Continuous Learning Discovery

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This white paper is featured in the July 27th issue of the on-line Learning Solutions e-Magazine by eLearning Guild and focuses on the expanded scope of discovery critical to solutions designed for a continuous learning environment.

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Continuous Learning Discovery

  1. 1. July 27, 2009 The eLearning Guild’s SM Practical Applications of Technology for Learning THIS WEEK: Design Strategies The Continuous Learning Environment: One of the most significant changes in the last two decades has been the Surviving Learning Solution Discovery transition from event-driven instruc- tion to continuous learning. Unfor- By Gary Wise tunately, the design process has not I n my days as a learning strategy consultant, I always kept up. While the classic ADDIE still began my discovery discussions with the question, describes what has to be done, it “Do you have a training strategy?” Rarely did I receive requires refinement and iteration in a negative answer or a quizzical look; nor did I expect any. order to be effective, and the Discov- So, why ask a question when you already know the an- ery phase (needs assessment and swer? Simple – it set up the next question that served as analysis) is key to the change. Read this week’s article for a guide to the real stimulus for conversation and meaningful discovery. ADDIE’s makeover! “Do you have a learning strategy?” Cue the quizzical looks of silent wonder- ing if I had not just asked that question. Without waiting for an answer, I fol- A publication of lowed that question with an immediate third question. “More importantly, do you have a continuous learning strategy?” At this point, I often saw the client’s eyes glaze over and a few even began to blow spit bubbles – a perfect response – and a perfect set-up to incite revolutionary Page 10 thinking. Thinking had to be revolutionary to consider “continuous learning” as an acceptable shift worthy of breaking the traditional mindset of training. Extra Insights Training still plays a role, and always will, but as a subset of continuous learn- Anne Derryberry: Dispatch from ing, where the focus is on something very different – creation of sustained human capability. the Digital Frontlines Very often, my clients had a technology solution in mind and needed a con- sultant to validate their thinking … or worse … to have someone to blame when it failed to deliver the desired results. This phenomenon is similar to our Page 11 internal clients who have a training solution in mind before they contact the Development Techniques training department to validate their requested solution. We have perpetuated that thinking by responding as training order-takers. The age-old hammer and How to be successful with wikis. nail thinking, where organizations throw training at every performance gap, is a
  2. 2. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 2 Design Strategies problem that we created – and it gets worse. If your will begin to question their positioning as a ‘university,’ Thinking had to be organization has a learning management system (LMS), and some enlightened Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) will reject the academic model and begin to reposition revolutionary to con- the bias affecting the ultimate solution may be even more locked-in than ever. The techno-zealots decree, themselves as performance support and change man- sider “continuous “All training must reside on the LMS!” I think not, though agement specialists.” The references to performance learning” as an ac- I am a big fan of appropriately utilizing technology. It support and change management in the same sen- tence denote two major changes: ceptable shift worthy may sound like a contradiction for me to say this, but here goes – “Step away from the technology!” • equipping learners to learn within their workflow of breaking the tradi- That may sound extreme, but learners increasingly (performance support); and tional mindset of find the need to learn in the same environment where • implementing holistic changes in learning method- ologies necessary to drive sustainable capability training. Training still they work – their work context. In fact, the bulk of our learning environment continues to shift away from the (change management). plays a role, and classroom, away from formal training, and closer to The flow of work, and the relentless demand for always will, but as a the actual work performed. In a 2004 interview, Jon- producing results, represents key drivers of the contin- uous learning environment. And, of course, most of subset of continuous athon Levy, an e-Learning visionary, predicted: “Over the next 12-18 months, the end game will finally begin the learning is occurring outside of the classroom. learning, where the to come into view as traditional learning structures My purpose in this article is to introduce the neces- focus is on something give way to more powerful performance support inte- sity of expanded discovery as essential to defining crit- ical, design-influencing attributes of a continuous very different – cre- gration.” Integration into what? Into the work context! Mr. Levy’s prediction implied we would not always learning environment. Forget defining knowledge and ation of sustained be in the classroom when we learn. Instead, learning skill requirements, at least for now. The starting point, human capability. moments will increasingly confront our learners within and the primary focus of this expanded discovery, is workflows and processes. The need to learn becomes the environment where learners confront opportunities immediate, more urgent, and often encountered in a to learn. Learning opportunities span the whole spec- largely unstructured and uncontrolled context. This is trum from premeditated moments (for example, new a direct opposite to the stable realm of the formal employee orientation, or annual recertification training), classroom. to unplanned, unstructured, and uncontrolled moments, Again, in 2007, Mr. Levy confirmed this trend in a often manifested in the middle of a workflow. larger scope when he said, “Corporate universities Regardless of the end of the spectrum on which Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ is designed to serve as a catalyst for innovation and as a vehicle for the dissemination of new and practical strategies, techniques, and best practices for e-Learning design, devel- opment and management professionals. It is not intended to be THE definitive authority ... rather, it is intended to be a medium through which Publisher David Holcombe e-Learning professionals can share their knowledge, expertise, and expe- Editorial Director Heidi Fisk rience. As in any profession, there are many different ways to accomplish Editor Bill Brandon Copy Editor Charles Holcombe a specific objective. Learning Solutions will share many different per- Design Director Nancy Marland Wolinski spectives and does not position any one as “the right way,” but rather The eLearning Guild™ Advisory Board we position each article as “one of the right ways” for accomplishing an Ruth Clark, Lance Dublin, Conrad Gottfredson, objective. We assume that readers will evaluate the merits of each article Bill Horton, Bob Mosher, Marc Rosenberg, Allison Rossett and use the ideas they contain in a manner appropriate for their specific Copyright 2002 to 2009. situation. Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ (formerly The The articles in Learning Solutions are all written by people who are eLearning Developers’ Journal™). Compilation copy- right by The eLearning Guild. All rights reserved. Please actively engaged in this profession — not by journalists or freelance writ- contact The eLearning Guild for reprint permission. ers. Submissions are always welcome, as are suggestions for future top- Learning Solutions e-Magazine™ is published weekly for members of The eLearning Guild, 375 E Street, ics. To learn more about how to submit articles and/or ideas, please visit Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Phone: our Web site at www.eLearningGuild.com. +1.707.566.8990. www.eLearningGuild.com
