Notes on UMBC Training Forum – Presentation by David Mallon

David Mallon of Bersin and Associates gave a surprisingly engaging presentation to the UMBC ISD community. Yet afterwards I heard a lot of the same reaction that presentations about informal learning often get. Many comments seemed to be of the “sounds good in theory, but how do I actually sell it to management?” and “this will take away our jobs” variety. To paraphrase some of his nuggets of wisdom:

“don’t think of designing the “right” piece of instruction – think of putting the right people in the right place at the right time”.

“don’t talk learning theory to your clients – talk to them in their language of business metrics”.

“72 % of companies say they believe in informal learning, but 30% of their resources are focused there”.

“Information Architecture is a sister to ISD. Soon these fields will converge, as Information Architecture plays a similar role in learning environments as ISD does in formal courses”.

He also used an interesting term “community management” – where instructional designers go from designing training to being facilitators of the communities and systems where employees informally learn. This really made sense to me, as I recently did a study of an informal learning community for documentary filmmakers called “the D-word”. This forum works magnificently as a fountain of information about all aspects of documentary filmmaking, outreach, marketing etc. However, it requires over an hour a day from a moderator now that it is established. It took even more time in the beginning to set the tone for the group.