Friday, June 4, 2010

ID Research vs. Application

One of the articles lingering in my Google Reader for a while has been this blog post. The topic piqued my interest since I've written (or talked a lot about) the role of research in practice in the ID field over the past few years while I was a student in ID (graduation today - yay!).

One of my criticisms has been that professionals in the field (based on my observations) don't pay much attention to research being done and how that research can benefit your organization. Of course research itself does have caveats and certain conditions that were true in the research study that may not be true in your organization, thus it is unwise to actually take research on face value and implement it wholesale without doing some critical analysis of what the research environment was like, how that environment compares to your environment and without doing your own experiments before you implement something throughout the organization.

I do agree with the author that the gap between research and practice needs to not be so wide, but it's all about how your roll it out rather than the methodology itself. We need to get away from our method fetish - we should realize that there is no cookie cutter approach that works in every situation and that quite often methods need to be mixed and matched to fit your specific environment and your learners.

Which brings me to ADDIE...
Here's a quote:
For example, if someone researches and writes about the ADDIE theory and I have to implement it in my organization, it is most common that I will not able to implement it as it is defined in books.

Now first off, ADDIE is not a theory. ADDIE is a framework, a methodology, a systems approach to design. Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate (and start all over if necessary). This is an example of the methods fetish. There are many wars (or skirmishes) on the use of ADDIE (or Dick & Carey, or ASSURE or...or...or...). People are missing the point. These are models, not theories. They guide the design process, they tell you nothing of the learners and your environment. You also don't need to implement something as it is in a book.

Sure a Subject Matter Expert wrote the book (we hope so anyway), but that doesn't mean that that SME knows your specific environment! We shouldn't be mindless automatons using a cookie cutter ID model, or implementing some new fad because one or two research papers dealt with it - these things need to be critically analyzed through the lens of your environment. If they are deemed good, then you need to plan to see how all the pieces fit together.
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