  3. 3. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 3 Design Strategies they arise, there are environmental attributes that can ogy is getting a bad rap. Far from it! My team uses it All the attributes that invalidate the best design efforts if not considered daily to design solutions to improve performance. The fall under space, early in the design process. There are three cate- difference now is the starting point of our discovery gories of attributes within the learning environment: efforts: media, and systems • Space – a blend of physical location, workflow, • Identify the performance outcomes to be pro- combine to drive or risk, and urgency duced, and restrain design deci- • Media – the most compelling mix of mode and • The work context where the learner produces venue them. sions. It is essential to • Systems – the most effective and efficient appli- It is within the work context where the moments of define these attributes cation of technology learning need take shape. Keep in mind, individualized to ensure the learning All the attributes that fall under space, media, and learning moments reflect upon the level of knowledge, systems combine to drive or restrain design deci- skill, and capability of the learner. Permit me to add solution delivers on sions. It is essential to define these attributes to en- some contextual definition around some of the jargon one global objective, sure the learning solution delivers on one global ob- I have thrown your way, and then we can dig into the which is to enable a jective, which is to enable a sustained capability. discovery components. Let us begin with the moments Traditional design practices do not typically consid- of learning need. sustained capability. er these elements during discovery (also known as the training needs assessment). In many cases, the The five moments of learning need ability to accomplish this degree of discovery repre- Learning moments are those snippets in time where sents a competency gap within the training organiza- capability and competency must simultaneously co- tion. Recall Jonathon Levy’s 2007 prediction that des- exist to produce sustainable outcomes. Unfortunately, cribes the shift to performance support. That shift cen- my learning moments will be different from yours, as ters around the learners in their work context, with the will yours be different from the next learner’s moment. focus zeroed in on sustainable performance and out- Safe to say then, these individualized learning moments comes. make a one-size-fits-all learning solution impossible, if To produce an outcome, the learner must “do” some- not obsolete. Not only are learning solutions impacted thing, not just “know” something. Once more, we ex- by the environment, they are impacted by the capabili- ceed the tenets of knowledge and skills found at the ty of the learner. The concept of individualized needs root of traditional training design. It may sound as alone takes us well beyond the limits of traditional, lin- though Instructional Systems Design (ISD) methodol- ear training design models. Early Bird Registration Register before Sept. 25 and save $100! Go to: www.DevLearn2009.com
  4. 4. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 4 Design Strategies Individualized learning moments are as continuous enough to anticipate that variability. Based on when The concept of media as the work performed. As such, we face a non-stan- and where learning moments arise, the mix of attrib- dard set of variables that drive training design deci- utes related to space, media, and systems may also addresses format sions. Where the learner stands on their path from differ. This simple fact, that when and where matter, (modes and venues) novice to mastery-level competency influences the fre- implies the existence of timelines. This makes sense that contributes to a quency and depth of learning support required to com- when we join time to the learners’ path to competen- plete a task. Likewise, their degree of competency cy, that is, their learning continuum. Hence, accurate compelling transfer of affects which learning moment will arise, and when. discovery must include the space, media, and sys- content (information or Conrad Gottfredson has identified five moments of tems attributes of a learning environment, as well as knowledge). There are learning need: the learner’s location along the learning continuum. 1. Learning something new or for the first time dependencies within 2. Learning more of something An iterative model for the learning the space attributes to 3. Trying to remember something continuum: PD&R Learning moments are as unique as the learners consider that can influ- 4. Adjusting performance/behavior because some- thing has changed who must overcome them as they progress along the ence the viability of 5. Figuring out what to do when something goes learning curve from novice to mastery levels of com- whatever media op- wrong or fails petency. Since work is continuous, why would learn- ing to perform that work not be continuous as well? In tions represent the Any learning solution we create must consider the work environment within which the learners confront a continuous learning environment, each learner will optimal blend. their moment(s) of learning need. Additionally, since follow an individualized learning continuum that over- continuous learning is an on-going process, the learn- laps with the actual work and tasks accomplished. er could transition through several, if not all, of the five This learning continuum is discrete for each individual moments of need on their path to competency. Odds user, since no two learners take the same path at the are increasingly good that several of those moments same pace to reach mastery. In fact, the learning path are going to occur in the middle of a workflow, not in a learner follows – a path that spans both formal a classroom. learning (training) and informal learning (job aids, col- Different learning solutions will likely be required to laboration, coaching, and so on) must fit individual satisfy the variability of learning moments. It follows timing and individual needs. That is a tall order for our then that our design methodology must be holistic traditional design models. August 13 & 14, 2009 Designing and Managing Learning in 3-D Virtual Worlds and Immersive Environments • DISCOVER the wide variety of topics that are being successfully taught using virtual worlds, • EXPLORE the different tools and technologies for developing avatars and virtual worlds in e-Learning, Register Today! +1.707.566.8990 • EXAMINE how a wide variety of organizations – including corpo- www.eLearningGuild.com rate, academic, and government – are using virtual worlds as an integral part of their e-Learning, Hosted by: Technology Sponsor: • EXPLORE how to design 3-D learning environments, and • ENSURE that your virtual e-Learning meets both your learners’ and your organization’s real goals.
