I just finished Michael Allen’s Designing Successful e-Learning. One thing he does that I think is really smart is to encourage readers to think about instructional design through the lens of change management. Specifically, he points to Prochaska and DiClemente’s model, which describes change management as happening in the following phases.
Precontemplation: I’m fine.
Contemplation: OK, maybe not totally fine, maybe it could be better. I kind of wish it were better.
Preparation: You know what? Let’s do this. Let’s do something specific to change.
Action: I’m changing! I’m doing it!
Maintenance: I’m remaining vigilant that I don’t slip back into old ways.
Termination: I can’t imagine acting the way I used to. That seems like a different person.
The idea here is that while this model was crafted to describe addiction, it can be applied to learners as well. All instruction is about helping learners change. In what stage of change are your learners?
This approach to change is a provocative one because the instructional design toolkit for affective change is shallow. When faced with the need to encourage learners to want to change, we tend to write WIIFMs or give pretests. We tend to think in the boundaries of the course, and not on the groundwork that needs to be laid before learners ever set foot in the classroom. We have a lot to learn here.