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Saul Carliner, PhD

Professor, Education

Saul Carliner, PhD
Office: S-FG 6323  
Faubourg Ste-Catherine Building,
1610 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2038

Saul Carlineris a generalist in learning and communication, with substantial tenures in bothacademia and industry in both fields. His teaching and research focus on thedesign of instructional and informational materials (especially in emerginggenres and media), the management of groups that produce these materials, andrelated issues of policy and professionalism.

Research and Publications: Carliner’s recent projects explore patterns of informal learning for the workplace; the impact of digital disruption on the long-term employability of middle- and highly skilled workers; the competencies needed by training and development professionals (and the processes used to identify them); applications of augmentation technologies; and evidence-based practices for effective everyday teaching in higher education.

He has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,Entente Canada-Quebec fund, Canadian Council on Learning, KnowledgeOne, and the Hong Kong University Grants Council.

Among his over250publications are the upcoming Career Anxiety: Guidance for Tough Times (with Margaret Driscoll and Yvonne Thayer), the best-selling Training Design Basics (ATD Press), award-winning Informal Learning Basics (ATD Press)award-winning The e-LearningHandbook (with Patti Shank), numerous book chapters, and over 50peer-reviewed publications.

He has received the Kenneth Rainey Award for Excellence in Research, six awards in the Frank R Smith Outstanding Article Competition (including 2 Best of Show awards), is aFellow of the Institute for Performance and Learning, and Society for Technical Communication, and is a member of the Concordia University Provost’s Circle of Distinction.

Teaching: Carliner currently serves as Graduate Program Director of the Educational Technology program in the Department of Education and the Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Universityand Continuing Education through the School of Graduate Studies.

His best-known courses include the online course, Educational Communication (EDUC 270)(general elective and elective for minors in Adult Education, Education, andProfessional Writing), and the blended courses Fundamentals of Instructional Design (ETEC 650) and Administering Educational Technology Units (ETEC671),both required courses for the Graduate Diploma in Instructional Technology and MA in Educational Technology.

He has previously served as Interim Chair of the Department of Education, Provost Fellow for e-Learning and Director of the Education Doctoral Program. He has also served on the summer school faculty of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, where he has taught courses on corporate communication.

Carliner has received the Jay Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Concordia University Alumni Teaching Award.

Other Activities: Also a consultant, Carliner has provided strategic consultation in organizational design, program evaluation, and effective instructional design. He has also served as Research Director for Lakewood Media (publisher of Training magazine and producer of the Training and Online Learning Conferences). Current projects include an evaluation of the impact of subsidized housing on its tenants, and community engagement; and creating workshops on instructional design and management for a professional association.

A long-time community leader, Carliner is vice-president of the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), a past president of Agence Ometz, an integrated human services agency, past board member of the Institute for Performance and Learning, past Research Fellow of the Association for Talent Development, and past international president of the Society for Technical Communication. He has also chaired a museum membership auxiliary, civic transit board, several allocations committees for community foundations, and served on boards of several arts, professional and community organizations.

Education and certification

PhD Instructional Technology. Georgia State University. Dissertation: "Every Object Tells a Story: A Grounded Model of Design for Object-Based Learning in Museums.
MAg Technical Communication. University of Minnesota.

BA Economics, Professional Writing, and Public Policy and Management, minor in Administration and Management Science. Carnegie Mellon University.

Certified Training and Development Professional, awarded by the Institute for Performance and learning (formerly Canadian Society for Training and Development).

Certified Facilitator of Training. 

