I recently completed a digital story on how people cope with change. I chose this topic because it’s something that I teach in my current workplace. The concept of change and how people interpret it is interesting to me and it always spurs some great in class conversation.
As I started scripting and selecting images, a question occurred to me. When designing learning for a new concept that will impact a learners way of performing a task, should designers consider implementing change management activities?
My answer is yes! A few years ago, my employer decided to install new computer hardware that would streamline a current process. The problem was, this new hardware is going to change a behavior that some employees have been performing for many years (20+ in some cases). The major change came in the form of adding machines being removed from workstations as the new hardware calculated work automatically. The first thought was to make the transition as quick and painless as possible . Tell them from the onset that the machines will be going away!
The statement was met with resistance and eye rolling. Some learners could not get over the fact that this was happening. It was a major distraction for the first few groups. We decided that we would start the workshops with a conversation. We asked the groups from the onset “what have you heard?” We were given all sorts of rumors and we were able to address them from the start. Although it wasn’t a complete fix to the distraction, we did notice less resistance to the thought of the adding machines disappearing.
This was a valuable lesson for me as a retail trainer and is even more of a valuable lesson to me as an instructional designer. I feel, that in my current work setting, we tend to get caught up on the material side of training. This is what they need to be able to do and that is what we gear our workshop towards. However, failure to incorporate something that helps individual learners see the bigger picture can prove to be an obstacle creator. It never hurts to take a step back and consider how this new material may impact the learner’s life on the job.
I will always think back to our little “intervention” conversation fondly and will be proactive the next time a major process change is afoot. Have you ever been in a situation in which you found yourself designing learning that involved a major process change? Was there anything you may do differently next time?