eLearning and Instructional Design Meme

Last year I wrote a brief post about tech support meme and posted a hilarious video. I recently came across a whole book about, well not exactly tech support memes though some of stories are about tech support, Indian BPO stories. BPO-Sutra is compiled and edited by Sudhindra Mokhasi and he is already calling for more stories for a volume II.

So do instructional designers have any stories to build the elearning or instructional design meme? Here are two to start with. Would love to hear more from you. Either leave your story as a comment or post a link to your blog post with the story.


ID Meme #1

This was way back sometime in the mid-nineties. We had received a huge contract to develop elearning courses from probably the largest catalog content provider at that time. So we ramped up quickly going from a team of 15 to 200 very quickly. Instructional Design was still new to India and getting good writers was hard. But we had a strong training program and very good reviewers to parse every document. During a team meeting, one of the senior reviewers very seriously suggested that we need to include geography lessons in our refresher course on writing scenarios for the American audience. Curious we asked what prompted her to suggest that. Seriously she took out a script and read out the scenario. I don’t remember the exact words but it went something like this. “You are working as a system administrator in an NGO dedicated to the cause of tiger preservation in Alaska.” We all cried laughing that day.


ID Meme #2

This is a more recent one. One of the courses was returned by an American trainer saying that he can’t teach the course as he feared he might get sued because of the examples used in the course. The course was on using SQL in relational databases. The much feared example was a SQL query to identify employees above the age or 60 years in the employee master table. Both the instructional designer and the subject matter expert were wondering what the fuss was all about. It is only an example to demonstrate conditions in an SQL query, not realizing that while in India we can get away with seeking almost any info about the employees, sensitivities in the USA is a lot different.


So what’s your elearning / instructional design meme? Share your story here.