Are you playing the role of the Subject Matter Expert instead of the Instructional Designer?

March 6, 2009

I had a conversation by email with someone I really care about that probably came off a bit bitchy, a bit holier-than-thou…it you can have just “a bit” of either of those traits.  And, I’m probably about to come off the same way here. That’s not an apology. I yam what I yam. And, no doubt I’ll piss off some people for my opinion of rapid e-learning tools.

My email conversation came at a time when I saw the tweet (below) from Clark Quinn on Twitter so I felt some sort of validation of my opinion (don’t you love serendipity?). Clark said:

[I] just advised SME on converting to elearning, recommended Clive’s 60 mins, Cathy’s Action Mapping, and my own 7 Step program (of course)

The person that I wrote the email to was questioning his ability to really create sound e-learning (using a rapid development tool); how to ‘lay it out.’  I told him there are a lot of people who share his struggle. A lot.

My response went something like this:

We wouldn’t expect a layman to design a bridge given an IKEA set of instructions.

She’d need to know the strength of materials, type of materials, math, physics, etc. She’d need to be an engineer.

Same holds true for our field. Those who know how to design instruction soundly are the ‘engineers.’

Without ID skills, you end up being guided by the rapid e-learning tool. They are the IKEA of ID. Cheap and fast but not likely to show up at the antiques show 150 years from now (or to go down in your most memorable training book IMHO). You trade speed and low cost for flexibility and richness. With rapid e-learning tools, you don’t necessarily need to know the ID equivalent of engineering (learning theories, human psychology, instructional science) to create the course. That’s why people love them. That’s why people love IKEA. Fast and inexpensive.

Think of most rapid e-learning courses. They are, by design, built around limiting theories. You mostly end up using them to create knowledge-building content (novice-level) or to create courses to track something (compliance, etc.). Or they are used to create something that is the equivalent of a text document. But novice-level/ knowledge-building and mandatory-type courses are a fraction of what people need to do their jobs.

This is why training in how to (really) design instruction is so important (for e-learning, classroom instruction, and informal learning). Although someone can show you how to make the most of a rapid e-learning tool, you won’t become the ‘engineer’ without advanced training (and not necessarily formal).

I think our field is littered with people like you and I that came from a different background and were thrown into an L & D position expecting to just apply our own past experience with schooling and teaching into e-learning. So that’s what we do. I can see that safely from a distance now. I did little more than create novice-level knowledge-building courses, compliance courses, and ‘text documents’ spread out in a linear fashion with some questions thrown in before I was “trained” in ID.

Rapid e-learning tools serve their purpose, I hope without sacrificing development. To illustrate what I’m trying to say, I’m outlining a case study. See where the rapid e-learning tool fits into the bigger picture. See what the role of L & D is. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s sound.

Here are the highlights from the actual case study:

The organization’s L & D group created what they called a “Web 2.0 Community” which was built on SharePoint architecture. (Imagine a graphic with “Web 2.0 Community” in the middle and blogs, wikis, discussion board, social bookmarking, and user-generated content surrounding it.)

The blogs were everyone’s – novice, expert, course vendors, and Learning & Development. People used audio, video, images, text and followed updates using RSS.

The discussion board was a place where people shared knowledge and experiences. L & D facilitated discussions including getting unanswered questions directed to internal and external experts. Many of these discussion flowed from monthly webinars.

L & D provided tools & instructional design support for users wishing to create their own ‘content.’ (The rapid development tool used was Articulate. They referred to this as user-generated content.)

The wiki was built the same way Wikipedia is. (Not surprisingly, they used their company name + ‘pedia’). Social bookmarking was on its own server. This moved ‘favorites’ from individual PCs so all could share their best resources.

L & D measured the effectiveness of the Web 2.0 community by looking at participation, quality of discussions, usage statistics, anecdotes of the community, and interviews with users. L & D identified three primary benefits: common language, productivity, and time & cost savings.

Did they need to know how to use rapid e-learning development tools? Yes.

