Differentiating Academic Coaching Roles

Extending the conversation from Academic Coaching for Adult Learners, I am finding that the word coach is a bit ambiguous, even within the context of academics only. As the coaching concept has established itself as a norm in business training, both internally and external consulting, more higher education adoptions have become evident, transitioning from terminology of mentorship to academic coaching, but what is that, exactly? One of the major outcomes of Dr. Buch-Wagler and Dr. Rose’s testing my recently developed … [Read More]


Options-Based Learning

I believe in prescribed learning for adult learners. I believe in options-based learning for adult learners. Isn’t that a conflict? Not in my mind, and here’s why. Prescribed learning, whether higher education curriculum or corporate training programs, provides the framework that is assured to scaffold throughout the program. Strong programs have an excellent architecture in place supported with well-designed learning. The prescribed flow is best developed in a centralized capacity, guiding the experience and knowledge of subject matter experts into … [Read More]


Academic Coaching for Adult Learners

  In the non-traditional world of adult learning, academic coaching is becoming more and more of a premium need to help our learners towards a path of self-reliance and growth mindset. Universities are needing to focus their degree programs on competencies while also ensuring the soft skill development decision making, critical thinking, and communication. Add in the complexity of relying on adjunct faculty to provide the deep real-life expertise that may or may not have fully understand the educational practices, and … [Read More]


Mindsets for Flow in Agile ISD

An inherent value to the agile mindset is the respect and implementation of continuous improvement, especially, in my mind, to a framework based on agile principles. True to that belief, we have taken the the agile instructional design model that Scott Marsee and I developed back in 2011 that focused on iterative stages of course development into another state of improvement through simplication. The framework of Scrum gave us the insights to help put aside the frustrating limitations that the … [Read More]


Facilitating Collaboration

Whether we are facilitating a small brainstorming group, training a large class, or teaching an academic course, we fall susceptible to the “it’s really important to collaborate” practice. What in the world does that mean? Just chat about it? If you are shuddering at the thought of “discussion items” on a meeting agenda as much as I am, we both know it’s not about dropping a topic bomb on the table and seeing where it goes.


Representing Affective Learning in the Materials

We crave expression of feeling, as proven by our incessant need to construct emotional representation in our typing. Remember <3 ? Then it got exciting when we got the red heart. Now we have broken hearts, beating hearts, and rainbowed hearts, but you see my point. Words are never enough. So, my dear instructional designers, trainers, and facilitators out there, why do we settle for cognitive learning instead of blending it with affect?


Facilitating Beyond the Topic

It easy for me to discuss how fast a facilitator can go tunnel vision with their learners because I’ve fallen into the trap so many times. Even with a good start for a course, the best of intentions can quickly disintegrate into assessment/interaction and appropriately timed updates. Mechanical being the optimal word here. I was snapped out of my reverie when a student left me the painful feedback that “it felt like she just had a process and there wasn’t any … [Read More]


Preparing Adult Learners for Success

Academics often express frustration with the poor preparation of learners entering college and being able to succeed with academic rigor, let alone thrive with it. Organizations question our (colleges) ability to produce the individuals with the skills needed as they lament the lack of critical thinking skills, decision-making skills, and communication skills being graduated and brought into the workforce (Hoover, Giambatista, Sorenson, & Bommer, 2010). What is going on? Is everybody just whining? Are the students that ill-prepared and is … [Read More]


Growth Mindset for Adult Learners

Iteration after iteration. Milestone after milestone. Year after year. The life cycle of a PhD experience is unique unto itself, testing far more than intelligence. Endurance, patience, discipline, and possibly a dash of insanity are all necessary components. Most importantly is that a PhD student must have a mindset of continuous improvement. Upon completion, I now see that the entire PhD process is one large milestone, offering me the discipline to create effective and long-lasting social change. So what is … [Read More]


Making Facts Relevant

Stories make for very effective learning, sure, but how do you practice using them?


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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.

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