David L. Solomon


What does it mean to be learning?

What a fascinating question to ponder; what an important question for the field of Instructional Technology.

Early in my academic career in the Instructional Technology program at Wayne State University, I asked an instructor if the field was more interested in learning or instruction. Since then, I have found myself immersed in a variety of related philosophical questions.

During the 2000 Annual Conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology in Long Beach, CA, I met Jan Visser who attended my presentation, Philosophical Inquiry in Instructional Technology: The Forgotten Pathway to Learning. It didn't take long for me to become enthralled with the Meaning of Learning project; and, I have since enjoyed collaborating with Jan and Yusra on several projects.

On a more personal note, I have a lot of varied interests, many of which are oddly connected to my interests in exploring the Meaning of Learning. I've been playing ice hockey since I was a child and I've spent several years as head coach of my son's travel hockey team. My thoughts on this subject are explored in the March/April issue (2002) of Educational Technology Magazine.

My family and I love animals and our brood currently includes Rocky, an Akbash Dog, Lola, our "British type" Golden Retriever who came from Kyon Kennels and Spike our cat. Interestingly, I've gained a lot of insight into learning through my experiences with the Wolverine Dog Training Club … both human and canine!

For me, it's a blessing to care for animals. In the past, we've rescued Buck, a Hovawart, and Tallie, a Siberian Husky. We are also very interested in the Alaskan Klee Kai.

For most of my vocational life, I've worked in the field of learning and performance improvement. In my International assignment at BBDO Detroit, I was able to integrate my interests in cultural studies in an applied setting, which I summarized in the March/April issue (2005) of Educational Technology Magazine (see Crossing Cultural Corridors: From Philosophy to Practice). I'm currently working in strategic planning where I'm responsible for consumer insights. Much of my current research involves a full-range of research methodologies including qualitative, quantitative or strategic studies, as well as alternative approaches such as ethnography and observational research. I'm very excited to be attending the first Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA.

For me, cultural studies serve as a bridge between my past and future. Perhaps Clifford Geertz (1973) offers the best summary in The Interpretation of Cultures: "I take culture … and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning."