I feel like I’ve been hitting my head against a brick wall for 9 years…oh wait…I have been. I write alot about it, I speak alot about it, but really I’ve made very little difference in the eLearning world and thats ok. My message: Stop building training, instruction, learning, whatever in a vacuum. Deploy technologies that integrate the abstraction of content for training/education purposes from a larger set of content so that the little department in these large organizations are no longer some useless orphan of the organization, but rather ‘plugged into’ the main tap of enabling people to perform their jobs…OPERATIONS! Thats right…training departments are useless. The organization could get by without them. Thats because we purposely abstract what we need out of the organization and wrap it in our own little pieces of crap technology, create fictional theory about why our animations produce greater retention and build an ROI model that is distinctively different than our organization’s fiscal reporting mechanisms. Anyways…I digress. My point – most people have it wrong.
I have hope. I’ve decided to stop trying to force a tidal wave in the opposite direction by blowing on it. I’m going to sequester experiential learning, I’m going to build on some ideas that bode well for my sequestering and try to divert part of the tidal wave in a new direction.
Experiential learning = learning through experience. At the end of the day, all I really should care about is whether I can get my people, my employees to perform what I need them to perform to the levels I need them to perform so that my organization achieves its own performance objectives. I shouldn’t care whether my employees have ‘learned’ what they need to do, only that their doing it.
Doing it = experiencing it. I need my employees to experience the doing. Eventually they have to succeed, but they won’t know whether they can do anything successfully until they try it, and then succeed at it. Failing it, is all part of the experience.
So the question really is, is how do I increase the risk of success in the experience for my employees. How do I get them to ‘feel’ success so that its internalized. I bet the day you figured out the quadratic equation is the day you forgot why you couldn’t do it before. My answer – infuse the experience with the tools and resources that will help an employee through the experience. Infuse the experience using all the existing knowledge and content within the organization that is applicable to the experience and run it through a faucet. Let the learner turn the tap more on or off.
I’m not a alternative reality guy, not into second life, but Koreen Olbrish has some good ideas about augmented reality and alternative reality technologies. I don’t subscribe fully, but do believe in the value that can be brought into a situation if we choose the technology carefully. Aaron Silvers has a great ‘manifesto’ on Experiential Learning that was very influential. Where I think I may be the oddball here though, is for me there is an imperative to plug into the main repository of stuff that already exists in an organization and avoid at all costs the need to have a separate pool of content unique to training.
So when I hear debates of Flash vs. HTML5 or what have you, I just think this is stupid. Because at the end of the day, what we’re doing is finding a technology that can serve to validate why ‘training’ is unique. We validate our need to ‘design interactivity to increase engagement and student retention’ but in truth there aint a stat out there that is going to empirically show this to be true. In fact, Google has shown this to be pure hogwash! In any case, we don’t need to worry about development platforms. We can let our devices figure out how to send content. Flash, HTML5, they are delivery platforms not development platforms – stop fussing over which is better to design your ‘interaction’. Figure out how you can support the experience and then figure out how that looks in all the ways the experience can be supported.
In the end, its me blowin in the wind once again…How many roads must a man walk down….