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Changing Models…

As technology and society change, it only makes sense that our processes change as well. Whether we talk in Kuhn-like paradigm shifts, or McLuhan’s statement of “new media doing the job of the old”, in the technology and instructional design spaces we are still using models that (in my eyes, at least) are not matched for the new space and process of learning…or the changed core characteristics of how we experience and disseminate knowledge. I tried to tackle the design aspects of elearning in an article about learning development cycle (intended as an interim model…which I’ll try and update sometime in the next few months).

Over the last few days I’ve encountered a few resources that challenge two “staples” in the instructional design space: ADDIE Not Relevant? and Problems with Blooms Taxonomy (can’t remember where I sourced those resources…). ISD can be very effective for learning that has both a clear end outcome and process. Often, today’s learning has neither. We have a rough end target (solve this problem, innovate, adapt, etc.)…and we really don’t have a clear process (other than teams, meetings, and emerging collaborative spaces).

I think a big carry over comes from concepts like Dewey decimal system – we define the containers of knowledge in advance, and when we encounter knew knowledge, we simply put them into the right bin. Our model today should begin at the exact opposite end – evaluate a knowledge item for what it is…and allow “bins” to emerge based on our interaction with knowledge, not in advance. In a learning sense, this means changing our ISD models to pursue objectives/outcomes that include end-user contributions to what is learned and why. A designer can’t know in advance what a learner will need. Obviously, not all learning would be accommodated by this approach (certification or clear outcome/clear process training/learning still requires a structured process and sequencing)…but most of our knowledge needs today are better served by an interactive, negotiated model.