Instructional Design vs. ROI: Guy W. Wallace

Personal and Reflective Learning on Twitter

On Twitter, colleagues and I frequently discuss the value of Twitter (and other technologies) for our Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). And, today, the #lrnchat topic focused on reflective learning, or how you reflect on what you’ve learned after completing a learning activity (transcript is here. Lrnchat takes place every Thursday morning and afternoon, twice, and the hashtag is #lrnchat).

After a busy day today, I returned to Twitter before dinner to read through the various learning tweets by members of my PLN. One tweet jumped out at me, I reacted and tweeted, and the follow up resulted in wonderful, reflective learning (at least for me, LOL). If you’re interested in human performance improvement (HPI) and workplace performance results, I encourage you to follow @guywwallace on Twitter. As a respected member of ISPI, his tweets and blog posts encourage me, ground me in reality, and keep me focused as an instructional designer.

It all started with this tweet from Guy:

Here's Guy's tweet. I enjoy analysis and how we can improve a learner's knowledge and skills. So, as a designer, I initially reacted to this tweet instead of responding.

Twitter’s 140 character limit can lend itself to “creative” microblogging. And below, you can see my initial reaction that I tweeted to Guy:

When I find a need during the analysis phase, I want to fix it. Often, my SMEs also want to fix that need, too. I huffed a bit and asked Guy for clarification.

Yea, we Instructional Designers can sometimes get carried away with how we feel about what we do for a living. We have a passion for helping people and organizations improve their K/S (knowledge and skills) through appropriate learning activities. So, I wanted to know more, and sent Guy a few more tweets.

Reflection began to take over, and I began to remember past projects where, ultimately, the internal or external client makes the final decision on learning activities.

As you can see, after my initial reaction, the reflective learning part of my brain took over. I remembered all of the projects where I presented analysis results to my clients (internal or external ones), and watched as what I thought were good ideas ended up on the cutting-room floor (to use an old movie analogy). And then, I was happy to see that I wasn’t alone in trying to figure out where Guy was coming from, because Mark Britz felt the same way.

You can follow Mark on Twitter: @britz

After dinner, I checked my Twitter stream again. Guy not only tweeted the back story, he included three URLs to his blog posts!

Guy confirmed what I suspected...the client's business decisions can trump what instructional designers recommend for performance improvement.

Performance improvement involves not only adult learning theories and methods, but Cost/Benefit Analysis and Return on Investment (ROI). Instructional designers do face a balancing act between the learners’ performance needs and what the organization can afford to spend (or not). Now, I know this, I do. However, it’s easy to forget it when I’m focused on designing an activity so that it’s effective and promotes learning retention.

I then sent a tweet to @britz to let Mark know about Guy's responses. But, dollars don't have to "get in the way". As IDs, we need to match effective learning to what the client can afford.

Guy’s Blog Posts…

The Worthiness of Any ISD/ Learning Solutions Effort Is Situational

Developing Performance Competence Via Formal and Informal Means When ROI Warrants It

12 O’clock: T&D Governance and Advisory System

I mean what I tweeted, too. @guywwallace (don't forget the W from his middle name) is a Twitter gem to me. He tweets pearls of wisdom that I appreciate. He challenges me and keeps me learning and reflecting.

I do try and keep the Cost/Benefit and ROI factors in mind when I discuss learning designs with clients. When all is said and done, if they can see the ROI, then I’ve done my job. Performance improvement is the ROI, although we may need to accept a phased approach over time, especially in the current economy.

For the record, no, I don’t have pigtails, and my darling husband can confirm that I don’t stomp my feet. 🙂

[Dear FTC: I have not received any monetary or other tangible or material benefits from Guy W. Wallace, only the wisdom he shares freely with everyone via his blogs and tweets.]


2 thoughts on “Instructional Design vs. ROI: Guy W. Wallace

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Instructional Design vs. ROI: Guy W. Wallace « Jenise Cook --

  2. Pingback: Reflections on Reflections – and of All of the Teachers/Mentors in My Past, Present and Future « EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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