At ATD ICE 2015, I had the experience of having a video go viral and it was intriguing to me.
I had been part of a team that was planning an Instructional Systems Design program for our local ATD chapter and one of my discussions was around the topic “ISD is Dead”.
I love doing stuff like this! It ruffles feathers, gets people defensive, and starts a real conversation about a topic. My true purpose was to discuss how traditional ISD has evolved to meet the various types of media in which we deliver eLearning content.
As this situation played through, it seemed that it was a prime example of what I was trying to describe and intended to use it as a case study.
This video is obviously a piece of informational content, so let’s start there.
IS IT LEARNING CONTENT?
My response to this question is “yes, it is learning content”.
It had a non-stated objective – give viewers a realistic view of the path to reach the office without getting lost.
It showed people a path, explained landmarks along the way and provided them an end result – successfully get to the Volunteer Office.
It showed them approximately how long it would take to make the journey. They actually visually experienced it.
Did it accomplish the goal? I think it did. We did not have any identifiable level of volunteers tell us they were late because they were lost and could not find the volunteer office. I am sure there were a few, but not enough to say the video did not do what it was supposed to.
IS IT MLEARNING?
Again, I think I would argue that it was mLearning. The video was hosted on YouTube. This site is viewable on a mobile device. I suspect that most of the views were on the learner’s device as opposed to on their desktop computer. Certainly, I would imagine there was one or two that even pulled up the video while walking and followed it to get to the office (but I am not sure of that guess).
WAS THERE INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN INVOLVED?
Here is where I think it gets dicey. I have discussed this with several people and the response is mixed.
For me, if Instructional Design is involved, there needs to be some model involved, such as ADDIE. This potentially fails right at the Analysis stage. The total amount of analysis that occurred on this project was me doing the walk and realizing it was a long walk. I also had a suspicion that people might get lost. At that point, I spoke up and said “We should do a video to show this.”
For the Design stage, the entire amount of design effort that went into the video was the idea to speed up the video when Kristina was walking and have her verbally point out landmarks in the conference center.
We certainly performed the Development stage because we shot the video – we did not really script it though. I had to edit the video and I had to find appropriate music.
Implementation was also very basic – post it to YouTube and email a link to the video to our volunteers.
Lastly, how did I evaluate the success of this piece of content? It certainly was not through smile sheets and online surveys several weeks after the piece of content went live. It was completely informal. I essentially received unsolicited feedback from a large percentage of the volunteers. I also decided to look at the YouTube analytics for that video and identified that almost 100% of our volunteers viewed the video. I also saw that they watched most of the video – from start to end. Interestingly, the main drop-off point was about at 2:23 – Kristina had reached the office and we started showing off what was occurring in the office.
I might even argue that that video reached a success at Level 4 on the Kirkpatrick scale. It measurably helped the “business” reach its objective because we had volunteers in the office on time, slightly informed of their roles, and in a positive mood.
So, was traditional ISD involved? Even though the stages were minimal, I guess the argument could be made either way. Personally, I would tend to say it was not because of the lack of formality in the movement through the stages.
THAT’S THE ARGUMENT, RIGHT?
As we move into a more chunked, blended, and mobile learning environment, how does ISD change and evolve at the same time.
We defined, created, and delivered a valuable and successful piece of learning content in all of about three hours with very little preparation. If we had followed typical ISD models, we probably would not have delivered that content till after the conference was over.
If you are creating large quantities of chunked content that are 5-7 minutes in length, do you have the luxury of applying traditional methodologies to each piece of content. I don’t think you do.
HOWEVER…I do think you will probably apply ISD to the project as a whole and in that process, define the various components. In this process, you will determine the requirements of each piece – and you may identify that there are multiple phases to the delivery of more content pieces.
Is it possible that I did actually apply ISD, but my 10+ years of experience served me well in this situation and it occurred so rapidly and effectively that I did not even realize it occurred?
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
Given that we have a pretty solid example that may or may not have been built using traditional ISD methods, and we know that more and more learning content is being delivered in this way, is traditional ISD dead and in need of an evolution.
Perhaps the principles have not changed…just the speed at which they need to occur and the informal nature of what needs to occur.