Learning Resolutions: Thinking Big in 2013

Sometimes we forget: eLearning is a broad concept, not just courses delivered on a computer. As I frame my resolutions for 2013, I’m reminding myself to keep thinking broadly about what defines our profession.

The first thing I’d improve is to really focus on behavior change. Most of time elearning is requested because the client wants people to do something different. In particular, I am fascinated by the work of BJ Fogg, such as his Behavior Grid and Behavioral Design projects. As he articulates, there’s more at stake than just “do or do not”. We as designers need to think (for example): is this a change in intensity? Is this a gradual increase of changes? Is it something brand new? Is this about stopping doing something? It’s an analytical element of performance support. Think Cathy Moore’s great Action Mapping method on steroids. No matter whether or not you are an ADDIE advocate or hater, we need to think about the purpose of whatever solution is at hand. Maybe for some projects, it even needs mapping like this: Mapping Project Against Commitment.

My second resolution naturally progresses from the first. It’s to think performance support first. Often-times we consider performance support as a supplement or follow-up to training. While this can be a good model, the solution is often just-in-case training. I’d like to do the opposite and help my clients think about performance support as the primary solution and have training be supplemental. I’ve been a strong proponent of performance support for a long time, but I think that 2013 could be the year that it takes center stage. I was inspired by a range of thinkers: Dave Ferguson, Craig Taylor (as described here) and the great Allison Rossett. Too many times clients ask for a simple course, because it’s both tangible and familiar. I will continue to divide projects into a minimum of 2 phases: analysis separated out to ensure that the request is truly isolated and analyzed before building anything.

I hope that 2013 brings lots of opportunities to apply both.