Final Reflections – LRNT 525 Unit 5 Activity 1

This is truly a final reflections blog for me as I have completed the Grad Diploma program.  Based on this, I am going to talk not only about the course, but the program as a whole in this final reflections post. 

Has my perspective changed?

Within this course, I feel that the information and discussions regarding change management and analytics have given me some new lenses with which to study situations.  Coming in to the course, I was unfamiliar with change management.  This is clear in my first post when I said, “I trial or pilot new technology in a specific context first before applying it to every course.  This allows us to focus on ensuring that the pilot is successful and allows the opportunity to capture lessons learned before a wider role-out” (Weaver, 2018, para 6).  I now realize that this is also an example of creating small or quick wins as described in Kotter’s (2012) change model.  This is an area that I would like to continue to research and explore on my own to add more tools to my leadership toolbox. 

Coming in to this course, I was very familiar with performance metrics as I have been responsible for them during several of my postings, but I have never seen them implemented in a way that provides value.  Therefore, I am always sceptical of performance measurement and the additional workload it can add to a system with seemingly little benefit.  However, when faced with the excellent examples in Sclater, Peasgood, & Mullan (2016) showing the innovative way many organizations are using performance metrics to achieve success, my perspective changed.  Based on this inspiration, I am looking forward to developing a training-specific performance metric in my own organization.  Additionally, I have enjoyed picking up some tools such as weaving and a little more knowledge about the capabilities of interactive .pdfs. 

Over the last year, the program has not only developed my knowledge of instructional design, but it has sparked a passion in me for active learning and engagement.  I am lucky to be able to apply this in my current job and as a sideline to help instructors I know improve courses. 

In your current role, how can you help lead a change within your organization?

My passion for active learning and engagement is helping me lead change in my organization – developing our courses with this in mind.  This is a change for my organization and I am approaching it somewhat slowly, keeping the quick wins in mind!  I have a meeting coming up shortly where we are pitching the course redesign concept for a five-day course that is currently running.  At the moment, the course has no activities or engagement (other than students asking questions) and is composed of thousands of slides of powerpoint (I am not exaggerating).  We are proposing something with more engagement opportunities and demonstrating three complete activities during the proposal (showing all the tools the instructors will have to run the activities).  The involvement our stakeholders have had so far in generating ideas and the solid materials that we have to present makes me optimistic that they will accept the proposal.  I am leading change by developing relationships with stakeholders and helping them change from a “sage on the stage” mentality to one where they look for engagement opportunities. 

What can you envision doing in the future?

There are so many things I would like to do!  To list a few:

-Use my new knowledge to create engaging human factors courses (hopefully at the University level)! 

-Help redesign or design courses to support engagement and active learning (act as an instructional designer)!

-Mentor instructors in instructional techniques!

-Develop professional development mini-courses for instructors!

-Explore e-learning software!

-Finally, spend more time with my kids and husband!  This year has been fantastic, but they have been incredibly supportive of me working weekends and evenings to complete it.  Now they deserve more of my time and focus!

So, next, it’s time for family, some camping and more exploration and learning at a little more leisurely pace!    

Thank you to all of my fellow students!  It was a pleasure learning with you!

References:

Kotter, J. P. et. al. (2012). Leading Change : Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, (June).

Sclater, N., Peasgood, A., & Mullan, J. (2016). Learning Analytics in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1002/aehe.20121

Weaver, L.A.  (2018, February 11).  Personal leadership – assignment 1 LRNT 525.  [blog post].  Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0037/personal-leadership-assignment-1-lrnt525/

Personal Reflections – Project Management – Unit 3, Activity 1

Last summer I assumed a new role as Airworthiness Training Team Lead. My section (in conjunction with a contractor and the learning technology section) was at the tail end of completing a 3-hour distance learning course introducing the basic concepts of airworthiness. As I was new to the job, I was briefed on where we were in the project (making modifications based on feedback from a pilot course) and what still needed to be completed (translation and implementation in French). Within several months, we had finished the modifications to the course following our initial pilot and were ready to “soft-launch” the course (a “hard-launch” where we actively advertise could only be completed once the course is available in both official languages).
We received positive feedback from most people that took the course, unfortunately some key specialists were not consulted on the course content during its creation. There were some personality conflicts between the specialists and my predecessor (which may have been why there was no consultation). These specialists were justifiably offended at not being consulted and upon review of the course, noted specific errors in the content. As the course had already been sent to translation, this required fixing and tracking the errors in the English version and fixing the errors in the French version after translation. In addition to these issues, the course was handed over to my section for maintenance as part of the original plan, but it was designed in a software version which initially had limited access. This caused delays in fixing the errors in the English version.
Conway, Masters and Thorold (2017) stress that it is important to understand the power dynamics in a system when you are completing a change. In retrospect, I should have completed a more thorough review of the project when I took it over to determine if there was anything that was initially overlooked. Although the project did have a project plan which included consulting specialists regarding the course content, somehow these particular specialists, key stakeholders in the project, were missed during the implementation. The project could not be successfully completed until the concerns of these key stakeholders were satisfied (A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide), 2017). To address these issues in the future, an additional person separate from the project team could be used to review the stakeholders to ensure that no key stakeholders were missed.
Additionally, it was not recognized when our section assumed responsibility for the course maintenance that we did not yet have access to the required version of the software the course was written in. This was the closure of that phase of the project and transfer to on-going operations and should not have occurred until the transition could be completed successfully (PMBOK guide, 2017). Termed “Evergreening” by Norman (2017), a plan for ongoing upkeep and maintenance of online courseware is required. In the future, the courseware files should be shared prior to the transfer of responsibility so that our section can verify that we have all of the files and can access and modify them.
Despite these issues, the course is already enabling new personnel to immediately learn the basics of airworthiness wherever they are stationed and most students have responded to course surveys with positive feedback. So, although there have been some lessons learned from the project as described above, it is meeting the goals and vision for the project.
References:
A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide). (2017) (6th ed.). Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Conway, R., Masters, J., & Thorold, J. (2017). From Design Thinking to Systems Change, (July), 32. Retrieved from https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/rsa_from-design-thinking-to-system-change-report.pdf
Norman, D. A. (2017). Lessons learned : AV systems design in the Taylor Institute. [blog post]. Retrieved from https://darcynorman.net/2017/03/11/lessons-learned-av-systems-design-in-the-taylor-institute/

