The 2009 Neon Elephant Award goes to Ruth Clark for her many years in leading the workplace learning-and-performance field with research-based insights and recommendations, and—by so doing—helping to professionalize our field.
The Neon Elephant Award
The Neon Elephant Award is awarded to a person, team, or organization exemplifying enlightenment, integrity, and innovation in the field of workplace learning and performance. Announced on the day of the winter solstice—the day of the year when the northern hemisphere turns away from darkness toward the light and hope of warmer days to come—the Neon Elephant Award honors those who have truly changed the way we think about the practice of learning and performance improvement. Award winners are selected for demonstrated success in pushing the field forward in significant paradigm-altering ways while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
Ruth Clark's Special Contributions
Ruth Clark, EdD, a recognized specialist in instructional design and technical training, holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from the University of Southern California. Prior to founding CLARK Training & Consulting, Dr. Clark served as training manager for Southern California Edison. She is past president of the International Society for Performance Improvement and author of six books and numerous articles. Dr. Clark is the 2006 recipient of the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from ISPI. Ruth is the author of many important books, searchable at Amazon.com under her full name Ruth Colvin Clark, including:
- The New Virtual Classroom: Evidence-based Guidelines for Synchronous e-Learning,
- Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load,
- e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning,
- Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials,
- Developing Technical Training: A Structured Approach for Developing Classroom and Computer-based Instructional Materials,
- Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement
In addition to her lifetime of work, Ruth Clark is honored this year for the 3rd edition of her excellent book, published just a little over a year ago, Building Expertise: Cognitive Methods for Training and Performance Improvement. Although this is said to be the 3rd edition, the research cited is fresh and up-to-date. This book may be Ruth’s masterwork. It covers a wide swath of the learning research. It’s written by a research translator at the height of her powers. It’s a must-read (and must-study) for everyone in the field of workplace learning-and-performance.
It’s not easy to examine learning research from refereed scientific journals and compile it so that it is practical for others. The time commitment is incredible, the research skills must be of the highest caliber—and it requires guts and gusto. Some of what the research reveals cuts against the common wisdom. Sometimes it chaffs and brings angst and heat.Ruth’s continuing perseverance over the last three decades is testament to her passion and tenacity. Her work itself is testament to her integrity and skills.
I would imagine that over the last two decades there is no one in our field who has improved the work of as many instructional designers, trainers, and e-learning developers as Ruth Clark. For me, she continues to be a beacon—proof that research-based work is valued by our profession. For our field, Ruth’s work is simply indispensable.
Using evidence-based reasoning and recommendations is not just useful in practice. It is what respected, successful professions are based on. We owe Ruth Clark our most grateful thanks.
To Learn More...
To learn more about the Neon Elephant Award, including the selection criteria, past winners, etc., click here.
To visit Ruth Clark's website, click here.