One of the ways we identify rapid e-learning development tools in our Authoring Tool KnowledgeBase is by identifying who the tool is best suited for. If the primary use is this…

Subject matter experts with no page design, authoring, or programming experience

…then it’s a rapid e-learning development tool. If you’re in L&D spending all your time creating content using tools designed for SMEs then you probably won’t learn how to create much more than novice-level/knowledge building courses.  In the case study above, no one in L&D was creating content. Everyone was creating.

Last thing- if you’re not spending a couple hours of week studying ID in situ then you are only going to build IKEAesque stuff. Just sayin’.

  • Brian

    Yes, it’s almost crazy!

    If I had a dime for every hour spent in interviews for Technology and Design positions/contracts where I am drilled on SME issues before even being ‘considered’ for the job: I’d be very rich!

    In many of these supposed ‘instructional design’ interviews:

    “We need someone with a minimum of 15 years experience in this brand new never relased before product/service. You’ve never single handedly designed and coded an entire OS for a hand held gadget of unknown specs before? Sorry…”

    Thanks for this post Janet. Maybe there is something we can do as a community to help human resource people understand the difference between a subject matter expert, a programmer, a media producer, and an instructional designer.

    I personally do not mind taking on any of these roles as long as I get paid for it. The problem is…HR departments just stick “Instructional Designer Needed” on the job requisition…then start hunting ‘SME and Production’ people.

    If they invented the product/service and it is ready to ship…then they already have SME people! We designers are there to organize it all into a good learning/assessment/evaluation package…not to ‘invent every byte/word/image/sound of the content’ single handedly.

    Brian

  • Brian

    Yes, it’s almost crazy!

    If I had a dime for every hour spent in interviews for Technology and Design positions/contracts where I am drilled on SME issues before even being ‘considered’ for the job: I’d be very rich!

    In many of these supposed ‘instructional design’ interviews:

    “We need someone with a minimum of 15 years experience in this brand new never relased before product/service. You’ve never single handedly designed and coded an entire OS for a hand held gadget of unknown specs before? Sorry…”

    Thanks for this post Janet. Maybe there is something we can do as a community to help human resource people understand the difference between a subject matter expert, a programmer, a media producer, and an instructional designer.

    I personally do not mind taking on any of these roles as long as I get paid for it. The problem is…HR departments just stick “Instructional Designer Needed” on the job requisition…then start hunting ‘SME and Production’ people.

    If they invented the product/service and it is ready to ship…then they already have SME people! We designers are there to organize it all into a good learning/assessment/evaluation package…not to ‘invent every byte/word/image/sound of the content’ single handedly.

    Brian

  • http://blog.cathy-moore.com Cathy Moore

    Great points, especially about the common perception of rapid tools as a way of “putting information online.”

    I think it’s unfortunately very common to equate elearning with content delivery. Since that belief is popular and rapid tools are popular, it often looks like rapid tools are only used to deliver content–to produce information dumps.

    However, those same tools could produce far more active, challenging experiences. The key is for the person using them to focus on helping learners *do* what they need to do, not “learn” what they supposedly need to know.

    That’s where L&D staff can help. They can help SMEs forget how they learned in school (95% information dump). They can help SMEs instead analyze the situation to identify what people need to do, then come up with challenging, realistic practice activities that they can deliver online.

    The same tool that creates a regurgitate-the-fact multiple-choice question can also create a low-tech simulation that uses multiple-choice questions to make learners interpret and apply what they’re learning. So I don’t think that someone who owns a rapid tool is doomed to crank out information dumps.

    Another challenge is the “rapid” label. It probably will take longer to produce an action-packed course, even with a rapid tool.

    This week I created two mockups of a course using PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter. One mockup was an information dump that would have taken someone familiar with the tools 40 minutes to create. All I did was rearrange some existing PowerPoint slides and add a short quiz.

    The other mockup shows how the same material could be presented using activities instead of telling & testing. Just the high-level mockup with placeholders for graphics took longer to create than the information dump, because there were so many decisions involved–I had to throw out the approach used in the PowerPoints and start from scratch.

