Change Management Methods in Digital Learning Environments
An assignment submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the course
Dr. Michelle Harrison
ROYAL ROADS UNIVERSITY
Assignment Due Date: February 2018
Change management frameworks and methods offer the tools to help implement and streamline impactful changes in complex organizational systems while minimizing risks to the organization (Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, 2015). Algonquin College is one such complex organization system and is comprised of a multitude of different schools, institutes, and departments. The oversight and implementation of the learning management system (LMS) at the college is guided by two key departments, Learning and Teaching Services (LTS), Information and Technology Services (ITS), and by the Learning Management System Steering Committee (LMSSC) (Algonquin College, 2017). The focus of this paper and the associated info-graphic poster is to review and compare the change management methods used in the administration of the LMS digital learning environment at Algonquin College.
A personal investigation revealed that various change management methods have been adapted and are used in various departments at the college. Kotter’s Leading Change Method is the key change management framework that is used within the LTS department. Margaret Cusson, Co-chair of the LMSSC states that “Kotter has been the go-to for educational technologies” (Margaret Cusson, personal communication, February 22, 2018). Kotter’s method has also been in place since the implementation of the first LMS in the early 2000s, and has reduced issues and improved the success in the application, upgrade, and education of the college’s digital learning environment (Farbod Karimi, personal communication, February 20, 2018).
Two additional change management methods include Six Sigma and a version of Lewin’ Method. The ITS department uses a simplified version of Lewin’s method. Lewin’s method is solely used for short-term maintenance and upgrades to the college’s digital learning environment as the ITS department acts as “change agents in understanding the problem, finding a solution and implementing it” (Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, 2015, p. 249). Six Sigma offers a framework which assists is guiding the LMSSC is annual decisions regarding the college’s LMS. However, as Six Sigma is used only as a starting point, the “LMS steering committee has leaned on bottom-up and consultation as key methods” (Margaret Cusson, personal communication, February 22, 2018).
In 2008, I accepted the role of program coordinator of the Interactive Media Management post-graduate program at Algonquin College. To date, I have had no formal training in management or change management frameworks or methods. However, since my first year of coordination at Algonquin, I have unknowingly mimicked the stages in the Six Sigma change management method which includes define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, 2015).
My primary goal is the success of the students in the program I teach in and coordinate. During the academic year, I attempt to define a need for change through observation of the cohort, industry advancements, and from my knowledge and experience. In the Spring, a measure is put in place to collect feedback from, students, industry (stakeholders) and from the faculty about the curriculum and technologies used in the program. From there I analyze the received information to look for the immediate areas of improvement and change to the IMM program, curriculum and technologies. The changes are formally put forward to improve the program during the early fall. The only method of control is to test out the changes during the academic year.
The larger the organization, the more complex the internal system structure. A change to an embedded technology, such as a digital learning environment at an educational institute may impact students, faculty and management within the organization. The use of change management frameworks and methods can help with the process of change and reduce negative effects. The purpose of any implemented change by management should be “in the best interest of the organization and its workforce is so fundamental that we may not even think about it” (Biech, 2007, p. 4).
Algonquin College. (2017). What is the Learning Management System (LMS) Project? Retrieved from http://www.algonquincollege.com/lms/about/
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234–262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0215
Alexas Fotos. (Photographer). (N.A.). Fire 2777580_1920 [Digital image]. Retrieved February 19, 2018 from: https://pixabay.com/en/fire-flame-carbon-burn-hot-mood 2777580/
Biech, E. (2007). Models for change. In Thriving Through Change: A Leader’s Practical Guide to Change Mastery. Alexandria, VA: ASTD [Books24x7 database]
Guglielmo, Davide. (Photographer). (N.A.). Free Old sheet of paper Stock Photo [Digital image]. Retrieved February 19, 2018 from: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/old sheet-of-paper-1427188
PublicDomainPictures. (Photographer). (N.A.). Abstract 18722_1920 [Digital image]. Retrieved February 19, 2018 from: https://pixabay.com/en/abstract-arctic background-cold-18722/
Tøpfer, Ove. (Photographer). (N.A.). Free Traffic Light Stock Photo [Digital image]. Retrieved February 19, 2018 from: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/traffic-light 1313533