Monday, August 24, 2009

IDCI: LH Theory by Abhinava

Saturday, I had an opportunity to meet fellow IDCI members at Adobe, Bangalore. It was great to meet and interact with instructional designers from other companies. I was finally getting to meet the people I interact with online through Twitter, Ning, Linkedin, and blogs. Everyone was extremely friendly and the quick coffee before the session helped me catch up with everyone.

Abhinava (@Abhinava)presented on the LH theory. LH theory or the love-hate theory is a philosophy Abhinava swears by for successes in life and work. Abhinava started the session by making us think about ourselves as learners. He posed several questions such as when do you learn, what do you learn, how do you learn. Most things we learn are not necessarily through formal training. After discussing these, he summarized by saying that we learn when there is a need. He linked this need to the Maslow's theory. Abhinava asked us to reflect on the concept of Love and Hate. You can view Abhinava's presentation here.

What does it mean to design using love?
Designing using love means:
  • Giving the learners positive motivations to meet a need or help them gain something
  • Design a 'feel good' learning program
  • Providing a source to love such as the company itself, the narrator of the course, and so on
  • Taking your time to provide continuous, ongoing reinforcements to ensure that learning occurs
  • Ensuring that you have the learner's buy in every step of the way by providing logical reasons/explanations
  • In other words, ensure that the learner understands the consequences of learning
  • Works well for motivated learners and those with high EQ
Designing using hate means:
  • Giving the learners negative motivations to force them to protect an existing need or to avoid some kind of loss
  • Forcing your hand to ensure that they learn to avoid repercussions
  • Ensuring that you remove the source of hate as soon as the objective is met to ensure that learning is sustained
  • Providing quick, useful information that the learner needs
  • Ensuring that the learner understands the consequences of NOT learning
  • Works well with learners with 'I do not care' attitudes
Remember the following points:
  1. Use both love and hate wisely. Too much of hate is detrimental to learning. Too much love is wasted if there is no need.
  2. Do not try and trick the learner. Be honest and transparent.
  3. Design for the learners and not for the content.
  4. Ensure that the source of love is available always and the source of hate is removed as soon as its objective is met.
  5. It is not about IDs or the content. It is always about the learner.
  6. Love your learner always and they will love you back.
Abhinava also touched upon another very interesting aspect. I have been thinking about this for very long. What does Instructional Design encompass? Just the content? Just designing strategies for the course? Well, no! It involves a lot more than that. So, let us see what it involves:
  1. Identifying the problem: What is the current gap that the organization is trying to fill? How can this problem be solved? Training may not be solution. You may realize that the organization needs to relook at their structure or processes. Training may also not be the sole solution. You may need a combination of changes to make it an effective solution.
  2. Understanding the learner: Identify need: How is filling this gap (if through training) going to cater to the learner's need? How will they benefit? Identify motivations: What are their internal motivations? What are their attitudes? Will they want to take this course? Why or why not? Understand learning environment: Where will they take this course? How much time can they take out from their daily work? Are there any disturbances? Are there any factors that will hinder learning?
  3. Understanding the content and identifying the ID strategy: ID is not about page level strategies only. It is about the macro strategy that will bind your learning program together. It is about effectively connecting the different learning solutions together.
  4. Delivery medium: Identifying the most effective medium/media to delivery learning.
  5. Implementation plan: Ensure a successful implementation plan to ensure retention and application of knowledge.
On the whole, the session was highly interactive and informative. Looking forward to many more! (For IDCI members: If I have missed anything or misunderstood something, feel free to add/correct me!)

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