    Polishing that material into a real course would require me to also take several custom photos and spend time thinking of challenging questions.

    So in addition to challenging the belief that elearning = content delivery, we have to be willing to stretch the definition of rapid to mean “something more than 40 minutes but less than custom Flash development.”

    Cathy Moores last blog post..Less text, more learning

  • http://blog.cathy-moore.com Cathy Moore

    Great points, especially about the common perception of rapid tools as a way of “putting information online.”

    I think it’s unfortunately very common to equate elearning with content delivery. Since that belief is popular and rapid tools are popular, it often looks like rapid tools are only used to deliver content–to produce information dumps.

    However, those same tools could produce far more active, challenging experiences. The key is for the person using them to focus on helping learners *do* what they need to do, not “learn” what they supposedly need to know.

    That’s where L&D staff can help. They can help SMEs forget how they learned in school (95% information dump). They can help SMEs instead analyze the situation to identify what people need to do, then come up with challenging, realistic practice activities that they can deliver online.

    The same tool that creates a regurgitate-the-fact multiple-choice question can also create a low-tech simulation that uses multiple-choice questions to make learners interpret and apply what they’re learning. So I don’t think that someone who owns a rapid tool is doomed to crank out information dumps.

    Another challenge is the “rapid” label. It probably will take longer to produce an action-packed course, even with a rapid tool.

    This week I created two mockups of a course using PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter. One mockup was an information dump that would have taken someone familiar with the tools 40 minutes to create. All I did was rearrange some existing PowerPoint slides and add a short quiz.

    The other mockup shows how the same material could be presented using activities instead of telling & testing. Just the high-level mockup with placeholders for graphics took longer to create than the information dump, because there were so many decisions involved–I had to throw out the approach used in the PowerPoints and start from scratch.

    Polishing that material into a real course would require me to also take several custom photos and spend time thinking of challenging questions.

    So in addition to challenging the belief that elearning = content delivery, we have to be willing to stretch the definition of rapid to mean “something more than 40 minutes but less than custom Flash development.”

    Cathy Moores last blog post..Less text, more learning

  • David Wilkins

    Love this –“I think our field is littered with people like you and I that came from a different background and were thrown into an L & D position expecting to just apply our own past experience with schooling and teaching into e-learning.” So freakin’ true.

    This has been a singular point of frustration for me for some time. As someone in charge of product development in our space, I have become pretty disillusioned over the years. In 1999, we built EPSS and knowledge capture technologies that were context aware and had built-in NLQ. But everyone buying wanted courses — it didn’t matter that they didn’t really need courses. They didn’t have the ID experience to realize it. They bought courses, the product died, and we moved on.

    From there we built Firefly which was based on the work of John Carroll, and years of real-world simulation training we had done as a training services company. But what did people buy? RoboDemo and then Captivate when the name changed. Captivate, which couldn’t even simulate (and still doesn’t) drop-down lists or menus, let alone tabbing, right-click menus, check boxes, radio buttons, or list boxes. Through Captivate, thousands of companies create “simulations” of enterprise software without being able to simulate even basic stuff like tabbing or keyboard interactions. Think about that for a minute… It’s actually pretty mind-blowing.

    Fortunately we’ve found some bright spots over the years in companies who know what they are doing. But man, it’s been a tough slog at times. We still run into situations where our more experienced sales people know more than the people they are trying to help. That just shouldn’t happen, not in any industry.

  • http:dwilkinsnh.wordpress.com David Wilkins

    Love this –“I think our field is littered with people like you and I that came from a different background and were thrown into an L & D position expecting to just apply our own past experience with schooling and teaching into e-learning.” So freakin’ true.

    This has been a singular point of frustration for me for some time. As someone in charge of product development in our space, I have become pretty disillusioned over the years. In 1999, we built EPSS and knowledge capture technologies that were context aware and had built-in NLQ. But everyone buying wanted courses — it didn’t matter that they didn’t really need courses. They didn’t have the ID experience to realize it. They bought courses, the product died, and we moved on.

