On 9th April, I posted the following message to ITForum (Instructional Design Forum):
I know this is an old topic.
Quoting from Carl Roger, Erica McWilliam argued that "formal education erred in focusing on the skills of the teacher, when it was the learner who ought to be the centre and focus of pedagogy".
I suggest the term "learning design" is used to describe the body of work that would come out from the shift in focus when pedagogy focus on the learner instead of the skill of the teacher. (see http://elearningrandomwalk.blogspot.com/2006/04/instruction-design-verse-learning.html)
This thread attracted 30 responses. On 13th April, I posted a summary:
this thread has been going on for a few days now. As I started it, may be I will do a summary of what and where we are heading in this discussion.
Quoting from Carl Roger, "formal education erred in focusing on the skills of the teacher, when it was the learner who ought to be the centre and focus of pedagogy". I asked for insight about using the term "learning design" to describe the body of work that would come out from the shift in focus when pedagogy focus on the learner instead of the skill of the teacher. (see http://elearningrandomwalk.blogspot.com/2006/04/instruction-design-verse-learning.html)
A number of members suggested great resources for us: Tonya B. Amankwatia suggested to look at Papert's contention that we placed more of an emphasis on teaching rather than on learning. and Murphy's work. Doug Holton suggested "learning sciences", which focuses on both student and teaching learning.
Maggie McPherson put it better than I can. Quoting from one of her colleague: "the term "instructional" has behaviourist connotations, and proposed that "educational systems design" could be used to reflect a more learner-centred approach."
This is still slightly different from the original idea I have.
(There is also a few exchanges related with "technology".)
I came back, throwing into the discussion about the role of curriculum (inspired by the keynote paper of the first issue of Journal of Learning Design). Contrasting the role of curriculum (or pre-defined learning objectives) with learning ecology thinking: "Most ID approaches start with identifying the needs, learning objectives and then proceed to determine the best approach to cater for the learning needs of the target learners." I also asked "how can we start from providing an ecology to ensure learners are empowered to grow and learn." if we can accept the challenge of shifting design process by NOT having the curriculum first.
"There is a growing body of research pointing to a quite different direction - in particular - the concept of fixed curriculum is being challenged. This is in a direct course of collision with most ID approaches. For example, John Seely Brown talks about "learning ecology" see http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_edu/seelybrown/ (you can find more by googling). Others talk about community of practice or community of learning."
[No doubt there is a body of literature on this issue, which I don't have time to list.]
Phoenixziaco asked to clarify what we are talking and Tonya B. Amankwatia cited an excellent reference: "Instructional design is the systematic development of instruction using learning theory to enhance learning outcomes. It is the entire process of meeting learning needs, including: defining the problem or knowledge gap to be addressed; defining the audience to be served; identifying objectives and assessment strategies; selecting and sequencing content and learning activities; choosing the best way to deliver those materials; evaluating the instruction and revising as needed to increase effectiveness."
So my question of the role of curriculum was in sharp focus.
Yolanda Columbus suggested "Generative instructional strategies guide the students to knowledge. These strategies depend on the student to generate ideas. It puts the responsibility for learning back in the hands of the students. These strategies are and should be used with a definite goal in mind."
Curriculum still seems to be the horse in front.
Melinda Johansson joined with a very good point: "In many training environments, it is the party who pays for the training who defines the learning agenda."
David Gibson picked up the question of "how can we start from providing an ecology" and suggested "legitimate peripheral participation" role for the learner - a vicarious learner! He also see the learning apprenticeship at the final stages of professional training than at the beginning (MD interns, induction year teachers, clerking for lawyers, etc.)
The question David has is " if the ecology doesn't have the latent opportunity for those outcomes-standards-objectives to be expressed, then the back-mapping will most likely not find those relationships. So this makes me wonder if some parts of current ID approaches are OK as a background and preparation for building a new kind of learning ecology space, but then need to be buried, hidden and forgotten in order to focus on engagement, fun, action and decisions of the learner in a social setting where the learner can "pick up knowledge" peripherally while watching, participating and attempting to join higher levels of expertise."
One of my concerns (on a boarder scope) is whether today's education can provide the skill for our next generation to new world we are entering. I quickly layout the developmental growth from birth to working life and noted that "curriculum" appears in only the formal learning stages. Pre-school learning is undoubtedly very important. So is the continual upskilling and education. [I am aware of Melinda Johansson's comment earlier - but a good example will be myself. I have no formal training in computer or information sciences, but I am now making a living out of a skill which I picked up without any curriculum guidance!]
I also pointed out the different goals people have while they are participating in learning communities etc.
(David Gibson unintentionally ??:=) touched one of my soft spot - games and simulation being a "stealth learning" - which resulted in a branch to this discussion thread, sorry!)
Mike Taylor reminded us not to confuse "the need for problem solving with a backlash against formal learning objectives". This resulted in a few exchange in discussion too.
At this point, I think we can agree that 1. this discussion is about "expanding the universe of what ID might be if it addressed the fuller range of knowledge". - citing David Gibson 2. the role of the formal ID is not being discredited. Formal education and employer-sponsored training are BIG in our field and ID has important role in designing courses.
After that summary, Claude Ostyn comments on "I need to reconcile (for myself at least who works with LMS, Learning objects, SCORM - instructivitic and also works with online role play, collaborative learning - constructivitic). ... How can these ALL fit together in a coherent framework?":
I think it is possible to fit them all into a coherent framework, but unfortunately that is not where the money (or the tenure track) happens to be. A coherent framework seems fairly straightforward, but the field is dominated by commercial and institutional players that can only grow or survive by fostering ever more complexity in both the framework and the technology.
So, my search will continue.