External Scan – Assignment 2 LRNT525

Figure.  Three Perspectives on Leading Change in a Digital Learning Environment.  Images retrieved and adapted from: “Wikimedia Commons” by Ebaychatter0, 2012 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boeing_777.svg); “Icons website” by Icons 8, n.d. (https://icons8.com/icon/23318/graduate); and “Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus” by Powerpoint, 2016.  In the public domain. 

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“The legacy of the leader’s influence is perpetuated through the followers’ incorporation of legacy principles into their lives as they become leaders” (Castelli, 2016, p. 220).  By understanding how leaders addressed situations involving change in digital learning environments, it is possible to learn from their approach to successfully address leadership challenges.  Through the study of three perspectives on leading change in digital learning environments discovered through interview, it was apparent that there were commonalities that lead to successful change. 

Despite the different roles of interviewees, all three clearly and correctly annunciated the vision or goal of the change.  Based on this, it was obvious that leadership had developed and communicated a clear vision.  Unsurprisingly, this strongly aligns with literature which identifies a clear vision as a requirement for successful change (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015; Kotter, 2012). 

The three interviewees identified different change initiators.  The replacement of a college’s Learning Management System (LMS) was advocated for by the student body after consistent failures in the legacy system.  A group of advisors and a Commander were identified as the initiators in the creation of learning support centers.  The third interview identified changes initiated by various groups: stakeholders, the Air Force technical training team and Commanders.  Literature describes the benefits of change initiation from multiple levels (Moran & Brightman, 2000; Morrison & Phelps, 1999; Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009; Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014), indicating there is support for change initiation from a variety of groups depending on the situation.  This is especially true in the digital learning environment where leaders may not have daily contact with users of a system, so may not realize if a change is required.    

Regardless of the initiator, influence tactics can be used at all levels to alter ­­the details of the change implementation or modify the change itself (Uhl-Bien et al., 2014).   When first discussing change, Uhl-Bien et al. (2014) suggests that “follower inspirational appeals and consultation were most effective” (p. 94).  Both these approaches were highlighted in the examples where stakeholders either lead the projects or were consulted during the change process and where the leaders of the project emphasized presenting conditions as compared to predicted conditions following the change.  Followership theories of leadership specifically focus on “how engaged followers can act as agents of change” (Uhl-Bien et al., 2014, p. 91) and how participation in the change process can enhance change development and implementation (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015).  When describing the consultation that occurred, two of the interviewees specifically identified modifications to the change or change implementation following the consultation, demonstrating the value of consultation as it relates to the digital learning environment as a motivational factor (Fullan, 2007), as well as a significant contribution to a successful implementation plan and change (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). 

Although it was only explicitly stated in one interview, setting the conditions to ensure future success would have been a major consideration for all the leaders involved in overall project management as all of the changes were meant to be long-term (Moran & Brightman, 2000) and interoperability is important in the digital environment. 

Leveraging success was specifically highlighted in two of the interviews.  When learning support centers were created, the financial savings from early collaboration was publicized.  Some specific projects such as the aircraft marshalling simulator were promoted as examples of successfully leveraging technology in military training to decrease costs and increase capability.  Leveraging success is present in many change models such as Hamel’s insurrection model (win small, win early, win often), Kotter’s Leading Change Method (plan for and create short term wins) and Davenport’s process reengineering (communicate ongoing results of the effort) (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015).  These models use early wins to increase the credibility of the change and motivate people to commit to it (Kotter, 2012) as well as allowing stakeholders to compare the predicted conditions to the presenting conditions. 

Despite the similarities in these three approaches, it is crucial that leaders study and react to each situation individually as what worked in one situation may not be applicable in another (Fullan, 2013).  However, the examples studied have shown that in general leading change in digital learning works well when leaders develop and communicate a clear vision which informs change.  Change can be successfully initiated from any level with stakeholder input.  Key challenges such as convincing stakeholders of the return on investment and setting conditions for future success can be overcome by leveraging successes and emphasizing presenting issues. 

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

Castelli, P. A. (2016). Reflective leadership review: a framework for improving organisational performance. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 217–236. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-08-2015-0112

Fullan, M. (2007). Understanding Change. In John Wiley & Sons Inc (Ed.), The jossey-bass reader on educational leadership (2nd ed., pp. 169–181). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Wiley.

