Doctoral Student

Michele Rigolizzo

Michele is interested in the individual experience of learning in organizational settings and how employees learn to learn.  She has developed a Learning As BehaviorS (LABS) model of expertise development that delinates five behaviors that each increase the likelihood of long-term learning, along with a new behaviorial measure of learning. The model predicts and empirical studies support the counter-intuitive finding that exerting more effort towards learning may actually impede learning and that learners have preferences to engage in certain learning behaviors and resist others.  

Michele's work has led to three streams of research: refining the LABS model and testing differential antecdents to the learnign behaviors: examining the role of metacognition in learning and particularly in learning agility; and exploring the role of critical reflection in the ability to perform in novel situations.  Learn more at

Michele is also a Fellow at the Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education which brings an academic mindset to the real-world challenges of Chief Learning Officers from all over the world.  

Michele is in her final year in the DBA Management program.  Prior to her studies as a doctoral student, she received and Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Before returning to school, she worked for eight years in the Research & Development division of Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Most recently, she developed fully integrated learning solutions for both scientific and management audiences in this highly regulated environment.  She has also held roles in strategic management, resourcing, and database development. She supplements her passion for extending the joy of learning with a passion (though only a mediocre skill) for poker.


  1. Empowering the Learner at Work: The Three Stances Framework

    Michele Rigolizzo, David Perkins and Marga Biller

    Research suggests that work-relevant learning occurs largely on the job. However, in many situations workers do not learn nearly as much as they might. The "three stances" model helps to explain why. When someone undertakes a task, the person may adopt a completion, performance, or development stance, reflecting a range of organizational and personal influences. The completion stance prioritizes speed and good-enough performance, with little learning. The performance stance invests in high-quality results this time around, with learning generally a strong side effect but not a deliberate agenda. The development stance reaches for high-quality results this time around, with the additional goal of improving later performance. Unfortunately, workers often opt for stances that generate less learning, due to organizational culture, personal attitudes, and the character of the tasks themselves. The stances model suggests ways to counter this tendency and enhance learning from work.

    Keywords: learning; learning and development; Learning Organizations; Learning to learn; Organizational Culture; Organizational Design; Learning;


    Rigolizzo, Michele, David Perkins, and Marga Biller. "Empowering the Learner at Work: The Three Stances Framework." Learning Managers Forum, United Nations, Turin, Italy, June 19–21, 2013. (The Learning Managers Forum provides the leaders of the UN Learning Community with opportunities to: SHARE and analyze innovation, knowledge, and best practices; EXPLORE new ways to respond to the challenges of your daily work; SHAPE the UN Learning Community of the future.) View Details