    From there we built Firefly which was based on the work of John Carroll, and years of real-world simulation training we had done as a training services company. But what did people buy? RoboDemo and then Captivate when the name changed. Captivate, which couldn’t even simulate (and still doesn’t) drop-down lists or menus, let alone tabbing, right-click menus, check boxes, radio buttons, or list boxes. Through Captivate, thousands of companies create “simulations” of enterprise software without being able to simulate even basic stuff like tabbing or keyboard interactions. Think about that for a minute… It’s actually pretty mind-blowing.

    Fortunately we’ve found some bright spots over the years in companies who know what they are doing. But man, it’s been a tough slog at times. We still run into situations where our more experienced sales people know more than the people they are trying to help. That just shouldn’t happen, not in any industry.

  • http://www.thirdforce.com/ Gareth Murran

    Interesting post. It was always my understanding that the main point of tools like Articulate is to take away the need for an ID and have the tools guide the SME. You add some interesting points to the rapid dev tools are taking over argument.

    Gareth Murrans last blog post..Effective learning and development in a 24/7 business – White Paper

  • http://www.thirdforce.com Gareth Murran

    Interesting post. It was always my understanding that the main point of tools like Articulate is to take away the need for an ID and have the tools guide the SME. You add some interesting points to the rapid dev tools are taking over argument.

    Gareth Murrans last blog post..Effective learning and development in a 24/7 business – White Paper

  • Norman Lamont

    Hi Janet

    How can I find out more about the case study you describe?

  • Norman Lamont

    Hi Janet

    How can I find out more about the case study you describe?

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Brian-
    I see this too in my grad classes. I’m enrolled in an ID program within the School of Education and there are a lot of other programs within the School of Education. Nearly every semester, there will be 1 or 2 people in my ID class (teachers mostly) from other programs that didn’t know there was a separate program for ID. I have heard them say that every teacher (in the School of Education) should have to take ID courses. So, not only do human resource people sometimes misunderstand the position, so do many people within the larger umbrella of their own field.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Brian-
    I see this too in my grad classes. I’m enrolled in an ID program within the School of Education and there are a lot of other programs within the School of Education. Nearly every semester, there will be 1 or 2 people in my ID class (teachers mostly) from other programs that didn’t know there was a separate program for ID. I have heard them say that every teacher (in the School of Education) should have to take ID courses. So, not only do human resource people sometimes misunderstand the position, so do many people within the larger umbrella of their own field.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Cathy-
    I was hoping you’d comment since you’re one of those in the industry that knows how to maximize the capabilities of rapid development tools – all because of the way you view learning. And that (how you view learning) is what informs your instructional strategy. This is basic in our field yet I’ll bet more than half the people designing instruction don’t see that connection. Talking about learning theories (do most people even know learning theories?) and how they inform what you do is often met with rolled eyes. But understanding this is critical. I digress…

    I can recall the *do* (what learners need to do) vs. the *know* (what learners need to know) issue sticking with me when I worked on a project with Allen Interactions (Michael Allen’s firm). It was my a-ha moment and strongly influenced me and helped me work with SMEs on other projects. “What do you want them to *do*?” is the question to be asked as many times as needed to get at the problem you’re trying to address (which sometimes leads to the realization that instruction isn’t the answer at all).

    I like that you said ownership of a rapid tool does not doom one to crank out “information dumps.” So true! I was afraid my opinion would lead to an opposite conclusion.

    And, you’re illustration about how it will “probably will take longer to produce an action-packed course, even with a rapid tool” is one I hope is not lost.

