Friday, September 24, 2010

Beating the education out of you!

I've been following an interesting discussion in one of the LinkedIn groups that I am a member of called "How important is a formal certificate/degree in Instructional Design to become a successful Instructional Designer?" I guess the discussion is not new (well it may be new to this group, but it's been going on in the ID circle for a while).

There are pros and cons to each position, for example non-formal trained IDs (Instructional Designers) are seen are more creative and adaptive and in their mind formally trained IDs are a bit more rigid. At the other end of the spectrum, formally trained IDs see a formal education as "I know why this is happening and I can harness its power instead of relying on chance" and the degree of course can get them in the door whereas non-degreed IDs might have a problem with that. There are some comments which just derail the discussion like a commenter that said that she wants to see people rename IDs learning designers - facepalm! I guess this is a topic for another post.

In any case, a recent response piqued my interest, here's an excerpt:

The problem with the formal qualification is that we find that we have to "train out" much of what has been learned on Instructional design courses. Most elearning companies have their own style and methodology and we are no different to this.

This is interesting because I heard this with other degrees I've been involved with. Students learn X and want to apply X in all situations, but they don't know how to adapt X in order to fit in company A or division B their employer. In essence companies want graduates to adapt to a certain process in their company or a way of doing things so they try to beat out the training students have had. I see this a bit of a two way street. Sure the company has developed a process that works for now, but shouldn't they consider what employee X brings to the table? By the same token, it's silly for employee X to believe that things in each company work just like they learned them in school. They need to adapt to the working environment as well as bring their own skills to the table to improve to company, otherwise what's the point of hiring an external hire? Why not hire from within?

The commenter further comments:

The problem, as an employer and recruiter of Instructional designers, is that it often takes longer to change someone's Instructional design philosophy then educate someone without solidly created opinions.

As I said above, if this is what you are looking for, why not train someone from within to take over? Are you looking for an instructional designer or an automaton? What's the point of posting a job description to the outside world if you are looking for more of the same?

Further more:

Also the technologies we adopt as part of an overall learning solution are often leading edge, so any academic institute will struggle to teach overall educational principals [SIC] that are pertinent to these disruptive technologies which allow us to re-think what is and isn't possible.

I don't see principles, theories and practice in direct conflict with disruptive technologies. After all the point of academia is to experiment and become disruptive! It's not to maintain the status quo! Academia is all about rethinking what is possible :-) If you don't come out of school knowing what's come before you and with the ability to rethink what's possible, something is wrong!

OK, enough about what I think, what do YOU think about this?
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