What I Learned in April video covers:

1) Evidence-informed practice for learning professions
2) Gyroscope as a metaphor for learning culture
3) Otter.ai voice transcription tool

Evidence-Informed Practice

I posted on LinkedIn during the month about learning myths and asked people to share ideas and practices that were perpetuated in learning and development but not based on any solid evidence or research. That generated a lot of interest with over 100 comments. Towards the end of the discussion  someone suggested we flip the discussion and talk about practices that are grounded in research and evidence . I’m going to see where I can take that conversation in the coming month.

Meanwhile, the discussion attuned me to be looking out for more around evidence-informed practice. Coincidentally, Catherine Lombardozzi reached out to me from the US.  We had our first discussion via videoconference. Catherine has done a lot of work around evidence-informed practice. She calls it scholarly practice because thats the term used in the field that she’s done most of her work. Catherine has curated some great resources on this topic.  I encourage you to go and have a look at her page of curated resources, which I’ve shared her.  She gives suggestions for how to use evidence as part of your work as a learning professional. A couple of the ideas from Catherine that stood out for me were:

1) deliberately searching literature for relevant ideas when we’ve got strategic initiatives to support

2) looking for producing, sharing the research evidence to support our activities or practices, and

3)  applying research skills in our own work to test the effectiveness of activities.

The last suggestion ties in with my discussion on the importance of data analytics skills for learning professionals in What I Learned in March 2019.  It’s about doing your own research.

Towards the end of the month, I came across an article from Mirjam Neelen also on this theme.  Her article was about evidence-informed learning experience design.  I actually picked up the term ‘evidence-informed’ rather than ‘evidence-based’ from Mirjam.  She talks about the distinction in that evidence-based practice comes from clinical practice, is grounded in medicine and relies on certain processes, practices and very high standards around the scientific aspects of the research.  Evidence-informed practice is also based on scientific research in the field of learning sciences.  However, there’s a lot more murkiness and muddiness to this evidence because it deals with people and there’s lots of variables that are hard to control. However, Mirjam did say, it need not be intimidating, and she also provides tips.

Thank you to both of those ladies, for their contributions and sharing so generously on evidence informed practice.

Gyroscope as a Metaphor for Learning Culture

I picked up this metaphor from Nigel Paine with whom I’m running workshops on building learning culture in Australia and New Zealand in August.  We ran a webinar in April. I read his book Workplace Learning earlier this year, and was really taken with the gyroscope as a metaphor for learning culture.

If you’re not familiar with how the fascinating way a gyroscope works watch the video at this link.  When not in motion there is nothing special about a gyroscope.  It won’t stay up or remain stable.  It just sits.  However, once it’s spinning an energy is crated that allows it to remain stable and maintain forward moment.  Even if things are changing in the environment around it, even if you try to tip it, it will regain its balance and keep spinning and moving forward. It maintains stability and momentum.

Watch the video below from our webinar to hear Nigel explain how a gyroscope provides an analogy for learning culture.

This analogy helped shift my perspective about learning culture. Learning culture is really about the energy, flow of knowledge and collaboration within an organisation that allows it to adapt and maintain momentum, while remaining adequately stable. It’s a really exciting metaphor.


I learned about this tool from a technology webinar that I attended run by the Institute for Learning Professionals in Australia.  Otter.ai is a voice transcription tool that you can access at otter.ai . You get up to 60* hours of free voice recording her month.  Simply go to otter.ai to set up a free account.  On your computer or phone hit record to record a conversation.  I have used it to record online meetings,  to playback and transcribe podcast interviews and videos. I created this blog post from a transcript of the video.  It’s simple and works really well.  It gave me around 85% accuracy in transcription. Transcripts are immediately available online to download in a range of formats, complete editing and use.  A  great little tool.

* In the video I mistakenly say 600 hours per month – it’s actually 60 (which is still very generous)

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