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Grand designs: How to be inventive with your learning design

May 12, 2016
  • The internetgrand designs
  • Television
  • The telephone
  • The bagless vacuum cleaner
  • The chocolate bar
  • The light bulb

The British are a nation of inventors – we like to tinker and try new things. For such a small island we have contributed more than our fair share of world-changing inventions. I’ve heard our infamous British weather be credited with encouraging our creativity – it’s rarely warm enough to spend time lounging on the beach, so instead we Brits have to find something else to do. We tinker.

In order to invent great things we need a number of traits:

  • Insight – we need to be able to see past the million compromises we blindly accept every day, to see a problem awaiting a solution.
  • Inspiration – we need a spark of an idea; a potential way to solve the problem that is new or different.
  • Determination – we need the quiet patience to keep going at the problem; failing hundreds, even thousands of times before getting our solution to work.

As learning designers it is easy to pigeon-hole our skills. For many, electronic learning = the SCORM elearning course – this is their only answer to any learning or performance problem. The issue is, this is a solution to a very specific learning or performance problem and increasingly looks rather past its sell-by date. Compounding this our audience have increasingly high expectations of how we, as learning professionals, support them. Apps, games, social platforms, just-in-time support – people use these every day in their personal lives and increasingly expect them at work.

For many years we have been helping organisations and learning designers broaden their design thinking and skills and it has been my great privilege to tutor hundreds of learning designers. Much of what they already know is transferable to other forms of media and delivery, however often they don’t see this.

It is my belief that great design underpins any form of creation. For example; writing this article is a form of design – the problem I am trying to solve is how to transfer ideas from my head into yours. My delivery method isn’t new (a blog article) but hopefully some of my message will be.

My challenge to you as a learning professional, is to broaden your understanding of design and look at the transferable traits and skills you have. To have the courage and determination to think beyond the paradigm of the SCORM elearning course to find a real solution to a real problem.




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