Well, in many ways, a good learning methodology is just common sense, but common sense with a structure put around it. The learning method that you follow in designing a solution does not need to be complicated. Indeed, it really shouldn’t be complicated. But it should be comprehensive. There’s no particular magic to what will or won’t work, and i’m aware that the format that i’ve proposed before is just one of an equally good number of alternatives, but whichever one you use (or should you decide to create one yourself), it will allow you to ensure that there is an overarching framework that the learning sits within.
Because a good piece of learning is like a good story, with a start, a middle and an end, it’s often easy to get caught up in ensuring that we fill the spaces in. Creating the structure of the learning is important, but that’s not really what a learning methodology is for. It’s more about the underlying approach that you’re taking to training. It’s about the learning principles that you’re building the actual structure upon, and in that sense, it’s the foundations of everything.
For me, it’s both the map that gives me direction and also a filter that i push things through to ensure that everything is as it should be. It’s something that i consider at the start and the end of the creative process, as well as something to check against in the middle.
Adopting a complex methodology is not necessary. Whilst we are complex creatures, we are not complex learners and although we are highly discerning, we are remarkably tolerant. For example, setting a context for the learning is something that helps the learner to make things relevant, to position new learning against the context of the old. Contextualisation is important, but doesn’t need to be complex. The apparent need to overcomplicate messages is a recurring theme, which i am as guilty of as anyone, but it’s not necessary.
Adopting a formal learning methodology is not a way of making learning and instructional design formulaic; just the opposite in fact, it’s away of liberating you from structure, because you are using a different method for ensuring that your foundations are solid.
It will allow you to creatively use media and content, sure in the knowledge that the learning is rigorous without being overly formal, or resorting to purely templates outlines.
The truth of the matter is that a good learning methodology, whether for e-learning or the design of traditional learning materials, will set you on the right path for an appealing and effective solution. Common sense, yes, but with a rock solid foundation.