Author’s Bio

Hello. I’m Will Thalheimer. You may want to know a little about me.

I’ve been in the learning-and-performance field for 30 years. For the last 17 years, I’ve been doing research and consulting through Work-Learning Research. My mission is to bridge the gap between research and practice. There is wisdom in both camps, but too often research doesn’t get integrated into learning practice.

Almost every year I read over 200 articles from scientific refereed journals on learning, memory, and instruction and “translate” the research into practical recommendations for instructional designers, trainers, elearning developers, learning executives, and educational professionals. Research translation rarely pays, so I make my living providing organizations with research-based learning audits, workshops, consulting, keynotes, and instructional design.

In short, I take very complicated research findings and attempt to make those findings practical, usable, and relevant. For the last decade I’ve provided my research reports for free on the Work-Learning Research catalog. Many times I create simple but potent models like the Decisive Dozen (“The twelve most important learning factors”) or Training Maximizers Model (“The seven most-critical learning-design goals”). I have joined with others in creating the Serious eLearning Manifesto. I have founded an online community to debunk myths in the learning field (The Debunkers Club).

Almost a decade ago, I published a research-to-practice report on learning measurement that won surprising acclaim. It showed how many of our measurement approaches were biased and ineffective. Since then I have been asked to give keynotes, speak at industry meetings, and give workshops on learning measurement.

For years, I knew my own smile sheets were poorly designed, so I tried to improve them. Still, through many iterations, I still had a sense of unease. Finally, after having seen a client get bad advice from a well-known learning-measurement vendor, I decided to tackle smile sheets head on. Here’s what I figured. Smile sheets stink, yes. The research shows that traditional smile sheets are not correlated with learning results. But, we’re going to keep using the darn things, so we ought to make them better. Thus was born the book, Performance-Focused Smile Sheets: A Radical Rethinking of a Dangerous Art Form.