In my thinking about LXD strategy, I also was thinking about what roles are necessary. While you can do handoffs, what are the core skills you need to make this happen? And it’s not that you need all these people, but you need these roles. Someone may be a polymath (though I’m somewhat resistant that one person can do them all sufficiently well), but it’s really not fair to expect someone to be a one-person shop. So what are the core LXD roles?
At core are two component skills.
Designer: this person looks at the performance need, and validates that this is a role for a learning experience, and then designs it, including any tools that don’t exist. Interacting with SMEs is a component; digesting down into the critical decisions, and then embedding practice in contexts. It’s creative, and while drawing on the strengths of the team, it’s the source of engagement strategy as well as learning outcomes. Also determining data collection and interpretation around design success. So it’s ID, and more.
Technologist: ensures that the developed media are integrated and delivered. This includes being able to use AR and VR when necessary, and string together the media and embed appropriately. This isn’t necessarily a programmer, but instead is technically capable. Such as putting in xAPI statements.
Then, there’s the media. All of them! So we’re talking a variety of roles here.
Writing: this is writing both to read and to hear. Dialog is different than prose, for one. And prose for reading is different than, say, academese! It’s about taking the prose and boiling it down. I may have previously recounted how on an early project, my dev partner hired a script writer. That person took my elegantly crafted prose and hacked it up by 30-40%. All to the good. I now can do the same on pretty much anyone’s (including my own). We often think we can write, but there’s as much skill in writing well as there is any other media production. Like, say,…
Graphics: this is about both images and and graphics. Again, different, but I’d expect someone to be able to generate a diagram or infographic, but also source and masterfully integrate any images. It includes knowledge about fonts and colors and space and how they generate thoughts and feelings. It’s look and feel, and more.
Video: here we’re not talking about script writing (see above) nor acting, but instead filming and directing. Creating dynamic visuals. That is, knowing how to produce video so that what comes out looks professional and meets the need. Lighting, editing, and more. It’s not just the filming. There are two different skills here (look at the credits in movies!), but I think we can roll them up. And it can be inserting images, animations, etc too. Video, here, includes compiling what ends up on screen. This may overlap with…
Audio: this is similar to video, but works with it. It’s about synching the audio, but also music, and sound effects, and combining them in a way that ends up working with the video to produce an output. It can be standalone as well, say with a podcast. It’s about microphones, clips, and more.
Two additional roles (that might be combined).
Resource coordinator: this person is a bit like a project manager, but is responsible for finding images, actors, and any other resources as well as permissions. This person is resourceful and savvy at negotiating bureaucracies as well as intellectual property rights.
Project manager: in my best projects, there has been a project manager who’s developed and maintained the project schedule. This person knows when to prompt about upcoming deadlines, and chase malingerers.
And, of course, oversight.
Leader: someone who knows a bit about all of it, and can review and provide feedback. The development of the individuals should come from the assignments and the feedback. There’s also a role for collecting data about performance as a basis for strategy setting and tracking. And, of course, creating a culture of safety coupled with accountability, and experimentation.
To be clear, not all of these are necessarily dedicated to the one project, as the categorization suggests. Project managers often are responsible for several (read: too many) projects, and media production may be a central resource. The point is that you need the required expertise, not to be winging it. And I know far too many folks are expected to do so. Yet I worry that the resulting output may not actually be effective.
And this is in a context, assuming there’s performance consulting up front, and a coaching and development program (and resources) in place at the backend. Ongoing development is part of the design, but at some point that gets handed over to the community of practice and manager/leader ongoing activities. Determining that point is part of the design. So too ensuring that there’s a sufficiency of self-learning resources and their use is modeled.
These are the LXD roles I think are necessary. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, so I welcome you weighing in.