Learning Objectives on Paper and in Practice

I have designed a number of e-learning modules for school kids and I usually devote special time and care in highlighting the learning objectives. I also had a chance to witness many presentations and the learning objectives slides are either skipped or they are read out to the learners in a rather listless manner. I was a little annoyed to see the slide which was written with so much care receiving so the little attention. My learning objectives slide looked something like this:

Learning objectives on paper

I discovered that my learning objectives looked as they are supposed to—on paper. These learning objectives appear to be more like instructions. This slide seems to have an element of restriction attached to it which automatically disconnects the learner from the topic.

I feel that such bulleted lists of learning objectives should be for the teachers’ eyes only. Using such bulleted lists in class not only wastes time, but also leave the students clueless of what they are about to encounter for the rest of the class.

Students can be presented with the same learning objectives in a different way such that this slide actually helps them to connect themselves with the presentation. Mind mapping is one of the techniques which I feel, is an excellent tool for presenting learning objectives. I have observed that these maps improve knowledge retention and promote appropriate recollection and application of the acquired knowledge. The advantage with mind mapping is that it can also be used in classrooms which lack technology. These maps can be sketched on flip charts, blackboards, etc. I have presented the same set of learning objectives as a mind map here:

Learning Objectives in Practice

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What’s my ID?

I happened to stumble upon a post on John’s learntoelearn blog, where he has speculated on present and future state of instructional design (http://bit.ly/de4Ez9).

I was able to relate myself with the “dangerous inexperienced trainer” described in it. I have been a trainer for nearly 4 years now. I can be quite sure that I’m doing a decent job as a trainer and I’m one of the senior trainers in my company.

To be frank, until recently, I belonged to the league of pompous SMEs who were convinced that they are “the” authority when it comes to creating and designing content. I was never associated with any qualified IDs and moreover didn’t have a clue about ID courses/training. There is not a single recognized institute offering quality training in my city which happens to be one among the four metros of my country!

I was pretty sure that I was doing a good job when it comes to developing content. I’m quick with MS office tools and could get working with any new software within a couple of days, since I’ve laid my eyes upon it. I have been developing content for quite sometime without the least bit of clue about ID methodologies. As I had mentioned in my introductory post, I am extremely grateful to my friend for introducing me to instructional designing. As I did more reading about the instructional methodologies, I was able to realize what I’ve been doing all this while. I weighed my content with the ID principles and was able to understand my level as an ID. I’ve been doing exactly what Cathy Moore had pointed out in one of her blog posts (http://bit.ly/x68rY). I’ve been killing ADDIE with rapid all this while!

I was extremely confused as I felt that I have been calling myself an ID for nothing. However, I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Shivkumar, the Managing Director of Axis-v Creatives Pvt. Ltd. of Chennai last week. During our discussion, he helped me in weighing my positives and negatives, and advised me as to how I can convert my negatives to positives with the existing skill set that I possess. I shall cherish this discussion forever as this discussion has definitely cleared a significant amount of doubts that I had about proceeding with ID. He was able to understand my pulse to learn and was kind enough to suggest me some avenues which I could try out before becoming a “real” ID.

I feel that a trainer can become a wonderful ID. For this, the trainer must first believe in the ID principles and the benefits of its practical implementation. The trainers know what’s best to be given to the learner and if they are trained in the methods by which their content is to be prepared, the training process can be made an effective and a memorable experience for the learner.

Another point that I was able to realize during my discussion with Mr. Shivkumar was that a trainer who wants to become an ID should not try to restrict themselves to their field of expertise. The trainer should step down from their “trainer’s pedestal” and should open themselves to new areas. An ID should have a passion in what he/she is doing and working across different industries will enhance the designing capabilities of the ID. I have hence decided to sign up for an ID course and will not rest until I become an “ID-friendly” trainer.

Hoping to get my “ID” soon! I will share my experiences in this journey with you in the subsequent posts.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 20:47  Comments (2)  
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