The feasibility of forecasting

I've recently read two blogs, (Clive Shepherd and Patrick Dunn ) that suggest that the future will be the same as the present, if it's left up to instructional designers.

Clive writes:

"I think the challenges remain much the same. In my view the corporate learning and development community is inherently conservative. If you strip away the warm and cuddly layer, underneath are people who are running scared of change and burying their head in the sand."

Patrick writes:
  • Traditional trainers have to abandon the moral high ground. They have to grow beyond defensive beliefs that technology is a threat to their established ways of working. They have to develop some humility, and move beyond a patronising view of technology-based learning as the preserve of nerds and simpletons, offering little more than optional support for their far more sophisticated work.
I find both comments insightful and probably accurate. Yet if that's all that is true, there's no purpose in forecasting. Changes will get talked about, but not implemented, just like the failed attempts of colleges to upgrade undergraduate programs. Forecasts will be the stuff of dreamers, authors and bloggers while the workers grind out more modules. Instructional designers will change when they receive management directives to change. The profession is inherently in service of business agendas and not free to innovate, upgrade or reconceive its purpose.

Both go further and become more optimistic:

Clive writes: "I know this doesn't apply to you, dear fellow blogger, but it's those other people out there, you know who". Patrick writes: "Although most e-learning can hardly be described as innovative, a small proportion of e-learning organisations thrive on innovation and invention".

So one possibility that makes forecasting feasible, is innovation emerging from bloggers, visionaries and consultants in the field. I also foresee another evolutionary force on the training profession that will bring many changes soon: the culture of the trainees. As their media diet and tools continue to get transformed, the learners will pressure the instructional designs and designers to "keep up with the times". By keeping an eye on changes in the "big picture", forecasts can be made that take no initiative from instructional designers.

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