Senior Learning and Development Advisor
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In 2016 I became interested in data analytics and decided to do some learning on the subject. I started learning Excel and then I discovered R, a statistical programming language used for analytics and data science. Though it's more difficult to use than Excel, I found R to be more flexible and enjoyable to use. I did a couple of MOOC courses and read some books, and even though I can now do most of what I would have done in Excel using R, to improve my ability to analyse data I needed to learn some more statistics and analytical skills. I didn't take that requirement serious until I recently tried to take another MOOC series which includes a course in basic probability with R programming. I found the course impossible to do because I didn't understand the basics of probability. I needed to go back to the first principles of probability before I could begin to do the course properly.
So what's the point of sharing the story of my analytics pursuit? Just that I needed to go back to first principles to be able to do the probability course. A lot of us as l&d professionals may need to go back to the basic and first principles of l&d. There are lots of fads and opinions about how to do l&d flying about, but how many of them are based on strong foundational evidenced-based principles? Not a lot i'm sure. While it's easy to develop and roll out learning interventions, it's not easy to have real impact, especially if what we do is not based on what really works in l&d. I've been reading Ruth Clark and Richard Meyer's book, E-learning and the science of instruction. The book discusses some evidence - based instructional design principles which are necessary to design effective courses. We need to follow principles like this not just in e-learning, but every aspect of l&d such as strategy, needs analysis, design, development and evaluation. So ask youself, am I following fads and popular opinion or first principles. Only you know the answer.