Academic experience

ConcordiaUniversity, Montreal,Quebec. Director,Educational Technology Programs (since 2018).Director, Graduate Certificate in Teaching inHigher and Continuing Education (formerly Graduate Certificate in University Teaching)(since 2018). Interim Chair, Department of Education (2017-2018). Professor(since2016). Provost Fellow fore-Learning (2012-2016). Director, EducationDoctoral Program (2011-2016). Associate Professor (2007-2016). AssistantProfessor (2003-2007).
Universityof International Business and Economics, Beijing China. Summer School Instructor(2019, 2018, 2017, 2016).
CityUniversity of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. 2001, 2002-2003. Department of English andCommunication. Visiting Assistant Professor.
BentleyCollege, Waltham, Massachusetts. 1999-2002.AssistantProfessor, InformationDesign and Corporate Communication Department and Department of English.
Universityof Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota. 1998-1999. VisitingAssistant Professor. Department of Rhetoric.
SouthernPolytechnic State University (now Kennesaw State University), Marietta,Georgia. 1992-1996. Assistant Professor of Technical Communication. Department ofHumanities and Technical Communication.

Professional experience

Carliner & Company. 1992-1995 and since 1998. Managing Partner.

Fredrickson Communications, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1995-1998.

IBM Corporation. 1980-1992
Advisory Marketing Programs Administrator (Customer Education)
Education Development Administrator (Technical Education)
Information Developer (System Products Division)

Courses taught in the past 5 years

Educational Communication (EDUC 270) (online,through e-Concordia)

Master’s and Diploma
Fundamentals of Instructional Design (ETEC650/550)
Administering Educational Technology Units (ETEC671/571)
Human Resource Policy (ETEC 676/576)

Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher and Continuing Education(C-TEACH)

Foundations of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (UNIT 606)

Foundations of Course Design in Higher Education (UNIT 607)

Advanced Issues in Education (EDUC 809)
Advanced Readings in Educational Technology, Instructional Design, and Human Performance Technology (doctoral tutorial)

Research interests and current projects

  • Informal learning in the workplace (funded by SSHRC) 
  • Humane futures: Applications of adaptation technologies 
  • Evidence-based guidance for teaching and learning in higher and continuing education (funded by Entente Canada-Quebec)
  • Impact of Artificial Intelligence and automation on long-term employability of workers
  • The competencies needed by training and performance improvement professionals (conducted in conjunction with the International Board of Standards for Training and Performance Improvement and the Institute for Performance and Learning)
  • Perceptions of trainers and technical communicators held by their "clients" (the former funded by internal "seed" funds; the latter conducted in conjunction with the Society for Technical Communication)
  • The actual work of educational technologists and technical communicators (the latter conducted in conjunction with the Society for Technical Communication)


ExternalResearch Grants

·       Carliner, S.(primary investigator) & Cucinelli, G (co-investigator). Informal Learningfor Current and Longer-Term Employability. Social Sciences and HumanitiesResearch Council. 2020-2023. $99,118

$54,000 in additional funding for the project fromthe Department of National Defence Research Initiative.

·       Concordia Universityand Marianpolis College. (2019.) (Carliner, S. primary investigator.) Au boutdes doigts: une approche différente au développement professionnel del'enseignement et de l'apprentissage dans les universités et les cégeps,troisieme et dernier annee (Translation: – ‘Bring It to Them: A New Approach toProfessional Development on Teaching and Learning for Universities and Cegeps’—Thirdand Final Year) L’Entente Canada-Quebec program of the Ministere de l’Educationet de l’Enseignement Superieur. (Primary investigator for an institutionalgrant.) $CDN 68,257. (Completed.)

·       Concordia Universityand Marianpolis College. (2018.) (Carliner, S. primary investigator.) Au boutdes doigts: une approche différente au développement professionnel del'enseignement et de l'apprentissage dans les universités et les cégeps, annee2 (Translation: – ‘Bring It to Them: A New Approach to Professional Developmenton Teaching and Learning for Universities and Cegeps’—Year 2) L’EntenteCanada-Quebec program of the Ministere de l’Education et de l’EnseignementSuperieur. (Primary investigator for an institutional grant.) $CDN 75,950.(Completed.)

