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. Overview

    by Michele Rigolizzo

    I am interested in the individual experience of learning in organizational settings, particularly how employees learn to learn from the challenging work they do. I am currently researching the role of reflection for raising awareness of learning opportunities that occur when performing complex work tasks. This work on reflection at work serves a larger research agenda to improve the working life of adults through leveraging and enhancing the joy of learning through work. By examining the power of reflection and gaining insight into how workers conceptualize learning in the context of their jobs, I hope to make theoretical and practical impact on understanding the individual differences and socio-environmental influences of dynamic learning environments. In addition, I am beginning field research on the impact of parallel learning, which grants autonomy to the employee in what, how, and when to learn, on performance and innovation.

    Keywords: learning; learning and development; Learning Organizations; intrinsic motivation; reflection; Goal setting; performance measurement; innovation; job design; Biotechnology Industry; Consulting Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;

  2. The Learning As BehaviorS (LABS) Model

    by Michele Rigolizzo

    The Learning As BehaviorS (LABS) Model of Expertise Development integrates research from management, cognitive psychology, educational psychology and neuroscience to describe the process of how a novice achieves expertise. Defining expertise as the ability to perform in novel situations, the model provides intermediate stages of expertise along with the learning behaviors that culminate in that ability.
  3. Learning Agility

    by Michele Rigolizzo

    This research in both field and experimental settings is targeted at examining whether and how employees in the 'midst of learning' are aware of the optimal learning behavior as well as determining if this awareness does indeed increase learning agility. Further, the role of reflection is both critically important and understudied. Therefore, this research is also aimed at delineating a taxonomy of the types and outcomes of effective reflection within the learning process.
  4. Critical Reflection

    by Michele Rigolizzo

    This research aims to examine the role of critical reflection in the ability of top performers to adapt. Specifically, which top performers are likely to critically reflect, and under what conditions do they feel supported in doing so?