Recently I attended an Oireachtas, a very specialized Irish dance competition. Usually the competitions, a feis, features individuals competing and there were individuals dancing here too however the focus of this event is on teams competing with very detailed and complex dances. The Oireachtas occurs once a year so the challenge is to bring individuals together to become a team that moves seamlessly from start to finish. It reminded me of the dance we are in when developing learning.
How many people does it take to develop learning content? Well, as ATD found here and some interesting ratio estimates here, it depends. No matter the number of people you will have roles that will be played including:
- Scriptwriter, Instructional Designer, Delivery tool developer, visual/graphic designer;
- Subject Matter Expert (SME), Content reviewer, editor/proofer/tester;
- IT support for network, LMS, delivery platforms, software maintenance;
- Business team including budget, communications, operational liaisons/customer, project manager. (eLearning 101 Part 3: Development Roles)
All of these roles are unique and individualized however when a project is delivered to a community of learners it has been worked on by many different roles and people. Much like the dancers all these roles play their part at key times synchronizing their efforts and blending together for the best finished performance and product.
The reason this dance is so important is that need for updated content gets faster, the speed of change increases, the mobility of people with tools to access information anytime/where continues to grow and the focus is moving from a person being “trained” to supporting the improvement of the person’s “performance”.
So going forward we will need to expand the roles noted above to develop content that is contextual and timely. We will need new dance partners to weave content into workplace (aka “informal”) learning, we will need to nurture, develop, and weave learning into individual’s Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) because knowledge is a connected network. The dance is composed of individuals who connect, collaborate, and communicate as one community and we, as learning professionals, need to look for ways to expand our network to include new developers in new roles, new information resources, and new ways to make a difference. Let the music play on!