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The State of Instructional Design — 5 Comments

  1. You raise some good points about things that we in L&D need to step back and examine with a more critical eye.

    From this side of the fridge door, at least, we have to become more adept at being open minded to the problems we are trying to solve…and not putting our preferred solution first. Part of that is our own continued development and growth. If we keep exploring and keep learning about trends, approaches, and successes/failures, we can learn from them. It may be that we could have an epiphany about something we used to hold dear that puts it in an entirely new light.

    There may be some out there who are “weary of the conversation”, but I say this, “I think the conversation is just getting started, because the crowd in the room got a whole lot bigger”.

  2. I like to ask people in our industry this question: “If you and your training department didn’t exist, what would happen to the business?” The response is always very telling as to that learning professional’s mindset towards the work they do.

  3. There is an underlying assumption, that infests the world of business overall, which is fundamentally silly and yet, mysteriously, we are unwilling to admit that it’s silly: “Somewhere, in the future, there is a SOLUTION. Our task is to find it.” Bleeeep. Thanks for playing. No there isn’t. Humans aren’t problems to solve. They are extants and agents. Human learning is not a procedure to apply, undergo, or prescribe. It’s the living, changing, adapting process of living, changing and adapting. We can create materials that simulate environmental prompts and results, and provide human beings the opportunity to experience the results, experiment with their responses to the prompts, and evaluate the various results they get. Constructivism isn’t something the ID agrees with, believes, or subscribes to—it’s what the learner does to anything you give her. If we would wake up to the reality that our discipline is an artistic one, we might create truly amazing, beautiful learning experiences. So long as we insist that it become a mechanized process of manufacturing, we will spin around in silly circles saying the same silly, inane things over and over.

  4. Tahiya ~ Interesting perspective. I think you will find that there some L&D professionals who agree with the statement that L&D is not in the business to solve problems that do not exist. We are not and should not the designated problem solvers of business. Our role, to me, is to be the GPS for finding and connecting people to ideas, support (in whatever form that may be) and other people/groups to help solve an issue at hand.

    Regarding seeing learning as art – to be honest, I’ve never thought of L&D with those lenses. But I have to say that I like the image. On one hand, art – is about the perception of the person viewing. Good, bad, ugly, undecipherable… I think there is merit in saying that we get caught up in learning “science” and bad science at that. There is a happy medium, in my opinion, why not break down the walls of the borders that we have built? Who makes up the rules for creation of product that will be consumed by others? There is indeed a science for cognitive load. What would happen if we treated learning as an art form with our minds eye to solid brain science? Could be powerful indeed. Thanks for planting a seed.

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