ADDIE, Rapid E-Learning, and Generational Differences

I just started reading Karl Kapp’s book Games, Gadgets, and Gizmos for Learning. Much of the book is about the differences in how different generations learn. Specifically, he compares the “boomers” to the “gamers.” One of the characteristics of “gamers” (called by others the net generation, or digital immigrants, or millenials, or probably some other names I’m forgetting) is that they learn by trial and error. They don’t want to be led by the hand through each step or to be told exactly what to do.

This is different from might be typical in previous generations. Natalie told me earlier today about how sometimes when she trained adults they were frustrated when she asked them to solve scenarios that weren’t exactly like their previous experiences. They didn’t want to apply existing skills in a new scenario, they just wanted to be told which button to push in what order. (Anything about generations and age is necessarily a generalization–I’m talking about overall trends. There’s lots of exceptions in any age group.)

I haven’t see any trends related to age in instructional design, but I wonder if there’s a similar structural difference between ID models. The traditional ADDIE model is a structured process; the steps mostly go in order. (OK, it isn’t completely linear; evaluation often happens at multiple points. But you get the idea.) Rapid development for e-learning is often about iterative prototypes. Michael Allen calls it “successive approximation” in his book. In other words, rapid e-learning is a method of trial and error. If a prototype doesn’t do what you want, just scrap it and do something else; it’s like hitting the reset button on a game.

These are definitely “thoughts under construction” here, but it seems like there is a pattern of moving from more rigid structures to more flexible ones. It’s more than just these two areas of course; it’s Britannica to Wikipedia, broadcast news to blogs, Dewey decimal to folksonomies. I haven’t seen anything that connects differences in ID models to generational differences though. Does anyone have anything about age and ID model preferences? Do you think successive approximation could be part of this broader trend towards the flexible and decentralized?

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5 thoughts on “ADDIE, Rapid E-Learning, and Generational Differences

  1. I think we need to link the overarching principles of social networking with ADDIE or ID, so that we (the educators) can set the millenials up for success via their innate trial and error DNA and panache for overtly sharing, and then learning from each other.

    There is a link here for certain.

    We need to figure out how we can use ‘stealth’ ID models within social networking labyrinths (ok, SN applications) to bring about not just knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing, but competence gain and/or skills improvement.

    We’re trying to do this right now at our company of 6000+ employees … but it’s difficult.

  2. I’m not quite convinced that the ID process needs to be so different from a generation to another. Whatever you want to do or use for training, you still need to conduct an analysis to determine the requirements and to perform some design to determine how you will achieve these requirements. Things may however be different in the development phase. As an example, if you use a wiki as a learning tool, the development of the content will basically be done by the learners rather than by programmers. Implementation may require some adjustments and you will still need to evaluate your program to ensure it meets the requirements.

    In the end, the ADDIE process will still be there. This is only the tools that change and you must adapt your ADDIE phases to the tools. Social tools do not provide learning by themselves, there is still a requirement to use a structured approach even when using “unstructured” content.

  3. Dan, that’s an interesting idea of “stealth” ID models. I feel like it’s a real struggle to find the right balance between the dynamic environment of social networking and the more structured but sometimes stale environment of traditional LMSs. I attended a presentation with some case studies of wikis in colleges today, and both professors who presented talked about letting go of control when using Web 2.0 technology. They found that students could be very excited and engaged, but that they as instructors had to let go of that idea of being the one expert in control of everything.

    Guy, I’m not convinced that this is a generational difference myself, but I’m not sure how well the ADDIE model really works, especially if it’s completely linear. Iterative prototypes do still have all the ADDIE steps, but at a micro level instead of a macro level. You repeat all the steps multiple times. I think Allen’s picture of a spiral with Creation, Design, and Evaluation might be more effective.

    Also, I’m not thinking about this only with social networking tools. I’m thinking even about how we develop individual self-paced e-learning. Michael Allen isn’t talking about blogs or wikis when he’s explaining his model; it’s about developing games and interactive e-learning. Look at his demos: they are all for individuals, not collaborative exercises. And he obviously is using that instructional design method for his development.

    I don’t think that rapid development automatically leads to an unstructured environment, which seem to be what you’re saying. Do you see Allen’s demos and examples as unstructured?

  4. Pingback: ADDIE schmaddie at Sims Learning Connections

  5. Christy,

    I think the real value of ID is not in the ADDIE model but in the instructional strategies such as the use of mnemonics for memorization or chunking content or teaching soft skills through behavioral models, while the process of designing instruction, ADDIE is changing with the generations (blog entry vs. formal class session), the underlying instructional strategies should remain the same.

    Karl

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