SO…you’ve been asked by a company to create a proposal to develop a one day training program for at risk teens to learn coping skills for anger, stress, bullying and a whole host of other situations that may cause them to respond in a negative way vs a positive way. What do you do?
You create a workshop right? That’s one way. A hundred of different ways to broach this subject based on how creative or tech savy you are. Some people may create a number of videos and animations to engage students, some may create classroom exercises to teach teens practical skills they can use in situations outside of the workshop to cope with these issues.
So we had a three person team of budding instructional designers tasked with this proposal. This is what we came up with.
As instructional designers we had to look at the problems and decide what theory was best used to meet the needs of our client. As a matter of IBSTPI competencies under Design and Development: Use an instructional design and development process appropriate for a given project, we had to come up with a design theory that would best allow us to meet the needs of our stakeholder as well as allow the development to progress logically. Using a form of Backward Design called UBD or understanding by design, we focused on the objectives of the RFP first, which was teach teens how to cope with stress. In regards to the IBSTPI Competencies this would fall into the Planning and Analysis area of expertise. We needed to conduct a needs assessment in order to recommend appropriate design solutions and strategies. Now while the needs analysis was already pretty much done by the company who requested the proposal, a good Instructional Designer looks at the stakeholders requested need and decides if their view of the product really meets their need. This is why we needed to make sure that we established objectives of the program first.
Another part of the Planning and Analysis Competencies (Identify and describe target population and environmental characteristics and select and use analysis techniques for determining instructional content) that we needed to focus on was who were we trying to reach and through what means would we reach them in our instruction. How do you do that? You do lots of research (Thanks Patty)!!
Based on our research we came up with a number of activities and learning theories that would best engage these types of teens in the environment we envisioned for this program. Our research told us that student centered learning where the students played a key role in the information they shared and absorbed would best keep them engaged. Using the information available to us brought Professional Foundations of IBSTPI into full focus through Apply data collection and analysis skills in instructional design projects.
Once we were able to analyze our data and research and decide on a course of action for our workshop, we began to put together a conceptual training plan that would incorporate our learning theories, activities and information on the target audience to best model our program. This touched on the Design and Development competencies of Organize instructional programs and/or products to be designed, developed, and Evaluated. Develop instructional materials.
The one key aspect of this plan for our workshop was that it needed to be conceptual and obtainable but also modular enough to fit the needs of the specific target audience. Part of the UBD design theory that we used to develop this idea included a concept of WHERETO as a design approach that touches on the ability to change the design based on need. With multiple modules, we change as needed and scaffold the learning based on the parts of the program that are and are not used. For this project, using UBD and applying these design concepts to an actual program versus the conceptual implementation in a classroom perspective enabled for movement through the Planning and Analysis competency regarding the ability to update and improve knowledge, skills, and attitudes pertaining to the instructional design process and related fields. I feel there is better understanding of this design model than there was previously simply through application to a real problem.
As mentioned above, we included a number of activities into the workshop to help keep the class participation relevant as well as useful. The key aspect of the activities was the students ability to learn positive ways of focusing anger and stress instead of acting out or resorting to negative coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, as well as harming themselves or others.
We also did a lot in regards to finding and implementing appropriate learning styles and theories to help build and develop our program. Keeping in mind that our proposal was a conceptual representation, we offered a level of understanding in the realm of learning theories and styles to show that in the process of developing our program we will have a credible understanding of how to develop a program for a trained instructor to best engage the target audience as well as the tools and capabilities to keep them engaged.
One of the key observations in regards to this proposal was the team work aspect and how that team worked. As instructional designers, we must understand the ability to work in a team and leverage the use of the strengths in that team to accomplish the goal. Not every team gets to pick it’s members and not all team members get to pick the Project Manager chosen to guide the success of the project. This was a very opening experience in regards to the Management competencies. All three aspects of the competency: Apply business skills to managing the instructional design function. Manage partnerships and collaborative relationships. Plan and manage instructional design projects, came into play with this project. Understanding how to work in a professional setting with other Instructional Designers with varying skills and differing perspectives on the project before you is key in a project such as this. In regards to understanding and reaching the competencies we met the last aspect Plan and manage instructional design projects and learned a great deal about the reasons why the other two competencies are incorporated into IBSTPI.
