As a followup to last weeks blog, “Improving Instructional Design,” here are some additional thoughts.

 Jane Bozarth writing in “Learning Solutions Magazine  quotes Étienne Charles Wenger (best known today for his work in the field of communities of practice):  “Instruction does not cause learning; it creates a context in which learning takes place, as do other contexts.  Learning and teaching are not inherently linked.  Much learning takes place without teaching, and indeed much teaching takes place without learning.”

Bozarth continues:  “In other words, knowledge acquisition doesn’t cause behavior change. People learn through experience, through making mistakes, through trying things out, through talking things through with others.  Don’t just deliver facts and “content,” but provide meaningful exercises and activities that can help to “cause” learning.  Provide performance support tools. Insinuate the learning into the social spaces in which the workers operate.  Help the instruction become part of that context in which the learner can learn.”

Some points made in last week’s blog are worth restating as they relate specifically to Bozarth’s comments:

Cookie-cutter solutions are not the answer.  Every training initiative challenge undertaken has specific — not, generic — solutions.  Templating (either by the organization itself or by the purchase of a vendor’s templated creation) will not work.  You may create, or purchase, such a course — but, you will not provide a solution.


Because each training initiative you undertake must be tailored to the specific skills necessary to adequately perform a specific task!  And, that means knowing your workforce demographics; the specific jobs assigned; and, the specific skills required to perform those jobs.

In order to be successful, a training initiative must become a specific solution that can be successfully implemented within the existing challenges of your organization.

And, above all, instructional design practitioners must recognize (as Bozarth so succinctly does) that, “People learn through experience, through making mistakes, through trying things out, through talking things through with others.”  Your training designs should promote those opportunities!

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

      — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

    March 6, 2017  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)