Friday, August 04, 2006

Why Courses are Dead

From Jay Cross and the Internet Time Blog comes one of the best summaries of what we all know deep down inside.  Courses are Dead! 

Okay, maybe that title is for shock value, but the point is right on.  The point we all need to consider and come to grips with is that we (the instructional designers) are no longer in control.  We never really were in control of learning but the institutions and systems in place gave us the power to create and shape what was taught and how it was taught.  I won’t continue to duplicate the thoughts but instead paste some of the best stuff and encourage you to read the complete post (the gummi bear part is great!).


“Only 10 percent to 15 percent of what is taught in a course transfers to the job. Courses have a miserable track record when it comes to changing behavior. The most common way of learning one’s job comes not from taking a course but from asking someone.”


“Courses are the bedrock of compliance training (although I don’t consider much of that learning.) Certification depends on courses (although you always should have the option of testing out of prerequisites.) In some circumstances, utter novices benefit from courses because they otherwise lack a framework for learning. For most other corporate learning, courses are dead.”


“The next generation entering the workforce doesn’t learn like you and me. They work on assignments together. (What did you think all that instant messenger stuff while doing homework was for?) They have no patience for one subject at a time. They’re accustomed to learning by discovery. They have little tolerance for irrelevancies. Ask any recent graduate how they’d like a day-long corporate training class. You’ll get an ear-full of reasons why those courses are so bad.”


I think I pasted half of his post, but this is just darn good stuff.  Okay, so now what?  The blogosphere has been ranting about this stuff for a couple years now and we have many case studies proving most of it, so let’s get on with the HOW!  I’ve been working so hard at convincing people internally at Intel and externally at conferences for quite some time now, and think we have reached critical mass.  Most people have stopped laughing at me, and stopped rolling their eyes…phew that was driving me nuts.  Now people are finally getting it and even many executives believe and support a major shift in how training organizations support the business.  So, I’d like to shift much of my focus on this blog to the 2 HOWs:  1) How do we do this technically, and 2) How is the job, and skills, of the instructional designer changing (what you need to know in order to be a value add)

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