·       Concordia Universityand Marianpolis College. (2017.) (Carliner, S. primary investigator.) Au boutdes doigts: une approche différente au développement professionnel del'enseignement et de l'apprentissage dans les universités et les cégeps (Translation:– ‘Bring It to Them: A New Approach to Professional Development on Teaching andLearning for Universities and Cegeps’) L’Entente Canada-Quebec program of theMinistere de l’Education et de l’Enseignement Superieur. (Primary investigatorfor an institutional grant.) $CDN 57,899. (Completed)

·       Davidson, A.L.,Cucinelli,G., Carliner, S, Light,E.& Oostveen, R. (2016.)  Exploring the potential ofthedigital “maker:” Movement for authentic learning. Social SciencesandHumanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant.  $CDN $62,289

·       Carliner, S.,Davidson, A. L. & Devey, P. (2010.) Surveyof perceptions of e-books inhigher education. KnowledgeOne. Completion:December 2012. (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2005.) A genre-based approach to best practices in online communication forthe workplace. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (Completed.)

·       Boswood,T., Carliner, S. and Davison, R. (2003.)Brochureware: Design, copywriting andusability issues in an emerging genre of online communication. Hong KongUniversity Grants Council. Completion: August 2004.

·       Carliner,S. (2001.) What do we manage: a survey of the management portfolios of largertechnical communication departments. Society for Technical CommunicationResearch Grant. (Completed.)

Internal Research Grants

·       Hebblewaite,S., Reilly, R., Yuen, F., Sawchuk, K., Dyer, L.,Timm-Botos, J., Carliner, S.,Paterson, S., & Poteete, (2012.) A.Qualitative Research Working Group.CISSC Interdisciplinary Working Group. (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2009.) What Are Customers’ Perceptions of Training and What Drives ThosePerceptions. Concordia University Seed Funding Program (Individual Stream.) (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2008.) ETEC@40: The Impact of Educational Technology Research and Theory inPractice. Concordia University Faculty ofArts and Science Aid to ResearchRelated Events, Publication, Exhibition and Dissemination Activities. (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2004.) We Are What We Measure: Towards Quality Metrics for Learning andCommunication Products Used in the Workplace. Concordia University Faculty ofArts and Science General Research Fund. (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2001.) Bentley College. Case Study of an Information Design and DevelopmentProject. Summer Research Grant. (Completed.)

·       Carliner,S. (2001.) Bentley College. Travel Grant. (Completed.)

Research Contracts

·       Carliner, S. and Aslan, O.(2020-2022.)Kehilla Montréal Housing Project: Assessing the Impact. Kehilla Montréal.

·       Carliner, S. (2019-2022.) Evaluation of the Passportto Jewish Life. Montreal Federation/CJA.

·       Carliner, S. (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013).Research Director, Lakewood Media (publisherof Training magazine and producer ofthe Training and Online Learning Conferences).  

Teaching activities

Advanced Issues in Education (EDUC 809)

PhD Level

This seminar-style course explores one or more complex issues of education that has implications for Applied Linguistics, Child Studies, Educational Studies, and Educational Technology. During the course, students explore the research and popular literature on the topic, critically examine the epistemological, sociological, and theoretical bases of the literature, and relate the lessons learned to their own proposed research projects.

Fundamentals of Instructional Design (EDUC 650/550)

Master's and graduate diploma
Fall term

This course introducesstudents to instructional design, which refers to both the systematic processfor preparing learning materials as well as to the theories and principles thatguide that work.  Working on a real-world project, students directlyengage in the process and prepare an instructional program.

Administering Educational Technology Units (EDUC 671/571)

Master's and graduate diploma
Fall term

This course preparesstudents to integrate into the real-world practice of educational technologyand to eventually assume leadership positions in organizations. Through readings,experiential learning activities, and other assignments, this course introducesstudents to the basic themes of administering educational technology groups:(a) business management—successfully competing for work and resources needed tocomplete it; (b) project management—planning work and overseeing its progress;and (c) people management—establishing and managing expectations of, andrelationships with, members of the group.

Educational Communication (EDUC 270)

Online only.

Note: I designed this course and recorded the lectures. Other faculty member are the instructors of record and address day-to-day and grading issues.

In this course, students develop fundamental communication skills used by effective instructors and professional communicators. Specifically, this course prepares students to write the most basic types of content, including definitions, objectives, descriptions and procedures. This course has two paths:

  • Learners following an education path through the course then learn how to prepare the most common forms of written instructional content, including objectives, assessment questions, lesson plans, and how-to articles.
  • Learners following an professional communication path learn to prepare the most common forms of written technical and professional content, including catalog and reference entries, press releases, social media announcements, and how-to articles. 

This practical, writing-intensive course also emphasizes effective style for instructional, technical, and professional communication, such as tips for writing clearly and elegantly, powerfully opening and closing materials, using visuals to replace words, and designing pages and screens.

Selected publications

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

·       Bekkouche, N., Schmid, R., & Carliner, S. (Accepted.)“Simmering Pressure”: How systemic stress impacts graduate student mentalhealth, Performance Improvement Quarterly.

·       Shi, X., Carliner, S. & Wan, W. (2020.) Internet-mediatedgenres 2000 to 2018: An integrative literature review. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.

·       Chen, Y.,& Carliner, S. (2020.) A special SME: An integrative literaturereview of the relationship between instructional designers and faculty in thedesign of online courses for higher education. Performance ImprovementQuarterly. Online First publication.

·       Burton-Macleod,N. & Carliner, S. (2020.)Microlearning to support training transfer: A nursing professional development case study,Journal of Applied Instructional Designs,9(1), 65-79.

·       Chen, Y., Carliner, S. Garcia Martinez, S. &Davidson, A. L. (2019.) Exploring perceptions of e-books among CEGEP students and faculty Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 45(1)Viewedat

·      Carliner, S., Castonguay, C., Sheepy, E., Ribeiro, O., Sabri, H.,Saylor, C. &Valle, A.  (2015).  The job of a performance consultant: Aqualitative content analysis of job descriptions, European Journal ofTraining and Development, 39(6), 458-483.

·       Carliner, S., Qayyum, A., &Sanchez-Lozano, J.C. (2014.)   What measuresof productivity and effectiveness do Technical Communication managers track andreport? Technical Communication.

·      Carliner, S., Jong, S., & Pohland ,L.  (2014.)  Certification and its implications to the academic community inTechnical CommunicationProgrammatic Perspectives, 6(2).

·      Carliner, S. (2014). Human Performance Technology and HRD.  NewDirections for Adult and Continuing Education, 2014(1).

·       Carliner, S. (2001.) Modelinginformation for three-dimensional space: lessons learned from museum exhibitdesign. Technical communication, 48(1),66-81.

·       Carliner, S. (2000.) Physical,cognitive, and affective: a three-part framework for information design, Technical communication, 47(4), 561-576.


·       Carliner, S. (In press.) Communicating Instructional and InformationalContent. Montreal, QC: Concordia University Press (OpenEducational Resource).

·       Carliner, S. Driscoll, M., &Thayer, Y. (In press.) Career Anxiety: Guidance for Tough Times. ChristiansburgVA: International Career Press.

·      Carliner, S. & Driscoll, M. (2019.) An Overview of Training and Development:Why Training Matters. Minneapolis, MN: Lakewood Media:

·       Carliner, S. (2017.) DepartmentalReview Research Series: Implications of Recent Trends in Learning Techniquesand Technologies. Ottawa, ON: Canada School of Public Service.

·       Carliner, S. (2017.) DepartmentalReview Research Series: Trends in Learning Techniques and Technologies. Ottawa,ON: Canada School of Public Service.

·       Carliner,S.(2015.) Training Design Basics (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: ATDPress.

·       Carliner,S.(2012.) Informal Learning Basics, Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

·       Carliner, S. &Shank, P. (2008.) The E-LearningHandbook. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. 

Book Chapters and Papers in Proceedings

·      Carliner,S. (2020.) Content management: Preparingtechnical communication students for the realities of the workplace. InBridgeford, T. (ed.) Teaching ContentManagement in Technical and Professional Communication.

