Friday, March 6, 2015

E-Learning: A Blueprint- Instructional Designers, Trainers and Business Innovation--Part I

The modern 21st century business has a crucial stake in the transformations that will take place with respect to the roles of the learner and educator because very similar role transformations need to happen with respect to the trainer, the employee and the instructional designer.


Business needs future employees who have skill sets that are geared to bringing about change in the business culture with an eye to developing a systemic culture of innovation within the business. Sir Kenneth Robinson in a seminar given to Marketing Profs titled:" Leading a Culture of Innovation", states:

"...Innovation has to become a habit... Innovation needs to be systematic, deliberate; it is what defines you as an organization."

Business needs people who have skill sets that will allow them to help the business transform with as little disruption as possible. It is also important to keep in mind that the future clients will be those who have grown up in the digital age and now function using all the digital resources that are available to them. They will expect that the businesses they deal with will be 21st century businesses who will know what they are talking about when they express their needs. For businesses who are content not to institute transformations, they will relegate themselves to obsolescence.


So, what transformations will be needed in designing effective learning experiences within the business culture? How should the roles of the trainer, instructional designer and employee be transformed?

The following are suggested transformations that focus on a the roles of people within the organization with the mandate to develop a learning community within the business:

  1. Learning Principles Expert(LPE): A new individual needs to join the training team. This individual is important to help the training team provide engaging learning experiences for employees. As much as we accept that SME's have been an important element in training, we need to realize that if the business is to employ a blended learning approach we need someone who understands how people learn in an online environment. It needs to be someone with practical teaching experience in an online environment coupled with formal training in curriculum design. This person would also be responsible for networking with people leading new technologies that could be used by Instructional Designers in creating learning experiences that are irresistibly engaging and lead to sustained deeper learning.
  2. Instructional Designer:  The role of the ID would transform to include the following:
  • create real world simulations in collaboration with the LPE that are irresistibly engaging to the learner in that the learner gains new skills sets and understandings through collaboration with other employees both within the company or through a matching up of employees from within the branches or divisions making up the company. So that means that during a simulation there may be a matchup between employees of the company in the Seattle, Washington branch with employees in the Toronto, Canada branch.
  • lead a Council of Innovation and Learning within the company made up of Instructional Designers, Trainers and Learning Principles Experts. The council's mission would be to present a forum where employees who have developed new innovations, processes or ideas may come and present their ideas. The company executive officers should be part of this council as well.
     3. Trainers/Mentors: Trainers would coordinate the learning events but would also have the    responsibility of developing learning profiles of employees based upon big data that is collected and act as mentors to employees in helping them nurture and develop their skill sets. They would also provide individual feedback to employees on an ongoing basis in regards to their development. During the learning events, trainers would have the opportunity and ability to introduce challenging variables into the simulation while it is running to measure responses from the participants to unexpected changes.

If innovation is to become automatic, as suggested by Sir Kenneth Robinson, then effective collaboration can not be an afterthought but must be built into the learning experience on multiple levels across an organization.

Next: An example of systemic innovation planning--The Case of Innovation Planning in the 3M Company

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