Mark’s Blog

The Learning and Development Dilemma

I made a big mistake with this ebook. And it’s serious!

The mistake is the title is way too polite. And way too generous. It means it fails to hit home and make the point it really needed to make.

The point is this:

  1. Research tells us, and in some cases commonsense has told us for a long time, what sorts of program design and ‘learning activities’ give the best results when ’learners’ attempt to use the skills they learned in a ‘learning and development program’ in different situations like when they’re back ‘on the job’.
  2. But as strange as it is, most programs don’t use them. Instead, they use strategies which are second best, if that.

In other words: the research says A, B & C gives the best ‘transfer’, but most programs use X, Y and Z.

But it gets worse.

Perhaps stranger still is how some of the programs using X, Y and Z, aren’t just promoted, they’re actually praised.

To be fair, many of them are praised for having some pretty good attributes. Attributes like being easy to access, being easy to use, making use of social media trends, being delivered online, having downloadable lessons and videos, etc.

But it all seems a bit odd if at the same time, they’re not also using what the research says helps get the best possible return on investment.

Now if only I could’ve thought of a snappy title which said it like it is. And was a bit provocative and eye-catching. Ah well. Let’s put it down to experience.

How did we get to this sorry state?

So how did we get to a situation where programs aren’t using what works best? Well we’re now entering the world of guesswork. So what follows are just ideas.

Possibility 1: Designers know about the research but …

Either program designers know the research exists or they don’t. If they know it exists, then either they’re up to date or they’re not. If they’re up to date, then why aren’t they using what works? After all, it’s been around for a long time.

Now this is where the existing title of the ebook came from. Perhaps they know what works and want to use it, but there’s a dilemma. The dilemma is to use what works best or use what those funding the program, and those who’ll be using it, want and expect.

Of course, it’s always possible some designers don’t care and happily give people programs which fail to deliver the goods.

Possibility 2: Designers don’t know about the research and …

On the other hand, some designers mightn’t know the research even exists. So they continue to use the same old designs and strategies they’ve always used and have been simply passed on to them.

There are two main questions we need to answer.

The first is do we care? Do we care we’re not giving businesses and organisations, and of the course the learners themselves, the best we can give them? And hence, not using our time and money as best we can?

The second is if we do care, what are we willing to do about it?

And now for the huge marketing pitch.

I’ve co-authored a small ebook called: “The Learning and development Dilemma: Use what works best, or go with what’s popular?” It’s a brief introduction to some of the programs designs and ‘learning strategies’ which give the best results when ‘learners’ return to the workplace.

You can get the first chapter FREE.

The first chapter of the ebook “The Learning and development Dilemma: Use what works best, or go with what’s popular” is available for FREE. Here’s the link.

The ebook is only $9 Aust including the GST.

If you’d like to have a bit of a look at what some of the research says, then please buy the ebook. Yes it costs money. It costs a whole $9 Aust including the GST.

Here’s the link to get it now.

If you don’t want the book, then all we ask is this: There is research out there and many of our professional associations have it – or at least should have it. So please, get a hold of it and let’s make our programs the best they can possibly be.

Here’s the link again if you’d like to buy the ebook.

All the very best,


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