ITpreneurs’ Instructional Design Approach to ITIL v3 Foundation E-Learning Development: A whitepaper by Anuradha Madhusudhanan

Abstract
As part of its commitment to developing ―learning content‖ rather than ―instructional content,‖ ITpreneurs adopted a unique development program for its ITIL® v3 Foundation course. The learning path chosen was a mix of scenario-based learning, real-life connects, core ITIL content, and game-based exercises, all aimed at satisfying the differing requirements of multiple types of learners. While addressing the variances in learning styles, ITpreneurs opted for innovation, even though it drew deeply from established principles of instructional design, such as Bloom’s Levels and rapid prototyping. This white paper is an attempt to summarize ITpreneurs’ translation of vision into practicality.

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“Tell me, and I will forget… Show me, and I may remember… Involve me, and I will understand.”

Chinese proverb - Confucius (450 B.C.)

One of the key objectives of instructional design is to ensure that the learner retains what’s learned, and indeed, is able to apply the learning.

And so, what did ITpreneurs set out to do when we started designing our ITIL® version 3 Foundation course? Well, we started with laying down some key principles on which the course would be based. These included:

The understanding of concepts improves when the learner can see the ―relevance‖ of what’s taught, and when the learner can relate what’s taught to real-life examples. Retention of learning occurs best when there is an opportunity to either make or identify a mistake.

ITIL is rich with opportunities to implement these principles. In real life, Single Points of Failure (SPOFs) serve as, well, single points of learning.

“Scenario-based instruction is grounded in the Situated Learning Theory” (Brown & Druid,
1989)

“This learning theory focuses on the importance of contextualizing activity and learning
into real-life scenarios and contexts. It promotes the acquisition of meaningful learning in authentic contexts.

” (Scenario Based Learning by Melina Akins and Dr. Susan Crichton.)

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Academic Leanings – Practical Learning
Design needs to place the learner at the helm. ITpreneurs makes a point of qualifying its content as ―learning content‖ as against the conventional ―teaching or instructional content.‖ Lessons from pedagogy (from the Greek words for "child-leading") and andragogy (from the Greek words for "adultleading") have influenced our approach to designing our learning content. Malcolm Knowles, acclaimed as the father of andragogy, held that andragogy should be distinguished from the more commonly used pedagogy. Knowles' theory can be stated as four simple postulates: 1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction (Self-concept and Motivation to learn). 2. Real-life incidents, including mistakes, provide the basis for learning activities (Experience). 3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life (Readiness to learn). 4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented (Orientation to learning).

“The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an
instructor or taskmaster; he is a helper and a guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose.” (One of the leading thinkers of the 20thcentury, Aurobindo said )
All a teacher can and, indeed, should do is to show the light. It is up to the learner to learn. Each student picks up what is relevant to her or him at that point in time. This takes us, interestingly, to the feeding habits of babies – modern child nutritionists and psychologists emphasize the need to present the child with various foods, and allow the child to pick what she wants to. The child will end up picking the food with the nutritional component she is deficient in at that time. This principle applies, we believe, to learning. How does this translate when we are constructing learning, though? For one, we design content into easily digestible chunks that learners can pick from, and two, offer multiple paths of assimilation to choose from, including real-life connects, games, content, and exercises… Most importantly, we design a problembased learning program rather than a content-based learning program. This is to celebrate the fact that every learner is and will Learners are really at different points of knowledge, skill, and ability. be different!

Effective learning material presents the learner with the right levels and types of components to choose from, based on where he is in his learning cycle.

Add learner types to this, and the mix gets complex. Each of us has our own unique learning style. Some of us prefer to be taught while others would rather learn at their own pace. Some love the discipline of academics while others are just reading up to pass an exam. Some need to understand and contextualize clearly while others will simply rather remember by rote. Effective learning material presents the learner with the right levels and types of components to choose from, based on where he is in his learning cycle. That is, components of content, or the core ITIL content in this case, and components of learning aids, or the learning tools that help connect the core content for the learner.
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ITpreneurs has solved for variances in learning styles using multiple learning tools. Each module, topic, and subtopic provides several tools or paths for learning and opportunities to learn, revise, understand, and self-evaluate. The academic learner, for example, may skip the real-life connects, scenarios, and exercises, and go directly from content piece to content piece; likewise for the learner who would rather memorize by rote. The learner who seeks to understand and contextualize the content has at her disposal, the scenarios (we used the hotel as a motif for the scenarios), the SPOFs and incidents situated within those scenarios, and problem-solving for the same, connecting all this to the content at hand.