  5. 5. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 5 Design Strategies A key characteristic of a learning continuum is rein- lenges as authors of learning solutions: Traditional design forcing an important thread of continuity between the • The variability, and unpredictability, of the five methodologies do not learning methodology and the work and tasks per- learning moments of need, formed. The learning continuum serves as a founda- • When and where those moments occur along consider attributes of tional design tenet that can be best described using a the learning continuum, a continuous learning three-phase model – Prepare, Deploy, and Reinforce • To whom they occur, and environment, or the (PD&R). • The individual’s level of competency at the time. • Preparation Phase – Establishes a state of These variables complicate our ability to design ef- concept of learners readiness in learners prior to participation in for- fective, traditional training that can sustain capability. confronting learning mal learning interventions. Emphasis in the prepa- However, there is still more to consider. moments along a ration phase addresses, defines, and delivers the- With learning moments surfacing closer to, if not ory to the learner for maximum impact in the next within, the context of our work, it is essential that we continuum. As such, phase in the learning continuum. Preparation now include the attributes of the learning environment traditional methodolo- could be as minimal as sharing an agenda in ad- (space, media, and systems) in our discovery efforts. gy does not aggres- vance of the formal learning event, or more com- Including these attributes defines a composite envi- plex where completion of a related work activity ronment that encourages expanded design of a holis- sively embrace re-use or an online course are pre-requisites. tic learning solution. The attributes have degrees of mentality; hence “ob- • Deployment Phase – Represents the applica- dependency: attributes of space impact media deci- jects” tend to be en- tion (delivery, or consumption) of the actual learn- sions, and the composite of space and media attrib- ing intervention. The event could include a formal utes influence the mix of systems. tire modules, and in learning program that utilizes instructor-led class- Where is the learner in the learning continuum? some cases, entire room training, self-paced, online learning, live dis- Could the activities for each of the three phases of courses. tance (synchronous) learning, a Webinar to a re- PD&R take place in different locations, using different mote audience, a collaborative event, or a blend content, and delivered by different methods? Abso- of all of the above. Surprisingly, an effective pre- lutely! Therefore, when we design holistic solutions, paration phase can dramatically enhance the de- the different phases of PD&R require us to consider ployment phase. Adequate preparation can re- the combined attributes of space, media, and system duce formal training time. Handling the theory dur- iteratively. Permit me to put some definition around ing preparation enables redeployment of time and these three attributes. activity in classroom training events. The learners Attributes of space spend more time on application where they en- gage in interactivity, collaboration exercises, role- The attributes of space are inclusive of physical, plays, use of job aids in scenario-based simula- geographical, and operational aspects of the learner’s tions, etc. Emphasis shifts heavily toward demon- environment. They are not limited only to the learner. strating ability to “do” rather than validating their When we consider space, we must include those ability to “remember.” who provide support along the continuum as well as • Reinforcement Phase – Represents the most the individual learner. To that end, attributes of space critical of the three phases of the learning continu- and the variability of learning moment(s) should in- um, and the most extended phase in terms of clude: time. Reinforcement promotes implementation. Learning stakeholders Reinforcement extends the knowledge retention • Who are the stakeholders involved in satisfying necessary for effective execution that drives sus- the learner’s moment of need in the phases of P, tainability. The reinforcement phase often includes D and R? (That is, the learner, the trainer, the the use of performer support (job aids, quick ref- manager, the SME, and so on.) erence materials, coaching guides, Help Desk • What are the job roles or performance require- support tools, and the like) and other methods of ments of the learning stakeholders specific to follow-up. The reinforcement phase also serves as their work or learning context? (That is, the learn- fertile ground for instructional designers to harvest er’s role or function in their workflow, the trainer feedback that indicates the need for follow-up facilitating a virtual classroom session, the subject programs or improved content/object design. matter expert answering a question, the course Attributes affecting design in a contin- designer, the manager, the mentor, the Help Desk, uous learning environment and so on.) So far, we have added several new considerations Physical location into our discovery efforts that compound our chal- • Where are the learning stakeholders physically
  6. 6. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 6 Design Strategies located during the learner’s moment(s) of learning ly no real-world urgency or risk factors present. At the “Create once – use need? (For example, at their desk, in a classroom, same time, the classroom offers the learner full audio at home, mobile, at the bedside, in a hotel, at a and visual support, instructors to facilitate the sce- many times” becomes conference, etc.) nario face-to-face, and fully-wired access to the cor- our goal, and for two porate network. reasons: to minimize Workflow Can you see why integrating attributes of space • Where is the learner within the context of the and media into the design process is a meaningful redundant develop- workflow or work process when confronted with consideration? Space attributes in the deployment ment efforts, and to the moment(s) of need? (For example, using an phase of the learning continuum were radically differ- embed a thread of online system while providing care at bedside, ent from those in the reinforcement phase and the seeking (re-)certification through an online training choices for media varied as a result. Can you also see continuity into the program, participating in a live classroom event, why the iterative