Instruction and Change

Instruction is often a success factor in the process of change management. When an organization changes, the change often affects how people work, how they complete their tasks. It is these changes in operation that often create change management issues.

One way to help people accept change is to limit that which they have to re-learn. For example, many change projects are the result of analyzing how a task is currently being performed. Sometimes this is done when new automated systems are being considered. Data is collected and used to create the future state of the task, how the task will be performed in the future.

If you are an experienced instructional designer, you should be thinking "gap analysis." Of course, teach that which is different. Employ the power of adult learning strategies and utilize that which the learner already knows.

However, people in charge of putting the new system or process in place are quite often concerned with the end result and might not have instructional design or change management experience. This focus can trigger a request for instruction on how to use the new system or how to execute the new process versus instruction on what is different.

What is overlooked is the potential that not everything is new. For example, the system interface might be new and additional information might be needed but the process that the new system is supporting might not be new. If the parties involved in the change management and instructional development processes are not aware of these types of differences, the change and instructional processes may actually create issues versus resolving them. Anxiety and resistance can set in when people believe everything is changing, when maybe it is not.

Use instructional design to help manage change. Let the instructional designer make recommendations. And, by all means, save the pre-change data so that it can be used to assess just how much training is needed and in what context.