eLearning Design V. Complexity with Julie Dirksen

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Julie Dirksen is an instructional designer who has been an expert in the field for many years. She’s probably best known for her groundbreaking 2011 book  titled, “Design for How People Learn,” which still holds up as one of those first books you should read if you’re getting started in instructional design. The second edition was published in 2015. She is also the founder and curator of

In this ‘super practical yet sometimes complex’ conversation, Julie and I talk about

🎨 The distinction between Instructional Design and other forms of design, and why it is important to know the differences, especially when connecting desired learning outcomes to learning strategies

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 How to decide what to train on, or said another way: What are people going to do with the information you’re about to give them? We also discuss how this differs in different contexts and with different skill levels among individuals

🔂 Why feedback is crucial to learning, and yet is one of the things we often neglect to give to learners; and why feedback is also one of the most challenging things to scale

🎨 How one of the big blind spots in instructional design is how do you design good practice for learners, and how practice is neglected in so many areas of professional growth

⚠ What we need to do when we’ve found all of the treasures in the game of adult learning —hat tip to a common problem with gamers— and the difference between getting bored, topping out and plateauing.

✔ When and why you should use the Cynefin Framework to think through complex organizational problems, and the role it plays in picking the sex of baby chickens (you’ll have to listen to figure this one out!)

🔋 We end our conversation discussing why it’s worth it for everyone to lean into their superpowers, and make sure that you’re always doing things that give you energy.


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