My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Ryan Watkins

We begin the First Friday of this month, July 2015, with another of my Favorite Gurus, Ryan Watkins, Ph.D.

I met Ryan at NSPI/ISPI – the International Society for Performance Improvement, back in the early 1990s.

Ryan follows the NSPI/ISPI tradition – in that he freely shares – and in his case it’s his research on the research in many related and non-related fields – Ryan reviews many scholarly journals and shares his insights on the impact of research elsewhere to the discipline and practice of Human Performance Technology (HPT).

Ryan is someone to follow – IMO – if you are involved in the improvement of enterprise process performance.

About Ryan Watkins

From his web site short bio…

Ryan Watkins, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC.  Some of his most recent publication include The Art of Knowledge Exchange (World Bank, 2014), available for free online, and A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results (World Bank, 2012), also available in print and free online. In 2013, A Guide to Assessing Needs was the most read online book available through the World Bank, with more than 57,000 reads.

Ryan is also an author of the world’s top-selling text on e-learning (with more than 150,000 copies in press and in its 4th edition), the E-learning Companion: A Learner’s Guide to Online Success (Houghton Mifflin, 2005, 2007; Cengage 2010, 2013), along with other books including the Handbook for Improving Performance in the Workplace – Volume 2 (Pfieffer/Wiley, 2010), Performance By Design: The systematic selection, design, and development of performance technologies (HRD Press, 2006), and 75 E-learning Activities: Making online courses interactive (Pfieffer, 2005).

The Handbook for Improving Performance in the Workplace won a 2011 ISPI Award of Excellence in the field of performance improvement.  In addition, he has co-authored three other books on organizational planning and more than 100 articles on instructional design, strategic planning, needs assessment, distance education, and performance technology. His articles are frequently cited in the performance improvement literature, making him the 4th most cited author of journal articles in the field.*

Ryan is an active member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and was a vice president of the Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD).   In 2005 Ryan was a visiting scientist with the National Science Foundation, and he routinely works on projects with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank on applying needs assessment, instructional design, and performance improvement to international assistance programs (including  work in Kenya, Tunisia, China, Mexico, and Laos PRD).

*Citation data provided in “HPT Roots and Branches: Analyzing Over 45 Years of the Field’s Own Citations.” by Linda Huglin (2010, Performance Improvement Quarterly).

Articles by Ryan

From his web site:



Books by Ryan

From his web site:


Videos of Ryan

Here is a 12 minute video I did with Ryan in 2010 at the ISPI Conference.

My Lessons Learned From Ryan

Ryan’s focus on the research and his willingness to freely share that – has always inspired me.

I appreciate all that he does.

Ryan on Social Media

Twitter – here.

Facebook – here.

LinkedIn – here.

Ryan’s web site – here.

Dr. Watkins’ faculty page at George Washington University: .

Consulting Service Offerings

Adapted from his web site:

From two-day workshops on designing effective e-learning courses to six-month needs assessment projects, Ryan offers a variety of consulting services to organizations large and small. If you are interested in learning more about the consulting services he offers, please contact him.

His consulting capabilities include services in…

  • Needs assessment
  • Performance by design
  • E-learning design and development
  • Online student success
  • Instructional design
  • Strategic and system planning
  • Training and organizational development

Contact Info for Ryan

Ryan Watkins, Ph.D.

Educational Technology Leadership
The George Washington University
2134 G Street NW #103
Washington, DC 20052


Share Your Stories

If the work of Ryan Watkins has been a valuable influence and/or resource for you – please share your stories about that in the comments section below.

Or simply share a URL there that is relevant.

And – thank you – for sharing!

The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series

We each have many influencers, mentors, both active and passive, knowingly and unknowingly in their respective roles in our development.

This series is my attempt to acknowledge all of them… one by one… in no particular order… as I attempt to consciously reflect on what I have learned and whom I have learned it from, regarding all things “Performance Improvement” – my first focus.

I have a long list.

Lucky me.

Next month – Timm Esque.

Links to All of the Past Posts in the MFFF Guru Series

Here is a page with links to all of the Past Posts from this My First Friday Favorite Guru Series, as listed below – find that – here.

  • Timm Esque – August 2015
  • Ryan Watkins – July 2015
  • Ken Silber – June 2015
  • Roger Chevalier – May 2015
  • Darryl Sink – April 2015
  • Jeanne Farrington – March 2015
  • Don Clark – February 2015
  • Frank T. Wydra – January 2015
  • Philip B. Crosby – December 2014
  • Donald L. Dewar – November 2014
  • Joseph M. Juran – October 2014
  • W. Edwards Deming – September 2014
  • Bonnie B. Small – August 2014
  • Walter A. Shewhart – July 2014
  • Carl Binder – June 2014
  • Ruth Clark – May 2014
  • Rob Foshay – April 2014
  • John Carlisle – March 2014
  • Miki Lane – February 2014
  • Harold Stolovitch – January 2014
  • Bill Wiggenhorn – December 2013
  • Will Thalheimer – November 2013
  • Roger Kaufman – October 2013
  • Roger Addison – September 2013
  • Ray Svenson – August 2013
  • Dick (Richard E.) Clark – July 2013
  • Allison Rossett – June 2013
  • Carol Panza – May 2013
  • Jane Bozarth – April 2013
  • Judy Hale – March 2013
  • Margo Murray – February 2013
  • Neil Rackham – January 2013
  • Robert (Bob) F. Mager – December 2012
  • Joe H. Harless – November 2012
  • Thomas F. Gilbert – October 2012
  • Sivasailam Thiagarajan (Thiagi) – September 2012
  • Geary A. Rummler – August 2012
  • Dale Brethower – July 2012

Here is a page with links to all of the above Past Posts in the

 My First Friday Favorite Guru Series – here.

# # #

3 comments on “My 1st Friday Favorite Guru Series: Ryan Watkins

  1. Pingback: T&D: Reflections on 40 Years in the Biz | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: L&D/PI: Thankful for My Many Mentors | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Review: The My First Friday Favorite Guru Series | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.