Learning Design in Australia – Is It Mature Enough?

Today I participated as a panel member for the Learning Cafe webinar “Learning Design in Australia – Is It Mature Enough?”

When I agree to do these things, whether it is speaking publicly or presenting to a small group or even online through webinars or virtual classrooms, I always have slight anxiety attacks.  The heart beats a bit faster, my mouth dries out and despite always being prepared (the perfectionist in me never can do things ‘on the fly’) with scribbled notes, I always end up missing something or I do something stupid that throws me out some way.

Today I was undone by fried chips.

You see, the webinar was at 12 – 1pm.  After the webinar, I had meetings to attend. My stomach was gurgling with hunger pangs and rather than risk my stomach being heard by participants around Australia through the microphone, I dashed downstairs to the cafe to buy an early lunch at 11:30am.

However they hadn’t put out any food EXCEPT for the hot chips and cold salads.

On a cold day, the last thing I want to pass my lips are some cold wet lettuce leaves and  mini corn cobs so it had to be the hot chips.

I don’t know why I bothered.  I dashed upstairs to my ‘cone of silence’ glass booth where I had everything set up and ready to go and quickly scoffed my chips knowing that I’d regret it later.

I glanced through my notes and made a promise to myself that when everything is said and done, if I can get the following key messages through, then I’d be happy.

The key messages were:

No it’s not the fault of the ADDIE framework but how we (both L&D people think it’s meant to be used and how L&D managers mandate their people to use it) – where did this notion of it having to follow strict, procedural, ‘don’t go backwards in the step’ come from? I’ve been tweaking it through my work all my years and it’s worked well.  My ADDIE framework has always been more like…ADADADADDADADDIADDI…….E(maybe – I insist on it, client dismisses it in 99% of cases).

The second key message was that due to a widespread of knowledge and skills in L&D, there is an inconsistent approach to learning design in general.  My point is that this inconsistency is even found WITHIN departments and teams in organisations.  I had an interesting story to talk about here but naturally, in the heat of the moment, I got tongue tied and I ended up sounding like a weirdo.

The third message is that we wouldn’t have a problem with learning design if people had a performance improvement mindset and didn’t jump on learning being the only solution for every single performance gap in the organisation.  

When the webinar started, my stomach began to hurt in other ways and the cramps began. Serves me right for trying to eat my food quickly.  But not only that, the oiliness of the chips was sitting heavy in my stomach and I made a mental note that next time (if there IS a next time), to pre-prepare a healthy lunch.

These were the things going through my mind while the webinar was happening beating myself up over those bloody chips.

Did I get my message across?

No! The stories that I had so wonderfully regaled in my head were thrown out the window.   Instead I think I made the first point but without a personal story.  And, I completely missed my third point – which luckily was made by one of the other speakers.  If anything, I think I came across as the kooky one who WANTS ADDIE to stay but just be flexible in how we use it.

An ‘agile ADDIE’ so to speak with lots of feedback loops….

I’m not sure of how the general feeling was in the chat as that function was turned off and I couldn’t read or gauge the participants views on the other side.  We did however, have some questions display as questions for the speakers – so I really have no idea how I went.

If you’re reading this and attended the webinar, I’m sorry for sounding like a weirdo. It was the chips!

Luckily we had some great quality speakers who also presented ideas about the future skill set of L&D people and there was talk about a focus more on performance support, professional development around digital literacy to be ready for the new type of learner.

Now you’re probably wondering what the outcome of the webinar was and whether we agreed if learning design was mature in Australia.

I think you know the answer to that.


Actually, Mager and Pipe model was mentioned in the first 20 minutes of the webinar – that made me happy and I momentarily forgot about my chips.


About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
This entry was posted in Development, Work Narration and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Learning Design in Australia – Is It Mature Enough?

  1. Pingback: What I Learned in May & June | Activate Learning Solutions

  2. Yes despite the chips! Well at least I know better next time!

  3. This made me laugh Helen – I certainly relate. I tend to experience these frozen moments when I am at the end of a phone or on a webinar. I find it difficult to express myself without using my hands or seeing people’s reactions! I am sorry I missed it but I have a feeling you did very well despite the chips.

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