Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Defining learning design

I have often felt that defining a learning designer's role is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Especially when I am trying to explain to an "outsider" what it is that I do. However, I think I might have just found a new favourite blogger in the shape of Patrick Dunn of Networked Learning Design, who goes a long way towards giving the role some shape. I am just disappointed that I couldn't find an RSS feed to the blog so that I could subscribe (happy to be proved wrong, by the way).

Thanks to Mark Berthelemy who emailed me the link to this post about the learning designer as an architect. The fact that the link came from Mark is no coincidence: we work together on the same team: he as a solutions architect, while I am a learning designer. The boundary between his role and mine has never really been clear. There are things that I think I should so and things I will need Mark to do. These are unlikely to mirror exactly the things he thinks he should do and the things he needs me to do. I confess I am probably the more precious of the two when there is overlap.

However, I have a tendency to approach each project with a sense of panic that I have no idea how to do this. In my more objective moments, I see this as a good thing. Each new project is a whole voyage of discovery. A new adventure with a new destination. What are the learner's needs? What do we want the learner's experience to be? What tools are there out there that will help us achieve that? Which of those tools will work within the client company's constraints? How are we going to engage the learner? And a host of other questions. I have no interest in duplicating the last project for the new client. As Patrick Dunn suggests, we can use patterns and prompts to get the creative juices flowing, but who wants to get stuck in a mechanistic re-use rut? Bleagh!

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