Tony Karrer posted a summation to LCB's November Big Question, "Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?" Tony is very good at this (you should read his Top Ten Reasons to Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog).
This summary though really got me thinking because as it outlined the problems that people had either with the models themselves or their implementation - I just kept thinking that this was like continually running a car into a lake and wondering why it doesn't float - perhaps the problem is not with the car. Then I read the comments and the suggestions there for new models or ways to work with existing models or even the opinions of Clark Quinn and Wendy Wickham who sang that the models were broken. I just kept seeing this vision where we are trying to stop or change the course of a river just before it reaches the sea. I think we need to go WAAAYYY upstream for this one.
I have said it before but I want to mention it again - I am an outsider, an interloper albeit an interested and involved one. I did not grow up in ISD, did not get my undergrad or advanced degrees in ISD. My undergrad is in management I did my Masters in anthropology and history and was on my way to history PhD when I decided that instead of that degree, I'd actually like to work for a fair wage (but I'm not bitter). All that just sets the stage for me saying that I think that I look at this problem a bit differently (not better just different) than folks who have been in this field for longer than I.
I think that first, if we are serious about changing how we work, then we need to start back in the way college programs in the field are taught and that means changing the way professors think about this field. I think that if we don't do that, along with other things, then every year, colleges will graduate wonderful students who will go forth and do as they have been taught and then years later, will come to the same realization we have and then start about changing things.
I think back to my undergrad and grad school days and one lesson that was hammered into me both in "B" school and in history and to a degree in anthropology - was to question everything. True, there was the Canon but there were also good chops to be made by successfully exposing the weaknesses in the Canon. No one got a free ride. I used to tell the newest members of my Fraternity that the greatest gift they could bring to the organization was their ability to think critically about it. The ability to think critically about your field and its theoretical underpinnings, now there is a model I can get behind.
So we have "critical thinking" now I'd add interdisciplinary. Some ISD programs are couple with technology programs that great. many are lodged within Education departments - good. How many are aligned or offer courses taught by neurobiologists? Economists? Anthropologists? Sociologists? How many are infused with Peter Senge and Chris Argyris maybe even a little Peter Drucker? My point is learning in the corporate world is a cross-cutting exercise. We had better not be operating in vertical silos or we aren't serving the org to well. So maybe, if we're cross-cutting in our jobs, we need to be cross-cutting in our curriculum.
So now we have critically thinking, interdisciplinarians and they are confronted with models - well they now have the tools and the skills to successfully analyze those models, contextualize them for given situations and move ahead. Wow. Sounds like what we do every day right? The only difference is that this is not how the majority of them are currently educated. Ask how long did it take us all to get that point. I'm not saying we fix the whole issue with changing some courses but I think we need to re-consider the skill sets that we need to focus on.