Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In Response: Accidental Instructional Designers #dl09--Part II

Mulling over the comment by Brent Schlenker: "I see New ID as being more about aggregating and monitoring the existing content streams. And identifying the critical information, highlighting it, and improving upon the media that explains or clarifies the content" in Cammy Bean's post: Accidental Instructional Designers #dl09 ...

With the ever increasing opportunities/possibilities for everyone to create content, the training design specialists face the same plight as that of journalists. Training programs may go the Conde Nast way...

User-generated content is going to be on the rise and should be encouraged. Most often, these will also be a lot quicker and a hell of a lot cheaper in providing the information needed than a full-fledged training program. Then, where do we stand as professional designers of training?

This is where I whole-heartedly agree with the comment above...An ID today must be prepared to separate the wholesome, necessary "content wheat" that will impact performance from the chaff of an endless content stream. S/he may not need to sit with an SME and create the content.

This does mean re-thinking the ID role in many cases. From my experience, today an ID needs to understand/find out:
1. If an organization already has a platform where the end users contribute to share information, knowledge, updates
2. What is the contribution rate
3. How effectively do users access/use this platform
4. What needs are being fulfilled via this platform
5. What are the gaps

This last point is where an ID can contribute by "identifying the critical information, highlighting it, and improving upon the media that explains or clarifies the content."

An ID today thus needs to also understand Information Architecture, a crucial skill pointed out by Vasan in his post.

This also means a reduced content gathering cycle, using the organization's existing knowledge base effectively and acknowledging the content generated by end users as key material for training. The latter often results in a strong buy in from end users as they see their efforts being rewarded and makes them more willing to take onus of their learning.

This also means being more aware of and proficient in the "design" of the content--design being all the factors that turn content into stimulus for learning, that tries to bring about a change in behavior through effective presentation and techniques, and most importantly, that has the learner strongly situated in the center of it all.

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