A Philosophical Debate

Do adults and children learn the same way? As we have seen earlier, Knowles believes not. What motivates adults to learn? Unlike children, who are naturally curious, adults do not enter training programs with a natural desire to learn. They are motivated more by success and personal gain – by the ―what’s in it for me‖— rather than by wanting to find out more. Research reports that most training programs fail because the learners are just not interested. This information formed a key input to our design toolkit.

By now, it is a fairly well-established fact that most adults take a corporate training program not because they want to, but because they are obliged to… by a corporate mandate, because it is tied in to a promotion, or because it earns them credit points. In short, the focus is more on ―passing the exam and getting that certificate‖ than on learning. The challenge for most training departments lies in walking the fine line between stimulating the learner to take a training, which is often a slow process, and clocking the mandated number of training hours. This does not take away from the real need, which is, the training needs to stick. The hard truth is, ―passing the exam‖ is not the same as ―knowing the principle concepts‖ or being able to ―recall, and eventually, apply the concepts.‖

The challenge for most training departments lies in walking the fine line between stimulating the learner to take a training, which is often a slow process, and clocking the mandated number of training hours.

Unfortunately, in the race to achieve targets, most training organizations lose out on the quality of training… jeopardizing their future efficiency and success. So, ITpreneurs’ design team came back to its agreed strategy of presenting learners with scenariobased learning that would grab their attention. Retaining attention, however, needed the designers to find tools to involve the learners and get them to take active part in the training process. Now, what’s the required educational level – or the Bloom’s Level (See Appendix 1 at the end of this whitepaper) — for ITIL Foundation? The ITIL syllabus prescribes Blooms Levels 1 and 2 for Foundation, which means ―recall.‖ The student is expected to recall what she has learned, not ―apply‖ what she has learned to a context or problem at hand. This means that learner involvement needs to be in the realm of recalling what’s learned.
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Limited attention spans, reluctant learners, and Blooms Levels 1 and 2…. Conventionally, scenariobased learning lends itself best to decision-based learning, which means the learner picks a path, makes a decision, solves a problem… all Blooms Level 3 and above tasks! And that is out of our scope at the Foundation level! ITpreneurs used the montage technique to overcome this apparent challenge. Originating in film, montage allows the designer to place together overtly unconnected stories, or content, to create new meaning. This technique led to weaving the core content into the narrative and graphic-rich hotel scenarios, allowing us to take great strides in ensuring the retention of learning.

Practical Mantra
Grab their attention! Then, retain it!! Easier said than done… we had to crack this. We decided to combine Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction (See Appendix 2 at the end of this whitepaper) with Keller's ARCS Model (See Appendix 3 at the end of this whitepaper). The strategy worked with the hotel context… providing enough opportunities to grab the learner’s attention and stimulate his interest, reeling him into the course... topic, after topic, after topic.

How? A juxtaposition of scenario or problem establishment, followed by systematically presented content at the appropriate depth of knowledge, interwoven with scenario connects and crossreferenced content for additional reading, and a game-based approach to self-evaluation, supplemented by formal, rigorous evaluation…

Evaluation

“The evaluation of scenario-based inquiry is focused on the learner and usually takes the form
of performance-based assessment. The process during the inquiry is interactive, allowing the instructor to provide feedback to students on a continual basis. Melina Akins and Dr. Susan Crichton)

” (Scenario Based Learning by

ITpreneurs’ Foundation course is designed to evaluate students at two levels. The first, and perhaps most important to the retention of learning, is self-evaluation. The second is the opportunity to ―take the exam.‖ Self-evaluation has been designed at three levels. First, a scenario-based game or exercise, with feedback where relevant, helps the student apply the concepts she has learned, within the appropriate Bloom’s Level. Next, the student has an opportunity to check his understanding of the concepts learned, by attempting a set of questions based on the topics covered. The third level is the formal, graded assessment at the end of each module. The opportunity to take the exam is provided by the EPG, or Exam Preparation Guide, which includes time-bound exams, simulated after the final certification exams.
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ITpreneurs’ Quality Ambition
ITpreneurs’ commitment to quality is evident in our many products. Quality and innovation are not just ―good words‖ in ITpreneurs’ dictionary; we view them as business imperatives. Our freedom to play with new media and technologies has been the guiding force behind several of our cutting-edge courses, including highly interactive, multilevel, game-based, and simulations-based courses. Continued investments in and experiments with newer technologies help us consistently raise our quality bar.

