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Learners build relationships with the instructor, medium, curriculum, and peers.   The success of the 21st century learner often depends on these relationships.  The designer and instructor have a large amount of control over how these different relationshops are built.  This relationship triangle is made for success.

Why is this important?

Designing and teaching from the perspective of building a relationship is critical to learner success which defines the success of the teacher and designer.   Arguably the most critical thing in business are the relationships you build.  Why not take this to another natural point within education.  Design with relationship in mind.  Think of your typical on-boarding...Training is conducted generally by giving out facts upon facts (has this ever happened to you?).  

Take a moment to reflect on how powerful the onboarding process could be if it's primary objective was to start building that business relationship.  All the facts and figure that have to be disseminated would still be accomplished but how it would be accomplished would be much different.  

When onboarding is designed from a relationship perspective it takes on a whole new look and feel.  The entire experience is now different.  The entire experience moves into a place of meaning and creating a bond between the new team member and the company.  

Think this may help with retention?

The How

When you design with relationship in mind or teach with relationship in mind the learning experience becomes a focal point along with the learning.  How does the learner interact with or experience the learning?  When we look at learning from this perspective and design or teach from this perspective the learning gains more meaning and it is more readily available to be used by the learner.

Design

When designing relationship can be put into any current design model of your choice.  This works with the ADDIE model, SAM, Rapid Prototyping, Dick and Carrey, Systems Theory...  To do this we have to take purposefull action by adding effort focused directly on the affective domain.  

Proper use and selection of technology are vital.  Technology must be used to help build relationships.  There has to be a purpose to the use of the technology that is grounded in assessment and evidence based research.  Technology for the sake of technology generally does not work because it is not seen as a meaningful and integrated part of the learning experience.