Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In Learning Circuits, the November Big Question is: "Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?"

My answer: absolutely yes.

Although it is a timely question, it is one we have already answered, and often forget that we have.

These days, conversations around "learning" remind me of a public aquarium. The curator brings food to one tank and the fish begin to eat, oblivious to anything around them but the food inside their tank. Meanwhile, the curator has moved on, tending to other tasks and animals that make the aquarium a great place to visit. Sometimes we focus on the tool or the technology, and forget the bigger picture.

If people back away (even just a little) from the etools/media tank, they will see that there is more to learning than just "tools" and that the models for creating "great learning" moments still apply - they just have not been applied with universal success to eLearning... yet.

I find that technologists and developers often frame their reply to questions about "learning" in terms of technology (everything is an elearning nail to be hammered by an electronic tool...). The reality is our equation still involves getting humans (not machines) to interact with more effecively with other humans, even if they use a myriad of tools in their task/job to do so. I love my elearning tools, but I still provide learning opportunities for humans.

The best lessons we learned in Instructor-Led Training (ILT) still apply: great teachers have a passion for the subject, they meet the learner where they are performance-wise, they stand beside the student - not in front of them, they focus on the outcomes while not clinging rigidly to one curriculum path, they let the learner dictate timing, speed, etc. Lots of timeless stuff there.

The challenge we now face is not the creation of more tools, but better use of the tools we have, while applying the fundamentals of human behavior and performance, including the role of emotion, curiosity, discovery, and the desire to improve.

It's a good time to be in the field of helping others connect with their audience and the content. In that respect, Socratic method, ADDIE, HPT and instructional design are needed more today than ever.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A special thanks to all who attended my presentation: Imagineering Design at Training Solutions 2006. I especially enjoyed the post-presentation discussion! Great thoughts around moving teams toward more meaningful designs and who to help them (“scaffolding IDs”) get there. Check out my book - under permanent revision - at www.lulu.com. It has the contents of the presentation, and more. Based on our chat, I will also add a section about team development in the near future. Great discussion with Darryl Sink and his charming partner (and wife) Jane, around the basics of ISD, and then some.
Here is a post by Dennis Coxe

But what really struck me is that from what I have read is that the real rebellion against formal training versus what is called "informal training" is the slavish devotion to learning management systems. A learning management system is probably the apex of top-down training. It places toll booths inbetween the learner and the knowledge he or she needs to perform their duties. Informal learning proponents are saying "Tear down that wall." Make learning accessible.

My thought: The LMS is dead. Long live the LMS.

In reality, what I believe needs to happen is a change in our perception of the LMS and its role. Rather than place it at the center of all learning, position it beside the learner. A dynamic and open source LMS (of the future?) will be able to gather wide-ranging information and deliver it to the audience much more efficiently than if they spend hours Googling and web browsing.

Let's begin the discussion way up high... about three feet above your LMS or computer or any other eLearning tool you happen to be using.

The point of this post is to focus on people and the resources and behaviors we can give them to enhance their performance. That means ANY resource - not just eLearning - but any tool, intervention, content, device, person, technique, or family pet that we can use to create more powerful and more meaningful learning moments for our audience.

If you are like me, then you see discussions focused solely on eLearning as useful and salient, but somewhat limited. We are, after all, human. And anything we endeavor is essentially for or about our lives as humans.

So let's take a step back from the computer, and open the conversation up just a bit. Where do we begin in our effort to create more meaningful learning programs? What kind of lives do our students want to lead? How can we create more powerful learning moments - and hopefully performances - as practitioners in employee development? Is "eLearning 2.0" really just another way to say "Learning 2000+"?

I will be posting and wrestling with these and other questions, and I look forward to your participation and contributions to the subject of learning, human performance, and how we can create more meaningful learning moments.