    I hope everyone will come to the realization you wrote here – that elearning is not equal to content delivery and that “rapid” is not always what you think it is.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Cathy-
    I was hoping you’d comment since you’re one of those in the industry that knows how to maximize the capabilities of rapid development tools – all because of the way you view learning. And that (how you view learning) is what informs your instructional strategy. This is basic in our field yet I’ll bet more than half the people designing instruction don’t see that connection. Talking about learning theories (do most people even know learning theories?) and how they inform what you do is often met with rolled eyes. But understanding this is critical. I digress…

    I can recall the *do* (what learners need to do) vs. the *know* (what learners need to know) issue sticking with me when I worked on a project with Allen Interactions (Michael Allen’s firm). It was my a-ha moment and strongly influenced me and helped me work with SMEs on other projects. “What do you want them to *do*?” is the question to be asked as many times as needed to get at the problem you’re trying to address (which sometimes leads to the realization that instruction isn’t the answer at all).

    I like that you said ownership of a rapid tool does not doom one to crank out “information dumps.” So true! I was afraid my opinion would lead to an opposite conclusion.

    And, you’re illustration about how it will “probably will take longer to produce an action-packed course, even with a rapid tool” is one I hope is not lost.

    I hope everyone will come to the realization you wrote here – that elearning is not equal to content delivery and that “rapid” is not always what you think it is.

  • Pingback: links for 2009-03-09 | Gareth Murran blogger

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Dave-
    Great points. I can’t help but go back to engineering. You wouldn’t be hired as an engineer (I hope) without having knowledge of the field (evidenced by an engineering degree and / or years of experience). Basically, the architect doesn’t want the services of an untrained engineer – bridges would collapse. It would be catastrophic. Is it catastrophic to design bad instruction? If it’s the Hubbell telescope simulation, it is. But what about not knowing how to properly code the airline reservation the first few times you do it because the simulation was bad? It isn’t going to bring in the lawsuits like the downed bridge (or downed plane). So, organizations fill roles with people that don’t have knowledge of the field, and don’t see the possible consequences when they also don’t support (or require) ongoing professional development. There’s a lot of floundering out there in corporations.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Dave-
    Great points. I can’t help but go back to engineering. You wouldn’t be hired as an engineer (I hope) without having knowledge of the field (evidenced by an engineering degree and / or years of experience). Basically, the architect doesn’t want the services of an untrained engineer – bridges would collapse. It would be catastrophic. Is it catastrophic to design bad instruction? If it’s the Hubbell telescope simulation, it is. But what about not knowing how to properly code the airline reservation the first few times you do it because the simulation was bad? It isn’t going to bring in the lawsuits like the downed bridge (or downed plane). So, organizations fill roles with people that don’t have knowledge of the field, and don’t see the possible consequences when they also don’t support (or require) ongoing professional development. There’s a lot of floundering out there in corporations.

  • Deb Buckingham

    Touche’

  • Deb Buckingham

    Touche’

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Gareth-
    You’ve said a lot there…’A tool to take away the need for an ID.’ Goes back to how one views learning and ID. If one see’s it as an engineering process (any many do) than that’s plausible in their mind. I’d never agree with that but I think many others might.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Gareth-
    You’ve said a lot there…’A tool to take away the need for an ID.’ Goes back to how one views learning and ID. If one see’s it as an engineering process (any many do) than that’s plausible in their mind. I’d never agree with that but I think many others might.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Norman – I’ve had a couple of other people ask about the case study. I am asking permission from the organization to publish it. I’ll let you know.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Norman – I’ve had a couple of other people ask about the case study. I am asking permission from the organization to publish it. I’ll let you know.

  • http://road-to-learning.blogspot.com/ Sreya Dutta

    Hi Janet,

    I so agree with you here. I just wrote about pure courses versus reference hybrids and mentioned one of my experiences where we were in a point to transition to a rapid elearning tool and we managed to convince our management otherwise. I’ve referenced this post there. Please look at http://road-to-learning.blogspot.com/2009/03/pure-courseware-vs-reference-hybrids.html and leave you comments.

