Climbing out of the trenches

A comment on "Giving control to the learners" paints of vivid picture of instructional design down in the trenches:

I am seeking deliverance from ID and ADDIE which require me to centrally decide for the learner; freedom from SCORM wrappers that ask me to freeze the ToC; escape from objects and assets that I have to tag and laboriously incorporate within defined co-ordinates; and the sheer drudgery of 'click next to continue'. Despite innovations over time, my understanding is that content development and production remains a laborious and constrained process.

In this highly constrained context, our exploration of free ranging learners is not very helpful. It's too pie-in-the-sky, lofty and abstract. As the commenter says, it only explores why, not how to. Karl Kapp articulated this concern in his Value of Instructional Designers. Dave Lee raised the same issue before I launched this blog with his: Are we forgetting the forklifts? The commenter continues:

Assuming that most of us work for clients who define a set of skills and competencies and like learning solutions to deliver those, most of us are willing to take the 'what' as given, as long as 'how' is left to our imagination. Between moronic flipping of screens and instructor-led forums, and several pretences of innovation, how much of the unlimited world of Google and Wi-ki have we really brought into the learning solutions themselves, before we decide that setting the chicken free is the way to go?

This is an awesome Big Question for the Learning Circuits Blog. It's got to be on the minds of many of our subscribers too. It's possible that the wiki that Jay has launched will enlarge with ways for all of us to bring "the unlimited world into the learning solutions". Occasional posts show up in my RSS reader that get down to this practical level. All the postings and presentations about using Web 2.0 tools are telling how to get out of the trenches. Becky already added a helpful solution in response to the commenter's request. I believe the our collective wisdom includes answers and design solutions to this.

This is an ideal opportunity to create a pattern language for getting out of the trenches, for describing how to give control to the learners and for bringing the unlimited world into the prescribed learning solutions. A design pattern is formatted as an if-then-why statement. My response to the February Big Question is formatted as an abbreviated if-then pattern language without the "why".

IF you (designer, instructor,SME, self-directed learner) are faced with this (problem, breakdown, backlash, obstacle, opposition) THEN incorporate this (solution, method, strategy) into the design so as to realize this (benefit, effect, change, improvement, repercussion) which is WHY this works when it does.

As we develop a pattern language among us, our insights will be used in more instructional designs. The learning outcomes will be improved as a result. The adoption of Web 2.0 tools move ahead faster. The designers in the trenches will find ways to be more imaginative and fulfilled in their work.

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