Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Learning Circuits Blog: November's The Big Question
Are our models (ISD, ADDIE, HPT, etc.) relevant in the future?

I really hate to say this, but I often see a huge gap between what we design and what happens in the classroom whether we use these models or not. I'm in the (not so) envious position of doing both the design and the training in my organization so my comments reflect my perspective (and, probably, my lack of professionalism) on this topic.

What I design: Courses with concrete measureable objectives developed as a result of detailed analysis of the organization's needs. The courses contain appropriate tutorials, exercises, and tests in a logical order - each section building on the other. I do my best to use good ISD whenever I develop a course.

What happens in the classroom:
- The realization that the student(s) either don't have the prerequisites complete or have already been doing what I am supposed to show them, thereby not needing the training in the first place. - This occurs despite my attempts to get a feel for the student's prior knowledge.

- Interruptions to the class - Since I work with doctors, the patient's are ALWAYS first whether they are in the classroom for me or not.

- Lack of time - "I know that you have 3 hours of material to cover. Can you do it in 1?"

- Addressing issues as they come up rather than in the nice order that I placed them in in the first place - In my mind the first rule of adult education is relevancy. I am more likely to keep their attention if I answer their question NOW than wait 30 minutes.

In some ways, eLearning makes it easier to enforce these models on the delivery end. The next question is....do we want to? The longer I work, the more I realize that the old roles of "Trainer" and "Instructional Designer" are becoming irrelevant.

I know Karl Kapp believes we should start pushing back and demanding more time and attention. However, I work at the mercy of my employers. If I were a consultant, it would be easier for me to push back. I might also find myself without work.

I am also not convinced that an organization's desire for rapid, just-in-time training is a bad thing. With fuzzy corporate requirements, the lack of standard workflows throughout most organizations, and rapid environmental change, employees still have to spend time with others to get current information. Unless we are in the thick of things, there is no way our training will be able to reflect the reality of our students.

Harold Jarche eloquently observed in his response to the Big Question:
Training often worked before, or at least didn’t create more problems, when work processes and organisations were stable. As we move to more networked businesses, training’s weaknesses are becoming evident. These weaknesses are also evident when we don’t really know what the performance objectives are in a constantly evolving society, economy and marketplace.

The one comment I hear more than any other these days from my students is "This is all well and good, but it won't make much sense until I use it in the clinic." This despite my best efforts to mirror the work processes and situations our doctors, clinicians and staff find themselves in daily.

Because the context in which the students use the tools or knowledge we teach changes constantly, our challenge as educators may be to find ways to teach within this environment.

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