Fullan, M. (2013). Neither Theory nor Action. In M. Grogan (Ed.), The jossey-bass reader on educational leadership (3rd ed., pp. 207–219). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Wiley.

Kotter, J. P. et. al. (2012). Leading Change : Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, (June).

Moran, J. W., & Brightman, B. K. (2000). Leading organizational change. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12(2), 66–74. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665620010316226

Morrison, E. W., & Phelps, C. C. (1999). Taking charge at work: Extrarole efforts to initiate workplace change. Academy of Management Journal, 42(4), 403–419. https://doi.org/10.2307/257011

Podsakoff, N. P., Whiting, S. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & Blume, B. D. (2009). Individual- and Organizational-Level Consequences of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 122–141. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013079

Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R. E., Lowe, K. B., & Carsten, M. K. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 83–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2013.11.007

Image attribution for graphics used in infographic:

Ebaychatter0. (Artist).  (2012).  Boeing 777.svg [Digital image].  Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons website: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boeing_777.svg

Icons 8.  (n.d.).  Graduate icon in flat style [Digital image].  Retrieved from icons website:  https://icons8.com/icon/23318/graduate

PowerPoint 2016. (Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus).  Computer [Digital image]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.

PowerPoint 2016. (Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus).  Three people [Digital image]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.

PowerPoint 2016. (Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus).  Person with screen [Digital image]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft.

Successful Change – Unit 2, Activity 2

Organizational Change – A Success Story

The Canadian military is constantly evolving to meet new challenges and adapt to social changes (Mcknight, 2017; Storring, 2009).  Within the last several years, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has changed their fitness evaluation standard test dramatically including changing the core tasks required of all CAF members (PSP, 2017).  From my perspective as a member of the organization, this change process was accomplished successfully.  The process began by identifying the requirement to change the standard (PSP, 2017), studying the problem (Canadian Army, 2012) and using the results of the study to determine the required change.  There are two things that I believe made this change a success, the willingness to adapt timelines when it was deemed required and the strong communication that was maintained with members of the military throughout the process.  Timelines initially called for an implementation of an incentive program in fiscal year 2017/2018.  It was determined that there was insufficient data to begin the program that year, so it was delayed one year for additional data collection.  Although Al-Haddad and Kotnour (2015) deem that a project is successful only if it is completed within the budget, schedule and requirements, for most change we embody, the most important factor is the requirements.  Deciding to alter the schedule to ensure a successful implementation takes strong leadership.  Additionally, during the study and the change itself there was significant communication regarding the change itself, the timelines and the change milestones.  Communication with members was completed through e-mail, internal journal articles, videos (Canadian Army, 2012) and a website (PSP, 2017).  Additionally, fitness staff were very involved in the process and provided additional communication and support. 

Organizational Change – A Less Successful Story

I was the Aircraft Maintenance Officer in 407 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron when the Electro-Optical Infrared (EOIR) surveillance capability was introduced on the CP-140 aircraft (“Lockheed Martin will design electro-optical sensors for CP-140,” 2004).  Although the change was embodied successfully in the end, due to aggressive timelines there were quite a few bumps in the road.  Command was eager to bring the new surveillance capability online as soon as possible, so logistical issues were not sorted out prior to installing the equipment on the first aircraft.  Unfortunately, the impact of this was that when a component in the EOIR system became unserviceable, there was a significant delay in fixing it as parts had not yet been entered into the supply system.  We have a thorough and effective process for modifying our aircraft.  When this change process is not followed, likely the steps that are skipped will cause issues during the implementation.  The same is true for any change management process – skip steps at your peril.  

Success Stories from my Colleagues

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview three of my colleagues who played different roles during successful change management related to digital learning. 

My current boss previously lead the Air Force Technical Training team and among other things, he managed the procurement and introduction of digital training and performance support solutions with a budget of approximately $3.8 M annually.  His leadership was instrumental in ensuring people understood the vision and possibilities associated with digital technologies as well as ensuring that funding was properly prioritized and projects were implemented.  He spoke about several successfully implemented projects in detail including the creation of an interactive training support system with courseware and an electronic performance support tool to develop knowledge and skills required to perform maintenance of the Emergency Breathing System as well as the development of a virtual reality aircraft marshalling serious game. 

Another one of my colleagues was involved as a consultant during the creation of learning support centers within the CAF.  He specifically emphasized the strong overall vision that was present from the beginning of the project and the challenges associated with refining the details of the change as well as getting senior leadership to commit resources to the change. 

Another colleague was involved as faculty (a user of the system changing) in the implementation of a new digital learning management system (LMS) at a civilian college.  Her feedback was interesting as from her perspective, there was limited communication throughout the project and almost no faculty consultation (although there was a website and surveys and focus groups were conducted).  Despite this, the change was implemented successfully as the old LMS was constantly going offline and causing so many issues that any upgrade/new system would have been welcomed.  In this example although the change was deemed successful as it accomplished its objectives, it could have potentially achieved secondary objectives concurrently (such as increasing faculty use of the LMS) if the approach was more participatory. 

These three consultations along with my own self reflections have helped me to better understand the role that leadership can and should play in change in the digital environment. 

