Monday, February 12, 2007

The February BIG QUESTION!

What Questions Should We Be Asking? we go again! Everybody says all of the really great things before I get a chance to, so all I'm left with is "yeah, go look at what these cool people said".

Check out Mr. Oehlert's unique perspective and you'll also get links to the other smart people.

Me? Well, I think the biggest question is STILL, "Why US?". Why do we ("learning professionals") continue to think we have the answers that are special to it should be done...who should create it...and how should others consume it? Maybe the question is "Do we still add value to the new learning equation?"

Technology IS driving the changes in learning these days: Search (rip), create (mix), connect (feed). These tiny little words RULE the new world. Here it is put another way..."Do people really need us (ISDers) any more?" Or, "Does your company really need you (me, us) any more?"

This main theme continues to smack me in the head over and over and over again...ouch! Stop that! EVERYTHING we need...let me say that again...E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, we need to know about creating effective media for learning is being done by OTHER professions. That's what keeps hitting me in the head...where's the added value from ISD?

Here's what specifically smacked me in the head over the weekend:
It comes from comic books and the contiguity principle.
First, the contiguity principle: placing text near graphics improves learning. Holy crap! Is THAT the best we can do? There isn't a bigger NO DUH that I can possibly think of.
If you want to understand how graphics and words relate and how to best apply them in your elearning...look no further than Understanding Comics. Scott McCloud has it nailed. Oh, and by the way he nails Storytelling as well which is, by far, the most time tested form of knowledge transfer known to man. Do we EVER talk about storytelling in ISD? No. Why? Because its about them and it's not about us. People tell stories intuitively with each other...without the meddling of an ISDer. People learn just find without us. And not only that, the web is making it possible for people to...GASP...learn from each other...WITHOUT us! Holy career crashers, Batman!

What is it that we actually bring to the party? That's the question I want answers too.

(My apologies to Ruth Clark for this. I am a big fan and highly respect her work. Its obvious that this principle had to be defined because so many people just didn't get it and needed to "see the research".)

Also, see the technical writers community for learning how to write...and see your local programmers community for how to program in your app of choice...and see the neuroscientists for brain-based learning...and the anthropologists for social behavior...and see your local high schooler for text messaging tips...and see professional photographers to understand pictures...and see your local graphics designer to understand colors impact on viewers...and see game developers to understand simulation...and on...and on...and on.
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