Jane Hart raises an excellent point with her post, Learning without Design. It's a really interesting question as I think a lot of the focus on design (in the L&D world) comes from traditional 'instructional design' approaches where the formal instruction is 'designed' to be delivered to a learner – almost as if the learning is the missing piece of a puzzle in the learner’s mind and correct design will (somehow) allow this piece to be placed in the proper spot…so that voila, we have successful learning design…...but of course the real world isn’t about manufacturing missing pieces of a ‘knowable’ puzzle made up of knowledge/skills & behaviours.
The way I see my work is that it’s not so much about helping people learn things, but instead it is about helping people do things (their work) ‘better’…….and I do this through design.
So, this is how I approach designing for performance.
- I design with and for the people who would like/need to work more effectively;
- I seek to understand where people work and design opportunities to learn within and from experiences;
- I attempt to design to make the implicit more explicit; and
- It’s about performance, not learning.
Jane concludes by asking, "Shouldn’t we be spending more time and effort in organizations helping people to “connect the dots” and “extract the learning” that comes from everyday work?"
And, the answer is yes, most definitely. ‘Learning without Design’… but ‘Performing through design’.