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

Canadian Army. (2012). Project FORCE raises bar for Canadian Forces fitness. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luKtMcT4xno

Lockheed Martin will design electro-optical sensors for CP-140. (2004, November). Military & Aerospace Electronics. Retrieved from http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2004/11/lockheed-martin-will-design-electro-optical-sensors-for-cp-140.html

Mcknight, Z. (2017, August). Being transgender in the Canadian military. Macleans. Retrieved from http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/being-transgender-in-the-canadian-military/

PSP. (2017). FORCE – FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/PSP/DFIT/Fitness/FORCEprogram/Pages/FAQs.aspx

Storring, R. D. (2009, December 18). 10 years of change in the Canadian Armed Forces. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/10-years-of-change-in-the-canadian-armed-forces-1.833663

Leading Change – Unit 2 Activity 1

How have the theories/models for change adapted to take into consideration our current technological, economic and societal contexts?

Based on Al-Haddad and Kotnour’s (2015) descriptions of change methods and Biech’s (2007) History of Change Design, theories and models have generally adapted to include more emphasis on involvement of all stakeholders early in the change process.  More specifically, using facilitation strategies has become more common.  An example of this is shown in Hamel’s Insurrection method in the “create a coalition” stage (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). 

Which theories/models do you think best align with your own approach to leadership? Do these approaches align with your organizational context?

The change model that really resonates with me at the present time is Kotter’s Leading Change method (Kotter, 2012).  The method is straight forward and logical, but highlights things that I think are important functions of leadership: creating a team to develop and lead the change, facilitating the development and communication of a vision and enabling people by removing obstacles (Kotter, 2012).  I also do focus on creating small or quick wins early in the change process as my experience has shown this is inspirational and creates motivation to fully implement or continue the change.  This method is actually one that I currently employ in change management.  Recently we introduced our new Instructor Professional Development Program.  I created a sense of urgency by expressing using literature and quotes from instructors why implementing the program was so necessary.  I hired two Masters of Education students to form part of the program development team (along with my existing staff).  Together the team refined the vision of how the program would work and specifically developed the introductory session.  I focused on removing barriers for the Instructors within the program and ensuring it would be a positive, beneficial experience which we started by focusing energy on developing an engaging introductory session that involved learning and self reflection.  Feedback from this session was excellent, so it was a short term win.  We ensured that we followed this session up with an e-mail summarizing their learning and providing them guidance on their next step.  It works well within my current organizational context because I work with a lot of specialists with knowledge, skills and experience to contribute to the vision and leading change itself. 

What role does leadership play in managing change?

Weiner (2009) states that the consistent messaging and actions of a leader makes team members more confident that they can succeed in change as well as more committed to the change itself.  Kouzes and Posner (1999) actually outline five practices essential to exemplary leadership and these items coincide with many of the change models (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015).  So with respect to change, leaders do in fact “challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way and encourage” (Kouzes & Posner, 1999, p. xiii). 

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 own context?

I believe communication and collaboration are two of the biggest challenges in managing change for learning in the digital environment as often face-to-face communication with all stakeholders is not possible.  The organization that I currently work in supports airworthiness.  The Air Force has several different systems in place to manage change related to airworthiness (Sharpe & Leversedge, 2014).  There is the flight safety system which responds to accidents or incidents by ensuring the route cause is discovered, tracked and actioned.  Additionally AF9000, the Air Force quality management system promotes continuous improvement related to technical procedures.  The DND Airworthiness program as well as procurement processes supports change management related to air assets.  These systems are all designed to enable change within the system itself as well as change within knowledge, procedure or physical assets, that is they have a high degree of latitude (Weller & Anderson, 2013).  They are also designed to make change as straightforward and simple as possible while maintaining safety of flight, so they are reasonably resistant (Weller & Anderson, 2013).  To maximize operational capability, systems are designed to operate close to the threshold of the acceptable level of safety, so they are precarious (Weller & Anderson, 2013); however, they are also very resistant to any external factors (Weller & Anderson, 2013) as the programs are very strong.  In addition to these systems, the Air Force has recently Operation Innovation focused on enabling innovation and change (Thatcher, 2017).  Among other things, the program enables pitches and suggestions from all levels to be heard by the decision makers (Thatcher, 2017).  Some of these pitches have already been successfully embodied.  

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). Thriving Through Change: A Leader’s Practical Guide to Change Mastery. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=cFJ3iwaE7MwC&pgis=1

Kotter, J. P. et. al. (2012). Leading Change : Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, (June).

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1999). Encouraging the heart: a leader’s guide to rewarding and recognizing others. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sharpe, E., & Leversedge, T. F. J. (2014). A Knowledge-Management Proposal for the RCAF. The Royal Canadian Air Force Journal, 3(2), 39–50.

Thatcher, C. (2017). Operation Innovation. Skies, January/February, 24–35. Retrieved from https://assets.skiesmag.com/digital/2017/CSV7I1/html5/index.html?page=1&noflash

Weiner, B. J. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67

Personal Leadership – Assignment 1 LRNT525

In my leadership experience, digital technologies have been an enabler.  It is important not simply to use technology, but to leverage it for a purpose:  to improve efficiency or effectiveness or provide new capability or capacity (Bates, 2015; Hartsell & Wang, 2013).  Leaders are responsible for ensuring success when implementing new technology, but they also play a large role in determining to “what extent technology is integrated” into the workplace or classroom (Mahoney & Khwaja, 2016). 

Since joining the military almost 19 years ago, I have taken on a variety of leadership roles, each requiring a different approach.  The leadership style that I have used has changed as I gained more experience, became more comfortable as a leader (Spencer, 2018) and reflected on how I could improve my leadership (Castelli, 2016).  Despite these changes, I have consistently relied on the twelve principles of leadership (CFLI, 2007) taught in Basic Training and continually reinforced throughout my career.  Regardless of the leadership approach taken, principles of leadership remain the constant foundation.   

