Monday, March 31, 2014

ADDIE: Analysis

Just call me a lifetime learner because I'm back in school again.  This time to receive my Ed.S. in Instructional Technology.  If you are a trainer or train in some capacity, then you have had your own experience with instructional technology, even if you did not know it at the time.  Instructional Technology is defined as "the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources" (Association for Educational Communications and Technology.)  The purpose of this blog is to share my findings with you in the fields of training, management, and customer service.  Now that I am enrolled in school, I feel it is my duty to share as much of that information with you as possible - for free.  So, let's start at the beginning.

ADDIE is often used as a guideline for developing instruction from the beginning stages of Analysis to the end results of Evaluation.  But ADDIE is just a place marker for the many theories of instructional design and cognitive theories (how people learn.)  Within the realm of the "Analysis Phase," there are many different theories on the proper course of action to take when analyzing a problem and developing a solution.  At times, the proper course of action may be that a policy should be changed and training is not needed at all.  This information should be discovered by conducting a needs analysis using one of the many analysis theories.  My preference is Mager's Performance Analysis.

I mentioned in my last post that our system just recently went through an ILS migration.  But those are not the only changes that occurred - our website changed as well.  Although our new website used a responsive design, staff and customers seemed to have difficulty with the change.  Information should be easier to find now that the catalog has been updated and the website redesigned.  So, why were so many problems occurring? And where were the pain points?

I thought it would be a good idea to begin an needs assessment analysis to determine if training was necessary for the new website.

Mager's Performance Analysis requires you to ask 12 questions about a training before making a decision to go into the Development phase of ADDIE.  They are:
  1. Describe the people whose performance is being questioned.
  2. Describe as specifically a possible what it is they are doing that causes someone to say there is a problem.
  3. Describe specifically what it is they should be doing.
  4. Determine the cost of the discrepancy by estimating what it is costing in such things as aggravation, turnover, time lost, money lost, equipment damage, customer loss, good will damage, etc.
  5. If the estimated cost of the discrepancy is small, stop!  In other words, it is only a problem because you say it is but is not having any impact on the rest of the world.  So, STOP!
  6. If the cost is great enough to warrant continuing, determine if the target people know how to do what is expected of them.  Ask "Could they do it if their lived depended upon it?"
  7. If they could do it, then they already know how.  Now you must determine why they are not doing what is expected of them.  This is done by determining the consequences and obstacles of performing:
    1. What happens to the performers if they do it right?
    2. What happens to them if they do it wrong?
    3. What are the obstacles to performing as desired?
  8. If they could not do it, answer these questions:
    1. Can the task be simplified to the point where they could do it?
    2. Did they ever know how to do it?
    3. Is the skill used often?
    4. Do they have the potential to learn to do it?
  9. Based on the answers to the previous questions, you can begin to form potential solutions which address the problem.
  10. Once you have drafted several solutions to the problem, determine what the cost will be to implement each one.
  11. Compare the cost of the solution to the cost of the problem.
  12. Select a solution that is less expensive than the problem itself and is practical to apply ( as cited in Brown & Green, 2011)
After completing this analysis, a few things became clear. Although staff could perform the tasks if their lives depended upon it, the amount of time it was taking to complete tasks on the website and catalog were eating up too much time - and time is money.  Furthermore, putting into words the difficulties staff and customers are having helps to pinpoint the exact problem.  For example, the issue was not necessarily with the website and catalog itself, but with the unfamiliar changes.  This revelation made me call into question the staff's digital literacy abilities.  As a result of this analysis, I now had the confidence to proceed with the training.

Depending on the topic of the training and the details collected, your analysis may take hours, days, or even weeks.  You may also be interested in following the steps of other Instructional Design thinkers other than Mager.  Those thinkers are: 

Morrison, Ross, and Kemp
Allison Rossett
Smith and Ragan

Trainers tend to rush through the analysis part of ADDIE, wanting to get to the more fun steps of Designing, Developing, and Implementing.  But after completing Mager's Performance Analysis, there is still more work to be done before beginning the development stage.  Mager's Analysis only helps us answer the question "is training really necessary."  Once you've determine that training is necessary, you can move on to conducting learner and task analysis.

Gathering information about the learners and writing on paper the exact steps of completing a task will aid you in the next step, Designing.

Brown, A. & Green, T. (2011). The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice. Pearson: Boston, MA.

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