the learning designer

what is a learning designer?  I define a learning designer as an agent of change for the 21st century.  The personas that a learning designer assumes are that of an extreme learner, experience architect & social entrepreneur.  An extreme learner is someone who takes their love for learning to a whole new level.  They are, according to Milton Chen, a renegade & trailblazer who does not rely on the curriculums that others provide but instead creates their own course of study, one that is built around their passions and purpose.  The extreme learner operates under the philosophy that learning happens anywhere and any time.  What makes the extreme learner “extreme,” besides their passion for learning, is the value they place on those anytime, anywhere experiences.  They see those learning opportunities as just as valuable as those that happen in schools.

The experience architect is an extreme learner who commits themselves to creating the most amazing learning experiences for others.  The experience architect uses the process of empathy to identify what others want and need to know.  By listening & observing they learn what engages learners and then they build dynamic intellectual and physical spaces to meet the needs of those learners.  The experience architect understands that if you start with the engagement question first, not content standards then you are starting with questions that surround emotions and identity.  Since the goal of an experience architect is to have a positive impact on as many people as possible, they also assume the role of social entrepreneur.

The social entrepreneur, like any design thinker, is driven by three factors: inspiration, ideation & implementation.  The inspiration is the challenge or opportunity to find solutions.  Ideation is the process of generating, developing and testing ideas.  Implementation is making the move from design lab to the real world.  The social entrepreneur works within dream teams of designers from diverse backgrounds to follow this process and create change in the world.  Ideas to action is what they are all about.