My leadership approach

Relatively early in my career, I lead an organization of 120 people as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer.  Leading in this role was relatively simple as the mission (ensure aircraft were available to meet the flying schedule) and my position and role in the organization were all very clear.  My leadership at that time was supported by my position and rank, what O’Toole (2008) calls power, as despite my technical knowledge, I had very little experience leading people.  Luckily, this was a developmental position and I had several very knowledgeable senior non-commissioned officers to support me.  So although I was technically their boss, we approached leadership challenges as a team, what O’Toole (2008) denotes as shared leadership.  This command team approach which encourages a form of shared leadership is present throughout the military (Guy, 2010).  In addition to a shared leadership approach reinforced by position and rank, I conveyed my support for suggestions from technicians relating to more efficient or effective ways to achieve the mission.  I then ensured that good suggestions were embodied.   My support and actions were the beginnings of a transformational approach to leadership (Vermeulen, Kreijns, Van Buuren & Van Acker, 2017).  This approached encouraged one of the maintenance technicians to bring forward the idea to purchase large SMART boards that could be used to display detailed schematics for trouble-shooting faults and teaching more junior technicians about the systems.  I coordinated the purchase and associated training and the organization immediately saw success as groups congregated around the boards troubleshooting, teaching and learning. 

Almost 15 years later, I now lead a smaller team of just four full-time employees and three part-time students as the Airworthiness Training Team Lead.  However, my current role requires far more leadership ability as most of my work requires influencing people outside of my team including contracted resources, personnel within other organizations, course instructors, other team leads and section heads.  I approach each situation slightly differently, modifying my approach based on the individuals involved, the goal or objective and other situational factors which denotes a situational style (O’Toole, 2008).  However, to the greatest extent possible, I leverage a combination of distributed leadership (Huggins, 2017) and transformational leadership (Vermeulen et al., 2017) both within my team and outside of my team.  By ensuring that I share with others a clear vision and support innovative execution including risk taking, I am able to leverage resources outside of my team to participate in and lead projects (Hartsell & Wang, 2013). 

I have leveraged technology in this role to enable communication between team members spread out across the country, meaning we can hire very specific resources with particular specialty knowledge.  Without leveraging digital communication methods, completing course design using these specialists would not be possible.  Additionally, I have leveraged available online courses to provide specific training to my part-time students.  Using these in combination with mentorship and a training package that I developed has allowed them to become effective very quickly.  We have also used sharepoint surveys to implement Kohn’s 2+2+2 booster method (2014), combining the use of technology with the test effect (Larsson Sundqvist, 2017) to ensure our students retain course material long after the course is completed.    

Leading change in a digital learning environment

The literature identifies empowerment of others and support of risk taking as key leadership characteristics in leading change in digital learning (Huggins, 2017; Hartsell & Wang, 2013).  Despite this, I trial or pilot new technology in a specific context first before applying it to every course.  This allows us to focus on ensuring that the pilot is successful and allows the opportunity to capture lessons learned before a wider role-out.  Supporting risk, but also managing and mitigating risk is important to successfully leading change and is supported by the leadership principles, “motivate by…sharing risks and…learn from experience” (CFLI, 2007, p. 10). 

It is also important for leaders in a digital learning environment to model the use of technology (Creighton, 2003; Hartsell & Wang, 2013; Mahoney & Khwaja, 2016).  Although I don’t have all the new gadgets, I never pass up the opportunity to try out a new learning application or tool and I enjoy reading new research.  The leadership principles “achieve professional competence and pursue self-improvement…and…lead by example” (CFLI, 2007, p. 10) support the practice of modeling the use of technology. 

Based on my experience, it is also very important to ensure that technology is leveraged to create an advantage that maintains or improves communication (Sheninger, 2014).  A leader can not be effective without a good understanding of the requirements of their follower and a way to communicate their vision (CFLI, 2007). 

Conclusion

The technology leader should “manage, plan, implement, and evaluate the technology’s effectiveness in serving various purposes” (Hartsell & Wang, 2013, p. 1).  A leader working in a digital learning environment must empower others, support risk taking, model the use of technology and ensure communication is maintained or improved. 

References:

Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age. BC Campus.

Canadian Forces Leadership Institute (CFLI).  (2007).  Leadership in the Canadian Forces.  Retrieved from http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2013/dn-nd/D2-313-3-2007-eng.pdf

Castelli, P. (2016). Reflective leadership review: a framework for improving organisational performance. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 217-236.

Creighton, T. (2003). The principal as technology leader. Corwin Press.

Guy, S.  (2010, November 3).  The command team:  a key enabler.  Canadian Military Journal.  Retrieved from http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo11/no1/12-guy-eng.asp

Hartsell, T., & Wang, S. (2013). Introduction to Technology Integration and Leadership. In S. Wang, & T. Hartsell (Eds.), Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership (pp. 1-17). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-2656-0.ch001

Huggins, K. S. (2017). Developing Leadership Capacity in Others: An Examination of High School Principals’ Personal Capacities for Fostering Leadership. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(1).

