Last night I did a presentation for the San Diego chapter of ISPI titled ‘making sparks fly’. I used that concept to talk about a couple of my favorite topics: deeper instructional design, and social learning.
In the former, it’s about two things: getting the real cognitive underpinning right, and the emotional content, both integrated in a natural and elegant way. So you start with your objectives (at a high enough level, addressing real business needs). Then you immediately develop deep practice with core decisions embedded in meaningful contexts. You need sufficient practice to not get it wrong, as opposed to just getting it right. Then we elaborate with model-based concepts and story-based examples. All introduced in ways that engage the emotions as well as the mind, and closing that process off similarly addressing the emotional as well as the cognitive. The point being, if you’re going to do formal, do it right.
From there, I segued off to talk about social: the power of the additional processing you get from social learning. This includes sharing ideas, and collaborative work. Then, systematically looking at tools like blogs, wikis, profiles, feeds, and more for both formal and informal learning. The notion is that thinking and working ‘out loud’ are, in the right culture, better than not.
Formal learning (and I didn’t discuss performance support, after all it was ISPI :) addresses the optimal execution that will be just be the cost of entry going forward, while continual innovation requires the creative friction, the interpersonal interaction that generates new ideas. You need to have good learning and good performance support on those processes you can identify, but then you need to create the environment where folks are helping one another solve the new problems that arise, including new ideas. Engaging the learner, and the interaction, are both sparks to take what we do to the next level.
There’s more: culture, mindset, L&D role, and we touched on that, but in the broader picture, you want to start with social and performance support, only doing formal when you absolutely have to (as it’s dear). We need to stop doing formal only, and badly. We need to cover the spread, and do all well. Or else…