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October 21, 2003


Bill Brandon

I posted my two cents' worth on Susan's article at http://radio.weblogs.com/0110222/elearning/

However, the short version is: Susan's article is more about poor project management and uncommunicated expectations than it is about Instructional Design and Subject Matter Experts. What she describes was surely a disaster all the way around, but don't blame ID or even the Education Department. This was an argument over who gets to drive the bus, and it was totally avoidable.

How did it happen that the project manager never discussed the model and the requirement for behavioral objectives with the SME until after the SME turned in her deliverables? That was a truly cosmic dumb new-project-manager-suddenly-in-deep-doo-doo mistake.

How did it happen that the SME didn't catch on immediately to the fact that what was being written was not "her course" but a work-for-hire, meaning that there were specifications to be met? A writer on contract cannot afford to have any ego tied up in the deliverables. If that's unacceptable, don't do work-for-hire.

I've been designing, delivering, and managing training and education since 1968, and I've been both a hired gun and an employer as well as being tapped to be an SME in my own areas of expertise. Never once has the ID model been a problem, whether the design was to be behaviorist in nature, collaborative, or constructivist. ID, intelligently applied, will support any educational outcome. All that ID does is to provide a framework for the project and a basis for accountability. It does not create knowledge and it does not dictate objectives, methods, or means. Problems in development nearly always come as a result of poor communication, incompetent project management, or unclear expectations/specs.

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