Desire Paths: An Aha! Moment

There’s a lot of conversation going on about informal versus formal learning opportunities, 70-20-10 principles, and just what it takes to be a designer of learning these days anyway.

What I find interesting about many of these conversations is they so often focus on the type of learning, the environment of the learning, the model used in designing the learning, or the various skill sets of the designer that they seem, inadvertently, to lose sight of the forest for the trees. What about the forest..er, learners? In all our fussing and fretting about design, are we taking the time to just do the simple thing and ask?

How do you want to learn what you need to know?

In all of our designing and modeling and paradigm mapping and finger pointing, the conversation has moved beyond the learner’s answer to this question, if it ever was overly concerned with his or her opinion in the first place.

I am not exempt. I get caught up in serve-it-up side of learning to the detriment of the client-side learner’s choices, too.

But I had an “aha!” moment while surfing the ‘net today. I was actually in the middle of a project working on developing a learning experience model, when I took a break and happened across this image from a post on MSNBC.com. The topic of the post isn’t what hit me (although it was somewhat on target, also).

 What hit me was the stark visual of so many people taking a different path from the solidly organized and well-planned one laid out for them by designers.

These individuals intentionally chose a bumpier path, rougher terrain, and perhaps even got their shoes a little dirty to have the experience they wanted — not the one prescribed to them by well-intentioned architects. These rebels avoiding cement walkways went off-road to get where they wanted to go, the way they wanted to get there.  And it wasn’t just one or two…it was enough to create a trail for others to follow. I’m sure plenty of pedestrians also intentionally chose the more comfortable, covered sidewalk as well, especially on rainy days.  The key word here is “chose”.  He or she got to the destination based on desire and weighing the options.

When do we as designers give these kinds of choices? It’s clear learners (and walkers) will diverge with or without our design approval.

Learner’s and their desire paths…a definite “aha!” for the day.

Marsh U’s Certified Blogger Program

I’m so happy to see that the launch of Marsh U‘s Certified Blogger Program is almost here.  Marsh colleagues will go far with this unique experiential learning program that is about so much more than just blogging skills.

What a great project to be a part of designing!

Check out the animated overview narrated by Ben Brooks, Vice President of Human Capital at Marsh: