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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Is Good Enough Good Enought?

This morning at DevLearn I did an informal session with Lance Dublin on management issues. Several interesting topics came up, but one that really struck me was around producing eLearning that is good enough vs. trying to produce better learning or what you consider to be a better solution.

This is a topic that we've discussed before including in the Big Question for January - Quality vs. Speed and What Clients Really Want and Big Question Follow-up - Are There Trade-Offs?

This morning's discussion was interesting because it felt that while we'd like to produce what we consider to be better, most of us are "settling" for "good enough." And we recognize that in many cases, good enough is good enough.

There are exceptions such as when there's a clear value proposition for producing something better or when the learning / behavior change ties directly to metrics the organization cares about, e.g., customer satisfaction, sales, etc.

But what does this mean for all the rest of the sessions going on that tell us how to produce a better course, improve interactivity, etc.? Are they marginalized by this? Aren't we all marginalized by this?

Wow, what a bad way to start a conference!


Harold Jarche said...

That's why I think we need to develop an approach for learning design that is similar to Agile Programming. The concept of YAGNI (you ain't gonna need it) makes a lot of sense for instructional development

David Wilkins said...

I attended a session that raised similar questions for me: Teaching a SME to Fish; basically user-generated SME content. All of it, with one exception, was god awful. And the one exception was only moderately awful. I left the session conflicted. On the one hand, everything is moving in a user-generated direction and as a result, there is a lot more content. On the other hand, most of it is crap.

So through the whole session, I kept coming back to the question of "quantity vs quality." Does more of the former make up for less of the latter? I think the answer is "sometimes, maybe even most of the time, but not always." Sometimes you want to watch a movie; sometimes a couple of YouTube videos suffice. Sometimes I want a research report, sometimes a Wikipedia article, sometimes a blog.

And I whole heartedly agree with Harold's comment. Too often we build stuff because we're asked (usually by people who don't know what they need). We should be doing better needs analysis in a HPT model and suggest training alternatives more often (of course that hits funding of our groups which gets back to the real issue which is measuring performance, not courses or buts in seats). Ah well, I ramble. Seems all very connected and catch-22-ish to me.