However, how many instructional designers and trainers are given the opportunity to really discuss a topic indepth with their target audience? How many even have an understanding of the environment in which their students work?
At the conference I attended on Distance Learning last week, one of the presenters spoke of being "blown away" at some of the feedback she had asked for. One of the students felt that her formating requirement for the subject line was in fact making things more difficult for him to follow rather than easier. He was doing the entire course using his blackberry so the e-mail options made him difficult to follow which threads went with which discussions. What surprised her was that he was using a common technology in a different way. Had she not asked for feedback, she would not have been able to make accommodations for his situation.
As a result of these questions, I think we need to be careful as develop work literacies that:
- We recognize that these are not stagnant, nor will specific work literacy skills fit all contexts
- Workers might have or not have these skills without being aware of it
- There is a cultural underpinning with all literacies that might be difficult, yet necessary to identify
- Instructional designers and teachers may or may not be aware of the contexts in which their target audience is using, but must ask the right questions to determine student needs and skills