New ways to consume and apply research

December 30, 2014

I’ve recently been given the opportunity to oversee The eLearning Guild’s research function, while continuing to oversee the Guild Academy, an opportunity I’m both grateful for and extremely excited about.

In the past, as an analyst and industry researcher, I’ve generally followed the hourglass structure for conducting research; however, I’ve been uninspired by the lowest part of the hourglass – the output for communicating findings, insights, and recommendations. In my experience, research is often presented to users via a lengthy PDF document. I’ve written many.

For years, I’ve kept a folder full of PDF files and just never seem to find the time to read them.  I will scan the abstract and the conclusions and tuck it away for future reference. Maybe that’s just me but I suspect there are others that do the same thing. We’ve become a scanning society with so much content at our fingertips.

My hope is to present Guild research through multiple channels:

  • Infographics
  • Video interviews
  • Executive summaries
  • PPT templates for presenting the findings to others
  • Graphs
  • Listing of whom to follow in the topic area
  • Research summary (pdf)

In the future I’d also like to offer prediction graphs. Of course, not all topics warrant all of those assets but I think it will make the research more consumable. Do you agree or disagree? What else would you like to see? What else have you seen?

I’d appreciate your feedback.


  • Ryan Tracey

    Glad to see infographics at the top of the list, Janet. Notwithstanding they can only show so much, they offer an immediate sense of what the research discovered.

  • Lindsey Tropf

    Yes, I think this is very needed! Breaking it into highlights (graphs, infographics, videos) with links to deeper reading available seems pretty ideal to me. As a doctoral candidate and a startup founder… we all know there is so much un-accessed and understood research that could be applied for learning material development.

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