Clark Quinn

Executive Director, Quinnovation

Clark Quinn is the executive director at Quinnovation, where he consults on performance systems architecture and strategy. Clark combines a deep background in cognitive science with broad experience in technology, delivering innovative and successful solutions for Fortune 500 organizations, government, not-for-profits, and education. An in-demand presenter, Clark is also the author of numerous articles and four books, including titles on games and mLearning; his most recent is Revolutionize Learning & Development: Performance and Innovation Strategy for the Information Age. Clark holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and was awarded the Guild Master Award in 2012 for his accomplishments and contributions to the eLearning community.

Latest by Clark Quinn

Quinnsights: Musing on the L&D Ecosystem
March 1, 2018

A robust L&D ecosystem allows us to proactively deliver and customize training to employees, driving performance and development.

Quinnsights: Skipping the Hierarchies
January 30, 2018

For learning leaders, skipping the hierarchies and embracing diversity is key to innovative thinking and leads to business success.

Quinnsights: Working Smarter
December 26, 2017

Findings in situated cognition, distributed cognition, and social cognition help us understand how to work smarter, and how to help others do so.

Deeper Design: Putting It All Together
September 7, 2016

The end of any eLearning development project comes when you deliver the product. For the team of developers in this story, that will happen the week of September 12 (next week!). Here is the final chapter, in which the team deals with the authoring and user experience issues.

Deeper Design: Tweaking the Media
September 1, 2016

With the high-level issues resolved, the design team began to wrestle with and fine-tune key choices of implementation for those decisions. This was necessary before final development within an authoring tool could be successful. This is a short story, but without it the course could never be realized.

Deeper Design: Beyond Traditional Instructional Design
August 31, 2016

“Deeper design” goes beyond traditional instructional design to reflect on what’s known about how we learn and what that implies for the strategy. Too often we talk about “content” without talking about the subtleties. Continuing the story of how a team of designers implemented these ideas, here is their high-level process as they move from the objectives to deciding on pedagogy.

Deeper Design: Working Out Loud
August 24, 2016

This is the start of a narration, a story—working out loud, in other words—about how a small group of designers decided to build a better way to support learning. The end of this narration will come in September, when the team releases its product, free of charge, to the world. Enjoy the view as you travel along with the team under the guidance of The eLearning Guild’s first Guild Master.

Cognitive Apprenticeship: Develop the Thinking for Outcomes Needed in Today's Workplace
June 27, 2016

There is growing evidence that today’s learning, focused on presenting information and testing knowledge, is ineffective when it comes to producing meaningful outcomes for business. Is there a better way to create learning experiences? Clark Quinn lays out a fundamental model that incorporates the ways people naturally learn, together with some extensions he has found effective.

Doug Engelbart: More Than the Inventor of the Mouse
May 11, 2016

Douglas Engelbart (1925 – 2013) is a key figure in the development of the technologies we use today to “boost our collective ability to solve complex, urgent problems on a global scale.” The devices and systems for which he is best known were only the minimal infrastructure necessary to realize that vision. Comprehending that vision can bring clarity to our own work in facilitating learning.

Book Review: Innovative Performance Support, by Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher
December 26, 2013

Performance support is not a new concept, but it is undergoing a renaissance; the appearance of new resources for performance support design is providing help and structure for practitioners who wish to add this important discipline to their repertoire. Gottfredson and Mosher make an excellent contribution in this regard, as you will learn in this review of their new book.

Research for Practitioners: Does Problem-based Learning Work?
July 25, 2013

Is it more effective to instruct—to present concepts and examples and then provide practice—or to challenge learners with ill-structured but carefully chosen problems and to facilitate dialogue about solutions? It’s a complex and somewhat controversial question, but research offers some important guidelines that will help you fine-tune your learning designs.

Research for Practitioners: Student Annotation of Examples Improves Learning Outcomes
March 20, 2013

A constant challenge for instructional designers is finding or developing well-designed examples, including explanations. Could learners provide and document the examples? Research to the rescue! You may be surprised (and pleased) by what this study discovered.

Research for Practitioners: Can Text Messages (SMS) Support Learning?
November 28, 2012

Support for learners, especially “at risk” learners, is valuable, but providing learners support beforehand tends not to have long-lasting effects and ongoing methods of support can be cumbersome. Could a lighter weight intervention help? Here is a report on a study that looked at using text messaging to provide ongoing support without being a headache to learners or to staff.

The Next Step for Learning: Practical Contextualization
October 22, 2012

Computing devices—especially mobile ones—continue to add sensors, to store and process more and more personal information (contacts, schedules, tasks, goals), and to connect more widely to other devices and to the Web. This context awareness opens huge learning opportunities. Are you ready? Here are some things to think about.

Content Systems: Next Generation Opportunities
July 30, 2012

If you’re ready to think about mobile, you really ought to think about content systems. The effort invested in developing such systems pays off hugely in being able to flexibly deliver content based on the consumer and the context. This is one of the Next Big Things, and this article explains the basics you need in order to be ready for it.

Book Review: Design for How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen
January 25, 2012

Julie Dirksen has just published an excellent guide to better learning design. Here are the details. Her book is recommended for beginning designers, and for subject matter experts who have found themselves drafted into creating eLearning.

Rethinking e-Learning
April 28, 2010

Advances in technology have provided new capabilities for learning, while spaced practice, social learning, meta-learning, and distributed cognition have given us alternative ways to support learning. The combination allows us to envision and deliver a richer learning experience that leads to persistent change in abilities – and persistent change in ability to do is our actual goal.

Social Networking: Bridging Formal and Informal Learning
February 23, 2009

The growth of social networking applications attracts attention from e-Learning designers and developers. The application of social networking to informal learning is obvious, but its role in formal learning is not clear. Reframe the question: What needs for social support are not being met in formal learning applications?

Making It Matter to the Learner: e-Motional e-Learning
April 3, 2006

Why is it so difficult to engage learners in the learning experience? Maybe our designs are missing key ingredients that could make learners care about the experience. This article reviews what we know about the non-cognitive elements of learning, and suggests how you can hook the learner, relieve anxieties as you set expectations about content, and design emotionally engaging experiences.