I start out each morning with the greatest of intentions. I tell myself that I will work on my next book for 90 minutes. I will then work on the curriculum that I owe my client for the next 90 minutes. I will then have a 12 minute lunch and spend 75 minutes working on the competencies draft I have been slogging through. And then two minutes before my son is due to walk through the door home from school, I tell myself that I will have completed all my bookkeeping for the month. As you probably guessed, none of that happens as planned. I usually end up dealing with Stuff That Comes Up - my son's forgotten lunchbox; a call from a former colleague; a slew of new paperwork that a client for whom I completed a project three months ago demands I complete if I want to get paid this year; a meeting with a potential client who wants to interview me on my past work for an hour. You know - Stuff.
I end up working late into the night several days of the week but really that's when I get my best work done. All my clients are asleep or having proper social lives; my son is tucked into bed; my husband is doing his late night work 20 feet from my own desk and well - that's when the flow is so perfect. No interruptions, no calls or meetings or demands on my time other than what I set out to do. This time is golden and my most productive. It's my best mode for learning and productivity. I think to jobs that require people to be in a certain spot to do their job and really, the indicated spot to 'work' is not always where our best work can be done.
This makes me think of training activities where we pull together people out of their work space to teach them some new knowledge or skill which we then expect them to apply back in the very workspace we took them out of. This uprooting should be a growth experience where people can learn new skills and behaviours simply by working with others who have fresh ideas or different ways of looking at something. They have to work harder to accomplish the set tasks because the people around the table are new to them and thus do not know their work habits. It is such a rich opportunity to learn collaboration and problem-solving as well as the new set of knowledge and skills being taught. Sadly, I continue to observe painful death-by-slidedeck lectures where even the presenter is bored. Or I click through a shiny new e-learning course which periodically asks me to parrot back the text that was presented in the previous screen. At least with the e-learning, I can turn off the machine when I am bored to tears.
The field is suddenly awash with people calling themselves Instructional Designers who simply add pretty pictures to those same, boring slidedecks. Or who copy and paste material from a print manual into an online interface and call it (and bill it as) e-learning. I welcome these self-proclaimed Instructional Designers to the fray on the condition that they make training- in any format - worth their learners' precious time - time that their learners took out of their carefully planned day, time that they otherwise could be attending to Stuff - to sit and hopefully learn something new. There are loads of opportunities out there for new IDs to learn how a curriculum needs to be appropriately written and designed appropriate to different formats. It should be noted that very little of a solid course curriculum framework has to do with shiny, pretty pictures. It's all about understanding how children or adults best learn different types of content - and applying those principles and methods appropriate to your audience and your context. That's the whole shebang. Now go learn it in whatever mode best suits you and apply it.
Here's a great little tool that I designed and use frequently in training teachers and trainers. On the left in the yellow boxes are appropriate verbs to use in writing objectives to the various levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. On the right in the green boxes are question stems to question learners at various levels of the taxonomy.
An educator nomad traveling and teaching her way around the world. Fun stuff.