Last week I had the opportunity to attend and present at the eLearning Guild’s Instructional Design Symposium New England conference. The conference is planned to be very intimate – about 100 folks attend. So the sessions are very small, there were about 15 or so in the session I led with my colleague Matt LeBlanc.
Here’s a recap of the sessions I attended:
Mastering e-Learning Instructional Design in the 21st Century
The opening session was given by Brent Schlenker who is the Emergening Technologies Evangelist for the eLearning Guild. I didn’t take lots of notes for this one, but he talked alot about how the new social tools are changing the way we are able to design instruction. I did write down a couple of notes of what to keep in mind if you are designing a simulation:
- Figure out what about the task is hard
- Design the sim so the learner is allowed to experience the challenge of the hard part
Beyond Kirkpatrick: Taking a Fresh Look at Analysis and Evaluation
This session was presented by Dr. Allison Rossett who is a professor at San Diego State University. She spoke about how the economy influences our industry. She focused her presentation on how do we get to evidence-based decision making. As a reminder, here are Kirkpatricks levels:
- Level 1: Reactions to the learning environment/materials
- Level 2: Did Learning happen?
- Level 3: Transfer or Change in Learner Behavior
- Level 4: Results – has the business been impacted by learning?
Dr Rossett said there is also a Level 0: attendance (butts in seats). According to eLearning Guild research, here is how people say they do in meeting these levels:
- Level 1: 94%
- Level 2: 34%
- Level 3: 13%
- Level 4: 3%
If we are partners with our business, shouldn’t we be evaluating all of these levels? One example of an industry that does great at evaluating everything is casinos. They evaluate every single instance of the customer experience, and then customize the experience for the user. Why can’t we do that with learning?
We should look for a convergence of analysis and evaluation. We need to get beyond Kirkpatrick’s levels. He wrote them in the 50’s, for a manufacturing world. In a world where we are training knowledge workers, we have to recognize that learning and work has converged. This wasn’t the case in Kirkpatrick’s world. The levels he wrote addressed an idea that you went to training, and then you went to work. That doesn’t reflect the realities of today’s world.
Dr. Rossett said we should stand on Kirkpatrick’s shoulders, but do things differently. We should be developing workplace learning and support, where we plan, report, and improve on what we executed.
Simulation Design: What’s so Hard About That
This presentation was given by Jeff DeSmet and Sherry Heffner from Harvard Business Publishing. We designed a simulation based on what our group knew how to cook (my group chose baking bread). We went through the process of deciding what the challenging part of the task was, and how we would simulate the challenges of this challening part.
A Blue Print for Converting ILT to eLearning
This is the presentation that Matt and I delivered. We talked about how the economy has forced us to move our ILT courses to an eLearning modality, and the challenges we have faced along the way. The small audience side was great, we were able to have a conversation with the professionals in the room to hear what they have been doing with the same challenge.
The reception was great. Lee Maxey came up to me and asked if I worked with Tom Clancy (I told him I work for Tom…). I was in a conversation with Will Thalheimer about learning simulations. It was great hearing how other people are handling the same issues we face.
Since this has gotten so long, I’ll save Day 2 for another post.