Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Relevance of the learning profession - In defense of ISD

Harold Jarche wrote an interesting article The relevance of the learning profession that received a fair amount of attention in various blogs. I've read it several times and I find myself agreeing, but also feeling that he's taken things too far...
The challenge for learning professionals will be to change their toolsets from prescriptive to supportive. For instance, in our informl learning unworkshops we’re trying to foster a community with the tools and connections needed to address that essential 80% of learning that is ignored by formal training and education. I really do not believe that formal approaches, like instructional systems design, will be able to help these learning needs.

I agree that we need to be looking for ways to support the "other 80%," but I disagree about the value of what we know from formal approaches, like ISD. One of the things I've pointed out in the past is that Informal Learning is Too Important to Leave to Chance. I don't claim to have the answer for how we can more systematically treat informal learning, but I strongly believe that much of what we know about human performance, analyzing behavior and performance, impacting behavior and performance, breaking content down, and I'm sure other aspects of ISD are quite applicable to a "supportive" model.

In fact, when I'm talking about Start with Courseware or With the Other Stuff? and the Shift in eLearning from Pure Courseware towards Reference Hybrids, I'm certainly talking about providing support materials that are used as part of work. The design of these tools is certainly based on many of the same principles in ISD.

The other comments that struck me from Harold's article:
it’s the realisation that individuals now own the means of knowledge production.
In a knowledge economy, the individual is the knowledge creator and relationships are the currency.

Enabling learning is no longer about disseminating good content. Enabling learning is about being a learner yourself, sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm and then taking a back seat. In a flattened learning system there are no more experts, only fellow learners on paths that may cross.

While I think I understand what Harold is talking about here, I'm not sure that I agree that it goes this far. Maybe its just because of my perspective (and being so involved in technology) but I see that much of what we do these days is acquire and process information. We need the right information to get to us. And we need the right knowledge of what to do with the information to carry out our processing on that information. It's the knowlege economy.

Virtually everything I work on is all about this. One client needs systems to help with what amounts to matchmaking (finding the right people, knowing what to do once you've figured out who they are). Another client needs systems to help provide customer satisfaction information in actionable form and then help with how to improve the results.

This doesn't really feel at all like ... "fellow learners." It feels like good old help getting your job done. Am I missing something?

No comments: