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April 24, 2011


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Craig Polak

The internet is truly an amazing place when you can connect with old acquaintances through somewhat bizarre technology means. I currently subscribe to Stephen Downes' "OLDaily" e-line. He included the JAID in a headline today, where he also mentioned Ellen.

Though I don't expect you to remember me Ellen, we first met, I believe, at the NSPI conference in Toronto in 1990. You were the "distant learning guru." I was one of the new guys (MS ED-ID, 1989) trying to drink water from a fire hydrant and meet as many gurus as possible (Gilbert, Harless, Gagne, Mager, Rummler, etc.). That's what my former boss, Judy Hale, expected of me...and I remain forever thankful for that.

Being in the job market again, trying to continue a so far successful 22 years of consistent employment as a performance consultant, I am amazed by the variety of job titles companies use to describe IDs and the terms they use to describe their "training departments." But when I happen to talk with a recruiter or hiring manager, we usually learn right away that we are connected via the "secret handshake." In other words, if they know ID, we can usually connect immediately. It's the ones who don't know ID, who just want someone to create cool Articulate courses, that I walk away from pretty quickly.

Glad to re-connect.

Craig Polak
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Do you recall in 1998 when you designed (instructional design) and produced "The Online Certificate in Fundraing" and in 1998 we decided to add an audio portion to each module? What fun - we wrote a script and hired a professional actor to create the audios. Along with all of our hyperlinks -we had a multimedia elearning program and we were very proud.

Connie Malamed

Hi Ellen,
That was an excellent essay and I agree that IDs need to expand our universe. Like the field of cognitive science, Instructional Design is really a synthesis of many disciplines, even if it is it's own discipline. Depending on the context, we might be product developers, edutainment designers, curriculum specialists, promoters of social learning and supporters of informal learning. That's why I love this field!
Connie Malamed

Judy Unrein

Ellen, great article!

It's really interesting to read this when coming from the corporate space, where I see teams and individuals that sometimes have a lot of tech/multimedia skill, but not much grounding in ID theory. Are they better off or worse than academics with no practical experience?

I used to think what we needed was more research into the effectiveness of different approaches. I still believe that, but now I see companies as the natural place for that research to happen, in the form of learner analytics, rather than at universities. It's disheartening sometimes to see how little companies are interested in measuring the effectiveness of their training solutions, because without measurement, the CCBB-ers win.

Hmm, maybe I should have posted this on one of your previous posts instead...

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