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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Where Will the Change Come From?

A few weeks ago, I posted a summary around the November LCB Big Question "Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?":

eLearning Technology: Significant Work Needed to Help Instructional Designers

Some interesting thoughts in the comments. One thing that just struck me was a comment by Mark Oehlert that suggested we re-engineer the way professors teach ISD. In thinking about that comment, a few random things dawned on me:

1. Fundamentals Okay, But Change Needed

When I look at what people are writing, there is a growing chorus that proclaims while the foundation of these models remain relevant, change is needed.

2. Where are the ISD Gurus in this Discussion?

When I think ISD/ADDIE/HPT, I think of Allison Rossett, Harold Stolovich, and Ruth Clark. Yet, I don't see them saying much of anything about these changes. Heck, do any of them even have blogs? Do they communicate outside of the slow mechanisms of presentations, articles, books? If we are in disarray (as Karl Kapp says), then do we expect a new guard to step forward and lead this?

3. Will the Change be Emergent?

I'm doubtful that we will see the Gurus step forward and lead the change. I really doubt that we will see forward thinking professors start teaching about a different model before that model emerges elsewhere.

At a Web 2.0 event that I moderated, one of the speakers was Matt Glotzbach, Head of Products at Google Enterprise. He made a really interesting point that with ready access to all sorts of new services, adoption was likely to now start with Consumers and Prosumers and then migrate into organizations. Thus, much of the focus of Google Enterprise was to see what works in the consumer space and help bring it to the enterprise.

Combine this with the concepts of Enterprise 2.0, Emergence and Network IT which suggest that rather than trying to define workflow, rules, function ahead of time, we provide relatively free form tools and allow behavior to emerge and then provide better support.

Finally, combine this with the discussions around Informal Learning that suggest the support for informal learning approaches will be emergent as well.

What do you get?

What's likely to happen here is that all sorts of innovation in learning, knowledge management, etc. is going to occur in the consumer, prosumer and in uncontrolled pockets in the enterprise. We'll examine what's working and not working. We'll grab stuff that works and fashion theory and support to help it grow.


Anonymous said...

I came to the same conclusion last week as I developed my forecast for the LCB December question. The consumers/prosumers will provide far more evolutionary pressure than instructional designers or their managers/clients. I like Marc Prensky’s distinction between “digital natives and immigrants” which suggests that those raised on these new technologies will be the early adopters naturally. I also think that technology/software advances will explain how the changes come about. The advent of Web 2.0 and the proliferation of social networking sites are partly explained by the plummeting cost and innovations in server hardware and server-side software. I’ve had lots to say about why college professors are the last to change on my College Blues blog that agrees with your assessment.

I have several insights into why the gurus are not blogging or addressing how the changes will happen. I worked with three different high profile authors during my decade as a management consultant. None of them could work with the team they had assembled. Their “say on the subject” was sacrosanct and non-negotiable. More recently, it’s obvious that the “author mentality” cannot blog with links to other bloggers, offer useful comments on other blogs or rethink their own stance in public view. Naked Conversations suggests that this author mentality gets rejected in the blogosphere for being manipulative, self-promotional and deceptive. An “evangelist mentality” (think Guy Kawasaki) is widely accepted in the blogosphere because it’s the opposite of the author mentality. Evangelists can encourage those changes that gurus cannot do more than give bullet points on screen.

Gurus have a symbiotic relationship with conference promoters. Most conference attendees are looking for new ideas, fresh approaches and entertaining presentations. They are not looking to make a change, take the lead, envision the adoption or nurture the change process. It’s too soon for them. They are late adopters, laggards, or “the worst learners” as you’ve said. They work in silos and don’t get out much. Their work setting is driven by a backlog of tasks to accomplish, budget overruns and talent shortages. There’s no time to ponder alternative methods, read blogs or books, join in the conversations like ours, or change their approach at work. Attending the conference is a perk -- a trip that does not use up vacation time. It needs to be business related without putting more tasks on their overcrowded plate back in the silo. Gurus fill that bill superbly. Conference enrollment soars and the promoters are very happy.

Great post BTW.

Anonymous said...

I believe the change will come from - is coming from - learners themselves. Learners who are no longer satisfied with being 'consumers' of content that the 'authors' are dishing out. Learners who take learning into our own hands, create our own content, evolve our own processes, learning together using web2.0 tools to discover strategic meta-patterns hidden in our collective experience. Learning for the purpose - as Nancy White puts it - to "get things done." (not for a grade or a raise). I have been frustrated for some time by the fact that 'support' for learning and knowledge management is confined to the silos of schools/colleges/universities on the one hand and corporate training on the other. There's a whole big market out here of folks who want to learn and manage knowledge to get things done. And now we can afford to take charge of our own learning because so many technology tools we can use to connect with each other are free.

Tony Karrer said...

Two fantastic comments. But, I'm maybe having a bad day because it makes me feel somewhat like I need to sit back, wait for the learners to figure it out and then try to take the best. That's probably right, but feels like something that you can't help move forward. Stephen Downes will probably come in here in a second and talk about my issues with control. :)