My Thoughts on Managing Change for Learning in Digital Environments

How have the theories/models for change adapted to take into consideration our current technological, economic and societal contexts?
The representation of change management models and theories have progressed over the past 70 years (Biech, 2007, p. 4). The design and development of each theory and model seem to originate from within different industries and fields.
Furthering my research has resulted in that there is no perfect fit for every situation. Upon the start of a project or implementation of a change in an organization, a model or theoretical framework is selected to be used to help the guide the plan of action. However, I have found that in each instance the original change management framework is customized to fit the project or environment. Parlakkılıç (2014) explains that “frequently the approach is based on existing and potential models with a blended approach as part of a consultative and exploratory process” (p. 638). In some instances, a brand new framework evolves from pieces of other existing frameworks.

Methods and frameworks have become streamlined over the past two decades to reduce the stages and allow for internal customization. This allows for the rapid changes that the world is experiencing within the field of technology, economics and society as a whole. From feedback from within our college, Kotter’s Leading Change Method seems to fit well in education and technologies (Margaret Cusson, personal communication, February 22, 2018).

Which theories/models do you think best align with your own approach to leadership? Do these approaches align with your organizational context?
I have not been formally trained in management or change management theories. Therefore I am unable to align with an exact theory. The method that I seem most I would have to align with the most is a bottom-up approach. Feedback from the student is paramount to help guide the changes of the program I coordinate. This feedback is grouped with that from outside stakeholders, faculty and experiences in both groups. As with feedback from a co-chair at the college, I work at, a bottom-up approach is used as a starting point (Margaret Cusson, personal communication, February 22, 2018).

What role does leadership play in managing change?
I believe that leadership of today acts more of a combination of referee and mentor. More and more, I find that more power in the decision-making process is being handed to the faculty and staff at our college. The leaders set out to accumulate feedback, both positive and negative from the population of the college about vital decisions. In the end, the faculty and staff are the ones who have to work with the outcomes. The information is then assembled, assessed and it is up to the leaders to make the final decision. Weiner (2009) emphasizes “The more organizational members value the change, the more they will want to implement the change” (p.3).

What are the unique challenges in managing change for learning in digital environments? Weller & Anderson (2013) offer a model based on resilience. What attributes do you think would work well within your context?

The unique challenges in managing change for learning and digital environments (DE) would include resistance, lack of experience, and an overload of feedback. Without the knowledge or experience of using the DE, resistance becomes commonplace among the masses. Weller and Anderson explain that during a resistant period “people tend to judge the emotional impact of loss greater than that of gain” (p. 8). However, when the population is given power over aiding in making a change, the resistance level can be greatly lowered. When the stages of change are lessened or smaller, resistance is lowered because the population has an easier ability to adjust to each step (Al-Haddad & Kontour 2015).

 

References

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

Biech, E. (2007). Models for change. In Thriving Through Change: A Leader’s Practical Guide to Change Mastery. Alexandria, VA: ASTD [Books24x7 database]

Parlakkılıç, A. (2014). Change management in transition to e-learning system. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML), 3, 637–651. Retrieved from http://www.qqml.net/papers/September_2014_Issue/338QQML_Journal_2014_Parlakkilic_Sept_637-651.pdf

Weiner, B. J. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(1), 67. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67

Weller, M., Uk, M., & Anderson, T. (n.d.). Digital resilience in higher education. Retrieved from file: European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning.pdf

 

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