Education, Training and Learning

How to be a Learning & Development rockstar

The path is clear.

To be a ‘learning and development’ rockstar you have to create programs which get the best results when the learners are ‘back on the job’. It’s simple.

But how would you know what sorts of programs work best?

Well, as luck would have it, the research tells us what types of program design gets the best results. For example, research shows ‘mixed learning’ gives better results than ‘block learning’. But more of this another time.

But few of us are willing to follow it.

But here’s the thing. The research isn’t followed very much. And this is despite it having been available for quite some time.

It means many programs, or probably the vast majority of them, don’t give us the best possible results. Or worse, don’t give any results at all.

So it’s self-evident. To be a ‘learning and development’ rockstar, all you have to do is follow the research.

So what can we do?


Let’s remember this. We’re talking about research which shows what sorts of programs get results when learners are ‘back on the job’ – when they’re faced with the challenges of the real world.

We’re not talking about assessment immediately at the end of the program. And we’re not talking about whether the learners enjoyed the program or not. Of course, if these assessments and ‘learner evaluations’ give us a positive result, we can feel pretty good. And others might feel pretty good as well. But unfortunately, the results – good or bad – can be very misleading.

In fact, the research shows that in some cases what gives the best immediate results fails to give the best results in the longer term. It means we can be led to believe we’re on the right track when we’re actually a long way from it.


We need to get hold of this research and use it. But it’s not always easy to get. And it’s often difficult to read, let alone interpret.

Of course, those of us who understand techniques like linear-regression for example, might be able to decipher the research but it can be a hard slog. And a long one.


I have a request. Could those with access to the research, and those with the skills to interpret it, please spread it around? And spread it around in really simple terms.

And could those with some sort of responsibility for helping make this happen, please do their best to get it out there and into the hands of the rest of us?

And last but not least ….

I’m hoping this post will cause a bit of debate. Or at least a bit of interest. So we’ll see what comes of it.

All the very best,


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