You’re a What?
David Byrne is a bit of a hero of mine. He was the lead singer of the art-school punk band Talking Heads, which he founded in 1976. As well as being a songwriter and musician, he is now also a writer, film director, choreographer, product designer, visual artist and more.
Ideas seemingly explode from his mind and manifest themselves in different physical or digital forms. The form they take is very much secondary to the process of creation. He doesn’t think, “I’m a songwriter, therefore all my ideas must be expressed as a song.” Instead he gives his imagination free rein and, having created something, choses the best form for it to take.
As learning designers we can learn a lot from this approach. Now, I’ve always disliked the job title ‘instructional designer’ – it is elitist, in that you need to be in our industry to know what it means; it’s too narrow in it’s definition – the design of instruction usually in the form of elearning courseware, and it makes a highly creative, enjoyable job sound downright dull and boring.
We should instead see ourselves as learning experience designers. Such a job title encompasses video, computer games, mobile apps, alternative reality games, workshops, coaching and yes, elearning courseware – really any form that a learning experience could take. We should be able to design for any of these formats.