The Development Process
ITpreneurs employs the high-powered ADDIE, standing for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, in its development process. However, good old ADDIE can sometimes become tardy and rigid, so we take help from the rapid prototyping model (a method to get quick proof-ofconcept without building and expending all components). Agility and efficiency have been key to ITpreneurs’ growth. ITpreneurs also uses the modified ADDIE, which combines the core concepts of ADDIE with those of rapid prototyping, allowing us to very quickly build-test-improve, until we arrive at the appropriate instructional and interactive design mix. Feedback from our learners and instructors are input to improvement.

Click the image to see Appendix 4

In the End…
… is the Beginning.

“Design will quickly progress from an essentially reactive to a gradually more proactive stage.
New technologies should become the object of design, rather than being the source of design. Design will find more rewarding fields in exploring patterns of interfacing than in the production of objects.” (Derrick de Kerckhove, The Skin of Culture: Investigating The New Electronic Reality)

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Appendix 1
Bloom’s Levels
Following the 1948 Convention of the American Psychological Association, B.S. Bloom took a lead in formulating a classification of "the goals of the educational process". Three "domains" of educational activities were identified. The first of these, named the Cognitive Domain, involves knowledge and the development of intellectual attitudes and skills. The other domains are the Affective Domain and the Psychomotor Domain, which are usually not addressed by goals specified in a corrosion course. Eventually, Bloom and his co-workers established a hierarchy of educational objectives, which is generally referred to as Bloom's Taxonomy, and which divides cognitive objectives ranging from the simplest behavior to the most complex.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Source: http://www.corrosion-doctors.org/Training/Bloom.htm

Caption: Terminology changes
"The

graphic is a representation of the NEW verbage associated with the long familiar Bloom's Taxonomy. Note the change from Nouns to Verbs [e.g., Application to Applying] to describe the different levels of the taxonomy. Note that the top two levels are essentially exchanged from the Old to the New version." (Schultz, 2005) (Evaluation moved from the top to Evaluating in the second from the top, Synthesis moved from second on top to the top as Creating.) Source: http://www.odu.edu/educ/llschult/blooms_taxonomy.htm

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Appendix 2
Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
Gagne’s ―Nine Events,‖ as they are commonly known, describes a set of nine factors or conditions that influence learning. These include internal as well as external conditions that contribute to shaping the learning processes for adults.

GAGNE’S NINE EVENTS OF INSTRUCTION
Instructional Event 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Gain attention. Inform learners of objectives. Stimulate recall of prior learning Present the content. Provide "learning guidance" Elicit performance (practice). Provide feedback. Assess performance. Enhance retention and transfer to the job. Internal Mental Process Stimuli activate receptors Creation of levels of expectation for learning Retrieval and activation of short-term memory Selective perception of content Semantic encoding for storing long-term memory Response to questions to enhance encoding and verification Reinforcement and assessment of correct performance Retrieval and reinforcement of content as final evaluation Retrieval and generalization of learned skill to new situation

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Appendix 3
John Keller’s ARCS Model
The ARCS model is a problem solving approach to designing the motivational aspects of learning environments to stimulate and sustain students’ motivation to learn (Keller, 1983, 1984, 1987). ARCS stand for Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. This model is not intended to stand apart as a separate system for instructional design, but can be incorporated within Gagne's events of instruction.

ARCS Model of Motivational Design (John M. Keller (1979, 1983)
Attention Perceptual Arousal Inquiry Arousal Variability Relevance Goal Orientation Motive Matching Familiarity Confidence Performance Requirements Success Opportunities Personal Control Satisfaction Natural Consequences Positive Consequences Equity Strategies that provide extrinsic and intrinsic reinforcement for effort Strategies that help students develop positive expectation for successful achievement Strategies that link to learners’ needs , interests, and motives Strategies for arousing and sustaining curiosity and interest

The ARCS Model of Motivational Design originally developed by John M. Keller (1979, 1983) Adapted by Steven J. McGriff (1999)

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Appendix 4
ADDIE
The ADDIE instructional design model provides a step-by-step process that helps training specialists plan and create training programs. The ADDIE design model revolves around the five components of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. It is a systematic approach for creating instructional material and activities. ADDIE is based on the learner-centered approach to instruction, which is different from the traditional teacher-centric approach. In the Analysis phase, the learner develops a clear understanding of the ―gaps‖ between the desired outcomes or behaviors from the training, and the audience’s existing knowledge and skills. The Design phase documents specific learning objectives, content, assessments, and exercises. The actual creation of learning materials is completed in the Development phase. During Implementation, these materials are delivered or distributed to the learners or the end-users. After delivery, the effectiveness of the training is Evaluated.

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