Thank you to all of the folks who attended the Learning Environment Design presentation at ISPI in New York. You gave me quite a bit to think about and continue working on… Here’s a summary of the comments you left with me:
> Performance Space and Application Space
This is the part of the model and of my perspective that always generates the most discussion – and confusion. I know that every time I talk about it, it becomes clearer in my mind, even if it isn’t quite so clear coming out of my mouth or off my keyboard.
I was very grateful that a room of people at an ISPI conference didn’t attack me for saying that learning professionals are not responsible for performance outcomes. :-) But the lines I want to draw are fuzzy by nature and really unclear in the graphic of the model. I see the performance space a layered behind the model, but you’re telling me the graphic is not helping you to envision the relationships. Several participants commented that the majority of learning occurs in the performance space (on the job), which is absolutely true – to my mind, that phase of learning is in both the performance space and the application space (since one is on top of the other, they overlap). I’ll have to work on the picture some more – maybe a 3D version will help… mmmm….
You also let me know that you believe that learning professionals continue to have responsibility for making recommendations in the performance space and for making sure learning is aligned with the performance space – ideas that I endorse as well. You also said that the performance space clearly impacts the learning and application spaces and how they operate. Several people liked the idea of an “application space,” but let me know I haven’t yet done a good job of defining it. These comments let me know that I have work to do in clarifying those points.
> Learning Environment
Lots of people were nodding their heads when I spoke about the components of the learning environment. Some of them said they are looking for more guidelines and standards for aspects of the learning environment besides training. We’ve done a pretty good job over the years of defining quality training, e-learning, job aids, etc., but we need to start looking at what makes blogs, wikis, social networking, etc. effective – as they relate to learning.
Of course, these kinds of comments are challenged by another participant’s observation that the “mob rules” – while these new tools may be used for learning, our ability to control them is limited (and isn’t that the magic?). One participant asked who owns accountability for the online resources, collaboration tools, and social networking tools. In most organizations, that’s not the learning and development department. I think we have to own how these are used for learning to some degree, but we wouldn’t own final decisions on selection or configuration, and we certainly can’t own populating it all. So we need to continue to think through the relationships among all the stakeholders there and clarify a recommended outline of responsibilities.
> The Ne(x)t Generation
One of you pointed out that gen X is a little too far back to be the next generation… my composition of the “ne(x)t” in the subtitle is a combination of “net” generation and “next” generation. This goes to show that when you try to get cute you just confuse people. :-)
Thanks again! I came away from the confernce very energized, not only by the feedback from my presentation, but from other’s presentations and ideas as well. This month, I’ll be wrapping up several classes I’m currently teaching (in addition to my day job), but will be working on this model further in May and June. Keep those comments coming! I so appreciate your feedback and input.