·      Carliner, S. & Chen, Y.(2019.) What relationships exist between learning experience design andinstructional design? Proceedings of XD2019 : The International Conference on Experience Design, Innovation , andEntrepreneurship

·      Carliner, S. (2019.)Distance educationand training in the corporate sector. In Moore, M.G. & Diehl, W. C.(ed.) Handbook of Distance Education(4th ed). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

·      Price, D.W., Carliner, S., & Chen, Y. (2017.)Independent learning. In Piña, A. A. (ed.) Instructional Design Standardsfor  Distance Learning, Bloomington, IN:Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 94-106.

·      Carliner, S. (2017.) Chapter25: Informal learning. In Brown, K. (ed.) CambridgeHandbook of Workplace Training and Employee Development, Cambridge, UK:Cambridge University Press, 585-606.

·      Carliner,S. (2017.) Chapter 16: Informal learning. In Reiser, R. A. & Dempsey, J.V. (eds.) Trends and Issues inInstructional Design (4th ed.), Pearson, 142-151.

·       Carliner, S. (2017.)  Content strategy? Architecture? Designingcomplex communication campaigns.Proceedings of TCWorld 2017, Stuttgart, Germany: tekom. DPC08.

·       Carliner, S. (2017.) Existentialquestions in Technical Communication: Education, experience, community, andtechnology. Proceedings of TCWorld 2017, Stuttgart,Germany: tekom. KEY02.

Professional Publications

·      Carliner, S. (2020.) A feeling of déjà vu : Ensure refresher training isn’t arepeat of the previous compliance course, TD Magazine (August 2020),54-59.

·      Carliner, S. (2020.) Do not use this word! TCWorld, (July 2020),38-40.

·      Carliner, S.  (2019.) Instructional strategies to motivate.TD Magazine (May 2019), Viewed at May 15, 2019.

·       Carliner, S. (2018.) To pay or notto pay: That’s the internship question. The Conversation (November 26, 2018.) Viewedat September 8, 2019.

·       Carliner, S. & Chen, Y.(2018.) What technical communicators do, Intercom,65(8), 13-16.

·       Carliner, S. & Chen, Y.(2018.) Who technical communicators are: A summary of demographics,backgrounds, and employment Intercom, 65(8),9-12.

·       Carliner, S. (2018.) A note fromthe guest editor, Intercom, 65(8), 4-6.

·       Carliner, S. (2018.) Tips forhealthy contractor relationships, Intercom,65(1), 22-23.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D. W.(2018.) If you build it, will they come? How internal and external trainerssuccessfully market their programs and services, Training, January/February 2017, 102-109.

·       Carliner, S. (2017) Clientservice: The essence of the Technical Communication business, Intercom, 64(8), 14-17.

·       Carliner, S. (2017.)Communicating with Canada, Europe’s newest trading partner, TC World (July 2017). 36-40.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D.W.(2017.) Organizational policies and the availability of online learning toworkers, contractors, and suppliers, Training,February 2017, 106-110.

·       Carliner, S. (2016.) Aninteractive introduction to instructional design for professional communicators,Intercom, 63(6), 201-13

·       Carliner, S. (2015.) A portraitof performance and learning in Canada, Performanceand Learning (formerly the CanadianLearning Journal), October 2015.

·       Carliner, S. (2015.) Technicalcommunication at a crossroads, Intercom,62(10), 6-11.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D. W. (2015.) Talent development: More about our studyof fit and preferences for names of our field, Training, 62(July/August). Online only.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D. W.(2015.)  Training Matters: A study of fitand preferences for names of our field. Training,62(July/August).

·       Carliner, S. (2015.) 7 suggestions for employers hosting anintern, Association for Talent Development Higher Education blog, May 7, 2015.Viewed at September 13, 2015.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D. W.(2015.) Purchasing learning technologies, Training, 62(March/April), 32-35.

·       Carliner, S. & Price, D. W.(2015.) How much do you know about learning technologies? Training, 62(January/Febuary),124-129.

