This is my response to last week’s #lrnchat. I was inspired to write it after watching an internal (EMC) discussion about training.
Anyone can perform the ID function
You heard me correctly. ANYONE.
I have to say I was so disappointed in last week’s #lrnchat when everyone kept dissing SMEs.
For my readers who are not education folks, ID means Instructional Designer. In pure Instructional Design, the ID would follow the Instructional Design process to Analyze needs, Design the learning strategy to meet those needs, Develop the proposed learning strategy, Implement this strategy, and then Evaluate the effect of the learning that was delivered.
That’s right, I said ADDIE.
An SME is a Subject Matter expert who is interviewed (usually in the “develop” stage) in order to get the technical details needed for the instruction.
If you had been a fly on the wall at #lrnchat last week, you may have been surprised to know that typical IDs really do not respect SMEs. They think that SMEs could never understand the complicated science of designing learning.
I have a problem with that attitude. First of all, I am a technical SME, and I am an ID. Second of all, do IDs really think that people who build, implement and manage things like email servers, data center management applications, san management applications, storage arrays, etc are not intelligent enough to learn the science of designing instruction?
Give me a break!!
You can teach people how to design instruction way faster than you can teach them to get around a UNIX operating system or how to get around the insides of a CLARiiON! I have news for you, at least in the technical arena, we don’t need dedicated IDs. Technology moves too fast to be burdened with that extra process. Teach the techies basic principles of instructional design, have some folks with ID background running inteference to get learning assets into the LMS, and then get the heck out of the way!
Should just anyone perform the ID function?
OK, all you geeks who think writing training is easy, now its your turn.
You don’t want to wait for the official training to come out. Heck, you have these cool open source tools that let you create slidecasts that you can post to youtube or slideshare. Maybe you are THE authority at your company on a certain technology and you honestly believe that you will be helping the company by producing your own training.
ID is not that easy. ID should be aligned to the business, so that training reflects that key messages that the marketing, product management, and support teams want to convey. ID should create a learnscape that is easy to navigate, and easy to repeat for each individual learner. That takes time. My degree – Instructional Systems – is an MS (Master of Science) degree for a reason.
There is more to corporate education than recording a knowledge dump and sticking it on YouTube. You have to take all your technical skills to know the product intimately, and then think about how people will use the technology. How “should” people use the tech? Does this change if you are talking to people in different job roles? What is supported and what is not supported? How will this training alignvto their job and more importantly to the overall business?
Do you really have time for that? Aren’t you supposed to be selling, or coding, or something else?
Do you really want to deal with people when they argue with an acronym you used? Or with your spelling and grammar?
No, you don’t. Leave that to us, the folks who think about all these things as we design a course. Let us navigate the instructional design process, but for goodness sake pick up the phone when we need a set of eyes to review what we have created!
Moral of the story
We cannot move to Learning 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it) if there is such disdain for SMEs. Maybe we don’t need the ID function. Maybe we need to teach SMEs to be the IDs. That is what we’ve done at EMC.