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reflections of the team

Instructional Design for the Modern Workplace

Technology for the modern workplace, spreading like wildfire. This was one of my takeaways during a summerclass on “Learning for the Modern Workplace”, led by Jane Hart. She showed us an interview with Donald Clark. It left us flabbergasted.

Donald Clark is a name that rings a bell if you're an L&D'er. Clark is known to many as the advocate for technology as a means to drive learning. Lately, he has also become a threat to e-learning designers with his start-up Wildfire.

Wildfire, an artificial intelligence software, creates e-learnings automatically. You only have to feed it various types of content. It can decide on its own which knowledge to test on its users.

Another robot coming to steal jobs! Or is it?

I recently participated in a workshop given by Jane Hart. Hart is the director of the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning. You might know her from the Top 100 Tools for learning.

For FULL infographic & source:

Her message during the workshop was clear.

The L&D'er is switching jobs quite soon.

Now, he is still the supplier of training. But soon he will become the curator of resources and  facilitator of continuous learning journeys.

Visual Capitalist posted an infographic (September 4th) that illustrated exactly this issue. It's clear designers around the world are facing the same challenge.

If A.I. starts designing and creating e-learnings soon, what is left to do for the instructional designer?

In the future, designers will work less on designing, and instead will supervise, mentor and set the parameters for computational designs.

He that will not stoop for a pin will never be worth a pound

Jane Hart discussed in the workshop, organised by VOV lerend netwerk vzw, the value of micro-interactions. One of her favourite examples is Twitter.

When the micro-interactions platform launched, it received some criticism. What message of value could you possibly put in only 140 characters?

But Jane did not refer to one tweet. It was her decade-long use of the platform and what she learned in that time.

Every day a small takeaway can result in a vast amount of knowledge over 10 years.

As an L&D'er or instructional designer, we can create daily learning experiences, however small. Over time, they will result in a vast increase of knowledge and practice. We don't always have to go big.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Don't reinvent the wheel. Curating resources is smarter and exponentially more efficient than creating everything yourself.

Of course, with curation also comes the issue of storage.

Don't expect people to go somewhere new. They are creatures of habit and don't easily find their way into a new platform.

People use their e-mail, the coffee machine, the intranet, … every day. Use this space to deliver information that you carefully curated.

Go Explore from a Safe Harbour

What edge do humans have over computers? The infographic above already gave it away: setting parameters or boundaries.

The effect of a safe harbour is evident already from a young age. When children are healthily emotionally attached to their parents, they go exploring more. They know they can always go back if something unexpected occurs.

The safe harbour also affects adults. Setting parameters, a clear objective and some boundaries, can be instrumental for increasing desired behaviour.

However, choose wisely.

Setting boundaries can also have a detrimental effect. While helpful during behaviour-forming, it is NOT helpful for idea-forming. Restricted brainstorms for example can only leverage in-the-box ideas.

Evaluate and correlate (but don't complicate)

What exactly is your goal when taking initiative or facilitating the learning journey?

Do you want people to perform on a new procedure, do you want them to have better chances in life, do you want them to be happy in the workplace?

Set reasonable and actual goals. Collect relevant data and work your statistical magic on it.

Actual goals, you say?

Don't just say "I want 100 people to sign up for this training"; say "I want 100 people to feel more competent in this particular skill."

But don't over-complicate. Simple relationships can often hold more truth than complicated, multi-facetted explanations at why something isn't working. 

And don't, please don't ever assume a causational relationship where you have actually found a correlational relationship.

Knowing the difference between the two is what makes you a human, and not a computer ;-)