nature of this approach matters? learning continuum. participating remotely in a Webinar or distance Without iteration, the media selection for the deploy- How many times have learning venue, etc.) ment phase would not have supported the work con- Level of urgency and risk text encountered in reinforcement phase of the learn- we storyboarded our- • What is the level of urgency associated with flaw- ing continuum. selves into a coma, less execution at the learning moment of need? only to then turn (For example, planning a certification class event Attributes of blended systems 90 days in the future, or accessing a job-aid “just- Understanding the dependencies represented by around and re-build in-time” for completing a critical workflow task.) the media mix delivered within the context of the job aids as a separate • What is the level of risk if performance is not learner’s work environment (space) gives us the influ- effort? Following the effective? (Such as death or injury of a patient, encers that drive the third set of attributes – the sys- excessive material waste, loss of business conti- tems technology. In reality, a different technology mix tenets of PD&R, the nuity, incurring unnecessary costs, and so forth.) may be required to accommodate each phase of the job aids have poten- learning continuum. The learner may physically be in Attributes of media tial to serve as objects three different “spaces” and need to consume three The concept of media addresses format (modes different “media” blends. Therefore, technology is not re-used throughout and venues) that contributes to a compelling transfer a one-size-fits-all proposition if the objective is effec- the entire continuum. of content (information or knowledge). There are depen- tive delivery of continuous learning into the hands of dencies within the space attributes to consider that the learner. can influence the viability of whatever media options LMS systems handle formal learning activities. Elec- represent the optimal blend. Consider this common tronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) handle example: informal “just-in-time” learning demands. Learning • There is a high level of urgency to perform by the Content Management Systems (LCMS) do both, but learner, and not well enough to serve either camp as a stand-alone • The learner is untethered from the corporate net- system. Those three technologies are mainstream sys- work (in other words, using a smart phone). tems, but my intent is not to drill down into the virtues The two attributes of space shown above preclude of any of them; rather, the concept of “systems” addres- consumption of learning designed for a classroom sed here is broader than technology platforms. Build- setting. Therefore, urgency and mobility influence the ing a holistic learning technology solution requires media blend to serve this learner’s moment. Do not consideration of additional peripheral systems criteria. forget – the blend may change – depending upon Following are a few examples of peripheral systems what stage of the learning continuum (P, D, or R) the that can influence design decisions: learner is in at the time. Sitting in a classroom versus End-user devices standing at the bedside illustrate two completely dif- • What technology is in the hands of, or is accessi- ferent venues, and two completely different design ble to, the learner when confronted with their considerations influenced solely by attributes of the learning moment(s) of need? (Such as individually learner’s work environment. assigned computer, shared workstation, DVD The scenario above is a simple example of a learn- player, smart phone, etc.) ing moment experienced in the context of actual work. • What technology is available to the other learning Most often such moments would occur in the rein- stakeholders? (That is, to the trainer, the manager, forcement phase of the continuum. It is entirely possi- the Help Desk, etc.) ble to emulate this work task in a classroom-based • Is more than one device required at different simulation, that is, in the deployment phase. In the points on the PD&R continuum? (Such as a DVD classroom environment, of course, there are absolute- player for preparing pre-work, a computer used to
  7. 7. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 7 Design Strategies deploy simulations in the classroom, or smart Tracking utilization and participation The question you phone access to job-aid reinforcement back on • Will consumption of the learning asset or partici- pation in the event require a record of participa- must answer now is the unit.) tion and completion? If so, describe acceptable simply, “Is your train- Internet access • Is access to the internet required to serve the recording format. (Training history in the LMS, ing department ready printed certificate of completion, registration re- learning moment(s), and if so, what bandwidth cord is sufficient, etc.) to support a continu- requirements must be available to accommodate ous learning environ- • Will tracking utilization of informal content be re- anticipated content transfer rates? (Are all users on-Net, or are there non-employees participating quired? (How many times did a learner access a ment, or are you at specific job aid?) using non-company computers; are there 10 par- a state of readiness ticipants or 200; did you say broadcast quality Evaluation, Testing, and Feedback to support a continu- video to all?) • Will consumption of a learning asset or participa- • How do Internet access requirements differ ac- tion in an event require evaluation or testing? If ous learning environ- ross the phases of PD&R? (Such as on-Net wire- so, describe format. (Hard-copy instrument or on- ment?” The change less used for preparing pre-work, Ethernet-con- line access.) management plan you nected computer used to deploy simulations in • How will you capture feedback on object usability the classroom, or off-Net Wi-Fi support re-quired and relevance? (Ranking scale embedded within devise to reach criti- for smart phone access to job-aid reinforcement the objects, embedded e-mail response link, and cal mass and sustain back in the field.) so on.) your own team’s capa- Collaboration/connectivity Help/Escalation bility must build upon • Will the learning event take place on-Net, off-Net, • How do learners access help? (Help Desk, con- or will it be a blend? tent owner, subject matter expert, or other source.) the gaps between • Will there be a broadcast (one-to-many)? ready and readiness. • Will there be a need for interactivity? (Such as Iterative design process polling, Q&A, participant