Jack of All Trades or Master of None?

I know I shouldn’t get wound up, but this makes me angrier than those times that you select the ‘I do not want to receive marketing communications from selected partners’ – and by the time you’ve switched back to your Inbox, you’ve already received their latest marketing mailshot!

Jack of all Trades

Have you ever looked on a job website and seen an advert for a caretaker/teacher? Or IT consultant/policeman? Train driver/estate agent?

No? So maybe this is little far-fetched.

But is it really? Let’s take a look in more detail:

  • A trainer is somebody who stands in front of a group of people and delivers information. The information is delivered using a variety of presentation tools. The reason for the training could be for a number of reasons – behavioural change, teaching a new skill, to provide information or just to inspire that group of people.
  • Now let’s look at the next job in the advert, the instructional designer. This person’s job requires them to sit in an office, using their design skills and understanding of rapid authoring tools and learning technologies to design engaging and effective training courses.

The ONLY similarity between these roles is that both require an understanding of the process of learning. Albeit in very different circumstances.

People, people, people. When are we going to realise that being a 21st Century teacher does not automatically make you an instructional designer? Yet we continue to bundle them into the same bracket and even have the cheek to expect them to find the time in a 40 hour week to do both jobs. And do them well.

So what do I propose? You gonna pay them twice ? No? Then choose. One or the other. Do you want online learning? Or instructor led training? If the answer is both, you’re going to need 2 people because it’s difficult enough for someone to accomplish one of these tasks, let alone both.

And if you are lucky enough to find someone with both skills, you will need to realise that projects will take more than double the time it takes to have a specialist in each area. Why more than double? Because at the rate that learning technology is advancing, you need 40 hours a week to keep up with technical developments and focus on keeping your design skills sharp.

That, or ineffective learning. But then what’s the point? That’s it. Rant over.