Joining, once again, the Learning Circuit blog’s big question of the month, which this month is “Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?”. A fun thing that they’ve started. My initial short answer was, of course, “yes”, but continued “but not the same ISD/ADDIE/HPT”.
However, as I started writing this I realized that keeping the labels ISD/ADDIE/HPT is probably not good in the long run, so that probably means my answer is “no”…
We need a design process. Without knowing what we’re trying to achieve, metrics that let us know how we’re doing, and ownership of the outcomes, among other things, you don’t have any idea what you’re doing. However, it’s not always going to fall into either a course or a job aid. There’re more solutions under the sun than are dreamt of in the philosophies that led to those old approaches.
You need a recognition, as Tony O’Driscoll has elegantly articulated, of the way support needs change as a learner moves from novice to expert. When do you provide community instead of content?
You need a recognition, as Jay Cross is suggesting, that many times self-directed learners may be better served with information resources than with courses.
You need a recognition, as Marc Rosenberg tells us, that knowledge management and other areas are part of our responsibility of meeting performance needs, not just skill needs.
And you need a recognition, as I’ve argued, that you can’t assume self-directed learners, so your learning design might include objectives of creating self-directed learners while addressing the obvious gap. And a recognition that, a barrier that may appear to be a knowledge/skill gap may really be an attitude gap, or some other hurdle.
In addition, our capabilities have changed, and we have new opportunities that we didn’t have before, such as layering little bits of knowledge around and on top of or the events in our life to use those as practice opportunities and not having to simulate them in an artificial course (an approach I’m calling layered learning, part of my ‘slow learning’ movement). This is a mobile affordance, but we also have some webservices affordances (e.g. Web 2.0) to do much more customized learning delivery, and more.
So we need a systematic process, but we need a broader perspective. We should keep our feet firmly planted in the ground of what’s known about how people learn, and recognize what makes an effective process. Sometimes the approach will look like the output of ISD, but other times it may be considerably different.
Whether we continue with the moniker’s of ISD/ADDIE/HPT, or use a term like ‘cognitive design’ or ‘learning design’ (what I call what I do) to overthrow the baggage and limitations of those approaches, is a different issue. I’ve been suggesting for a while that our labels are a barrier to our success, keeping us mired in limited approaches. As a bit of marketing (and when we’re selling our organizational value to the C-suite we need to market our benefits), training and instructional design don’t cut the mustard. Not that I’ve solved this; learning design is slightly better, cognitive design starts taking us far afield (and brings up some other bad images), performance system design might be misconstrued, etc. Yet somehow we have to broaden our perspective.
I have to admit I wasn’t as familiar with comes closest, and ISPI’s definition (courtesy of Harold Jarche) sounds like what I’m talking about, but then why isn’t it better known? And the label isn’t compelling, to address those issues we’ve talked about above.
So, process yes, old approaches no. When we have a course to develop, we might use ISD, but there’re lots of times we’ll want to consider other approaches.