Earlier this year, Guy Wallace and Mirjam supported the L&D Conference organised by Matt Richter and Will Thalheimer by producing 9 short video interviews with L&D Giants. We asked the following 3 key questions:

Today we present:

Julie Dirksen is an independent consultant and instructional designer with more than 15 years of experience creating highly interactive e-learning experiences for clients from Fortune 500 companies and technology startups to grant-funded research initiatives.

She has a degree in Instructional Systems Technology, and a whole lot of background in things like UX design, game-based learning, and behavior change.

She has been an adjunct faculty member in the Visualization Department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she created and taught courses in project management, instructional design, and cognitive psychology.



  1. G. Garrett Hall says:

    Julie Dirksen makes some interesting and intriguing points, which I’ve outlined below like bullet points. Julie, across her answers, talks about the need for change in mindset, technique, and language, which affect our profession in many ways affecting our field’s growth and development. Thank you, Julie, Guy, Mirjam & friends for this interview!

    (1) What do you think of the current state of the L&D profession?
    The current state of the L&D profession is malnourished if you will, and presents with an unrealized potential because, as an industry, we’re largely starved of feedback. Instead of defining our success in our own terms, actionable and practical, by omission, we define our success in generic business terms – such as faster, cheaper, and/or whether or not it was produced leveraging some new or improved technology.

    (2) What past research hasn’t been put into practice well enough? What recent research should be put into practice as soon as possible?
    The issue of how to space-out learning over time presents unsolvable challenges when approached with a sheep dip strategy. Without a broader array of proven solutions, it may be difficult to professionalize your practice outside well-understood areas like knowledge-based or procedural learning.

    (3) What continuing myths in the field of L&D are most damaging and why?
    The concept of ‘attention span’ is damaging, as L&D currently approaches it, because this term is neither straightforward nor defined using a common, agreed-upon definition. Instead, the term is confusing and presents many different definitions – all of which influence design.


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