Misdiagnosing the need for training

Instructional designers often assume the learners lack KSA's (knowledge, skills, abilities) because they have not been formally trained. They analyze what is needed as if training is the unquestionable solution. They throw new content, exercises and processes at trouble spots like bureaucrats throw money at problems.

As I explored the underlying psychology of professionals who make misdiagnoses, several explanations satisfied my curiosity. Some instructional designers are motivated by their fragile reputation to assume training is always the right solution. Like surgeons who over-prescribe their particular procedure, designers excessively rely on the tools that win them respect, admiration and opportunities.

Other instructional designers are motivated by fear of criticism or rejection. Their fear closes their mind and tunnels their vision to miss other options. They dwell on "trying harder inside the box" when "trying smarter outside the box" would make a better diagnosis.

Some designers are replicating their successes. They've found a rare approach that gets results amidst a sea of "zero skill transfer" embarassments. Rather than explore other options, they stick with the proven approach. They subscribe to the idea: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Other designers have too much baggage to think about the learners. Developing new learning programs is a way to show off, mood alter and escape their unresolved issues. It's inconceivable that the trainees could learn this on their own, get mentored or work it out in a group.

In this context of psychological motivations to repeatedly misdiagnose the need for training, offering tools to make accurate diagnoses is itself a misdiagnosis. The solutions that prove to be effective will support instructional designers finding other ways to win respect, reducing fears, achieving other successes and resolving their hot button issues.

See also "Four kinds of stupidty"

No comments:

Post a Comment