Increasing professionalization

In his Ten Wishes for 2007, Geetha wants:

4. eLearning professionals take their profession (rather than just themselves) seriously.

In the book Brent recommends, David Shaffer explores how professional competencies can be acquired by playing epistemic games. Shaffer has developed a game for architectural students learning to design. I see many parallels to the professionalization of instructional design having been an architect and course developer.

Patrick brings many useful insights to this question of professionalization:

From Boundary person, but bored: Perhaps I shouldn't be so impatient; we are, after all, an evolving profession.

From Desperately seeking certainty: But even in more mature design disciplines - product design, architecture, graphics - it doesn't work like that. As many researchers have shown us, design is a journey of exploration. We discover and understand design problems by working on the solutions. We constantly uncover new constraints, issues, viewpoints and possibilities as we explore the design. It's an uncertain process in an increasingly uncertain world.

From Flair required apply within: By the time you’re producing programmes for mainstream TV you’ve probably worked with the equivalent thousands of man years of experience. Will you study theory along the way? Maybe a little. But most of the time you don’t need to because effective practice is embedded in everything that your colleagues do around you. TV people can afford to hold their theory lightly.

This isn’t the case in e-learning. E-learning design is in no sense an established profession. The average e-learning designer has less than 5 years experience, and in the UK almost none have any professional qualifications. If TV production is a grown up industry, then we in e-learning are barely toddlers. Like toddlers, we’re still trying to figure out how things work. In fact, we’re theorising. And we’re likely to have to keep theorising, and applying what we learn, and re-theorising, until we develop a critical mass of expertise.

More important still, research into creativity suggests that you can’t be genuinely creative without “knowing your stuff”. People who don’t know what they’re doing in any particular field have problems being creative, because they don’t have a base level of knowledge or skill that they can use to make new connections. So until we raise levels of design expertise in the e-learning industry, it’s likely that we’re going to continue to struggle to cultivate the kind of flair that’s common currency in other creative industries.

I agree totally. Thus I will be providing several posts soon that are targeted at raising the level of design expertise.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom! Thanks for the link. I think 2007 is going to be the year of the professional, but perhaps not the year that Learning gets taken seriously AS a least in corporate life. I hope I'm wrong, but currently just don't see it happening.