Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

27 June 2012

An integrating design?

Clark @ 6:02 AM

In a panel at #mlearncon, we were asked how instructional designers could accommodate mobile.  Now, I believe that we really haven’t got our minds around a learning experience distributed across time, which our minds really require.  I also think we still mistakenly think about performance support as separate from formal learning, but we don’t have a good way to integrate them.

I’ve advocated that we consider learning experience design, but increasingly I think we need performance experience design, where we look at the overall performance, and figure out what needs to be in the head, what needs to be in the world, and design them concurrently.  That is, we look at what the person knows how to do, and what should be in their head, and what can be designed as support.  ADDIE designs courses.  HPT determines whether to do a job aid (the gap is knowledge), or training (the gap is a skill).  I’m not convinced that either really looks at the total integration (and willing to be wrong).

What was triggered in my brain, however, was that social constructivism might be a framework within which we could accomplish this.  By thinking of what activities the learners would be engaged in, and how we’d support that performance with resources and other learners and performers as collaborators when appropriate, we might have a framework.  My take on social constructivism has it looking at what can and should be co-owned by the learner, and how to get the learner there, and it naturally involves resources, other people, and skill development.

So, you’d look at what needs to be done, and think through the performance, and ask what resources (digital and human) would be there with the performer, the gap between your current learner and the performer you’d need, and how to develop an experience to achieve that end state.  The notion is what mental design process designers may need going forward, and what framework provides the overarching framework to support that design process.

It’s very related to my activity framework, which nicely resonates as it very much focuses on what you can do, and resourcing that, but that framework is focused on reframing education to make it skills focused and developing self learning. This would require some additions that I’ll have to ponder further.  But, as always, it’s about getting ideas out there to collect feedback. So, what say you?


  1. I fully agree with the need to develop an integrated design. I presented a session at mLearnCon called Multiscreen Learning: Design Considerations for the Second Screen, which attempted to promote such a framework using the concept of the second screen, which uses a mobile device to augment a television viewing experience and will soon do the same with video games i.e. SmartGlass from Microsoft.

    Such a framework would bring with it the value proposition of augmenting training (performance-oriented) in order to address performance support.

    Comment by Jamie — 27 June 2012 @ 7:52 AM

  2. Clark, I like your post for stretching learning/instructional design. However, there is one statement that does not make much sense, “ADDIE designs courses.” That is like giving a carpenter a hammer and saw to build a table, but rather than building a table they build a chair. Then they blame the hammer and saw for designing a chair rather than a table. ADDIE does not design courses, people design courses.

    In addition, ADDIE does not even focus on the “course” as being the primary solution. The masters and driving force behind ISD/ADDIE, the U.S. Armed Forces, note that items such as performance aids or self teaching packages should be considered first–a course is the last item on the list to even consider. Thus let’s put the blame on where it truly is–designers failing to master even the basics of their craft.

    I did like your statement, “So, you’d look at what needs to be done, and think through the performance, and ask what resources (digital and human) would be there with the performer, the gap between your current learner and the performer you’d need, and how to develop an experience to achieve that end state. The notion is what mental design process designers may need going forward, and what framework provides the overarching framework to support that design process.”

    It’s close to flipping Kirkpatrick, but stretches it beyond its original concept, and is perhaps more eloquently put:

    1. Impact – What needs to be done?

    2. Performance – Think through the performance and determine what resources they need and what they need to be able to perform.

    3. Learning (The Gap) – What do they need to learn in order to perform? Note that the learning may be as simple as using a digital aid or learning how to get advice or input from another person.

    4. Reaction (I prefer ‘motivation’) – developing an experience that helps them to want to perform “what needs to be done.”

    I’m not sure if the last item was on your mind when designing and developing experiences, but the experience should not only help and enable them to perform, but also help them to understand why they need to be able to perform.

    Comment by Donald Clark — 27 June 2012 @ 9:52 AM

  3. Hi Clark, this is very similar to the concept I developed for my Master’s project that I called The Sentence of Focus. In it I advocate using ADDIE as a project management tool only. I also believe that the “sentence of focus”, or issue to be solved, should be determined in a socially collaborative manner with people from a wide range of departments and the full spectrum of job titles. It came to me because I started my degree in L&D and then transferred over to HPT, and noticed such a disconnect. I think of it as the Black Hole of projects/interventions/course development/…

    Comment by Tricia Ransom — 27 June 2012 @ 9:56 AM

  4. This may be helpful -http://hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/2011/10/31/what-are-4-rs-essential-21st-century-learning

    Comment by victoria — 28 June 2012 @ 5:13 AM

  5. Love the academic show and tell here; especially during the weekend when I’m reading ISPI’s P&I. However, during the week my boss pays me to assist our organizational system to create, shape, direct, sustain, and terminate desired performance. That’s is what she expects me to do. She never asks about the focus of the sentence or if I’m a social constructivist; rather she tell me “The company needs to move this pile from here to there, by this time, to these standards, monitored and measured in these indexes. I want a solution by this time. Any questions?” As long as she sees a systematic and systemic solution that attempts to considers those critical factors that influence the desired output, we’re off and running. Seems so simple. It was late in my career when I realized when I stopped feeling a need to teaching leaders about human performance improvment, behavioral engineering and all that I learned in graduate school, I was able to implement systemics solutions that required their activity participation and they seemed to think in the end they’re pretty smart.

