A couple of months ago, I posted on thinking about designing, calling for designing ‘backwards and forwards’. And it’s continued to percolate, rightly or wrongly.
As I originally structured it, you worked backwards (1) from the ultimate performance you need to put information in the head, and in the world, and then designed forward (2) the combined learning experience, and the performance resource. While the HPT movement thinks about this as well (they definitely talk about whether it should be a learning or performance support solution; I don’t know but assume they will do a mix if needed). Which I don’t disagree with, but I realized I needed to address one issue.
It occurred to me that when you design your resource(s), that has to happen first. If there are resources, they should be included in the learning experience. That is, you want to provide practice with the resources as part of the learning experience to develop the performer’s ability to use the resources in the performance situation.
Thus, I’ve ended up redesigning it such that performance resource(s) influence the learning experience design (3), and are available in the learning experience as well as in the performance environment. It’s more complex, but more accurately captures the types of thinking we need to have as designers. We need to create what’s in the world and then prepare what’s in the head to accommodate the new performance environment.
Which, of course, may actually need to be iterative. As Atul Gawande points out in his book, his checklists were rigorously trailed and refined. That sort of evaluation and revision should be part of our ongoing processes too. We shouldn’t assume we’ll get it perfect the first time. And the existing environment prior to our intervention will also factor into our resource and experience design.
That said, does this conceptualization help? I’m trying to find ways to represent design that helps reduce our overemphasis on all training being about trying to put everything ‘in the head’, and this, combined with my earlier thoughts on learning experience design, is part of my ongoing effort. If, however, it’s either too confusing, or already common knowledge, I need to work more. Feedback?