I was just reflecting on the different job labels there are. Some of the labels are trendy, some are indicative, but there’s potentially a lot of overlap. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I thought I’d explore it. So this is a bit of an unconstructed thought…
To start somewhere, let’s start with Learning Architect. This is an interesting one (and one I just chose on a project). It leverages the metaphor of the relationship between an architect and the contractor who builds it. The architect imagines the flow of people, places of rest, and creatively evaluates how to match the requirements with the available space (and budget). Then someone else builds it. This is similar to a learning designer, who envisions a learning experience via a storyboard (mapping to a blueprint), before handing off to a developer.
So what is a learning experience designer? Here is someone envisioning the cognitive (and aesthetic) flow the learner will go through. It’s looking at addressing the change in knowledge and emotions, as a user experience designer might for an interface. Whether they build it or not implies they’re a learning experience developer instead/in addition.
Right now I see both as equivalent. An architect is developing the flow of people and their emotions in the space. Where do you want them active, and where do you want them reflective? The learning experience designer similarly. Are they just different cuts on the same role? I note that in the 70:20:10 process of Arets, Jennings, and Heijnen, learning architect is a role that sits between doing the analysis and implementing the solution.
I also have heard of a learning strategist. This could be the same, coming up with a series of tactics to transform the learner into someone with new capabilities. Or this could be a meta-level, a role I frequently play, reviewing the design process for changes that can maximize the outcomes with a minimum of disruption.
Then there’s learning engineering, which is in the process of being defined by a committee. It not only includes the learning science of design, but the technical implementation. Certainly architects and designers need to be aware of the tech, not stipulating the impossible, but this role goes deeper, on to systems integration and more.
Of course, we have the traditional instructional designer, which captures the notion of facilitated learning, but not the integration of the aesthetic component. And, on the whole, I’m avoiding the ‘developer’ label, as the people who take storyboard to an realized experience. There are clearly people who have to straddle both (I recently asked an audience how many were sole practitioners in this sense, and a majority seemed to have to design and develop (presumably in the tools that support that).
All these labels may reflect how an organization is dividing up the whole process. I’m not even certain that the way I’ve characterized them is accurate. What labels am I missing? What nuances? Does this make sense?