    Thanks,

    Sreya

    Sreya Duttas last blog post..Pure courseware vs Reference Hybrids

  • http://road-to-learning.blogspot.com Sreya Dutta

    Hi Janet,

    I so agree with you here. I just wrote about pure courses versus reference hybrids and mentioned one of my experiences where we were in a point to transition to a rapid elearning tool and we managed to convince our management otherwise. I’ve referenced this post there. Please look at http://road-to-learning.blogspot.com/2009/03/pure-courseware-vs-reference-hybrids.html and leave you comments.

    Thanks,

    Sreya

    Sreya Duttas last blog post..Pure courseware vs Reference Hybrids

  • Candace

    You are always a bright spot, Janet. Though you are preaching to the choir, you still have given us a way to explain the gospel to those dudes hanging out at the pool hall (or designer store).

  • Candace

    You are always a bright spot, Janet. Though you are preaching to the choir, you still have given us a way to explain the gospel to those dudes hanging out at the pool hall (or designer store).

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Sreya, I think you say it all here in your post: “The bottom line is that we need to look at training from a more holistic point of view.”

    It made me think that if you insert “cooking” where training is and you can make similar arguments. You want to cook healthy with a variety of foods. Hard to do that if you’ve only got McDonald’s going for you. Fast, cheap, good sometimes but not something you’d want all the time.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Sreya, I think you say it all here in your post: “The bottom line is that we need to look at training from a more holistic point of view.”

    It made me think that if you insert “cooking” where training is and you can make similar arguments. You want to cook healthy with a variety of foods. Hard to do that if you’ve only got McDonald’s going for you. Fast, cheap, good sometimes but not something you’d want all the time.

  • http://www.elearnaustralia.com.au/ Chris Sutton

    Ah Janet, you hit the nail on the head with such precision. It is soooo hard to find a good instructional designers. It’s also hard to explain to the organisations we work with that good instructional design takes time and designers that are educators. Rapid development tools are seen as the cheap alternative to ‘getting our stuff online’. Thank you, you’ve given me some very sound reasoning to work on and affirmed my insistenceon all of my people being educators first and developers and artists second!

  • http://www.elearnaustralia.com.au Chris Sutton

    Ah Janet, you hit the nail on the head with such precision. It is soooo hard to find a good instructional designers. It’s also hard to explain to the organisations we work with that good instructional design takes time and designers that are educators. Rapid development tools are seen as the cheap alternative to ‘getting our stuff online’. Thank you, you’ve given me some very sound reasoning to work on and affirmed my insistenceon all of my people being educators first and developers and artists second!

  • Jim McCune

    Hi Janet, I’ve been in the field of instructional design for over 31 years, going back to the days of slide/sound, when I thought the Singer Caramate projectors were the ultimate in hi-tech. Because much of the training I produce deals with safety, the design process is paramount to me. Over the past two years, however, I’ve seen a shift to the rapid e-learning tools, and the result is training that is intended for the user to click through and get checked off in the LMS. Leadership likes the idea of training that can be developed and put online in a day or so. Your post restores my confidence in our profession. Thank You!

  • Jim McCune

    Hi Janet, I’ve been in the field of instructional design for over 31 years, going back to the days of slide/sound, when I thought the Singer Caramate projectors were the ultimate in hi-tech. Because much of the training I produce deals with safety, the design process is paramount to me. Over the past two years, however, I’ve seen a shift to the rapid e-learning tools, and the result is training that is intended for the user to click through and get checked off in the LMS. Leadership likes the idea of training that can be developed and put online in a day or so. Your post restores my confidence in our profession. Thank You!

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Glad to have restored confidence Jim!
    @chris re: explaining. I think we don’t get the respect we often deserve. perhaps because of the very issue of not having people that put edu. first. Hard to say no vs. order taking. Different post though.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Glad to have restored confidence Jim!
    @chris re: explaining. I think we don’t get the respect we often deserve. perhaps because of the very issue of not having people that put edu. first. Hard to say no vs. order taking. Different post though.

  • http://semicon-recession.com/ Richard Goutal

    It actually surprises me to find a detailed post with which I so wholeheartedly agree both in content and in tone. I feel great after reading it.

