Elearning Beyond Buzzwords: Systematic Design of Instruction
Mobile Learning, Gamification, Microlearning, Blended…are these words being constantly thrown at you? At times, incessantly, to the extent that the “learning” suffix just went out of the window?
As an instructional designer, I am tired, tired of buzzwords, which clip my freedom and curtail the very purpose of why one would require instructional design. These buzzwords easily make you miss the forest for the trees.
By all means, develop Mobile Elearning if the needs analysis proved “more learners would view the elearning on their mobile.” And, even if you designed Mobile Learning, will it require you to NOT design instruction? Or, will you design instruction in a radically different way apart from being aware of media and modality differences among viewing devices.
Have you been ever told “Gamify this?” You don’t gamify things and make them game-like for fun. This again is the curse of missing the forest for the trees. Was Gamification not a part of the learning by doing and scenario-based problem solving elearning? Did you never design elaborate scenarios or simulations with interactivity before the cacophony of Gamification?
Microlearning. Hmm…did you not design curriculum based on Learning Objectives before? Did you not nest your terminal and enabling objectives? Did you not understand how shareable content objects were best designed around one complete independent group or a single learning objective?
And, blended! Yes, back to curriculum design again. Did you earlier not evaluate learning objectives for interaction modalities in your task analysis? Did you not create Job Aids for salient learning objectives which required performance aids in the field? Well, if you did a task analysis, blend the learning by all means; but don’t just blend it because blended learning is a buzzword.
Much before the buzzwords, there existed systematic design of instruction. Don’t get drawn away from the purpose, learning. Focus harder on appropriate design of instruction. And, worry only about achieving the determined performance goals of learning. Much after the buzzwords, there will remain—the systematic design of instruction.