“Instructional designing” was something like a foreign substance/antigen to my system of perception. I was not quite sure of what exactly is instructional designing until I met Abhinava. Surprisingly, after knowing more and more about ID from him, I felt this field as most interesting one as many concepts here can be applied to life too! Whenever Abhi talks about ID, I feel as if ID helps to explore how to deal with life! Trust me, it works! However, I never got an opportunity to see his presentation live. On August 22nd, IDCI made my dream come true by providing people with an opportunity to login online and hear Abhi presenting LH (Love-Hate) Theory. My heartfelt thanks to IDCI for making this happen! Those who attended the session online also had a chance to ask questions if they had any and share their comments and answers for questions asked by Abhinava. The online session was arranged so well that we never felt as if we were left out. I really appreciate it. And, I totally enjoyed Abhi’s wonderful presentation. Each slide put by Abhi was so thought provoking that he actually awakened the sleeping thoughts and hidden feelings within us! The way he explained the significance of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, I was just amazed! I did not feel it as just a presentation meant for IDs, it was much more than that! And, guess why it was like this??? All because of LOVE 🙂

For more information:

IDCI Session Highlights – Love-Hate theory (summarized by Sreya Dutta on August 22, 2009 and posted on road-to-learning.blogspot.com)

Today’s IDCI session by Abhinava (Twitter ID: @Abhinava) was extremely thought provoking for me. The topic of discussion, LH Theory (Love-Hate Theory) triggered on a lot of thought on how to be sensitive to the learner and use ‘love’ to design courses. To know more about the session go to twitter and search with the hash tag #IDCI. The session highlighted the need to be sensitive to the learner needs more holistically. At the same time, the session compared two modes of creating learning; Love and Hate. The session also emphasized on when to use each mode of learning.

Here’s the presentation that Abhinava put on Slideshare:

So when do you use the LH Theory?
You use Love when:

* You want to create learning for a long term.
* You want to create a long term relationship/bond.
* When you have time to create good learning.
* When there is a lot to gain.

You use Hate when:

* You want to create learning for the short term and don’t really care much about the outcome.
* When you don’t need to create any long term relationship/bond.
* When you don’t have time.

Why Business-driven Learning?
So, you use Hate theory when you only mean business and don’t plan to invest a lot of time. You want a quick-fix solution that just serves the purpose. I found this discussion extremely relevant in today’s times, as most often we seem to get pushed towards the Hate theory for purely business reasons. It is also important to be sure that you don’t use Hate out of ignorance.

Sometimes, when you’re in a situation where the business demand is high, using Hate does seem like the most practical thing to do. The need analysis moves from addressing the learner need towards addressing the business need! One could easily argue here that isn’t the learner need the business need as well? My answer is yes at a high-level, but probably not exactly how we define it when we get to the specifics. I call this kind of learning ‘Business-driven’ or ‘Business-centric’. The following are some justifications for creating ‘business-driven’ learning:

* You really need a quick solution to address the business need and get training out there to learners. Meaning your TTM (Time-to-market) is the #1 priority.
* Shelf life of the learning material is short (6 months to a year) and content changes/updates very often.
* Your learning supports the business and is not the primary revenue generator.
* Topic for learning is a mature one (like a product for niche areas) and people in the domain already know a lot of the basic concepts. Some are very advanced users. So, all you need to do is to tell them the new features and concepts and they will soon be using the knowledge hands-on.

The ideal ID world?
Given a chance, IDs would love to make the most effective and engaging courses. Some attributes that contribute to making such courses are:

* Perform a thorough learner analysis.
* Do a thorough needs assessment for your learners meaning drill down to the exact learning outcome that is expected.
* Empathize with the learner and create simple, usable and easily navigable courses.
* Don’t make the course a content dump. Take time to make the course effective and engaging.
* Use well-researched real-time scenarios to add relevance to your learning material.
* Personalize feedback and strategies if the learner has high EQ (Emotional Intelligence)
* Design simple but effective practices.
* Use practices when absolutely necessary and not for very simple procedures.
* Validate and choose the appropriate delivery medium based on content complexity. Very advanced courses with lots of hands-on are better delivered in classroom training. Do not try to achieve this goal using online learning.

Business-driven learning; the reality and the solution
When you create business-driven learning, you may tend to skim/rush through many of the above steps. But business-driven learning becomes a reality as end of day ‘business’ is what everything boils down to. This of course does not undermine the fact that you do need to deliver the best possible solution in this situation. Here are some things one can do:

* Be extremely clear about the business objective.
* Do a periodic detailed learning profiling and assessment of the prerequisite knowledge and skills of your learner. Knowing the prerequisites will enable you to reduce the flab on your course and focus on a smaller amount of content. Eventually, this reduces your TTM.
* Research on and recommend a list of rapid elearning tools that work for the business solution.
* Leverage on existing material and spend time refining and updating it to the most current information.
* Focus on reducing knowledge gaps rather than covering the whole bulk of content.
* Use social learning as much as possible and focus on creating short and effective micro-learning strategies.