Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ISD and the Problem of Change

ASTD posted a column by Laleh Patel reviewing a study by ASTD and I4cp on the rapid advancement of learning development technologies, and where companies are in adopting new instructional strategies. The study found that a shocking 97% of polled companies still use the traditional classroom for current courses. Now, "shocking" isn't meant to imply that the classroom should have been abandoned ages ago; it's still a viable medium where appropriate. What the number represents though, is a pace of change that is much more glacial than I had thought.

Social media was one of the other areas of research in the study. The results there found that social media has seen very little use at all: Only 5% of companies reported using the technology, and even those saw no increase in proliferation for their organizations over the next 5 years. After considering this, I think the problem with adopting social media for internal learning is not just about changing hearts and minds that are camped in brick-and-mortar instructional design. I think part of the problem also has to do with a company's internal concerns: intellectual property protections, standards of performance, expectations of behavior in the medium, decorum, etc. I know from experience that intellectual property can be a very big one. This is especially true if we're talking about using social media not only as an internal link between employees, but also as a restricted communication line with external partners.

So in short, the hurdles for implementing social learning with organizations may not be simply a matter of culture, but also a matter of working out how the company can protect itself at or above current security levels while still enabling all that the technology has to offer.

UPDATE: Visit this page to review Mr. Littau's course design.

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