surveys, application shar- Traditional design methodologies do not consider ing, interactive discussion, moderated chat, and attributes of a continuous learning environment, or the so on.) concept of learners confronting learning moments along a continuum. As such, traditional methodology Access to content does not aggressively embrace re-use mentality; • Will the system “push” content to the learner, or hence “objects” tend to be entire modules, and in will the learner download or “pull” content on de- some cases, entire courses. mand? The P, D, and R phases of the learning continuum • Must the learner remain connected to the network create excellent opportunities to design smaller to use the learning asset? “chunks,” increasing the potential for re-use. To ac- • How will the learner retrieve the content? complish this “shrinkage,” the designers must look • Will the content be searchable? (If so, what are across the PD&R continuum at the implications of the metadata requirements?) how the attributes of space and media differ in each • Who among the learning stakeholders must have phase. In other words, design must adopt an iterative access to the content? approach. • Do access rights and restrictions vary across A learning continuum requires the use of blended roles with access to the content? media modes and venues that serve different learning Content repositories functions and have different renderings depending on • Are there re-use requirements that require record- the P, D, and R phases where used. This variability ing learning programs? can influence the choice of authoring platform. The • Where will you archive content? following example illustrates the variety of design • Are there special content capabilities supported options, and the need for an iterative approach: by the repository? (Static content versus Preparation – On-Net wireless used for pre-work streamed media.) completed by the learner from their laptop docking • Who is accountable for content management and station. currency? • Re-used legacy content authored in PowerPoint. • Do access permission levels vary across roles Deployment – Ethernet-connected computers used with access to the content? to launch simulations in multiple regional office • Is version control important? classrooms. Instructor located in room 929 of the Philadelphia Marriott. Performer support objects
  8. 8. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 8 Design Strategies (job aids) used to support online simulations. fits-all training solution will not render a sustainable The expansion of dis- • Simulations authored in Captivate. capability. • Virtual classroom technology used to support dis- Holistic discovery is the key. Expanded discovery covery and the itera- tance learning. precedes application of the ADDIE model. (No, I did tive approach do not • Performer support re-used Captivate screen shots NOT just set up a new acronym called DADDIE, but translate into slogging in hard-copy PDF format. you have to admit the thought crossed your mind.) Reinforcement – Off-Net wireless smart phone sup- The expansion of discovery and the iterative ap- through the entire port used by learners to access job-aids on de- proach do not translate into slogging through the en- ADDIE model three mand. Help Desk personnel access online knowl- tire ADDIE model three times; however, it does re- times; however, it does edge base to push performer support to learner on quire consideration of the three stages of the continu- demand via e-mail or FAX. um within the design phase. Ultimately, development require consideration • Captivate objects re-purposed for smart-phone renders multiple objects, setting the stage for wider of the three stages of delivery. re-use of smaller objects. the continuum within • Hot-key access to Help Desk. “Create once – use many times” becomes our goal, • Performer support sent to learner by Help Desk and for two reasons: to minimize redundant develop- the design phase. re-used same Captivate screen shots for e-mail ment efforts, and to embed a thread of continuity into “push,” or printed as hard-copy PDF format for the learning continuum. How many times have we FAX delivery. storyboarded ourselves into a coma, only to then turn As you can see in the example above, multiple auth- around and re-build job aids as a separate effort? oring platforms played a role. The learner’s transit Following the tenets of PD&R, the job aids have through the PD&R learning continuum engaged multi- potential to serve as objects re-used throughout the ple learning stakeholders. Content objects were re- entire continuum. Consider this re-use scenario: used, all or in part, and in some cases repurposed in Example of continuity through re-use: a second authoring platform to fit a different delivery venue. The secret to effective re-use demands ad- • Insertion of a job aid (Performer Support Object – vance knowledge of how small – how granular – the PSO) into the preparation phase e-Learning learning objects must be. How can we acquire ad- course. The intent is to introduce a reference tool vance knowledge without accomplishing discovery for use in future classroom simulations coming that considers the iterative nature of learning design later in the deployment phase. inherent across the PD&R learning continuum? • Scenario-based simulations during the classroom Developing stand-alone, linear training courses component of the deployment phase re-use the often follows a popular instructional design methodol- same job aid (PSO). ogy known as ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Im- • Once again, we embed the same job aid (PSO) plement, and Evaluate). Because ADDIE has been in the reinforce phase as just-in-time performer around since the 1960s, some call it “old school” in support for a learner confronting a moment of its approach. Some are bold enough to say ADDIE need. has out-lived its usefulness. I do not buy into that line In this example, we introduce the learners to a tool of thinking. ADDIE is not old school; however, our (PSO), and they use the tool in a controlled environ- application of the model can be limited by old-school ment and validate proficiency in the presence of a thinking. ADDIE remains intact as a logical guideline subject matter expert. Then they utilize the same tool that still works – if used iteratively. in the context of their jobs. While re-use reduced re- Since we need to develop learning to align with dundant effort, it also provided a thread of continuity multiple phases of a continuum and with the attributes to the learning experience. of the learner’s environments, we