I’ve taught ABCD objectives (audience, behavior, condition, and degree) on many continents, and in universities, companies, and government agencies. I promise you that students of instructional design appreciate ABCD. They rely on the mnemonic to help them produce and screen their efforts. Admittedly trickier is demonstrating where objectives come from, establishing that valuable link between the tasking, analysis, goals, and objectives. That is a story for another time. —Allison Rossett
Methods like ABCD work very well when you know what you are trying to achieve and understand the systems you are operating in. They work well when you have established best or good practices to base the training on. But what happens in complex environments, when “the relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect, but not in advance”? This is the situation many workers find themselves in today.
In complex environments, a Probe-Sense-Respond approach is required, and this is something that training and education programmes, designed in advance and directed by management, cannot address. While people still need to be trained and educated, that alone will not prepare them for a networked workplace that demands the integration of learning and working.
The increasing complexity of our workplaces means we have to accept the limitations of training and education as we have practiced them. There is a growing need to help people be more creative and to solve complex problems, on a daily basis and in concert with others. Even the best training programmes cannot help here. Organizations (HR, L&D, OD, KM, etc) need to add significantly more thought and resources to enable people to learn socially, share cooperatively, and work collaboratively. Work is changing, and so must learning support. Making better carriages will not help.