Kohn, A.  (2014, May 15).  Brain Science: Enable Your Brain to Remember Almost Everything.  Retrieved from https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1423/brain-science-enable-your-brain-to-remember-almost-everything

Larsson Sundqvist, M. (2017). Effects of retrieval and articulation on memory (Doctoral dissertation, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University).

Mahoney, K. R., & Khwaja, T. (2016). Living and Leading in a Digital Age: A Narrative Study of the Attitudes and Perceptions of School Leaders about Media Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 8(2), 77-98.

O’Toole, J. (2008). Notes toward a definition of values-based leadership. The Journal of Values-based leadership, 1(1), 10.

Sheninger, E. (2014). Pillars of digital leadership. International Centre for Leadership in Education.

Spencer, C.  (2018, February 5).  Activity 1 FlipGrid Summary.  [Blog post].  Retrieved from https://moodle.royalroads.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=454125

Vermeulen, M., Kreijns, K., Van Buuren, H., & Van Acker, F. (2017). The role of transformative leadership, ICT‐infrastructure and learning climate in teachers’ use of digital learning materials during their classes. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48(6), 1427-1440.

Creation of an ISD model – Unit 3 (Reflections on Readings)

Figure showing the McKenney and Reeves Generic Model for Design.
Figure. McKenney and Reeves (2012) Generic Model for Design Research. Reprinted from Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) Special Issue 2015 – Call for Papers by Z. Merchant, 12 January 2015, retrieved from http://aect.site-ym.com/blogpost/855115/206324/Australasian-Journal-of-Educational-Technology-AJET–Special-Issue-2015–Call-for-Papers Copyright 2015 by Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.

I believe investigating and understanding new instructional design processes and the way they are developed can only help instructional designers in their implementation of instructional design.  “Instructional design practitioners should select a design model that enables them to reach a desired goal” (Moore, 2016, p.  426).  Moore (2016) presents both a new instructional design process and the process that he used to develop it.  When describing the process of creating TAPPA, Moore (2016) states, “By engaging in design-based research, one can create an intervention, which Shattuck and Anderson (2013) define as an object, activity or process that is designed as a possible solution to address the identified problem (p. 187).  Sharing this intervention in the form of a process or theory can make it a resource for other ID practitioners” (p. 427). 

The TAPPA process developed by Moore (2016, p. 426) encourages the practice of iterative prototyping, producing mock-ups and storyboards for review early in the design process.  It “starts with the ‘target’ stage – to anticipate the desired outcomes and then work backwards to determine what would be needed to reach those learning objectives” (Moore, 2016, p. 427).  Similar to pretty much all models, an analysis of the learner and required objectives comes first.  The second step, Accomplishment, determines how to assess learning (Moore, 2016, p. 430).  The third step, Past, incorporates lessons learned from previous courses (Moore, 2016, p. 430) and the fourth step, Prototype, involves creating, sharing and receiving feedback on a prototype solution (Moore, 2016, pp. 430-431).   The final step is Artifact (Moore, 2016, p. 431) which is the implementation of the solution.   Based on the description provided, it appeared that the TAPPA process was very similar to other instructional design processes. I would be interested to see a complete example of an instructional design process using TAPPA to better understand the differences between this model and other ISD models.

Design and construction followed the Generic Model for Design Research as depicted in Figure.  The descriptions of the process were a bit confusing as it seems like the process was evaluated during the design phase before it was created in the construction phase.  When describing activity completed during the design phase, Moore (2016) only discusses analysis of feedback from webinars designed using the TAPPA Process (pp. 427-428).  Then Moore (2016) states, “Thus, the author used the results from the design part of this phase and created the five-step TAPPA Process” (p. 428).  Based on the flow of this design process, it seems only appropriate for something that is already prototyped and being used. Perhaps the idea of the TAPPA process was conceived outside of the process described and then the process was used to improve upon it.

One of the parts of the article I found particularly interesting was Moore’s description of microlearning which is a different application of the term than I am familiar with.  “The TAPPA Process is ideally suited for micro-learning tasks that together comprise a macro-learning task, such as a full program of study.” (Moore, 2016, p. 431).  This description to me indicates that you are using micro-learning as building blocks to create a complete course or program. This lead me to further explore how microlearning is defined by other researchers and whether or not it is normally approached this way. “When it comes to mircrolearning, there is one thing Learning professionals can agree upon:  There is no definition consensus or agreement about the application of the term” (Tipton, 2017, p. 58).  Hug (2010) also describes many definitions of microlearning (p. 49) and four models explaining how components of microlearning can relate (p. 53).  Standalone microlearning content such as Flocbulary (Hug, 2010, p. 50-51) is cited as well as examples of integrated microlearning and gamified microlearning (Hug, 2010, p. 51).  Moore (2016) could be considering microlearning elements to be loosely coupled together as described according to Luhmann’s medium/form distinction model (Hug, 2010, p. 53). In this case, the loosely coupled elements together combine to form a course or program.

Another thing that I would have liked to see in the article is a more clear comparison of TAPPA with other ISD processes. The author compares student feedback from webinars produced with the final version of TAPPA with webinars produced with initial versions of TAPPA and shows and improvement.  However, no comparisons are made to student feedback from webinars produced using other methods.  Other metrics such as the time to produce the webinar are also not provided.  From this, it is unclear why the author believes that the TAPPA method is superior for this application. It makes it difficult to argue that it is in fact superior as this is not substantiated. 