must adapt our ap- Closing plication of ADDIE. This adaptation requires that we address the design criteria three times – prepare, de- Remember Jonathon Levy’s predictions? Well, it is ploy, and reinforce. As illustrated above, each continu- 2009, and we are right in the middle of what he pre- um phase may have a different blend of attributes ac- dicted. Learning opportunities are shrinking in size ross space, media, and systems. By ignoring the envi- and going through a shift in venue to match up with ronmental implications that may be radically different our work context. More and more learning moments across the continuum, our design, development, and are confronting our learners at the point of attack, out- delivery decisions are rife with potential to generate side of the classroom. Our approach to training devel- redundant effort after deployment. That translates into opment is under pressure to shift learning assets to addressing lingering performance gaps in the post- support learners under fire. The pressure we see training world. Those results confirm that a one-size- comes in the form of diminished training budgets,
  9. 9. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 9 Design Strategies falling attendance in elective training classes, and References The question you high rates of e-Learning non-completion on the LMS. Gottfredson, Conrad. (November 1, 2007) “A Begin- must answer now is The most damning evidence of change is the per- ning Discussion: What is Performance Support?” ceived ineffectiveness of training solutions on render- simply, “Is your train- PERFORMER Support: Learning @ the Moment ing sustained human performance. Stellar Level One of Need (Weblog). Accessed June 26, 2009 at ing department ready evaluation and learners exceeding Level Two thresh- http://performancesupport.blogspot.com/2007/11/ to support a continu- olds do not serve as accurate predictors of perform- beginning-discussion.html ance outside of the classroom. Should that matter? ous learning environ- Levy, Jonathon. (February 6, 2004) In “Predictions for Definitely! Learners rarely fail in the safe environment 2004: E-learning Visionaries Look to the Future.” ment, or are you at a of the classroom, and even if they did, the organiza- (Interviews by Lisa Neal) eLearn Magazine. Acces- state of readiness to tion faces minimal risk. sed June 29, 2009 at http://elearnmag.org/sub- Sustainable performance occurs in a post-training support a continuous page.cfm?section=opinion&article=39-1 environment, in the work context. If we fail the learner Levy, Jonathon. (January 9, 2007) In “Predictions for learning environment?” here, the stakes are higher, as are the costs to the 2007” (Interviews by Lisa Neal) eLearn Magazine. The change manage- organization. The time is now for training organizations Accessed June 29, 2009 at http://elearnmag.org/ to shift resources beyond the classroom and beyond ment plan you devise subpage.cfm?article=42-1&section=articles e-Learning to the environment where the learner must to reach critical mass perform. This shift requires breaking some ingrained Author Contact and sustain your own paradigms regarding instructional design. I know I am Gary Wise is a learning and perform- walking on hallowed ground when I say this, but if we, ance improvement professional with a team’s capability as training organizations, do not contribute to a sus- rich background in learning strategy must build upon the tained capability we deserve to lose every penny of development – integrator of holistic gaps between ready budget that gets whacked. learning design methodology – and a Mr. Levy said something else that is critical. He prudent yet passionate advocate in and readiness. mentioned a shift to performance support, also to application of learning technology. Formal background improved change management, both as specialists. in performance consulting drives emphasis on build- Zeroing in on performance support as an authored ing measurable, sustainable performance outcomes asset is not his intent. Performance support implies as primary deliverables of his learning solutions. we have accomplished discovery to identify where it He survived several LMS and virtual classroom im- is needed. It also implies we have accomplished dis- plementations as a consumer, victim of circumstance, covery related to the work context where they con- and as a consultant. His current passion involves hot sume the asset. This represents a significant shift in pursuit of a continuous learning environment at Cin- thinking – a significant change. cinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as Senior A continuous learning environment is a holistic Director – Learning Architecture. blend of the formal learning (training) that we do so Gary served as learning strategy planner and tech- well today, and a robust approach to informal learning nology roadmap developer in past Director-level roles. (performer support, collaboration, knowledge bases, He has developed a Learning Readiness Assessment and the list goes on and on). Integrating this “continu- designed to identify “readiness gaps” that represent ous learning thinking” into the training department is obstacles that limit an organization’s ability to inte- not easy, hence Mr. Levy’s change management pre- grate and sustain a continuous learning environment. diction. It has been my experience that some instruc- Gary is a graduate of the Terry College of Business tional designers feel threatened by these implications. – University of Georgia. I have had platform trainers show concern that their jobs are at risk. Truly, if we cannot deliver sustained Discuss these articles in the “Talk Back to the Authors” capability, more than the training department is at risk. Forum of Community Connections (http: // www.elearning- These are not the economic times to have your corpo- guild. com/community_connections/forum/categories. cfm? catid= 17&entercat =y). You can address your comments to rate contribution measured by the weight of your cost the author(s) of each week’s article, or you can make a gen- center on the budget. eral comment to other readers. The question you must answer now is simply, “Is your training department ready to support a continuous Additional information on the topics covered in these arti- learning environment, or are you at a state of readiness cles is also listed in the Guild Resource Directory. to support a continuous learning environment?” The change management plan you devise to reach critical mass and sustain your own team’s capability must build upon the gaps between ready and readiness.
