Sunday, April 22
Research and Theory to Practice Symposium
Myth Busting: Separating Evidence-Based Findings from Unsupported Beliefs
About the Symposium
Breakthrough books, astounding articles, erudite experts, and madcap media messages continuously bombard us with endless arrays of proven means for achieving miraculous workplace results from already overburdened employees. As Human Performance Improvement professionals, we are often placed in the awkward position of being pressured to make decisions and introduce innovative interventions that organizational leaders and clients believe will achieve the valued performance they seek. They cite enthusiastic sources and hyped-up publications to shore up the rationales for their demands. Often, we ourselves get caught up in the promises generated by anecdotal--and seemingly logical--evidence. Should we listen to the enthusiastic promises rolling out from so-called research-based findings, or should we ramp up our skepticism and delve into the research and theory journals to seek out solid, evidence-based findings, separating these from what may be no more than unsupportable extrapolations from very narrow and poorly designed studies? Frankly, do we have the time and skills to do this, much as we would like to? Probably not.
Welcome to the ISPI Research and Theory to Practice Symposium, specifically designed and organized to help workplace learning and performance professionals separate fact from fancy, myth-taken conclusions from solid research findings, and enthusiasm from evidence on important issues we face. This 1/2-day program provides you with an opportunity to hear what unbiased researchers, who spend their professional lives examining questions related to the work we do, present not only what the research tells us about matters that affect learning and performance, but also present what they have discovered from their own studies.
How the Symposium Works
The moment you arrive, you will be drawn into a reflective activity that will generate content for discussion later in the program. You will then be introduced to seven researchers, three of whom will each present a 45-minute session centered on a commonly held myth-understanding. The other four will engage you in brief, but highly informative presentations dealing with a variety of myths currently circulating within organizations and which often influence learning and performance decisions despite the lack of valid evidence to support them. You will have the opportunity to pose questions and later engage in dialogue with the presenters. It is the intent of the Symposium to generate continuing discussion among participants throughout the remainder of the ISPI Conference.
|Who Are the Presenters and What Are They Presenting? |
Dr. Harold D. Stolovitch, Emeritus Professor of Workplace Learning and Performance, Université de Montréal, Principal, HSA Learning & Performance Solutions LLC and Symposium Coordinator will open the session with a welcome and a brief, warm-up "Hit or Myth" activity, challenging the group to start the process of separating data-based fact from strongly-held folklore in learning and performance.
|Dr. Mark Bullen, Dean of the Learning and Teaching Centre, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Head of the international research project on Digital Learning in Higher Education will present research findings and fallacies concerning the widespread belief that there is a generation of technologically savvy learners who are fundamentally different in their approaches to learning from previous generations. He draws on studies conducted in North America, Europe and Australia to present The Truth About Digital Natives (a.k.a. "the Net generation"). |
|Dr. Richard E. Clark, Professor of Research in Educational Psychology and Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of Southern California, Director of the Center for Cognitive Technology, Chief Science Officer of Expert Knowledge Solutions LLC and CEO of Atlantic Training Inc. will make a cameo appearance at the Symposium. Based on his many years of research in learning and performance, he will present four myths and misconceptions he personally hated to change before he carefully examined the evidence stacked against them. His session, Performance Myths and Misconceptions deals with: turning to the most consistently successful experts to gain knowledge on how to perform complex work; using different media for training, including social media to obtain different amounts and kinds of learning for different people and learning tasks; having people work collaboratively to decide on how they will do their jobs as a more effective way to get results as opposed to providing explicit, detailed instructions; asking people what and how much they have learned and what they will transfer to the job following a training activity to assess learning and probable on-job application.|
|Dr. Annette Towler, Associate Professor of Psychology, De Paul University, has focused her research on improving training design features to increase transfer of employee skills to the workplace. Her presentation will examine Myths Concerning Instructional Design: The Seductive Elements Paradigm. She will begin with the temptation we often face to transform what appears to be dull, mundane instructional content into something more exciting, perhaps by including interesting, albeit tangential, information or by beefing up its entertainment value. We are often encouraged to add stories and illustrations that seem to enhance the content. Do these additions, then, lead to improved session content recall? Is building in these extras bad? Or good? This session presents research findings that separate beliefs and myths from what has been shown to work and generates instructional design guidelines to help you determine how and when seductive details can either damage or enhance learning. |
|Dr. Ryan Watkins, Symposium Committee Member, Associate Professor, George Washington University and author of numerous books and articles on a wide variety of topics related to HPI will guide us through A Rapid Review of Research from Research and Theory Journals Published in 2011-2012. He will highlight key research findings that help improve the workplace learning and performance professional's effectiveness. This romp through research will bust some myths while offering ready-to apply-in-practice recommendations. |
|Dr. Cedar Riener, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Randolf-Macon College, draws from both his primary area of research on our perception of the natural world and how the state of our body influences our perception and his secondary one on application of research in cognitive science to learning and performance, focusing us on The Myth of Learning Styles. He will demonstrate that despite the popular beliefs circulating about learning styles being essential for effective training- learning, research in cognitive science has failed to find evidence that supports this. His presentation will disentangle learning-style good intentions from what the weight of research findings suggests. Separating cognitive science fact from learning style fiction, the session will include: time wasted and damage done by focusing on learning styles, dimensions of learners that actually do matter; cognitive science research on myth-busting itself. He will conclude with strategies and tools for participants to apply in their own work and future discussions about learning styles. |
|Hillary Leigh, Symposium Committee Member, Senior Consultant in Performance Assessment, Southern California Region of Kaiser Permanente, recent Chair of ISPI's Research Committee and doctoral candidate, Wayne State University, will direct our attention to Changing Minds. In this brief, concluding Symposium session, she will contrast the belief that changing someone's mind in this age of information should be easy if you provide the correct facts and evidence with the harsh reality that this not only rarely works, but, to the contrary, usually backfires, with individuals "digging in their heels" and ending up more firmly committed to their positions. Her session includes a return to the initial Symposium participant reflection activity and a presentation of solid, sensible strategies HPI professionals can apply to challenge myth-conceptions effectively and improve participants' ability to become WLP myth-busters. |
|Symposium Takeaways |
This program has one overarching goal: to arm HPI/WLP professionals with strategies and tools, derived from science, that help them make the best decisions and choices possible to improve learning and performance. Through this, we can do great service to our organizational clients and charges.
Each of the sessions provides well-documented research evidence and specific guidelines we can apply in our work. The sessions include solid references for later examination and use. The Symposium also acts as a catalyst for continued dialogue throughout the rest of the conference. Opportunities for continuing to be engaged in learning more from research will also be offered both during and after the Symposium. These include attending other conference research sessions, connecting with other like-minded professionals and researchers through on-line discussion groups, and participation in ISPI research activities.
Most importantly, you will come away informed, refreshed and energized by the increase in your knowledge and ability to counter myths and to make excellent professional decisions.
<< top >>