Saul Carliner, the Institute’s latest fellow

Saul Carliner, the Institute’s latest fellow

by Hailey Chan

Saul Carliner

“Some new thing enters your life and you forget what life was like without it.” That’s what Saul Carliner, the latest fellow for The Institute for Performance and Learning, says about technology in the workplace.

One of the focal points of the Associate Professor of Educational Technology and Provost’s Fellow for Digital Learning at Concordia University’s research and teaching, Carliner says that technology has become so important that organizations may find themselves hopping on the latest updates and newest programs, recruiting the help of third-party vendors without fully understanding what they’re paying for.

When it comes to vendors, Carliner has seen the numbers grow over the last 10 years. Currently, his research surrounds the industry’s contract and consulting sector, which was inspired by his former students, many of whom are working for third-party vendors in the workplace learning field.

In the learning world, “one of the biggest changes I’ve observed is how people are employed,” Carliner says. How a person is employed can affect the level of creativity and free-range he/she may exercise.  “We don’t want to be order takers, we want to be advising and consulting people around services,” he says. “But working as contractors, consultants, and service providers, we’re working as outsiders. So how do we influence decision making?”

Doctors and lawyers are among the most effective professions to train and “do tremendous work”.  “Legal educators talk to legal educators – there are internships, apprenticeships, simulations…I think we should look at what they’re doing,” Carliner says. That means focusing on the skills that individuals already have, and looking at their needs. Next comes using the time meaningfully to engage them in learning, instead of overloading with “every single factoid you could possibly think of,” he says.

A member of the Institute since 2004, Carliner served on the Board of Directors (2008-2012) and was part of founding the Montréal chapter. He is also Chair of the Certification Advisory Committee, which oversees the competencies needed for the CTP and CTDP designations. “We consult practitioners to ensure the competencies are reflective of the work as we (as instructors, training coordinators, learning consultants, managers, and executives) perform it today,” he says. What he describes as one of the most fundamental experiences in his career, his contributions to the the certification process and achievements in the workplace learning and development field were recognized this November, when the Institute awarded Saul the highest level of membership – fellowship.

The Institute honours fellows who have a positive reputation in the field of learning and development. A fellow is recognized by their peers, the Board and the Fellow Nominating Committee for outstanding achievement and professional contributions.

When Carliner is not deeply immersed in teaching, his research, or consulting students, (usually from the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. – with breaks of course!), he is preparing for his term as president of Montréal’s Agence Ometz, an integrated social service agency. He’s also reviewing museums and malls on his blogs, and catching up with the latest episodes of the Good Wife.


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