Learning is more than Flash interactions. Transfering and transforming information into strategic skills, knowledge and performance is more than instructional design.

Too often we use ADDIE and elearning like a defibrillator-- perhaps rescuing the organization during the current "crisis," but doing little or nothing in terms of the big picture planning for preparation, ongoing "treatment", coaching/support and transition to sustained independent performance. Crisis solved. But what about the heart patient with an exercise-free, high-cholesterol, high-stress lifestyle? Would the medical community just move on and wait for the next incident?

The temporary innoculatory effect of booster shots of elearning may work well enough for the tactical "uptick required" compliance training. I understand and appreciate that. Some of it can even be fun, interesting or thought provoking. The tools keep getting better and raising the bar for aesthetics and interactivity. Rapid elearning and the existing ADDIE models of instructional design work extremely well for compliance training and performance support. I really like engaging the subject-matter experts as active contributors to distribute and accelerate production and implementation. Getting the training out there, on-time and accurate is critical. Especially for compliance training and critical updates to already-proficient performers.

However, I'd pose this question, What organization would cite its mandatory compliance training as a key differentiator or competitive advantage? I think that instructional design at its best is a means of creating new, higher and sustained levels of performance through learning. If so, it (ISD) would seem to provide the biggest competitive advantage when the content supports innovation, like dramatically different or new processes for the learner/performer. That sounds more like change management or some sort of intervention, doesn't it?

Last summer Dr. Michael Allen posed the question What's Wrong with ADDIE? in a podcast available here. A few weeks ago I had a peek at some answers to that question during his presentation at Learning 2006. His approach leverages research on making lasting changes in behavior, including breaking addictions or sustaining a medical regimen (ie, taking your pills). It also brings in learning theory and cognitive research to view training in a larger context. I believe using this approach for the right needs will be far more effective than simply specifying higher quality audio & animations and more frequent drag&drop interactions.

If this line of thought intrigues you, please consider registering for (or subsequently viewing the recording of) this week's eSeminar,

A New View of eLearning Design: Reforming the Perpetrators of Bad Behavior with Dr. Michael Allen of Allen Interactions
Friday, December 1, 2006 1:00PM - 2:00PM US/Eastern
Register here

I look forward to seeing the next evolution of this revolution and hope to see you online during the event, adding your own questions and insights.