Early in life, I found that I had a natural curiosity that not only led to a passion for learning and sharing with others, but it also got me into trouble. Although not a bad kid, I often found overly structured classrooms a challenge. I could be a bit disruptive, as I would explore the content and activities in a manner that made sense to me. I found that classes and teachers that nurtured a personalized approach really resonated with me, while those that did not were demotivating and affected my relationship with the content. Too often, the conversation would come to a head where the teacher would ask, “Why can’t you learn it this way?” I would push back with, “Why can’t you teach it in a variety of ways?” The only path for success was when I would deconstruct and reconstruct the lessons in a meaningful way for myself.
I would say that this early experience has shaped my career. I have been blessed with a range of opportunities to work with innovative organizations that advocate for the learner, endeavor to deliver relevance, and look to bend technology to further these goals. For example, while working at Unext.com, I had the opportunity to experience over 3,000 hours of “learnability” testing on my blended learning designs. I could see for my own eyes how learners would react to my designs and how they made meaning of it. Learners asked two common questions: Is it relevant to me? Is it authentic? Through observations of and conversations with learners, I began to sharpen my skills and designed for inclusion and relevance rather than control. This lesson has served me well.
Matt Donovan is the vice president of GP Strategies’ Global Digital Learning Strategies and Solutions division and has more than 22 years’ experience crafting training and development solutions with a focus on performance-driven learning. Donovan has led the production of more than 300 custom online courses for Fortune500 companies. His teams have developed courseware for sales, marketing, manufacturing, clinical research, compliance, leadership and ethics. Many of his courses employ a modern learning, learner journey approach focusing on relevance in the workplace. Solutions developed have been frequently recognized for industry awards, including Brandon Hall and Training Industry. Donovan has presented at several national/international conferences including ISPI, ATD, e-Learning Guild and SPBT.
Personally, Donovan has been recognized as one of the Top Ten International Trainers under 40 by Trainingmagazine. He also received a presidential citation from ISPI for his work in establishing the ISPI Annual HPT Case Competition.
Donovan has an master’s in instructional systems technology from Indiana University