Learning Battle Cards: A New Tool For Instructional Designers

Learning Battle Cards: A New Tool For Instructional Designers
Summary: There are many models which should be taken into account while designing instructions. As an Instructional Designer you know them all; you can mix and match ADDIE with Kolb Cycle, 9 Events of instruction with Bloom's taxonomy... You may even know how to use brain rules and take care of your development process' Flow. Ok, so you are an Instructional Designer expert. But don't you feel overwhelmed with all these new tools and methods, which may be used for learning but you don't know them well enough to fit them into your development process?

A New Tool For Instructional Designers: Learning Battle Cards

One of the biggest challenges for Instructional Designers is to keep track of constant changes in Training and Development (T&D). You know how to handle workshops and seminars, but do you know how to match them with a back channel or community in practice? Do you know how to use big data to shape your Training and Development plans, or how to engage virtual agents in developing skills of people you are responsible for?

Many of us educators know or remember only a few Training and Development methods; and even when learning about new methods, we are used to stick to those we are most familiar with. There are at least 2 barriers limiting the optimal usage of Training and Development methods by educators:

  • Knowing the method.
  • Understanding how to effectively use it.

We decided to create a concept, and a product, called Learning Battle Cards (LBC) which aims to break these barriers.

While building it we reached for 4 inspirations:

  1. Facebook; to make the concept social, folksonomic, and lively.
  2. Battle Forge; to make it strategic, palpable, and collectible.
  3. Wikipedia; to make it global, trustworthy, and crowdsourced.
  4. Angry Birds; to make it popular, fun, and engaging.

There are 4 goals of Learning Battle Cards:

  1. To promote rich learning, or maybe even better; to promote a rich Instructional Design process based on understanding of full variety of Training and Development methods.
  2. To train the trainers; give educators inspiration, knowledge, and a framework of thinking in a Learning Battle Cards-way.
  3. To integrate educators' involvement into the idea.
  4. To support the market development of new training methods.

Learning Battle Cards (LBC) is a set of poker-sized, collectible cards describing various forms of learning. The deck of Learning Battle Cards consist of both traditional (e.g. discussions) and innovative forms (e.g. micro blogs). There are more than 100 cards in the deck and about 60 which fit into the digital learning area.

At the face of each card you will see its acronym, name, icon, and a tag cloud which defines the method described by the card. The tag cloud was built by wisdom of the crowd.

At the back of the card you will find additional information about the method. At the top-right corner you will see its usability in 7 layers of Instructional Design, in the middle the type of the card, and at the bottom 5 characteristics in the form of power bars. Again; these power bars were built by wisdom of the crowd.

Learning Battle Cards: A New Tool For Instructional Designers: Game

The deck of Learning Battle Cards counts about 110 cards at this moment and the number is growing every week. For the 2016 edition we have already another 20 or so new propositions.

Here you can watch a short clip about Learning Battle Cards.

When I discussed the idea of Learning Battle Cards in the past, I heard a lot of “This is great, but how can I use it?”. There are some additional tools which help use the cards in the Instructional Design process: I use the cards as a “mind-flexor” while thinking about the learning process. For example, when I design instruction I just take card after card and divide them into two piles; the first one consists of cards which are “ok” and the second one of cards that are "not ok” in the learning context. It takes only a while to create a subset of cards which should be taken into consideration during my work. Of course I will discard many good cards later on, but at this moment I am at a very good starting point for my work.

To help implement Learning Battle Cards during this process we also designed the Learning Battle Cards Development Kit consisting of a magnetic whiteboard with 7 layers of Instructional Design set of tokens: Placing them on the board, manipulating them, joining them, adding sticky notes, marking them to create the Instructional Design process is not only fun, but also very effective.

Learning Battle Cards: A New Tool For Instructional Designers: Tokens

Here is an example of a real Training and Development process designed for a Polish bank visualized on the Learning Battle Cards Development Kit board with representation of Learning Battle Cards Tokens:

Learning Battle Cards: A New Tool For Instructional Designers: Case 2

I should also mention that the Learning Battle Cards concept is not in any way academic; there is no research behind its creation. We treat it rather as an inspirational tool, a way to foster discussion, to build on social, crowd wisdom.

On the Learning Battle Cards website you can keep track of the Learning Battle Cards project. Here you can find the Pinterest account with 4000+ visuals for educators ordered in the Learning Battle Cards-way. We add new material on a regular basis. Please feel welcome to follow this board and be up to date with all new resources.

XY Learning Team is a team of 3 professionals – both competitors and friends functioning in the Training and Development sector. It is not a company, foundation, chamber, or any other formalized body. We work together in an informal way, we don't have any funds (apart from our own money), and we don’t have any structures and employees. Everything we do is based on our energy, passion, work, and relations.