Complex Skill Development

Hey folks, I’ve long thought that the instructional design toolbox is more focused on knowledge and procedural learning, and has less specifics to offer for complex skill development. I’m working on parsing some guidelines based on types of skills and problem context. This is a talk that I’ve done at a few of the elearning conferences on the topic.


The Learner’s Journey

So I just bumped into Amy Jo Kim’s Gamification Workshop 2010 slides (via Sebastian Deterding).  Amy Jo Kim is another of my professional crushes (she’s awesome), and there’s loads of goodness in the slides, but my favorite bit was based on this image about the Player’s Journey:

(Image from Amy Jo Kim’s book “Community Building on the Web“).

She talks about how each of the different levels has different needs from a gaming system:

  • Novices need onboarding – welcome, goals and process
  • Experts need fresh content, activities and people
  • Masters need exclusive activities, access and unlocks

This is possibly the most useful thing I’ve ever seen about social media for learning. E-Learning tends to be a one-off experience.  Little time or money goes to the progression of the experience because the experience begins and ends in one chunk.

Hoping they don’t hate us

In my experience, most e-Learning also tends to be aimed at novices, and we sort of just hope that experts don’t hate us too much as they are compelled through the material. That’s about as much fun as being the experienced flyer standing in the TSA security line with your laptop out, liquids in a bag, shoes off and carry-on ready to go, trapped behind what appears to be a Grandma who hasn’t flown since 1972 and an entire daycare of small children with all the associated paraphenalia*.

But as (hopefully) we are slowing wrenching ourselves out of that model, and moving towards more integrated learning resource systems, we’ll have to take into account the differing needs of our learners, and how to engage them and meet their needs.

I’m in the process of thinking through ways to steer away from one-size-fits-all-ism for learning applications (yes, scenario-based learning is *great*, but it’s not the answer to all learning needs).  I read another post this morning on why Gagne’s 9 Rules of Instruction are dead, which describes why those rules are entirely inappropriate for just-in-time learning.  The writer is absolutely correct in those circumstances (Gagne’s 9 Events still have their uses for other things, but that’s another blog post).

So what have you seen?

What kinds of resources / systems / models are you aware of that give specific recommendations based on the circumstances or learner charactistics?  I’m on a hunt and would be eternally grateful for anything you could point me to.

A few resources:

  • Simon Bostock reminded me the other day of the Cynefin Framework for looking at different systems.

Here are the complete slides for Amy Jo Kim’s presentation:

*I’m not hating on parents who travel with small children.  I think they are the bravest people I know.