All things considered, I think this was a very eye opening proposal to work on. The subject matter was so far out of our realm of comfort that it caused us to have to reorient our focus to something we would not have normally spent time and energy on. The other piece of it being how do you truly design a program for the target audience. There are so many different problems and questions that come up when trying to figure out what will keep at risk teens engaged that it threatens to open up very large can of worms. The key point I think we all learned from the process is that the design theory is built the way it is for a reason to help remind the Instructional Designer to ask certain questions and ensure that certain pieces are in place before moving onto the next piece. It was an interesting learning process that will provide valuable insight into future products and programs.
Based on an experiment, conducted many times by Bransford and Stein (1993), I have developed a classroom learning sciences plan to help students better understand and craft skills to enhance information retention.
The plan for this exercise assumes a classroom environment with a class of at least four students. The instructor will provide an item to represent each of the designated items in the question spaced in logical places around the classroom (ie. a label of ‘the roof’ on the floor in the middle of the room, an egg on a desk, etc.)
The instructor will place the following sentences up on a board or digital display in a place where all of the students can see it. The students will be given Take 4 seconds to read each sentence, once and only once, as effortlessly as they can.
The instructor will remove the sentences at the end of the 4 seconds.
Fred walked on the roof.
Wendy picked up the egg.
Andria hid the axe.
Karen flipped the switch.
Jim flew the kite.
Ron built the boat.
Mark hit his head on the ceiling.
Reulan quit her job.
Mike fixed the sail
Sue wrote the play
The students will take 10 seconds to look over the room from their seats and create mental connections with the items dispersed around the room.
The students will then pair with a partner and take 30 seconds to write down each of the names on a colored note card provided by the instructor. Each group will have a different color note card to distinguish them. At the end of the 30 seconds the student groups will be given 5 minutes to properly place their note cards with the name down, to their appropriate item.
At the end of the 5 minutes, the instructor will go to each of the items and turn over the cards to display the names. To close out the exercise, the class will discuss the process of determining the connection between each person and item. The object of the lesson will be to determine how each individual processed the information and made the necessary connections to find the correct answer. If the students were not able to make at least half of the connections, the class will discuss reasons why it’s difficult to make these connections and brainstorm some better learning aids to help store and retain information.
- Source: Bransford, J.D. & Stein, B. (1994). The ideal problem solver: A guide to improving thinking, learning, and Creativity
(2nd ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.
accomodating, adult learning, assimilating, auditory, beliefs, cognitive dissonance, converging, David Kolb Theory, diverging, education, educators, environment, expectations, experience, experiential learning model, Ideas, industry, information, Instructional Design, kinesthetic, knowledge, Knowles, learn, learning, learning styles, reflection, visual, watch
Originally posted on 11/23/2015
How do Adult Learners overcome Cognitive Dissonance?
Cognitive Dissonance is the conflict of ideas, beliefs or expectations. One of the issues with adult learning is how educators or Instructional Designers create a learning environment that is positive and effective in an adult learning environment. We know that there are a number of ways in which individuals learn.
Kinesthetic, auditory, visual learning have always been the industry accepted ways in which individuals process new information. And while the education industry has attempted to better define those learning styles, we are still stuck with one question, how do you teach adults who bring with them their own forms of ideas, beliefs and expectations?
The experiential learning model considers the individual adult learning styles and gives adult learners the tools they need to learn in a number of different styles, eventually exploiting their strengths or even finding out their learning style. Experiential learning style takes Knowles principles of adult learning:
- Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.
- Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.
- Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.
- Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. (Kearsley, 2010)
Takes Knowles principles of learning and turns them into a learning style that forces the adult learner to work their way through the cognitive dissonance that they have for a certain subject, and open themselves to new ideas, beliefs and expectations. Experiential works to make the adult learner directly involved in their won learning, therefore creating a transformation in the learners mind where they create ‘buy in’ and take a personal stake in the material, applying it to situations and beliefs that they hold as part of their life experience.
Experiential based on David Kolb Theory, is a process focused on the adult learner gaining knowledge, not reaching an outcome (Kolb). The need to do, process, watch, learn and reflect creates and environment for the adult learner to fully turn the learning into something all their own, regardless of what others in the same environment may have taken from the provided instruction.
As an adult learner, currently both in an environment where I am a student and an educator, I can see the utility and logic in a program like this. Although an experiential learning model won’t work in all environments, nor with all learners, I think the silent majority of adults who experience this form of teaching will find that they are able to leave their cognitive dissonance at the door to the classroom and open their minds to the possibilities that there might be other forms of learning on the horizon.
- Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in Action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Kearsley, G. (2010). Andragogy (M.Knowles). The theory Into practice database. Retrieved from http://tip.psychology.org