    I remember a few years ago being equally distressed by a popular elearning author and conference speaker who said ADDIE was just a waste of time. Making it worse, he created a straw man of those who believe in ADDIE thus making it easy (and reasonable) to attack it.

    Do you recall “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder in which Pa uses a clothes line to find his way back from the barn to the house in a truly blinding blizzard? Point being, a guideline, like ADDIE (or similar) can help prevent losing one’s way. Yes, as you say, all the “tools” today for rapid deployment are great, but if they do not actually get the job done, ie, result in performance improvement, then we’ve gotten lost in a blizzard.

  • http://semicon-recession.com/ Richard Goutal

    It actually surprises me to find a detailed post with which I so wholeheartedly agree both in content and in tone. I feel great after reading it.

    I remember a few years ago being equally distressed by a popular elearning author and conference speaker who said ADDIE was just a waste of time. Making it worse, he created a straw man of those who believe in ADDIE thus making it easy (and reasonable) to attack it.

    Do you recall “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder in which Pa uses a clothes line to find his way back from the barn to the house in a truly blinding blizzard? Point being, a guideline, like ADDIE (or similar) can help prevent losing one’s way. Yes, as you say, all the “tools” today for rapid deployment are great, but if they do not actually get the job done, ie, result in performance improvement, then we’ve gotten lost in a blizzard.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Richard-
    So glad the post resonated with you. I have to say it really was a tough one to publish. This, to me, gets at one of the core issues in our field. Thanks so much for your comment. (It made me feel great..)

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Richard-
    So glad the post resonated with you. I have to say it really was a tough one to publish. This, to me, gets at one of the core issues in our field. Thanks so much for your comment. (It made me feel great..)

  • David Hill

    I am an instructional design graduate student at Walden University. I appreciate the very relevant content that you have on your blog site. I completely agree with you regarding your opinion of rapid e-learning development tools. I would like to expand on this by taking a look at income taxes…Someone wanting fast and affordable tax preparation can either purchase software for his or her computer or use an online service. Both tax preparation software and online tax preparation services are designed to guide the user through the process. Neither require in-depth knowledge or understanding of tax law. In contrast, someone wanting the best possible outcome would hire a CPA to prepare his or her taxes. A CPA possesses the in-depth knowledge and understanding of tax law that is required to maximize a return and/or minimize tax liability. In many ways, rapid e-learning development tools are the instructional design equivalent of “paint by numbers.” It really is true that you get what you pay for.

  • David Hill

    I am an instructional design graduate student at Walden University. I appreciate the very relevant content that you have on your blog site.

    I completely agree with you regarding your opinion of rapid e-learning development tools.

    I would like to expand on this by taking a look at income taxes…

    Someone wanting fast and affordable tax preparation can either purchase software for his or her computer or use an online service. Both tax preparation software and online tax preparation services are designed to guide the user through the process. Neither require in-depth knowledge or understanding of tax law.

    In contrast, someone wanting the best possible outcome would hire a CPA to prepare his or her taxes. A CPA possesses the in-depth knowledge and understanding of tax law that is required to maximize a return and/or minimize tax liability.

    In many ways, rapid e-learning development tools are the instructional design equivalent of “paint by numbers.”

    It really is true that you get what you pay for.

  • http://brandon-hall.com/janetclarey jclarey

    That's a great analogy David. I guess the worst case scenario is that you don't do your taxes at all (that better than nothing view.)

  • http://brandon-hall.com/janetclarey jclarey

    That's a great analogy David. I guess the worst case scenario is that you don't do your taxes at all (that better than nothing view.)

  • http://elearningindustry.com/ eLearning Industry

    Hi Janet,

    I very much liked your post. You may also find useful my answer to the question: “Should the roles of Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts be consolidated or autonomous?”
    http://elearningindustry.com/is-it-necessary-for-an-instructional-designer-to-be-an-subject-matter-expert

    Have a wonderful day,
    Christopher Pappas

Previous post:

Next post: