10L: Carl Crisostomo

About Carl:

“A few years ago, I had a “lightbulb” moment. I saw first-hand the impact that learning had on someone’s life. This sparked my curiosity in the science of learning and helped me re-evaluate my career. I started Carl Learns to help L&D teams, Instructional Designers and online course creators be more effective by harnessing the power of learning science.”

So, what do you do dear?  Describe your work to an elderly relative. 

I make and share videos via social media on the science of learning. I help organisations and individuals make their learning more effective. 

What was your favourite learning experience (Could be work, personal, school…anything is valid)?  What were you trying to do? Why did it work so well for you?

My current learning experience, I’m studying the Fundamentals of Neuroscience with Harvard University. When I started the course it said something along the lines of “it would be helpful if you had a background in electrical engineering and an understanding of how to solve complex math problems”. A few years ago that kind of statement would have made me walk away. But now, because I’ve been learning how to learn, I’ve a whole range of approaches and techniques at my disposal which I use when studying. This has meant that even though the subject matter is quite complex, it’s actually enjoyable. I think this is called hard fun. 

Enough already…What one thing do you wish people in your industry or profession would stop doing? (What gets your goat?)

Ignoring what science tells us about how people learn. There are tons of evidence and delicious research out there to show that you should design an experience with learning science in mind. It’ll not only help boost your ability to deliver effective learning. Also save you time on things that are not giving a good enough return for your efforts.

Same again please…What has changed for the better in your professional world as a result of COVID working practices? Should it be retained for the future (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like)? 

Increase in available time due to a reduction in commuting. This has given me the space to pursue activities outside work that support my practice. Personal development has been a big one for me. Being an independent consultant the onus is on me to develop myself. Because of this additional time, I feel my approach to my work has become more informed. I do think that hybrid working is here to stay and I think this is a good thing. Organisations just need to get better at facilitating a hybrid approach.

From the good old days…What do you miss most about working life from the pre-COVID world? Do you think it will return? 

Office banter. I loved chatting rubbish in the office. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t work over  Zoom. I hope it returns, otherwise I’m doomed to a life of misery.

Theft is the sincerest form of flattery…Which part of which other industry or profession do you think we should learn from and adopt (or just steal)?

As an ex Product Manager, I ‘d have to say Product Management. There are a whole host of reasons why, but a couple stand out. 1. A Product Manager bases a lot of their decision making on evidence. I collected data from a range of sources that helped inform my decisions. My tip for L&D is not only to get good at gathering data, but when possible try to gather data from multiple sources. Data is at its best when combined.  2. Product Managers are encouraged to do a lot of different types of  testing. I would do piloting, A/B testing, user testing etc. My second tip for L&D is to try out a few different testing techniques. The lessons learnt from when things go wrong are invaluable. I think my experience as a Product Manager has helped me be a better learning professional.

You know who would be great for this…Which famous person (live or historical) do you want to join your team and why?

Napoleon Bonaparte. I’m listening to a podcast on his life. It seems that he’s the most misunderstood man in history. Admittedly, he did have a war-like and tyrannical side to his character. Though he was charming, learned and a gifted tactician. He also rewarded people on merit and talent rather than status. War-like stuff aside, I think Napoleon possesses attributes that would be useful for any team. Though, I don’t think the team would be mine if I had him on board. He would be the boss.

If only I had…What did you learn from your most recent mistake?

When using WhatsApp, always check that your brother is your brother and not your client. This is especially important when your conversations with your brother often contain a lot of loose language. Not the best way to start a new contract.

There can be only one…Which one tool or piece of kit would you keep if you could only use one from now on?  

Noise cancelling headphones. I don’t even need to plug them into anything. I use them when studying in order to block out distractions and focus my attention. Also, I can pretend I’m on a call when my kids decide they want to harass me. 

The picture of success…Which image or picture is a good representation of how you would like to develop your practice over the next five years?

Me charging forward with a great big smile on my face, in a world full of learning science, AI and satisfied learners. 

Where can we find you?

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