What seems like a few short months ago, I decided to take the big leap and apply for grad school. I bought books on writing application essays and books about how to pay for school. Wrote a few checks for application fees and waited. Lo and behold, I got in! Surprisingly, there were very few glitches in the matrix…er…application and enrollment processes.
Now that I’ve officially started school, my friends have been asking me what I’m studying. Ordinarily the answer to this question is something like business, psychology, marketing, physics, or something similar. When I say Learning Design and Technology, the responses I get are anywhere from “Oh, that’s nice…” to “What’s that?” So I thought I’d take a moment to explain exactly what this strange-sounding degree is.
The textbook definition is “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” I’m not being figurative here; that’s actually what it says in my class textbook.
You are an 18-year-old high school graduate who needs a job for the summer. You decide to apply at The Gap. After you’ve been hired, you need some sort of orientation and then it’s off to learn how to do your job. You’re given a handbook, asked to watch a video clip or two, and start practicing under supervision.
Someone, most likely several someones, in the corporate office of The Gap spent countless man hours and dollars to develop all of the processes that help you learn how to do your job. There is a best way for you to learn how to use the register, a best way to learn what offers are currently in effect, a best way to learn how to fold sweater for a table display.
The learning design and technology process started long before you got hired. Many developers use the ADDIE model.
Assess/Analyze: What is the problem? What is the gap in learning?
Design: What is the best solution to balance cost with performance results (among other factors)
Development: Start working on that solution!
Implementation: Now that you have the solution, how do you distribute it and follow up?
Evaluation: Did the solution provide the results you wanted? What could be improved?
This model can also be applied to K-12 curriculum design, but I’m in this program more for the corporate training side.
So now you know a little more about Learning Design and Technology. Hopefully you’ll be hearing even more about it in the years to come. I think it’s a great field of study.
Good luck at your job at The Gap!