    Comment by Mark — 28 June 2012 @ 9:36 AM

  6. Interesting comments, thanks for the feedback.

    Jamie, thinking outside ‘the screen’ is definitely one component of being willing to have a broader base for our designs.

    Donald, I haven’t seen ADDIE incorporate job aids, but perfectly willing to see that the blame is in the implementation (same w/ Kirkpatrick, frankly). Though ‘when to access people’ still doesn’t seem to be in the equation, and I still have a hard time seeing ADDIE producing anything that might have a cartoon or a joke in it, even if appropriate. I do note that your last point is motivation, and that’s often missed, so perhaps that’s the channel.

    Tricia, not quite sure I get ‘sentence of focus’, but I do believe participatory design is valuable, c.f. usability/HCI. Tho’ I’m talking people as potentially part of the solution, not just the design process.

    Victoria, not sure I want algorithms as much as systems thinking and modeling, but happy if that’s the focus.

    And Mark, while I don’t think this discussion needs to be with the execs, I think we need to have the discussion internally, to achieve your measurable impacts. If we’re complacent that we know it all, we might miss opportunities to improve. Continual learning should be in job descriptions, I reckon.

    Again, thanks for the feedback!

    Comment by Clark — 28 June 2012 @ 10:04 AM

  7. Clark is talking about taking an integrated approach to include experience design. We recently finished a paper working on a generic framework for mobile learning that could support Agile, ADDIE, and HPT, depending upon the requirements. We are not suggesting that everything is based on ADDIE or ISD, but we are using those as a point of reference because the military audience is familiar with those. This is a great discussion and excellent thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

    An integrated approach to support both training and performance support is what Clark mentions as not being a common output of ADDIE, but it very well could be. I agree with Donald’s comments about ADDIE. The ideal solution should support both and also considers social constructivism as Clark mentioned. I think it’s ok to reference ADDIE when we are talking to people coming into this mobile learning world with that type of background, especially those that have only produced training with it. We need to open their minds to the other possibilities and pedagogical approaches though in mobile learning. I do think what Clark meant by “ADDIE designs courses” is that most of what people use ADDIE for today is just that, designing courses. But I have seen projects where ADDIE has produced both training and performance support solutions, it’s just NOT common, especially in the military training world where ADDIE usually equates to a SCORM course ;-)

    And we know that mobile learning is not about putting a SCORM course on a mobile device. For those that like to follow a process and linear set of steps it may make sense for them to still use ADDIE if they want to. I don’t think it’s an old way of thinking necessarily, but it has the potential to keep people in their box, or help them grow out of it. I do think it’s possible for people who only have followed ADDIE to think outside the box and still use parts of ADDIE as a reference point. Those familiar with it may not know about mobile, but that’s what my team hopes to accomplish..help people realize and understand those mobile “experience design” considerations. At the same time we want to be able to support other scenarios that don’t follow an ADDIE or other models.

    Our recent literature review uncovered the fact that very few actual ID models for mobile learning exist. One that perhaps comes close only accounts for particular constructivist mobile learning activities (Uden, 2007). Instead of creating a new ID model, we have presented a framework that can be used to incorporate mobile learning considerations into any ID models (which theoretically are neutral) and agile approaches, to optimize them for the paradigm of “anywhere, anytime” mobile learning. Rather than focus on lists of specific design considerations for mobile (which are now commonly available), we created a framework that provides an organizing principle for these design considerations, within the context of an existing ID model. Within our framework, we explicitly call out the learning theory that underlies the mobile learning strategy as an important determinant of considerations within the ID model.

    With all that said, now I would like to invite all of you to be interviewed for a project we are working on with the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) to develop a Mobile Learning Decision Support Tool (MDT). When complete, the MDT will:

    1) be available to the entire mobile learning community (military, federal, state, and local government, international partners, and industry)

    2) assist in determining what portion of a training or performance support effort would benefit from a mobile solution

    3) provide guidance on design and development considerations for mobile learning

    The MDT may include how to determine appropriate content, choose a delivery platform, choose an appropriate strategy (agile, ISD, HPT or other), leverage particular features of mobile platforms for learning, and how to design assessments and conduct learning product evaluations for the mobile platform.

    As part of our needs analysis, we are interviewing anyone interested in designing or creating mobile learning applications. If you have such interest/experience, we would very much like to interview you about your project successes, challenges, hard-won lessons learned, and for anyone new to mobile learning, how this tool can support you as you’re getting started.

    Your feedback will help us to identify the MDT’s critical features and functionality moving forward. If you would like to be interviewed, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Beaubien at jbeaubien@aptima[dot]com and copy us on your request so that we can keep you informed of this project as it progresses: adlmobile@adlnet[dot]gov.

    Comment by Jason Haag — 29 June 2012 @ 11:27 AM

  8. And here’s the literature reference in my post: http://itol.org/uploads/images/articles/Activity%20theory%20for%20designing%20mobile%20learning.pdf

    Comment by Jason Haag — 29 June 2012 @ 11:51 AM

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