Overall, I found it interesting to read the article and see how they used design-based research as well as learn about a different ISD model.  I would be interested in more information about the ISD model itself. Has anyone found any other sources describing the TAPPA model or use of it?

References: 

Hug, T. (2010). Mobile learning as’ microlearning’: Conceptual considerations towards enhancements of didactic thinking. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL), 2(4), 47-57.

Merchant, Z. (2015, January 12). Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) Special Issue 2015 – Call for Papers. [weblog]. Retrieved from http://aect.site-ym.com/blogpost/855115/206324/Australasian-Journal-of-Educational-Technology-AJET–Special-Issue-2015–Call-for-Papers

Moore, R. L. (2016). Developing Distance Education Content Using the TAPPA Process. TechTrends, 60(5), 425-432.Tipton, S. (2017). Maximizing microlearning. Training, 54(3), 58-58.

Tipton, S. (2017). Maximizing microlearning.  Training, 54 (3), p. 58. 

Deciding What Change to Choose – Unit 2, Activity 1

I am constantly looking for ways to improve the training we provide within my organization.  I have worked with my small section to look at instructor and student feedback to generate quite a lot of ideas for change.  However, I have limited resources and my time is constrained by other duties as well, so sometimes determining what to focus on is difficult. 

When we talk about change in distance education, I think of essentially every conversation that I have had with someone who has taken a distance education course in the early 2000s and because of their poor experience is convinced that distance learning can not be as good as face-to-face learning.  Dron (2014) highlights how pedagogy and instructional media have evolved together, detailing reasons why some evolutions are successful and others are not. 

Most of our learning takes place face-to-face, so in that way, our instructional system appears relatively soft as modifying a face-to-face lesson plan is far less time consuming than redesigning online learning (Chapman, 2010).  However, the lack of instructor training, their reliance on PowerPoint and lack of subject matter expert time makes even modifications to our face-to-face learning challenging.  Dron’s (2014) article is encouraging as it advocates breaking learning into small isolated chunks which we already do as modules.  Focusing on changing one module is more manageable than making changes to an entire course.  Some of the changes we are currently trialling within my directorate are new to the whole organization.  “Allowing flowers to bloom requires new varieties to be at least partially sheltered from each other at first” (Dron, 2014, p. 247).  We have implemented the changes in only a few courses, collecting student feedback and modifying the initiatives accordingly.  For further changes, Dron (2014) advocates Bate’s ACTIONS model to help select technology.  I will incorporate this into future options analysis to help determine what changes to tackle next! 

What parts of Dron’s (2014) article did you feel are applicable to your work? 

References:

Chapman, B. (2010). How long does it take to create learning? [Research Study]. Published by Chapman Alliance LLC. Retrieved from http://www.chapmanalliance.com/howlong/

Dron, J. (2014). Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca (pp. 237-265). AB: AU Press.

Assignment 1 Part A – Design Thinking

Post written by Lorri Weaver and Sue Hawkins

Problem Statement

Sue and Lorri need a way to engage faculty/instructors in learning because currently many are not interested in completing training or do not complete training.  The faculty/instructors in our organization are the adult learners in this case.

Following our design thinking process, we focused on using the concept of “building your toolkit” to encourage engagement with learning material, focusing specifically on the use of microlearning.  In both of our organizations, adult learners need to learn certain skills, in Sue’s case, to develop their expertise in utilizing the functionality of the LMS, in Lorri’s case, to learn basic instructional techniques.

Findings of Design Thinking Process

Through the interview process we gained a greater understanding of how we each viewed the main concerns, perspectives and the experiences of our learners (Crichton & Carter, 2017).  The most important findings were our perception of why adult learners did not complete current training which included:

  • Lacked time to complete training;
  • Unable to complete training during regular business hours;
  • No perceived benefit as current teaching practices are successful;
  • Fear of failure;
  • Lack of support; and,
  • No incentives/rewards.

Our Solution

In an effort to create an online learning environment that promotes critical thinking, a safe place to learn and try new things, sharing and collaboration, we have come up with a design thinking solution that incorporates different types of microlearning with online discussion.  Each microlearning would provide adult learners with one more tool for their toolbox.  The adult learners would then be encouraged to respond to the learning socially in a forum,  where they can engage in discussions on how to use a particular tool or ask members of the community about their experiences.

In Sue’s case this would involve the creation of a “sandbox”; a private space where learners can experiment with and evaluate the LMS.  Imbedded into the LMS are a variety of resources such as, link to a survey to allow adult learners to check their comfort level with basic teaching technologies, a variety of microlearning opportunities, a forum for adult learners teaching similar subject matter to share ideas and ask questions, newsletters, instructional PDF’s, FAQ’s and direct links to a learning technologist for support.

In Lorri’s case, the microlearning and related forums would be hosted on a sharepoint site.  The microlearning would consist of 2-3 min videos, infographics, short branching scenarios and short learning games.  The community learning would happen in the forum.

Both solutions provide adult learners with the opportunity to customize their learning and sample new techniques that are consistent with their teaching philosophy (Bennett J & L, 2003).

Effectiveness

By keeping the learning short and the online interaction focused and relevant, we will address the perception that part-time employees do not have time to complete this professional development.  Delivering the microlearning online will enable off-site learners to easily participate at a time that works for them.  Incorporating videos that showcase instructional methodologies and their impact on students will assist faculty to observe the potential benefits (Bennett J & L, 2003).

