This blog is called 3-Star Learning Experiences: An Evidence-Informed Blog for Learning Professionals. For a number of visitors, this might raise a few questions. Before you ask, here are a few of the questions along with the answers:

  • Why 3-Star? A top hotel has 5 stars. Are you being modest? No; we are not being modest at all. We chose for this for two reasons. The first is that one of us was a chef in a restaurant and is crazy about cooking. For him (now you know who the crazy one is), the highest accolade is receiving 3 stars from the Guide Michelin. The second is that a 3-star teacher, trainer and/or instructional designer creates effective, efficient, and enjoyable educational experiences just as a 3-star chef in a restaurant creates delicious, nutritious, and visually pleasing eating experiences.
  • What do you mean by “Ingredients | Tools | Techniques”? Just as an expert restaurant chef makes use of all of the techniques (from frying, to baking to poaching to molecular cooking with liquid nitrogen), tools (from paring knives to rolling pins to food processors to steam ovens) and ingredients that (s)he has at her/his disposal, and (s)he has the requisite deep knowledge, skills and experience to know what to use with what as well as how and when to use them. An expert designer also makes use of all of the techniques (different pedagogies and approaches to instruction and learning from lecture to computer supported collaborative learning to games/simulations, etc.), tools (books, whiteboards, computers, mobile devices, wet labs), and ingredients (content domain, adjunct questions, feedback, learning objectives, etc.), and (s)he has the requisite deep content-, pedagogical content-, and technological pedagogical content knowledge and skills and experience to know what to use with what as well as how and when to use them.
  • Why do you write evidence-informed and not evidence-based? Evidence based is a term and a method that comes from medicine and pharmacy. This approach has a number of characteristics which allows people (practitioners, hospital boards,…) to make what is known as evidence-based decisions with an incredible degree of certainty. For example, whether a drug works or not doesn’t depend upon who administers the pill, whether a patient is happy or sad, and/or whether or not (s)he is wide awake or dead tired when it is taken, and so forth. Learning and instruction/training is a whole different thing. Whether an approach to instruction or an or intervention works and to what degree it works differs from teacher to teacher, from context to context, from content-domain to content-domain, and so forth. It’s effect also varies depending on the characteristics of the learner and his or her cognitive, physical or emotional state, the class/learning group and the environment outside of that unit, and so further. For this reason we chose to use the term evidence-informed. We want to help you make evidence-informed instructional or training decisions by informing you in this blog about what works, what doesn’t work, when and for what groups this is the case, etcetera.
  • What do you mean by learning professionals? A learning professional is anyone responsible for the design, the development and/or the implementation of an intervention or situation meant for learning. It could be a professional instructional designer, but it could also be a teacher in a school. It could be a trainer in a company, but it could also be the head of human resources at that company. It could be the principal/headmaster of a school, but it could also be the head of the school board or the minister of education.

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