Thursday, November 09, 2006

Is ISD / ADDIE / HPT Relevant?

I can't speak for HPT, because, to be honest, I didn't recognize that one until I followed a link defining HPT from Harold Jache's post on the topic. As for ISD and ADDIE I think there will always be a role for those approaches, especially in the Web 2.0 (and what ever comes after it) world. But that role will change and those individuals and organizations that refuse to evolve will become extinct in the learning world.

The corporate/government world will always want a structured learning environment simply because
  1. they cannot afford to have their workers following myriads of hyperlinks that could possibly lead them far afield from the core focus of the training they are seeking to instill. The human race is naturally curious and we can easily forget about time as we scan through the wealth of information available.
  2. As general as a lot of topics may be--such as customer service skills or travel expense reporting--each business or agency will have its own unique spin on these topics and will want their workers following that spin.
My formal job title is Instructional Systems Designer but I tend to drop the "Systems" part because many of the courses I create are not process-oriented. They tend to be theoretical (reasons for grounding electrical systems) or softskills (customer service techniques) and there is no hard and fast steps that must be performed that can be trained. What can be presented is examples and scenarios where learners can play "what if" games.

I think that formal training activities will continue and should continue, but these events are going to more limited in scope than in the past and will be augmented by informal learning means outside the classroom. The role of the instructional designer will be to use the ADDIE model to determine what baseline structure can be built into the formal piece of the learning and what parts of the knowledge base are fluid and need to maintained delivered in an informal venue, be it a blog, a podcast, or talking points delivered by a project manager to his or her team.

The future may find that what we now call an instructional system designer is a person who does a little bit of instructional designing and a whole lot of consultative working advising his or her customers on appropriate means of content storage and delivery.

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