Sign here: pride in learning design

When the design for the Apple Macintosh was complete, Steve Jobs had the small team sign a piece of paper, then engraved the signatures on the inside of the case of every machine that went out of the factory. Painters sign their works of art, authors their books. Musicians put albums out in their name, but somehow it’s not universal. We take pride in creative arts and efforts, but somehow not in educational ones.

Often the push is towards a bland utilitarian sameness in what we produce, rather than pride and an flourish. Why don’t we sign the work we put out? In corporate life, it seems somehow that we devalue the role of the individual, that a lot of our effort goes into homogenising and sterilising identity, to ironing out the things that are unique in favour of one compliant view of the world.

Somehow it feels that we value the rather abstract and formal language of business more than the personal and varied language of the poet or blogger. It’s odd how we subscribe to the cult of the personality, be it Ferrari, Steve Jobs or Sting, yet we don’t feel such affinity with the middle man: the people who actually produce everyday.

Some marketing tries to address this, telling me that the apples i bought yesterday were proudly grown by a man called John is Suffolk. Maybe this is part of a trend towards the more social, the more immediate, where we will see that this e-learning was produced by Alex, the guy who worked late on friday night to finish it.

It’s a small thing, but kind of important too: are we proud of what we do? Are you proud of what your team achieves, what deadlines you’ve hit, the quality of what you’ve done? We are happy to use this information and pride when we are selling things, on our own websites or LinkedIn pages, yet we rarely include credits in learning as we would in a film. Are we secretly ashamed of our work, or has it simply fallen into the bland landscape of corporate comms and we’ve overlooked it? Maybe it’s time to sign on the dotted line and put the pride back into learning design.

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About Julian Stodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Art, Brand, Creative, Design, Education, Identity, Inspiration, Learning, Learning Design, Pride and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sign here: pride in learning design

  1. igardett says:

    What an excellent post. Sometimes I think teachers can have a hard time with this because, unlike the Apple team, no-one besides their students ever sees what they do. Designing, for example, the absolutely perfect activity to teach a group of students how to write the always-difficult research introduction, for example, or how to do difficult equations–who will ever know? Finding ways to share with other instructors, and perhaps sitting in each others’ classes for inspiration and community (doing more collaborative teaching, for example), might be a way to give teachers more opportunities to feel pride in their designs.

  2. julianstodd says:

    Thanks for your kind words and great ideas! Collaboration is always great – we achieve more together than we ever can alone.

  3. Pingback: On the sixth day of Christmas Learning: the Social Contract | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  4. Pingback: The myth of history: why organisational culture is our problem | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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