So many e-learning designers appear to want to live and work in a certain world. They seem to think that you can take a solid, well-articulated brief from a client, work it through and pump out an e-learning solution at the end of it.
But even in more mature design disciplines - product design, architecture, graphics - it doesn't work like that. As many researchers have shown us, design is a journey of exploration. We discover and understand design problems by working on the solutions. We constantly uncover new constraints, issues, viewpoints and possibilities as we explore the design. It's an uncertain process in an increasingly uncertain world.
When it comes to e-learning, we have far fewer shared understandings between clients and designers, far fewer proven methodologies, and tools that will soon be regarded as the quaint products of e-learning's dark ages. So things are likely to be even more uncertain than in other design disciplines. We work in the most uncertain environment of all.
So conventional engineering approaches to e-learning design and production are laughably inappropriate. Assuming that the client understands their problem, that they have the same mental model as the designer, that any part of a project can be managed with a degree of predictability...sorry, that's cloud cuckoo land.
The only certainty we can guarantee in our business is that uncertainty will prevail for some time to come. And thank goodness for that.