There’s a potential belief that I’m the ‘myths‘ person, and I’ve both principled and practical reasons to try to counter that. Here’s my thinking.
And, as always, the text.
I’ve a dilemma. These days, if someone posts some learning myth, people tend to let me know. And I don’t really mind, but I do worry that it buckets me as the ‘myths’ person. Despite the book, that’s not really my role. Another way to bucket me would be the learning science person (my next book). That’s better, but maybe still not quite accurate. So what the <x> person am I?
Yes, I did write a book about myths. But the purpose there was to point out bad things we’re doing, so we can instead do better things. In fact, that’s included: what you should do instead. It’s really about better design, not about myths.
Similarly, the learning science book coming out is a primer on the underlying cognitive science and the implications for learning design. With the emphasis on learning design, not learning science. It concludes with two chapters on the implications and the important bits. So it’s not about learning science per se, but as a basis for what we do with it.
Really, what I am is a learning science translator, not a myths debunker. Practically, that’s because there’s essentially no money in being a myths debunker. They might hire a talk, but what’s the business model? Are you going to hire me to come in and debunk your myths? Er, that’d be no. But there’s a principled reason, too.
It’s about redesigning your learning design processes to better incorporate learning science (and avoid myths). The evidence is that the processes aren’t well done, because we see too much bad learning. And the rationales are myriad: lack of knowledge, focus on efficiency, tool orientations, and more. Consequently, the services are similarly varied: workshops on learning science-informed design, consulting on the minimal changes to keep impacts on budget low but increase the effectiveness of the outcomes, and of course beyond: to performance consulting, informal learning, and more.
Because, L&D should properly be aligned with learning (and cognitive) science. And there are many ways to improve. That’s what I’m about, and that’s why I’m here. You can think of it as learning engineering (applied learning science), but that’s a term still in flux in terms of meaning, since it also can mean the folks who spin the bits on complex platforms for adaptive learning, or the folks who analyze data to improve outcomes.
I’ve been recently calling myself a learning experience design strategist. Which is conceptually accurate, and yet unwieldy (since no one knows what it means). Yet it’s about being strategic in learning experience design: creating processes that successfully integrate learning science with engagement to create outcomes that are effective, even transformative.
There are lots of things I do:
- Improve learning design processes to make learning more engaging and effective
- Architect design approaches to address learning needs
- Understand new technologies’ ability to enhance learning experiences
- Educate clients, audiences, and employees about the nuances of learning design
- Review designs to improve effectiveness and engagement
- Convince clients (internal and/or external) and audiences about the value of learning science-based approaches
- Interpret learning science and engagement research into practical guidelines
All of these are focused on being strategic about learning design. And I struggle to find another term: learning architect, learning strategist, and more. Still, there are several colleagues who are myths debunkers and learning science translators, and I’ll suggest that you should follow, listen to, and most importantly, hire us. So, I’m not the myths person, but we do need more people applying learning science appropriately, and getting help to do so well. So whatever you want to term my role (suggestions welcome ;), do apply what we’re talking about. Here’s to better learning design!