Dr. Lynette Gillis PH.D. CTDP - Executive Director
Dr. Lynette Gillis is an internationally recognized authority in the design, development and evaluation of learning. She has led a distinguished career at the leading edge of research and practice designed to improve the quality, effectiveness and impact of learning in the classroom and workplace setting.
Lynette received her doctorate in cognitive and educational psychology from the University of Toronto in 1982. Her doctoral research was one of the first to investigate how to use interactive television to improve learning outcomes. This scholarship laid the foundation of a professional career devoted to improving existing design and evaluation methodologies to help organizations improve outcomes and ensure maximum value from their learning investments.
Her deep theoretical understanding of learning and cognition is buttressed by years of practical, first-hand experience designing and evaluating learning products, practices, and strategies. This experience embraces all levels of education, instructional models, and technologies. Her contributions to enhancing learning effectiveness has been focused on three broad areas: measuring and evaluating learning programs, establishing quality standards for instructional excellence, and designing elearning and blended learning solutions.
Over the course of her career, Lynette has conducted several hundred evaluations of major national learning initiatives, major change initiatives in school systems and post-secondary education, workplace training programs and elearning systems and courseware. This work has been carried out in almost all sectors of the economy: education, business, government, medicine and health, pharmaceuticals, computer and information technology, communications and broadcasting, retail and service, manufacturing, banking and finance, and non-profit and cultural agencies.
As a leading Canadian expert in learning impact measurement and ROI, Dr. Gillis develops metrics, measurement and benchmarking systems to help organizations ensure that their learning budgets deliver value for money. Most recently, Lynette and her team completed a landmark, national study of 12 Canadian organizations to determine the return on investmentfrom learning. Funded by the Government of Canada, the three-year Investing in People project also yielded valuable evidence-based insights into what works and what doesn’t in training.
In addition to cataloguing ‘effective training practices’, the study gave Lynette an excellent opportunity to complete her career-long ambition to develop a more effective evaluation paradigm that gives learning organizations powerful and user-friendly evaluation tool set. The result, High Impact Evaluation is increasingly recognized as an evaluation ‘game changer’ that moves evaluation from a backward-looking, reactive model to a forward-looking, prescriptive tool. Pronounced by Harvard Business School Publications as the “most practical” evaluation methodology, Dr. Gillis’ model is currently seeing greater adoption in leading Canadian corporations and across the federal government.
Harvard Business Publications has engaged Dr. Gillis and the Centre to employ this new evaluation framework as a basis for developing its own impact evaluation system to enhance its highly successful line of elearning products, Harvard ManageMentor.
QUALITY STANDARDS FOR LEARNING EXCELLENCE
Lynette has spearheaded high-profile North American initiatives to establish standards of quality in the new elearning and blended learning modalities. Dr. Gillis is the author of Quality Standards for Evaluating Multimedia and Online Learning (McGraw-Hill 2000). The Quality Standards have been embraced by organizations, such as the Canadian National Defence department and the Canada Revenue Agency among others, to identify which training programs will have impact and to assess which elements of the training are effective and which are not. The Standards were endorsed by the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) and praised by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) as “best in the field.” Lynette’s work in developing learning effectiveness evaluation tools led to her appointment in 2001 by the American Society of Training and Development as the Chair of the first ASTD Commission to develop industry-wide certification standards and indicators of elearning effectiveness and quality.
BLENDED LEARNING AND ELEARNING DESIGN
Lynette and her team at the Centre for Learning Impact have developed more than 300 hours of award-winning, elearning content and have provided strategic consulting to wide-ranging corporate and public-sector clients: Bell Canada, BCE, CIBC, Industry Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Manulife Financial, Toronto Stock Exchange, Scotiabank, the University Health Network, and the Ontario Securities Commission among many others. Her firm won the 2004 Canadian Training Excellence Award, the American Society of Training and Development 2003 Excellence in Practice Award, and the 2002 Conference Board of Canada eLearning Award.
In the area of blended learning, Dr. Gillis has developed an easy-to-use and practical methodology for appropriately selecting and blending learning strategies and technologies (with or without face-to-face instruction) for effective course delivery. Several of Canada’s largest government departments and corporations have endorsed her approach and have engaged Lynette to create blended strategies and advise and train their senior learning managers and specialists.
Lynette is a frequent keynote and speaker on measurement, quality, blended learning, and elearning at international conferences. She has also has served as Director of the Ontario Securities Commission Investor Education Fund, Advisor to Canada’s Prime Minister’s Panel on the Skills Gap, Educational Advisor to the Toronto Stock Exchange, and Founding Director of the Bell Centre for Learning Design at Fleming College.
EARLY BACKGROUND IN EVALUATION RESEARCH
Dr. Gillis’ leadership in the science and practice of learning evaluation had its early roots in series of high-profile learning evaluation initiatives beginning with her research in the late 1970’s with children’s Television (TV Ontario, Sesame Street, Children’s television Workshop, Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). This body of work included pioneering research into learning and technology including Satellite TV in the North; using wide-area networks (a pre-cursor to the Internet); to her role as lead evaluator of the continent’s most ambitions computers in the classroom initiatives—Ontario’s $50 million Computers in the Classroom initiative in the mid-80’s. As the lead evaluator, Dr. Gillis developed and implemented innovative evaluation methodologies to measure the effectiveness and impact of 60 new courseware programs for the Ontario Ministry of Education.