Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Now we are talking!!!!

Over on linked in the eLearning Guild group have a question which was posed by James Jones and I re-produce it here:

"Do we need to move from instructional design to experience design?
There are many valuable insights in the world of instructional design. However there is a whole design world outside eLearning. Are you familiar with the work of organizations such as IDEO and the broader world of UX and design thinking? As I explore these more, I think there are several major gaps in common approaches to eLearning Design:

- Insufficient research into the lifeworld of the learner. This includes an understanding of other learning resources beside the course that are available to the learner, the social context of the learner (which social software is beginning to make more visible) and the environment in which the course is used.
- A focus on delivering a product (e.g. an eLearning course) rather than managing a learning experience.
- An unwillingness to be judged on results that truly matter - i.e. improved organizational outcomes rather than units completed, test scores or subjective ratings. Are these judgments too harsh?"

This raises a number of factors which I have talked about for some time now and it is good to see some robust discussion happening on this.

I posited some time ago that instructional design was dying in its current form and I still believe that because of the influence of social media and greater forms/views of individual sense making were developing; that new interaction, micro-learning and self publishing have changed the way we need to design learning; and that the recognition of organisations, industries and belief systems as ecology's would lead to new insights for the considerations of what and how we deliver it.

For the record, the process of instructional design has not changed that much. If we use ADDIE as an example I still think we need to have analysis, we still need to design, we will always develop and implement (Try not having a learning function in an organisation and see how long you last) and of course we will still need to evaluate to understand the outcomes.

But what happens in each of these stages has changed. To truly understand we need to take all of the shifts and direct them along an experience focus that allows for self reflection and self publishing of the learning. We also need to integrate learning with work as part of the learner experience.

Overall accountability of learning design has moved from being activity based to performance improvement based and that has been recognised in many organisations, and partly addressed by the introduction of “performance consultants” but, although it is recognised that performance consulting is becoming a key ingredient for high impact learning organisations, my experience says that it has not been universally accepted.

Trainers/facilitators/designers still struggle with the role title as it does not “fit” within a learning function. I have also witnessed incumbents placed in a business unit, preserving their “training terminology/speak” including training needs analysis thinking rather than broader needs assessment thinking and/or activity (throughput) thinking and are not sufficiently versed and/or prepared to operate with or within the business environment where business metrics are marshalled and bottom line performance is the driver. In other words all learning design should happen from "within" not from the outside.

Learning or instructional designed has moved and it should turn ideas into action, be contribution to knowledge, creating solutions from a full range of performance/experience interventions, and all this with courage and the fortitude to take the profession to the next level.

Enough ruminating for now......


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laura said...

For web conferences you should try ,
Great for online teaching and collaborating. I use it for working on my designs with other in my field.
Its free and pretty simple - you just upload your file and invite others to view it together.
- Laura W.

海產 said...


Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of seeing L&D professionals through the lens of performance support/improvement/consulting. It shifts the culture to something that is more meaningful to the organisation.

Mike Morrison said...

Hi great post I enjoy reading your thoughts and contributions.

We are developing a blogging site for learning professionals and would like to include some of your content via RSS at is this something we can do?

Anonymous said...