Join us at THE Performance Improvement Conference’s Research-to-Practice Symposium on Sunday, April 22, 2012, from 1:30-5:00 pm. This year’s symposium, Myth Busting: Separating Evidence-Based Findings from Unsupported Beliefs, will discuss how performance improvement professionals can separate fact from fancy regarding the latest research and strategies arising in the industry. Participants will increase their knowledge and ability to counter myths and make excellent professional decisions. This year’s Research-to-Practice Symposium will feature presentations by Harold Stolovitch, Mark Bullen, Richard Clark, Annette Towler, Ryan Watkins, Cedar Riener, and Hillary Leigh.

Learn from Expert Presenters

Harold Stolovitch, CPT, PhD

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 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.

The Truth About Digital Natives with Mark Bullen, PhD

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 will draw on studies conducted in North America, Europe, and Australia to present The Truth About Digital Natives (a.k.a. “the Net generation”).

Performance Myths & Misconceptions with Richard Clark, CPT, EdD

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. 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. The Performance Myths and Misconceptions session will deal 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-the-job application.

Myths Concerning Instructional Design with Annette Towler, PhD
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.
A Rapid Review of Research with Ryan Watkins, CPT, PhD

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 Human Performance Improvement (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.

 The Myth of Learning Styles with Cedar Riener, PhD

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 area on application of research in cognitive science to learning and performance. During 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.

 Changing Minds with Hillary Leigh

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. 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 Workplace Learning Professional myth-busters.



Register online or download the registration form. For more information, see schedule of conference events.