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The Magic of Instructional Design – Thought #2

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

2> The Clash of Experience

In the magic community (please excuse the stereotypes here…), one corner has  Group 1 – older, established magicians, who have worked for years, (often fulltime professionally). In the other corner are the newer “young bucks”, new to the hobby/business – Group 2.

Each group perceives the other as having characteristics. Group 2 perceives Group 1 as “old fashioned”, rigidly sticking to “old fashioned” techniques, and being “past it”. Group 2 often comment on the dubious dress sense of Group 1.

Group 1 perceives Group 2 as shallow, having no understanding and reflection of the historical side of the art, using far too many “new fangled devices” and too much technology. Group 1 often comments in the dubious dress sense of Group 2.

Of course – both groups have the good and the bad – these are just normal human “group herding” tendencies, skewing perceptions with a process called “cognitive dissonance”. Classic magical effects are classic because they have worth, but new ways of presentation can certainly refresh them.

In the learning community, similar divisions exist – let us call them “Professional Instructional Designers” and the “Rapid e-learning Designers”.

Many Professional IDs focus too much on expertise and success gathered from classroom delivery experience. For them, a classroom is the only place for effective learning; rapid/online learning is a secondary sideshow. They thrive on the linear progression of slides. They deny the validity and benefits of online learning, whilst conveniently forgetting that the impact and validity of their courses never reached more than a “two” on the Kirkpatrick scale anyway, (if measured correctly against business impact at all).

The new designer, often “Rapid eLearning Designers” use tools such as Articulate, Captivate and Raptivity.  They may not have so many experiential constraints, and are more willing to look positively at the plethora of deployment technology available. “Learning” is much more organic for them, linear learning is less important. They might create a more memorable course because they focus on the presentation than core ID philosophy.

I said “might” deliberately. Good eLearning is not “The same old stuff delivered on a PC or phone”. Good (rapid) eLearning creation still relies on an understanding of Instructional Design techniques and the value of training to business. Older techniques such as ADDIE still ensure that we have a plan for development. The learning industry needs to develop more “hybrids” – Instructional Designers versed in learning theory, who understand the business benefits that “rapid” design and rapid creation can bring, whilst acknowledging that learning does not have to be imprisoned in a classroom situation.

Do not confuse the medium with the purpose. Use any appropriate medium, but use it well.

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