Monday, November 19, 2007

Human Performance Improvement (HPI)

HPI is a major business movement that strives to bring about changes in such a way that organizations are improved in terms of the achievements they and all stakeholders value (Reiser & Dempsey 2007). HPI is extremely relevant to education since improved achievement is one of its main goals. In the bigger picture, studies have shown that as knowledge and performance capabilities improve so does economic success. HPI, however, is very different than most education performance standards. HPI emphasizes systemic versus linear thinking. In education everything is very linear and solutions are often very unimaginative. Often education's principles are quite the opposite of HPI's. Education often rewards hard work and great knowledge without valued accomplishment. For example, the student that can memorize the periodic table is rewarded even though that student can not apply its concepts.

HPI has brought about a shift in thinking in regard to how human performance can be improved. At first it was thought that performance could be improved solely through training - kind of what the education field still largely advocates. HPI now integrates incentive systems, feedback, and better worker selection into its process. The education fields can improve by pulling from the HPI model. Generally feedback for students is only given via test results and grades. With improved and more timely methods for providing feedback, performance can improve. Incentive systems will also improve student performance. Better student selection is the one aspect that can not be implemented in the education system.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Adoption, Diffusion,Implementation...

Chapter 11 deals with the process innovations go through to become accepted or rejected. The past has shown that there has been a lack of widespread acceptance of innovations in the field of educational technology. Studying theories and models of adoption, diffusion, implementation, and institutionalization we can gain insight into the reason for the latter statement.

Adoption is a process that occurs over time and is broken into five stages: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. Furthermore, there are adopter categories. When an innovation is presented there are innovators which are very quick to adopt the innovation, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and finally laggards. Almost 70% of the adopters are made up of the early and late majorities (as the label implies). These categories are important because they are very similar in accepted innovations and show that innovations go through a predictable process in becoming adopted. Potential adopters base their feelings on relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observavility: basically whether or not the innovation offers them a better way to do something.

Knowing why certain innovations meet resistance is also helpful in understanding how to implement innovations. Yet studying the reasons behind successful implementation may be even more beneficial. Studies have found eight conditions that contribute to implementation(Ely, 1999).

Whereas the emphasis used to be on adoption and diffusion, the trend is tending toward implementation and institutionalization. Implementation should not be the final stage. The final stage should be when an innovation is assimilated into the structure of an organization and changes that organization in a stable way(Miles, Eckholm, and Vandenburghe, 1987):institutionalization. Innovation becomes the norm and a routine part of an organization, it is institutionalized.

As instructional designers we need to provide an environment where innovation is accepted and institutionalized. We need to develop use of technology that meets the intended users needs. Context of its use should be given as much, if not more, importance than instructionally sound and technologically superior products. The perceived attributes of the users should be considered carefully.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Evaluation in Instructional Design


According to Scriven evaluation is the process of determining the merit, worth, and value of things, and evaluations are the products of that process. There are four steps: select the criteria, set performance standards, collect and compare performance data, and make a value judgment. Evaluation can be formative or summative. Formative evaluation is performed while something is being created, hence formative. It is used to improve the effectiveness of what is being designed. Summative evaluation is the rest of the evaluation.

The CIPP model of evaluation is widely used today. Context evaluation is the first component. This stage is often called needs analysis and it helps in making planning decisions. The second component is input evaluation. The third stage is process evaluation which corresponds to formative evaluation. The final stage is product evaluation which corresponds to summative evaluation. The evaluator plays a key role in all stages.

It seems that everything in evaluation comes in fours. The Kirkpatrick model has four levels. The first is reaction which measures learners' attitudes toward their learning experience. It is assumed that if learners don't like the instruction, they won't learn. The second level is learning. In this level, achievement test are given to evaluate degree of knowledge gained, performance test to evaluate degree of skill mastery gained, and questionnaires for to measure attitudes. Behavior or transfer of training is the third level. This levels checks whether the skills and knowledge gained are being used in the real world. Level 4 is results. Level 4 outcomes include any outcomes that affect the performance of an organization.

I feel evaluation is necessary to design instruction.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

First Post

Short and sweet.