Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins
Professor, Educational Leadership
(202) 994-2263

Ryan Watkins is an author of eleven books and more than 95 articles. His websites include www.ryanrwatkins.com, www.needsassessment.org, and www.WeShareScience.com. His publications are frequently cited in the performance improvement literature, making him the 4th most cited author of journal articles in the field.

Ryan is an active member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and has served a vice president of the Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD).

In 2005 Ryan was a visiting scientist with the National Science Foundation, and he routinely works on projects with the World Bank on applying needs assessment, instructional design, and performance improvement to international assistance programs (including work in China, Laos, Kenya, and Tunisia).


Watkins, R., Engel, L. C., & Hadsteadt, D. (2015). Is the “net generation” ready for digital citizenship? Perspectives from the IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study. Policy brief: IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study. IEA commissioned policy brief.

Kumar, S., Leonard, A., Watkins, R., & Vovides, Y. (2014). Art of knowledge exchange. Washington, DC: World Bank. Available in print, or free online.

Watkins, R., & Corry, M. (2014). Preparing students for e-learning success. In A. Hirumi (Ed.), Designing alternative environments to facilitate e-learning: A systematic approach. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Watkins, R., & Corry, M. (2013). E-learning companion: A student's guide to online success (4th Ed.). New York: Wadsworth/Cengage.

Watkins, R., Kaufman, R., & Odunlami, B. (2013). Strategic planning for distance education - Revised. In M. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of American Distance Education (3rd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Watkins, R., West Meiers, M., & Visser, Y. (2012). A guide to assessing needs: Tools for collecting information, making decisions, and achieving development results. Washington, DC: World Bank. Available in print, or free online.

Lim, J., Dannels, S., & Watkins, R. (2009). Qualitative investigation of doctoral students' learning experiences in online research method courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education.

Watkins, R., & Leigh, D. (Eds.) (2009). The handbook of improving performance in the workplace - Volume 2: Selecting and implementing performance interventions. San Francisco: Wiley-Jossey/Bass. Honored with a 2011 ISPI Award of Excellence in the field of performance improvement.

Kaufman, R., Guerra-Lopez, I., Watkins, R., & Leigh, D. (2008). The assessment book: Applied strategic thinking and performance improvement through self-assessments. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.

In the News

Dr. Ryan Watkins hosted an e-seminar on March 7, 2018 entitled Global Learning in the Research Environment: Making the Most of Collaboration to Generate Innovation. The seminar was part of NAFSA's six-part Architecture for Global Learning - Series II.

Dr. Ryan Watkins presented a workshop on needs and needs assessments in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of USAID’s MEASURE program. MEASURE works to strengthen local capacity in countries with developing economies to gather, interpret, and use data to improve decisions and program results.

Dr. Ryan Watkins and Dr. Larry Medsker participated in a panel on Cognitive Assistants at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference. Dr. Watkins also presented on needs assessments at the American Evaluation Association conference on Saturday, and this Friday he will be talking with future leaders of the NIH about the role of needs in strategic decisions.

Dr. Ryan Watkins and Dr. Shobha Kumar of the World Bank Group published the guidebook The Art of Designing and Implementing Study Tours. [Kumar, S., Watkins, R. (2017). The Art of Designing and Implementing Study Tours. Washington, DC: World Bank.]

Dr. Ryan Watkins is a collaborator on two recently awarded National Science Foundation grants for a combined $3.5+ million: (1) "The Code Maker: Computational Thinking for Engineers with Interactive, Contextual Learning" with Dr. Lorena Barba and Adam Wickenheiser from GW's School of Engineering and Applied Science and (2) "Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training” with colleagues from Wayne State University.