26 episodes

Change is hard. It’s hard enough when you’re trying to break a bad habit or work toward a new goal. But leading change in your organization? That can feel impossible. Learning to Change is a show that’s about making change easier—for individuals and organizations—through learning. Bringing 20 years of education experience to leaders, managers, and executives, host Melissa Emler talks with people who have led change through learning in their organizations. Each episode is a tool for helping you and your organization create a culture of learning so that you can get unstuck, move forward with confidence, and achieve your goals. Learning to Change will help you break down barriers to learning and make learning the cultural DNA of your team.

Learning to Change Melissa Emler

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 34 Ratings

Change is hard. It’s hard enough when you’re trying to break a bad habit or work toward a new goal. But leading change in your organization? That can feel impossible. Learning to Change is a show that’s about making change easier—for individuals and organizations—through learning. Bringing 20 years of education experience to leaders, managers, and executives, host Melissa Emler talks with people who have led change through learning in their organizations. Each episode is a tool for helping you and your organization create a culture of learning so that you can get unstuck, move forward with confidence, and achieve your goals. Learning to Change will help you break down barriers to learning and make learning the cultural DNA of your team.

    25. The PLAN Pilot Work with the New York State Education Department

    25. The PLAN Pilot Work with the New York State Education Department

    I want to share an exciting project that Modern Learners will be doing. We’ve been selected by the New York State Education Department to be the Technical Assistance Center for the PLAN Pilot work.

    This is a big deal.

    PLAN stands for Performance-Based Learning and Assessment Networks. The work of the PLAN Pilot is to create a network of schools that will explore assessment strategies that foster high quality instructional opportunities where the learner is at the center of the learning experience.

    I believe this work has the potential to be the most impactful work that my team will do in our entire careers. Supporting a state that has standardized tests in place as a graduation requirement with the work of reimagining their assessment system is wildly exciting. And a little bit scary. 

    The idea of the Regents Exams going away is unimaginable to some. However, New York’s Blue Ribbon Commission has been planting the seeds for that work, and in a call last week, it was mentioned that the Blue Ribbon Commission would be beginning discussions as early as June 2024.

    Though our project is separate from the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission, it is intended to help New York plan and prepare to support the schools in the event that the Blue Ribbon Commission charts an alternative path to graduation.

    The primary objectives of the PLAN Pilot are three-fold.



    To build capacity and knowledge. The pilot seeks to build a strong, shared knowledge base of performance-based learning and assessment among students, educators, families, and communities. There is a lot of information that needs to be elevated in relation to this work, because shifting our brains from thinking about the Regents Exam as a graduation requirement to more of a performance-based assessment will raise a lot of questions and uncertainties. So we will build capacity and knowledge to help calm fears and build more certainty. This involves developing assessment literacy so that stakeholders understand and can effectively use performance data to enhance teaching and learning.

    Professional learning and support. I’m really excited about this because educators will engage in high-quality professional learning experiences. I believe that in all systems, everyone is a learner. We have to stop being teachers first and become learners first in order to experience the shifts in the field that we’re hoping for. These include school-based and network-wide trainings, professional developments, and participation in a community of practice. The collaborative environment will be designed to increase and continuously improve the capacity to develop and use high-quality, performance-based approaches to learning and assessment.

    Systemic change and sustainability. The pilot aims to establish a sustainable and systemic change in educational assessment by supporting schools in creating transition plans and budgets that ensure the longevity of performance-based learning and assessment practices. This involves working with technical assistance centers like the ones we at Modern Learners will be hosting and building to provide ongoing support and resources. We want to support schools and districts with operationalizing the systems that will need to be implemented in schools. 



    By having a Technical Assistance Center, you can build out supports that can help multiple schools at one time and do so in a way that is strategic, predictable, and consistent. That is our goal.

    The PLAN Pilot imagines that we will have enhanced learning opportunities where the focus is on creating authentic learning experiences that engage students more deeply and meaningfully. Performance-based assessments allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through real world tasks and projects, which are more reflective of their learning and their abilities.

    • 13 min
    24. Studium and Punctum, and How to Make the Story Yours

    24. Studium and Punctum, and How to Make the Story Yours

    Documenting our processes and outcomes when we’re doing change work is vital.

    I recently encountered a philosophical concept that perfectly helps illustrate this, and today, as part of our ongoing series of explainers, I want to talk through the ideas of studium and punctum and how they can be applied to our work in and out of the classroom.















    LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE TO HEAR:









    * Philosopher Roland Barthe’s definition of studium and punctum







    * What we can learn about the use of studium and punctum from Taylor Swift







    * How employing studium and punctum will impact how we at Modern Learners document our process of reimagining assessments in New York state









    RESOURCES:









    * The Writing Teacher's Guide to Pedagogical Documentation: Rethinking How We Assess Learners and Learning, Angela Stockman







    * Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes









    LEARN MORE ABOUT MELISSA EMLER AND MODERN LEARNERS:









    * Modern Learners







    * Modern Learners Community

    • 16 min
    23. What is the Difference Between Learning Design and Lesson Planning?

    23. What is the Difference Between Learning Design and Lesson Planning?

    Learning design and lesson planning might sound interchangeable, but they have distinct uses and purposes in education.

    So what’s the difference?

    In today’s episode, I’m responding to a listener question and parsing out these two concepts. I’ll talk about why, how, and when both of them apply to our learning environments, along with key questions and practical considerations for each phase.















    LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE TO HEAR:









    * How the end user is the key differentiator between learning design and lesson planning







    * How learning design addresses questions of goals, access, and strategies to foster effective and engaging learning experiences







    * How learning design helps us think through the how and why of teaching particular content, for both teachers and students







    * The difference between assessment of learning and assessment as learning







    * Why learning design needs to happen well in advance of lesson planning







    * How lesson plans put learning design into action in the classroom









    LEARN MORE ABOUT MELISSA EMLER AND MODERN LEARNERS:









    * Modern Learners







    * Modern Learners Community

    • 24 min
    22. All Change Is Linguistic

    22. All Change Is Linguistic

    All change is linguistic.

    It’s something that I frequently remind people of, but what do I really mean when I say that?

    The words we use have meanings. Changes in our language reflect the deeper cultural shifts at play and help us dismantle barriers and promote understanding.

    In this episode, I want to take a moment to dig into how linguistic changes bring us closer to our goal of more equitable, accessible, and supportive learning environments.















    LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE TO HEAR:









    * How the language we use embodies our values and commitments to change







    * How seemingly simple shifts in language help us create more supportive, inclusive learning environments







    * How language drives change in narratives and pedagogical approaches to our students









    RESOURCES:









    * Community: The Structure of Belonging, Peter Block









    LEARN MORE ABOUT MELISSA EMLER AND MODERN LEARNERS:









    * Modern Learners







    * Modern Learners Community

    • 13 min
    21. Enhancing People Experiences in Events and Community Engagement with Gina Bianchini

    21. Enhancing People Experiences in Events and Community Engagement with Gina Bianchini

    As part of our series on event planning and community, Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Mighty Networks joins me to talk about why People Magic is more than a set of tools, but a guiding philosophy of making valuable connections between people.

    She also explains why many online groups are using their platforms “off-label,” and how Mighty Networks is changing the game in community engagement.















    LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE TO HEAR:









    * Why member to member connection is the most important factor to the success for online communities and events







    * How Mighty Networks has reimagined the member profile as a site for engagement and connection with other users







    * The coming role of AI in community moderation







    * How communities get people out of the constant churn of social media content creation









    LEARN MORE ABOUT Gina bianchini









    * Mighty Networks







    * Connect with Gina on LinkedIn









    LEARN MORE ABOUT MELISSA EMLER AND MODERN LEARNERS:









    * Modern Learners







    * Modern Learners Community

    • 40 min
    20. Off The Cuff: On Accessibility

    20. Off The Cuff: On Accessibility

    In this installment of Off the Cuff Rants on Learning, I’m sharing my unfiltered thoughts and perspectives on accessibility.

    A recent experience speaking at an event has accessibility and universal design for learning on my mind, and I want to invite you to consider these issues with me.

    Let’s think through how we can remain true to our values of inclusion even when the pressure is on, the tech isn’t working, or other obstacles crop up.















    LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE TO HEAR:









    * The incident with a tech issue and an event organizer that left me feeling shaky 







    * Our responsibility around accessibility









    LEARN MORE ABOUT MELISSA EMLER AND MODERN LEARNERS:









    * Modern Learners







    * Modern Learners Community

    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

Wildewood Learning ,

Thought provoking

Each episode leaves me with a different perspective about education and learning. Missy gives a new voice to Modern Learners that resonates with me. I love the rants! Keep them coming!

Randy Ziegenfuss ,

Leave the lightweight surface conversation about education behind.....

...and put the Modern Learners podcast at the top of your podcast playlist! Will, Bruce and their guests will consistently challenge your beliefs about LEARNING, leadership and education and inspire you to transform your own learning environment to support today's modern learners. Consistently THE best K-12 learning podcast out there!

M. E. K. ,

Thought provoking!

I love this podcast. I have listened and re-listened to many of the podcasts. They are great. Their guest speakers are great too. They make me think about things in a new critical way and they make me question the reasons behind why I (or we) do specific things.

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