  10. 10. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 10 Extra Insights: Anne Derryberry Changes to on- Dispatch from the Digital Frontlines: line services are often of more Shifting Gears with Wolfram Alpha concern to IT and Cloud Computing departments than of the tedious research and calculation required. Is to e-Learning producers. How- ever, it’s still M y Dad was always proud of his ability to do arithmetic in his head. This is not a trait I inherited. For a long time, I believed that I should dev- elop this skill, and I devoted a fair amount of energy your sales force having trouble with calculating the ins and outs of factoring discount rates? Are your estimators challenged by computing the properties of a stockpile? Do your marketing people know how to use statistical analyses of socioeconomic data to smart to be alert to doing so. But, alas, it’s just not my gift. It’s frus- do market projections and strategic sales plans? trating, because I’d like to be able to understand and With this powerful tool, you can focus your training to what is becom- compute things, like how far I have to run to work off on when and why to use these various calculations, this cookie, or the probability that I have a winning ing available – poker hand. rather than the mechanics of the calculations them- selves. these new devel- Enter Wolfram|Alpha (www.wolframalpha.com). This newly released product is to computations what ***** opments may Google is to information search. Indeed, the genius- If that doesn’t leave your head in the clouds, get es at Wolfram Research call it a computational know- ready for cloud computing. In this case, “cloud” provide capabili- ledge engine. Their goal, as stated on their Web site, refers to the Internet; cloud computing refers to the ties that will be is to “make it possible to compute whatever can be data storage and processing that happens outside computed about anything.” To be sure, they are a your corporate firewall. Cloud computing is a very of direct benefit long way from that goal, but they sure have achieved hot topic for IT, so your company may even have a a lot so far. cloud strategy in place, or have an initiative going to to learners. For example, enter the word chartreuse. Wolfram| make the move. Alpha asks for clarification: color, or word? “Color” In the most comprehensive view of cloud comput- gives you sample swatches of chartreuse and relat- ing, a company stores its data offsite at a data ware- ed colors, along with many different written repre- house. In addition to storage, security, and high-speed sentations of the color, e.g., RGB, hexadecimal. access, the data warehouse is provisioned with en- “Word,” on the other hand, defines both the color terprise applications that your company uses or sup- and the liqueur, gives date of first known usage, syn- ports for your work. You and your colleagues access onyms, and other interesting data. the applications and data you need through your Enter your birth date to learn how many days you’ve desktop or laptop computer browsers. All new data lived, what phase of the moon you were born under, are added dynamically to the corporate databases- and what holidays fall on that day around the world. in-the-clouds, just as happens now. Try weather [your birth date] [town you were born One can quickly see the advantages to this ap- in] to learn the average wind speed that day. Put in proach. The dramatic reduction in required hardware your IP address, and you’ll be able to get a satellite and real estate is extremely attractive. The consolida- map of your location. These guys even compute the tion of many companies’ computing resources to a meaning of life! single location can also have the effect of greatly Why is this relevant to e-Learning? First, Wolfram| reducing energy consumption. Across the board, Alpha shifts online search to online research. No cloud computing seeks to provide a great leap for- longer is it a user’s job to search for all the data, and ward in bringing the costs of enterprise computing then interpret the results. W|A does (much of) this into a far more manageable realm. for you, and does the necessary calculations to boot From an e-Learning developer’s perspective, cloud – in a fraction of a second. computing should give rise to interesting discussions. Secondly, this browser-based tool is free, and If your company is moving in this direction, do your available to all. If the datasets that your users or IT people understand what the learning and develop- learners need are available through the public ment implications are for the employees? For the Internet (the database is already impressive, and development and deployment of e-Learning pro- they expand it constantly), W|A can handle much grams? See DERRYBERRY on page 12
  11. 11. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 11 SHORT ARTICLE: Development Techniques Wikis are an ideal Using an Open Source Wiki for e-Learning vehicle for collabora- Development Process Documentation tive process docu- mentation, but they By Christy Tucker require forethought H ow do you document e-Learning development processes in your or- and planning in ganization? Does everyone have easy access to the most current order to be success- version of your documentation? How are people notified of updates? ful. This short article gives you everything What happens when the documentation has a mistake? you need to know to Documenting course design and development pro- Adapt for your situation get started! cesses with a wiki can alleviate a number of issues When we started our wiki, we were a brand new common to more static forms of documentation. Our team with essentially no existing processes. What if team uses Wikispaces, an open source wiki with low- you already have a significant amount of documenta- cost upgrades that give us privacy. tion and established processes? With well-defined How do you use Wikispaces for process documen- processes, two different approaches to using a wiki tation? First, decide whether you will let your wiki are possible. The first is to start small and just add one structure grow organically or whether you will scaffold segment of the documentation. This might be a good it with a hierarchy. If you already have documentation choice if you have a new process where the documen- in other formats, you likely already have some ideas tation will change often. For example, during a transi- about organization. If you're starting from scratch or tion to a new LMS, all documentation related to the developing new processes, it may be best to avoid new system could be on the wiki, gradually phasing restricting the content organization too much, relying out your old documentation for the old system. One instead on tagging and links. Tagging pages lets you drawback of this approach is that it