Mobile is everywhere. We all know this intuitively as we walk down the street or at the mall or at the airport, and observe people looking down at their mobile devices. Mobile stats are staggering. For example, there are six billion (87% of the world's population) mobile subscribers, 300,000 apps developed over the past three years, and 1.2 billion people access the web using their mobiles. In fact, IDC research shows that by the year 2015 mobile access to the web will be more popular than accessing the web with laptop computers. There are mobile conferences (including one dedicated to mobile learning), heads of mobile job titles at various companies, and a growing number of scholarly research articles on mobile learning.
One of the most important things a learning experience (LX) designer can do is apply a sound, repeatable process to one's designs. The problem I have with design processes is that they are often too vague and do not actually tell you what to do in the moment. For example, take a look at the A in ADDIE. Analyze. The books on ADDIE will generally tell you that before you begin creating a learning experience, you will want to figure out what is needed. Of course this makes sense, but what I really want to know is how to actually determine those needs.
Like many learning and development professionals, I have received numerous and continuous requests throughout my career for training on topics that, with just a little motivation and creativity, people could learn on their own. Without being too scientific about it, the most popular among these requests seem to be Microsoft Excel, conflict resolution, time management, business writing, and general tips for how to be more efficient on a computer.
Many of my recent blog posts have been about learning experience (LX) design and how our designs can be improved through the proper application of action steps that keep the process as simple as possible. Some of my posts have even criticized existing, popular design models, like ADDIE. So, when I saw Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An Agile Model for Developing the Best Learning Experiences, by Michael Allen and Richard Sites, I knew I had to read it. I am always looking for ways to improve how I deliver learning experiences to my organization and reading books like this keeps my skills fresh. Here are a few things I took away from the book that I think you will find valuable.
I am at the beginning of a long-term project to create an internal certification program for a specific job type in my organization. The method for the learning content will be primarily asynchronous, so that people can go through the program at their own pace. Moreover, a self-paced e-learning program has the added benefit of being a resource that can be referred to over and over again.
ADDIE is good, SAM is good. DMADDI is good. AGILE is good. Rapid instructional design is good. But sometimes a course design project can be overwhelming, and these design models are not specific enough to answer the question, "OK, so what do I write on the page right now?"
Starting out in any new job is a challenge, but new instructional designers and learning experience (LX) designers have a particular challenge in that they must learn their own role and the tools associated with their job, and they must learn about the business they serve and the learners for which they will design training and learning experiences. It is quite a challenge. In thinking about what advice could be valuable for new LX designers, I decided to turn to my personal learning network. I posed a few questions on Twitter and in Linkedin groups. I wanted to find perspectives from a variety of professionals who do this job every day. Surely they would have great advice for new designers.