Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Big Question: Stuck? Getting Unstuck...

There's really quite a bit to this question.

I’ll begin by quoting something I read in Tony Karrer’s blog,
eLearning Technology. In the post, What Clients Want: eLearning Technology, he writes:
Stunning: Even after all the hot air expelled ink spilled and electrons excited in the last 10 years regarding how we ought to be measuring business results, nobody is doing it !!!!!!!!!

This is precisely my feeling too…it is one of my pet grouch that this month’s
Big Question allows me to vent. For months, I have been thinking of penning my two pence worth in my ID blog, but never got around to overcoming the inertia.

After handling a few projects as the senior/sole ID and consultant and solution provider(I used to imagine myself talking to the client, glancing at my list of twenty odd questions to see that I had the need for the training and performance gap analyzed and perfectly captured, suggesting the best solution and approach with the client listening avidly, mapping the solution to the desired performance output and ending with a quantitative analysis of the ROI), I have relegated the scenario in parentheses to my host of if onlies…That is not to say that I have given up! Not at all! I have just taken off those rose tinted specs and put on plain white ones—the better to see with. I can now see the challenges for what they are.

I realize that I could go and have gone blue in the face saying, “We can’t give the client what he WANTS; we have to give him what he NEEDS. We are the solution providers.” Nothing much will change instantly. We have to educate our internal and external clients because e-learning is still a nascent concept in India. We are still on our first generation e-learning courses—the linear, click and reveal types, where, for most corporate training departments, cost cutting is the major goal for shifting to the e-learning mode.

Maybe, even before we launch into needs and task analysis and learner analysis with a client, we should (using very simple, layman’s terms) educate them a little on what e-learning is all about. For most clients I have met here, e-learning means being able to access ALL the content through an online medium—more of a glorified “click and reveal” ppt. Educating clients could be one way of trying to become “unstuck”. J Of course, it is going to be a long, tedious and challenging process but we could make a start.
I am already imagining a scenario with my latest client—a particularly recalcitrant and determined one who wanted to have all the content of the world put into this one course, not one line could be deleted, the learner must be told absolutely EVERYTHING, explicitly.
I tried in vain to explain levels, discovery learning, arousing curiosity, concepts of andragogy…sigh!

Is this what happens when the client and the SME are one and the same?

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