Category Archives: Instructional Design

Designing mLearning: Tapping into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance

We are a society that relies on our electronic devices to stay connected to the world around us.  Contemporary gadgetry has reinvented the way we communicate and receive our information.  What was once a fashionable luxury item has become a necessity as more and more people turn to these devices as their primary means of staying connected.  If learning professionals seize the opportunity to integrate mobile devices into their corporate learning vision, they will be connecting with their audience on a very fundamental level – ingraining their message into participants’ every day.  Making the most of this opportunity is the focus of Clark Quinn’s insightful book, Designing mLearning: Tapping into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance (Pfeiffer, 2011).

In this relatively short book (223 pages), Quinn sets forth ideas and theories on how learning organizations can go about “systematically leveraging these devices to meet organizational needs” and “delivering value through the strategic use of mobile technology.”  Quinn places emphasis on the need for organizations to adopt a vision for utilizing mobile devices as a means of developing ongoing learning.  He starts by dispelling a few myths about mobile devices and then begins to build a more detailed plan for using them as powerful learning tools.

Quinn advocates the use of mobile devices as a means of serving up full courses, as a learning adjunct, or as performance support. He provides examples of mlearning in action, case studies of organizations that currently use mobile devices in their workplace learning programs, and strategy models for the design and development of mlearning programs. His presentation includes interviews with practitioners of mlearning – giving valuable insight into developing a vision for this platform.  Also of great importance is the examination of what certain operating systems can and can’t do and how they can or can’t work together; and of the issues of working across wireless carrier boundaries and the pitfalls that can come from that.

It is clear that mobile devices have changed the way we communicate.  In order to get training messages successfully across, they must be deliverable through our most common means of communication, which now include mobile devices.  Designing mLearning is a resource all training professionals will want to have on their shelf if they want to realize that vision.

Instructional Design: Following the Process, Not the Product

Rapid Instructional Design: Learning ID Fast and Right, 2nd Edition, by George M. Piskurich (2006, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), is an effective, practical primer on how to make both the learning and the doing of instructional design faster.  Are you looking for theory?  Then Rapid Instructional Design is not for you. Would you like to walk away with practical checklists and insights on how to design better and more quickly in this age of technology-based training?  Then you have found what you’re looking for.

A curriculum designer who is asked to design a course with limited time and resources is left to grapple with questions such as, “What can I skip in the design process?” or, “Can this course be rapid and still be effective?”  The author, George Piskurich, dares to ask these questions and help guide designers through the process of making the best decisions for the courses they are designing.

Component-Based Information

This book is designed like a web, meaning that readers do not have to read it in a linear fashion.  Instead, readers may find it helpful to begin designing their course simultaneously with other components such as analysis.  While Piskurich warns that some rewriting may have to be done in the end, he still encourages the dynamic use of this book.

The main components cover: pre-instructional design, instructional design, critical design issues, delivery issues and decisions, program implementation, evaluation, and a section that focuses on the details of various rapid design techniques.  To cap it off, chapters on asynchronous and synchronous e-learning give consideration to two newer and widely used delivery systems.

What You Will Learn

If you are new to instructional design you will find the answers to questions such as, “Why do I need instructional design, and what are the advantages?”  Experienced instructional designers will find the detailed lesson plan development job aids and lesson plan reviews, as well as discussions on how to decide the best delivery method, engaging and helpful.  As an experienced author of five books on topics from e-learning to self-directed learning, George Piskurich provides all of the information one needs to get up to speed – and more, with Rapid Instructional Design!