splits your informa- find and group similar content regardless of the tion in multiple places, which may be confusing when organization or hierarchy. you're searching for an answer. Who's in charge? Another approach is to transfer all your existing doc- umentation at once. This has the advantage of collect- While traditional documentation methods may ing everything in one place. If one of your current doc- require a single person to control the content, a wiki umentation issues is finding content in multiple loca- distributes responsibility among everyone in the team. tions, this can be a driver for using the wiki. One draw- Wikispaces gives you options for roles and permis- back is that this can be a much larger project to imple- sions. Collaborative documentation works best if ment, requiring a more significant initial time commit- everyone has permission to edit so everyone shares ment. ownership in the documentation. A wiki lowers the Our team is small, so it makes sense for everyone to barrier to adding what you know, so each person can have full permissions and to contribute anywhere we share even small tips and insights without having to can help. If your team is larger, having everyone work jump through bureaucratic hurdles. on everything may not be the most effective approach. But what happens if someone makes a mistake in Although the free wikis don't offer this feature, Wiki- the documentation? The good news is that now you spaces offers several upgraded plans that allow cus- can identify the confusion or disagreement and deal tom permissions for different roles. A Private Label wiki with it. Without the wiki, that confusion or disagree- allows your organization to have unlimited subdomains ment would still be present, it would just be hidden. with separate permissions, so you could have a wiki One way to handle errors is to use the discussion tab for your managers or Flash developers separate from available on each page. The discussion tab gives you the space for your instructional designers. Even if you a space for conversations separated somewhat from don't lock it down with permissions, assigning different the actual content. Automatic notifications of changes people to maintain specific parts of the site can help via e-mail or RSS can let everyone know when up- divide the responsibility into more manageable amounts of dates are made and help you identify and correct work. Your Captivate guru can be in charge of applica- mistakes quickly.
  12. 12. LEARNING SOLUTIONS | July 27, 2009 12 Development Techniques tion tips and tricks, while your editor maintains a writ- Documenting course Author Contact ing style guide. design and development Christy Tucker is an instructional Regardless of the size of your team, adding content processes with a wiki designer with Performance Learning isn't the only way for people to contribute. Cleaning up can alleviate a number Systems where she develops online formatting or typos is a valuable contribution, as is tag- of issues common to graduate courses for practicing edu- ging or adding links to content to make it easier to find. cators. She has worked in online more static forms of learning for five years, and has prior documentation. Our Conclusion experience in both K-12 education and corporate soft- team uses Wikispaces, If your current e-Learning process documentation is ware training. She started her first wiki for process an open source wiki with challenging to use and update, consider using a wiki documentation in 2006, and has used a number of wikis for project management and collaborative course low-cost upgrades that tool like Wikispaces. A wiki can be a dynamic, collabo- rative space that provides the most current information activities since then. She blogs about instructional give us privacy. and lets everyone contribute. design and online learning at Experiencing E-Learning, http://christytucker.wordpress.com/. You can contact Christy by e-mail at ctucker@plsweb.com. Extra Insights: Anne Derryberry DERRYBERRY continued from page 10 local applications versus cloud apps? How are your [O]ne of the hoped-for A few important factors to consider: Some LMS tools developers planning to upgrade their products outcomes is that users’ vendors have begun the shift toward this new service to conform to your upcoming requirements? machines will need less model – make sure yours is one of them. If it isn’t, While Wolfram|Alpha knows the meaning of life, it processing power and what are their plans? Does your migration schedule can’t yet say how quickly shift happens. We all know it does, though, so better start thinking about these will, therefore, morph into match with theirs? If not, what are your options? Is it time to start shopping for a new provider? things now. And when someone tells you your head is something akin to the dumb Many of the tools e-Learning developers use are in the clouds, you’ll know what a forward-thinking terminals of yore but with desktop applications, although some are server-based. compliment that is. really great screen dis- Further, as cloud computing advances, one of the plays. As that shift occurs, Author Contact hoped-for outcomes is that users’ machines will need what will your company’s less processing power and will, therefore, morph into Anne Derryberry is an analyst/journalist, learning designer, and entrepreneur. Her blog is www.imseri- policy be about storing something akin to the dumb terminals of yore but with really great screen displays. As that shift occurs, what ous.net. She can be reached at anne@imserious.net. and using local applica- will your company’s policy be about storing and using tions versus cloud apps? DO YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING STRATEGY OR TECHNIQUE TO SHARE? This publication is by the people, for the people. Get It Published in... That means it’s written by YOU the readers and members of The eLearning Guild! We encourage you to submit articles for publication in Learning Solutions e-Magazine. Even if you have not been published before, we encourage you to submit a query if you have a great idea, technique, case study, or practice to share with your peers in the e-Learning community. If your topic idea for an article is selected by the editors, you will be asked to submit a complete article on that topic. Don’t worry if you have limited experi- ence writing for publication. Our team of editors will work with you to polish your article and get it ready for publication in Learning Solutions. By sharing your expertise with the readers of Learning Solutions, you not only add to the collective knowledge of the e-Learning community, you also gain the recognition of your peers in the industry and your organization. Refer to www.eLearningGuild.com for Author Guidelines.
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