Informed Choices

Helping trainers navigate the erratic landscape of learning technology.

One of my mentors taught me long ago that instructional design is more about making informed choices, and less about following established systems. He encouraged me to dig deeper into research that can guide the choices about the who, what, where, why, when, and how of every learning experience.

The erratic landscape of learning technology also requires making choices—on a continuous basis. Should I try this new app? What if it doesn’t work? Or even worse, what will happen when stakeholders find out it does not solve the problems we expected it would and we’ve already blown through our budget?

With every choice comes consequences, and the “unexpected” can pop up at any time. How do we prepare for the unexpected while maintaining a sense of curiosity? In such times, I turn to research— specifically the research behind the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology, or UTAUT. The theory posits that there are four constructs that impact our intention to use/adopt technology:

  • Performance expectancy: How much we think we can gain from using the technology
  • Effort expectancy: How easy we think the technology is to use
  • Social influence: How we feel others believe we should be using the technology
  • Facilitating conditions: The extent to which we believe there are structures in place to support the use of the technology

Explore the Research

I find tremendous value in exploring these constructs before introducing a new tool or app into the workplace, and often shape executive summaries around the answers to the questions these constructs pose.

I am sharing these simple guidelines for selfish reasons, as this is my last contribution to this What the Tech? column. For health reasons, I have chosen to pare down my responsibilities. I am eternally grateful to the Training magazine team for the abundant opportunities they have provided.

I hope I have piqued your curiosity at some point in the last few years that you’ve been reading my contributions. I hope you’ll continue to explore tools and apps that have little application in your space—just because you can. And I hope you will turn to research to guide you to make more informed decisions about what learning technology adoptions might work for you and your teams.

I wish you all the best on your journeys through the learning tech landscape. Stay curious!

Phylise Banner
Phylise Banner is a learning experience designer with more than 25 years of vision, action, and leadership experience in transformational learning and development approaches. A pioneer in online learning, she is an Adobe Education Leader, Certified Learning Environment Architect, STC Fellow, performance storyteller, avid angler, aviation enthusiast, and currently training to be a private pilot.