Providing a forum for adult learners to give their own input and suggestions will increase intrinsic motivation to participate as they may anticipate feedback and recognition for their contributions (Paulini, Maher & Murty, 2014).  This can be further supported by public recognition of adult learners that use the new tools or that help contribute to other’s learning during annual professional development seminars.  Although adult learners will still not be compelled to participate in the training, advertising the benefits and providing public recognition for those that do should motivate participation.

References

Bennett, J., & Bennett, L. (2003). A review of factors that influence the diffusion of innovation when structuring a faculty training program. The Internet and Higher Education, 6(1), 53-63. doi:10.1016/S1096-7516(02)00161-6

Crichton, S. & Carter, D. (2017). Taking Making into Classrooms Toolkit. Open School/ITA.

Paulini, M., Maher, M. L., & Murty, P. (2014). Motivating participation in online innovation communities. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 10(1), 94-114.

Activity 1: Thoughts on Week 1 Readings

Although many of the concepts and models introduced by Bates (2014) and Thomas (2010) were review, there were some less common models that were provided in a way I found interesting and relevant as well as some statements that provoked questions. 

As Thomas (2010) introduces Instructional Design Models, he states that, “The effectiveness of a model is heavily dependant on the context in which it is applied” (p. 187).  This comment summarizes conclusions of previous courses and I found it important to keep in mind when reviewing the literature. 

Keller’s ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction) Model was particularly relevant to the assignment this week and the issue of motivating and engaging students (Thomas, 2010, p. 212).  Specifically, “the focus is not on how people can be motivated but on how the conditions can be created…to have people…motivate themselves” (Thomas, 2010, p. 212).  Creation of a motivating environment for students is a necessity for any training that is not mandated and promotes engagement once the training is underway.  At its core, this was what we are trying to do during the Design Thinking Process. 

One thing that I found controversial relating to understanding the learner’s needs and characteristics was the statement “Individual students learn in different ways; most students need strong human interaction and there are also students who prefer to study independently without interacting with others. Therefore, the right way to design a high-quality blended learning course depends largely on the type of students involved” (Thomas, 2010, p. 224).  As Kirschner (2017) identifies, “there is quite a difference between the way that someone prefers to learn and that which actually leads to effective and efficient learning” (p. 166).  When we are identifying learner needs and characteristics, it is important to understand the learner’s experience, knowledge and skillsets that we can leverage, but where to use interaction within the course should be based on solid learning theory, not student preferences.   This is different than the concept of standardization discussed by Thomas (2010, p. 231-232) where he argues that not all learners will learn at the same pace and customization should be built into the course to account for this.   

The lessons learned for online instruction derived from the The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Online Courses were well explained (Thomas, 2010, p. 220-222).  The use of these principles inherently required an understanding of your learner’s needs and characteristics.  For example, “Lesson derived from Principle 5: Online courses need deadlines” (Thomas, 2010, p. 222) requires an understanding of whether the learner is working on the course as a full-time student or in conjunction with a full-time job.   This is also true of concepts discussed related to the constructivist approach such as the concept of situated learning (Thomas, 2010, p. 243), for which you would need to understand the learner’s environment and how they will be using the information. 

In addition to the implicit requirement to understand learner needs when designing learning, constructivist learning directly solicits learning needs during learning by allowing, “the negotiation, rather than imposition, of goals and objectives” (Thomas, 2010, p. 244).  I am still somewhat unsure of how this would practically work and how learning could be assessed or quantifiably compared.  Other works described by Thomas (2010) such as Driscoll’s constructivist conditions for learning (p. 249-250) did not clarify for me how this could be practically implemented.  In fact, Savery and Duffy’s Constructivist/Problem Based Learning-based Design Principle seems to contradict this by stating that, “learners’ goals must be consistent with the instructional goals” (Thomas, 2010, p. 252).  Figure 3.10 (Thomas, 2010, p. 254) also shows the teacher setting the goals in Laurillard’s Conversational Framework.  Although constructivist design models are described by Thomas (2010), how to practically resolve the problem of assessment when goals and objectives are not standardized is not detailed although the issue is recognized.  It is identified that “Constructivist models advocate personal goal-setting by learners and diverse learning activities that may vary from learner to learner; therefore, objective tests are not suitable for evaluating the success of instruction, since different students learn different things in different ways” (p. 259-260). 

When discussing the constructivist approach, Thomas (2010) points out a continuum rather a binary description should be used to describe the learner (p. 247).  Although specifically directed towards the constructivist approach, this should be the case whenever describing learners as they will enter the course with a range of experience, knowledge and skillsets and it is the range that should be described. 

I also had one observation not directly related to understanding the needs and characteristics of the learners.  I found it interesting that some models such as the Smith and Ragan’s Model (Thomas, 2010, p. 201) and the Morrison, Ross and Kemp Model (Thomas, 2010, p. 199), do not break out assessment creation as a specific early step.  As Thomas (2010) notes, setting up assessment tools prior to developing the instructional strategy ensures that the instruction is correctly focused (p. 198). 

References:

Bates, T. (2014, September 9). Is the ADDIE model appropriate for teaching in a digital age? [Blog post]

Kirschner, P. (2017). Stop propagating the learning styles myth. Computers & Education, 106, 166-171.

Thomas, P. Y. (2010). Learning and instructional systems design. In Towards developing a web-based blended learning environment at the University of Botswana. (Doctoral dissertation).