Reflecting on my course readings so far and connecting it to my own professional practice helped remove some of the angst and fear I have been experiencing recently, both at work and from the outset of this course. I work in a community-focused small credit union in Manitoba, where legacy practices and legacy employees are being challenged at various levels by digitization and automation efforts, resource shortages and quick transition to online learning in a post-pandemic situation. There is a sense of organizational fatigue, attrition, disengagement, and a thrust for learning as a solution for gaps in performance and results at a time when employees are walking out of the door or resistant to anything beyond day-to day deliverables. Carrying all of this into the course, reviewing the reading list and then reviewing the design models created a sense of overwhelm in me that I started questioning my ability to complete the course. This dark cloud dissipated as I went deeper into my readings and started to reflect. In the next paragraph I will elaborate on my thoughts around the questions asked of this activity, and conclude the post by sharing what I learned through this process that lifted me from my low.

The first question I explored was “What are some things to consider when selecting a design model?” I realized that my considerations fall into three categories, which are listed below.

People

  • Who are the people I am building the program for?
  • What do they need to achieve through this program?
  • What are their challenges, preferences, limitations, strengths and opportunities?
  • What do they seek from the program and is it aligned with leadership expectations?
  • Will all the people involved have the foundational knowledge, time and capacity to engage in the design and development processes of the model?
  • Will people accept or resist this model? If they accept it quickly, is it challenging enough to build critical thinking and problem solving skills? If they resist, why do they resist and what can be improved to gain buy-in?
  • How will learners and their leaders know they have succeeded or are on the path to success?
  • Will the proposed model help all the people involved, evolve and grow in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals by enabling deeper skills crosswalk?
  • Will the proposed model support assessment of member (client) needs and  member benefits? 

Systems and Processes

  • Are our internal systems and processes conducive to implement the requirements of this model?
  • Is this the easiest and simplest process and model without compromising on requirements of the program and people?
  • Do we need to implement a pilot?
  • What could go wrong?
  • What can be done to make the learning process simple without taking away the intrigue and wonder of learning and discovery?
  • What measurement criteria are we looking at and how to we build it in using this model?
  • Does this process enhance learner autonomy?

Product

  • How will the finished product/program evolve and grow to support learning 1-3 years from now?
  • How will the design process support achievement of the expected behaviors and outcomes of the program?
  • How will the program be evaluated?
  • How will the program be operationalized?
  • How will the program be maintained?

The second question explored was “How do you make design decisions? What role do design models and innovation play in this process?” In all honesty, I have used the ADDIE process, and have rarely ventured into exploring specific design models. However, leading a number of learning projects to support technology rollouts, and in a bid to gain quick but in, I have accommodated and presented most of my design models using the language and processes  to align with the SCRUM software development model and the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC model that are already established and accepted at my organization. Given below are visual representations of each model:

The third, question explored was “Are there any design models have you found especially useful when making design decisions?” Here I admit that while ADDIE has been my go- to process, I have not landed on any specific model that I follow. Recently, an organizational decision was made to transition all programs to an online delivery format which has been challenging given the current organizational climate. My focus has been selecting a model that is grounded in individual, team and organizational needs, presenting my approach in the most familiar format and choosing the path of least resistance and most excitement which I try to generate by being explicit and convincing in the benefits the program will bring in a non-threatening way.

Exploring these models now, helps me realize how right Dousay (2017) was with the statement” In practice, designers often draw upon personal experience and the wide variety of models, strategies, and theories to customize each instance of instructional design.” How did this exercise lift me from my low? It helped me realize I don’t need to be an expert in all the various models. I need to contextualize, synthesize and anchor on my own model based on what my organization needs and what I can achieve within the resources I have. While contextualizing is key, there are so many models the course has empowered me with, that I can draw from and adapt as my context evolves. Another realization that was comforting was that terminologies or jargon matter at some level, and are not a measure of knowledge skills or capabilities. For example, when Dousay. T. A. (2017) refers to ADDIE as a process, Bates, T. (2015) refers to ADDIE as a model. So what does that mean? It means ADDIE to me, is what I want it to be; a process or a model or a process and a model.

This unit released me from being bound to models, names, jargon and focus on the deeper needs of all the people involved and the organization as a whole. It has also made me strong and confident in the knowledge that I have choices, if one doesn’t work I can amalgamate from a range of processes and models, that are now in my toolkit.

 

References

Bates, T. (2015). Chapter 4.3 The ADDIE Model. In Teaching in a Digital Age. BCcampus. https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/chapter/6-5-the-addie-model/

Dousay. T. A. (2017). Chapter 22. Instructional Design Models. In R. West (Ed.), Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology (1st ed.).