Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are You an Order Taker?

When you design learning interventions, are you trying to create better learning or are you just taking the customer's order and delivering what they asked for?

Will Thalheimer, in the follow-up notes to his brown bag on Learning Myths, writes:
"Many of us have been trying for decades to make changes, but I think also that many of us are just doing our little part as order takers. We build learning interventions when asked."

What's your reality?

Photo Credit: mr. bartley's burger cottage waitress by irina slutsky


Anonymous said...

Luckily, I am not an order taker. In part because the management in our corporate U. does not allow it. If we are presented if any training request we do have a needs analysis process. At times our customers are pleased, and often surprised, with the results. And at times not, especially when we find it is a performance management issue, which we also help find a intervention for.

My issue, personally, is when customers (these are internal customers) try to "order" e-learning, making the assumption that the best approach is an online one. During our analysis we determine the best delivery method (and sometimes e-learning is the best option). I think to many people prefer e-learning because of the convenience and not if it is the best approach as determined by the content, audience, etc.

Unknown said...

So far, we've been order-taking and making minimal suggestions to the customers. I've been recently roped in to research on ways to make it more about the learning.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Cammy!

The blog posts of many bloggers are splendid examples of elearning that's not exactly taking orders. And it's interactive in a wonderfully collaborative way.

I certainly learn from them, and I never gave my orders. In many cases, I don't think anyone requested an order.

Through the emergence of creativity, innovation and the skills of some of the world's finest e-teachers, we are witnessing, in the blogosphere, a most remarkable global example of unsolicited teaching - advice, knowledge, skills - the how-to that you'll find on blogs like Sue Waters' or Tom Kuhlmann's.

My feeling is that the freebies (and they are freebies) tend to be overlooked for their worth to society.

We must celebrate the Sues and the Toms in the blogosphere!

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

Eric Wilbanks said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog...thanks for keeping things interesting. :-)

As both a freelance designer and a "corporate hireling" I do not see this as either/or. In both situations, I have someone else paying the bills, so I have to think of myself first as an order taker. For me, this is one of the keys to creating an ultimate customer experience and goes beyond just "Poof! Whadda you need?" It means trying to really understand my clients needs and extracting the "order" that really touches the core of what is needed. But this is only the beginning.

Once I've taken the order, I have to shift the focus to creating a dish that knocks the socks off my client. My goal is to give them the best product I am capable of creating, even if they don't fully understand the intricacies of the expertise. Only then can I take pride in my work as a chef.

Cammy Bean said...

If it's not interesting, why bother!

To keep with the food analogies -- So those of us who do work for hire should think of ourselves as empowered wait staff: "Oh yes, the chicken marsala is delicious. Might I recommend the Flaming Chicken Pinot Grigio to go with that along with the phyllo pastry puff for dessert?"

As to the freebies, great point. Perhaps these are the samples left out on coffee shop counters.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Cammy

You did ask about things other than just taking orders. But no. These freebies are not even in the coffee shop, never mind on the counter. And I get the strong impression that they're not samples either.

What was it they said about the gift horse and the mouth . . . ?


Cammy Bean said...

Ken, you're absolutely right. Freebies are not in the restaurant at all. They're the nice guy on the corner handing out donuts -- or rather the apple from the tree on the public land on the corner that we're all invited to reach up and take bites from.

Anonymous said...

Depressingly, we sometimes ARE order takers, though we never want to be. Too often, too many fingers get into the development pie, and a solid learning solution ends up being diluted into a content dump.

As the saying goes, "The customer may not always be right, but the customer is the customer." Customers typically over-estimate the importance of all their content (it is all essential) and under-estimate the time required for the learner to actually learn.