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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CAC: Nathan Eckel


CAC kicked off with a presentation by Nathan Eckel (2006 alum) who presented on the process of "teaching ID" to a Subject Matter Expert (SME). The idea was to provide the SME with a basic understanding of ID. The project was originally intended to create Tobacco Cessation videos and during that project Nathan worked with the SME to help him learn about the ID process. Nathan coached and mentored the client to give him enough knowledge to properly design and deliver solutions.

The final product had a car dash board interface and a neat map showing a smoker the road to smoking cessation.

Nathan had five different concepts to keep in mind while working with the SME or any ID project.

Fluidity trumps rigidity (go with the flow, don't follow process without variation)

Pragmatism trumps idealism (sometimes you need to tone done expectations to be able to grasp what the client really wants.)

Progress trumps perfection (sometimes need to get project done rather than get everything "right")

Practicality trumps theory (set high standards but be willing short cut if necessary)

Mentoring trumps correcting (make sure you focus on the mentoring aspects and the growth aspects rather than "red inking" all the SME is doing)

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4 comments:

Ryan Reilly said...

This sounds like a great presentation. Sorry I could not be there for this year's CAC but I will keep up to date on all I am missing through these blogs.

I often find myself working with SMEs other co-workers to bring them up to speed on what Instructional Design is and how it works. I am surprised to learn there are many people who have no idea what it is we do or how valuable it is.

One of the biggest challenges I faced after graduating (Dec. 06) was adapting the ID process to the many time and resource constrictions that exist in the "real world." While I was in the IIT, we followed the process step by step, however, I am finding that isnt the case most of the time. This is something I am still working on so any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Nathan Eckel said...

Thanks Ryan - I agree that taking time (if possible) to bring SMEs up to speed on the ID process can be a huge time saver and trust-builder. Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions or would like the ppt notes.

Christy Tucker said...

Nathan, I really like your five concepts. I think I'm struggling right now with the progress vs. perfectionism on a project right now, and I know it's behind far enough that I just need to get it done and stop nitpicking so much. I guess I knew that before too, but this was a good reminder.

The concept of "mentoring trumps correcting" is really great. I do see my job as an ID as trying to bring out the best in my SMEs, but I know not everyone takes that approach.

How many times have you used your training for SMEs on projects? Have you seen an improvement in your development process from SMEs from using it?

nathan eckel said...

Christy - Much of the success of my work with this SME is the front-end discussion with him - I laid out a realistic assessment of the work he would have to do (perhaps I even exaggerated this upward). He remained up for the challenge (to my amazement). We talked at length about what and why ID was important to this project. I even mentioned that although his project would be commercially successful with or without me as an ID, I would ensure every second of his video would have an impact leading to specific learning (and ideally behavioral) goals. More bang for the buck, per minute of video.

In today's presentation, I acknowledged that the kind of leverage I had as a freelancer to communicate this to the SME was probably more than anyone else in other situations (government, non-profit, education...) might have - but that my recommendations listed will still help people a lot.

To answer your question, I was amazed at my SMEs adeptness at incorporating the ID principles as well as he did. Per our mutual agreement, I reserved the "right" to make improvements/changes to his output without much explanation (in the event of time constraints) - but rarely had to do this.

This was my first venture into "Open Source ID" with any SME, but I enjoyed it thoroughly - and recommend other IDs consider experimenting with this as well. The major caveat is that you "screen" your SME and the Situation, as I mentioned in the presentation. IDC