Representative professional and community affiliations

Academy of Human Resource DevelopmentMember (since2007). 

Agence Ometz (a humanservices agency). Board of Directors (since 2012). Immediate Past President(Since 2019.) President (2016-2019). Vice-President (2013-2016.) 

Association for Talent Development (formerly American Societyfor Training and Development) Awardsof Excellence Committee (2007-2009). Dissertation Awards Committee(2007-2008, 2010). Research Award Committee (2007-2008). International Conference and Exposition, ProgramAdvisory Committee (2002-2004). 

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Lifetimemember.

Buckhead (Atlanta) Business Association, Leadership Development Program. Class of 1993.

Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. Vice-President (since 2020.)
Federation/CJA. Evaluation committee, Chair (2011-2013). Governance Committee. Chair (2008-2012.) Member, 2008-2013.) Education and Culture Planning and AllocationsCo-Chair (2005-2008.) Board of Directors (2005-2008.) 

Harry Kay Leadership Development Program of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. Classof 1999.

Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, ProfessionalCommunication SocietyIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Editor-in-Chief, since 2011. 
Editorial Advisory Board, IEEE Transactions onProfessional Communication. 2001-2007. 

Institute for Performance and Learning (formerly CanadianSociety for Training and Development)CertificationAdvisory Committee, Chair (2014-2018).

Board of Directors (2008-2012). CertificationSteering Committee, Chair (2008-2012). Program Coordinator,Research-to-Practice Day (2012, 2010, 2009). Program Committee, AnnualSymposium, 2004-2006. Awards of Excellence. Judge, 2004-2005. 

International Board of Standards for Training and PerformanceImprovement. Board of Directors (since 2020).

Society for Technical Communication. Intercom Editorial Advisory Committee (Since 2016. Manager 2016-2018). Executive Director Search Committee, 2013. ConferenceManager, 2007. International President, 1995-96. Conference Manager, 2007 Annual Summit. General Manager, 1992 STC Annual Conference. ProgramManager, 1989 Annual Conference.

Representative Awards

Intercom Award: Outstanding Magazine Article for “Technical Communication at a Crossroads.”  Society for Technical Communication, May 2016.

Fellow, Canadian Society for Training and Development (now the Institute for Performance and Learning  September 23, 2015). Elected: February 2015; Awarded, November 2015.

Award of Distinguished Technical Communication for "What Measures of Productivity and Effectiveness Do Technical Communication Managers Track and Report?" (with Juan Carlos Sanchez-Lozano and Adnan Qayyum).  2014 Frank Smith Technical Communication Best Article Competition. 2015.

Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research.  Society for Technical Communication.  2014.

Alumni Teaching Award, Concordia University Alumni Association, 2014.

Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching.  Society for Technical Communication, 2014.

Award of Distinguished Technical Communication—User Manuals for Informal Learning Basics. STC International Summit Awards, March 2014.

Award of Distinguished Technical Communication—User Manuals for Informal Learning Basics. STC Chicago Summit Awards, January 2014.

Award of Distinguished Technical Communication for " Using Business Models to Describe Technical Communication Groups."  2012 Frank Smith Technical Communication Best Article Competition. Society for Technical Communication. 2013.

Award of Distinguished Technical Communication. Frank R. Smith Technical Communication Outstanding Article Competition. 2012. 

Provost's Circle of Distinction. Concordia University. Inducted 2011.

Award of Excellence. 2009 International Technical Publications Competition for The e-Learning Handbook: Past Promises, Present Challenges

Best of Show -- Outstanding Article of the Year. Frank R. Smith Technical Communication Outstanding Article Competition. 2001, 2000.

Fellow, Society for Technical Communication. 2000.

Keith Wharton Award for Excellence in Teaching. Rhetoric's Association for Student Technical Communicators. University of Minnesota. 1999.

Doctoral Award. Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology. Georgia State University. May 1995.

Kappa Delta Pi (honor society for education students). 1989

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