job is to understand learning theories and interpret how I can apply them in training contexts and then show my students why those concepts matter and how they will use them. That means that I have to understand the philosophy undergirding the praxes used for training and really determine whether it makes sense in the context of training my students. If it does, I must then determine how and why so I can explain it to them; and if not, I have to determine whether there is a theory that would make sense for them to use.

Briefly share the area of your doctoral studies—why is that area of research important to you and to the profession?

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My concentration at the University of Illinois is learning design and leadership, and my strand in that concentration is new learning. This centers my research around ways to develop more engaging learning environments by integrating new media and technologies into formal and informal training settings. This concentration matters now more than ever.

Because of the pandemic, there is a resurgence of interest in how we can maximize the digital tools available to build better learning environments; however, there's also a sharp focus on what we need to do to build a better digital learning future. I'm interested in being at the forefront of this movement so I can offer my clients and students the best learning environment possible that uses the right instructional technology tools that will enable training excellence.

What advice do you have for those new to L&D?

The training enterprise is a people business. Your skills and talent in creating amazing content and user experiences only get you so far. The other side of the coin is being a relatable person with whom people want to work, and that begins with being a good listener. In my experience, active listening—the art of listening with the intent to listen, not to respond—is absolutely key in understanding what's needed and then tailoring the training to that need.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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