One last post on the Learning Environment Design Model before I head up to New York for my ISPI presentation… this one is about how the design process changes when you take a learning environment perspective. The summary version can be found on the second page of the LED Graphic.
In the ASSESS phase, the scope of your assessment dramatically changes. In typical instructional design, assessment is meant to determine goals on a relatively small part of the audience’s learning needs. In performance assessments, the scope widens out to include the entire performance environment. In Learning Environment Design (LED), we land somewhere in the middle – taking a very close look at all aspects of the learning environment (resources and tools, relationships and networks, training and education, and company and supervisor support) with regard to how they support – or could support learning. Our recommendations at the end of the needs assessment phase would include a wide range of improvements across that entire spectrum. That’s a big task, to be sure, but that’s why the ADDIE model applied to learning environment is an iterative spirograph – we can tackle the project in chunks. It is a good idea, though, to at least take a quick high level overview so we can prioritize the improvements to those parts of the system that would have the most impact.
What we design, then, in the DESIGN phase might be a wide variety of resources or programs, including, perhaps, databases, peer development programs, training, supervisor coaching programs, and much more. When we DEVELOP, we don’t have to go it alone – we can tap into the supervisor team, the experts and the learners themselves and use collaborative tools to allow interested parties to build the resources and networks they need. We can also tap into the resources available on the web – not to gather the data we need to create a beautifully packaged program – but to find the best resources that we can link learners to. That way, as those resources grow and change, what our learners have access to grows as well (without creating one of those pesky maintenance projects).
IMPLEMENTATION will likely need to be staggered. When our recommendations include a number of additions or refinements to the learning environment, we likely won’t be able to produce those all at once. The list will need to be prioritized and tackled at a pace that everyone can bear.
We might want to conceptualize EVALUATION on a grand scale as well. While it’s helpful to gather some evaluation data at the component level, it’s more important to evaluate the learning environment as a whole. We can regularly ask for feedback on the primary components of the learning environment as well as seek input on additional needs and suggestions for improvements. I just made an interesting recommendation in this regard at work – I’ll let you know how it goes.
That’s a quick overview of what I think we will do differently as we adopt a Learning Environment Design model. One question I haven’t addressed yet is what kinds of projects call for LED vs more customary instructional design. I believe that even projects meant to tackle a portion of the learner’s total knowledge base or skill set could benefit from setting up a learning environment to support ongoing learning rather than a one-time event or intervention that satisfies the immediate need. So… let’s start thinking about Learning Environment Design for all of our projects.
Let me know what you think – make suggestions, disagree, suggest adding new dimensions that I haven’t though about. As always, I welcome your feedback!