Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What Informal Learning Means To Me

So I'm reading this article published by the eLearning Guild by Brandon Carson, titled Crafting the Total Learner Experience: Preventing Data Corruption in Instructional Messaging (Guild membership required). In it, Brandon is talking about what he calls "The Total Learner's Experience." Brandon writes:
A successful Total Learner Experience should promote the cohesive integration of informational resources into the overall structure of a course delivery system. A course delivery system contains every component designed to facilitate a learning intervention, including the interface access point for the course, which could be a learning management system, corporate intranet, or a simple Web page.
He then proceeds to make common sense arguments for letting content access to trump structure. Designing so that the learner can find what he or she needs to know over what the instructional designer/subject matter expert/management thinks they need to know. Brandon makes some really solid points that I'm sure I will attempt to integrate in my work habits.

But what really struck me is that from what I have read is that the real rebellion against formal training versus what is called "informal training" is the slavish devotion to learning management systems. A learning management system is probably the apex of top-down training. It places toll booths inbetween the learner and the knowledge he or she needs to perform their duties. Informal learning proponents are saying "Tear down that wall." Make learning accessible.

Unfortunately, I don't think learning will ever be made that accessible in the corporate sector as long as corporations expect training departments to be profitable. Learning management systems allow training departments to collect the toll to allow the learner to proceed to obtain corporation-blessed knowledge. It's a totalitarian system that promotes a sort of blackmarket type of training which occurs around the water cooler, the coffee pot, and the smoking area.

Perhaps the future of corporate training requires that the business leaders promote the return of craft guilds and guild memberships. Allow the guilds to provide the training to their employees. Of course that would open a new can of worms for corporations because then they would have to fear the regrowth of unions. But that's another story.


Harold Jarche said...

Increasingly we are seeing sections from the training or HR departments moving outside the LMS or outside the IT infrastructure. Free web apps are making this possible. It will be a while before the big LMS/LCMS becomes obsolesced, but I'm betting that the rapid innovation outside the LMS space will leave vendors so far behind that customers will ignore soon be ignoring them. Blackboard's patent litigation shows how little faith they have in future sales.

dmcoxe said...

I hope you are right, but being neck-deep in a corporate culture where my web browser is blocked from displaying images posted on Flickr or videos from YouTube I am somewhat dubious that it will occur in my work lifetime.

I suspect it will be my teenage son's generation that will institute these new technologies. It is our roles to continue to champion these technologies and nurture their growth until his generation takes the leadership reins and begin the transformation.

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