Press Release

Instructional Designers Need a Strong Foundation in Learning Science


(Alexandria, VA) April 13, 2021—The Association of Talent Development announces the publication of Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application (ATD Press, April 2021) by learning technology expert Clark N. Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the Serious eLearning Manifesto, provides critical information on the intersection of learning science and cognition, an understanding that instructional designers often lack but need to ensure that they are creating the most effective learning experiences for their learners.

Quinn discusses the definition of learning science, examines its interdisciplinary origins with its connection to psychology and cognitive science, and considers its global implications.

“Why should instructional designers care about learning science?” asks Quinn. “Because instructional design is applied learning science, and we need to understand the basics. How can we claim to be scrutable in our approaches if we don’t track the underlying research and can’t articulate how our designs reflect what is known? Just as you expect your doctor and financial advisor to be applying the latest outcomes, so too should you feel such an obligation when designing learning experiences. We don’t want to be guilty of design malpractice, after all. The longer answer starts with the realization that instructional design is a dynamic field.”

Quinn contends that to better understand learning science, it is important to understand its connection to our brain, the core organ of learning. He states, “We perceive the world, act, observe the outcomes, and reflect. As such, studying learning comes from studying the mind.” Quinn reviews the cognitive to the emotional—or, rather, affective, and conative (who we are and our intent to learn). He examines learning to learn, an often-neglected area that can affect success. He delves into the implications of all this science on the elements of learning design and explores introductions and closings, concept models, examples, and practice.

“This volume fills a gap in the resources for instructional designers,” states Clark. “With overwhelming amounts of information in the field to sift through and evaluate, too often instructional designers do not identify or grasp the basics needed to build effective and successful learning experiences. Instructional designers (experienced and new to the field) now have a primer that provides that solid foundation.”

About the Author


Clark N. Quinn is a recognized expert and scholar in the field of learning technology. He assists Fortune 500, education, government, and not-for-profit organizations in integrating learning science and engagement into their design processes. He has a track record of innovation and has consistently led development of advanced uses of technology, including mobile, performance support, and intelligently adaptive learning systems, as well as award-winning online content, educational computer games, and websites. Previously, Clark headed research and development efforts for Knowledge Universe Interactive Studio and held management positions at Open Net and Access CMC, two Australian initiatives in internet-based multimedia and education.

Clark keynotes nationally and internationally and is the author of numerous publications, including Millennials, Goldfish & Other Training Misconceptions: Debunking Learning Myths and Superstitions (ATD Press, 2018) as well as four previous books. In 2012 he was awarded the eLearning Guild’s first Guild Master designation. He blogs at, tweets as @quinnovator, and serves as executive director of Quinnovation.

About ATD and ATD Press


The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit

Learning Science for Instructional Designers
ISBN: 9781952157455| 144 Pages | Paperback
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

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