Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education

Instructional System Design

National Center for Chaplain Development has embarked on revamping and utilizing the latest academic research on curriculum development that employs current brain research and the utilization of adult learning models which include student centric modalities. One such modality is Instructional System Design (ISD) that incorporates the ADDIE model. 
 
ADDIE is an acronym for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. This model guides you through the process of creating effective educational courses and materials for your audience. While there are variations of this model in the industry, the concepts are the same. 
 
As a professional educator, ADDIE is more than just an acronym. It is a blue print for success. Analysis is the most important step in the process. It helps you to determine the basis for all future decisions. A mistake that many beginners make is not conducting a proper analysis at the beginning. It is this analysis that helps you identify your audience, tasks, expected learner outcomes, priorities, constraints, and other important points that will be useful in the design process. 
 
Unlike prior trainings that you may have gone through, the intent of ISD using ADDIE is to first focus on designing the curriculum and THEN fitting the content to the design. The content employed is ONLY that which is required based upon the training needs analysis performed. This is an important concept to understand. Most training today in chaplaincy (and other fields) revolves around lecture based, "death by powerpoint" content models. 
 
Current theories on adult learning which employ research on brain theory, indicates that adult modalities need to be relevant to the audience, actively involving them in the learning process so that they discover new knowledge through learning activities that are specifically designed, that are experiential in nature and are modeled by the trainer. This type of educational model REQUIRES that the trainer has completed an accurate needs assessment to determine the tasks (skills or knowledge) that are required for the expected learner outcome, and an understanding of both the content to provide the skills and knowledge AND the process of adult learning. 
 
The Design Phase is the brainstorming step. This is where you use the information obtained in the Analysis phase to create a program or course that meets the needs of your customer or audience. There are many forms of the design process and it can be very tedious at times. 
 
The Develpment Phase focuses on building the outcome of the design phase. This process consumes much of the time spent in creating a sound educational program or course. It includes various steps such as initial drafts, reviews, re-writes, and testing. For larger corporations, this phase can involve numerous individuals to include subject matter experts (SME), graphic artists, and technical experts. For eLearning courses, this phase could require additional assistance for managing server space and technology. 
 
The Implementation Phase includes more processes than simply presenting the materials developed. While the concepts and materials have been tested throughout the process, the implementation phase can uncover topics that require further development or re-design work. The processes for this phase vary based on the size of the organization, the complexity of the program or course, and the distribution of the materials. This includes such concepts as test pilots, train-the-trainer sessions, and other delivery methods to present the materials, marketing, revision planning and more. 
 
The Evaluation Phase plays an important role in the beginning and at the end of the process. Evaluation objectives reflect much of the discoveries found in the Analysis process. These discoveries include the objectives and expectations of the learner. When looking at the process, you must avoid the thought that it is structured in a chronological order. Rather, the ADDIE Model is a continuous circle with overlapping boundaries. Of all of the process phases, the evaluation phase is the least understood. 

Our Goal

National Center for Chaplain Development's goal is to optimize training for maximum effectiveness, ensuring that the greatest amount of learning takes place within certain defined constraints. This process involves developing course materials that map to the overall course goal and course outcomes; articulating learning outcomes for each lesson or module that support the course outcomes; and incorporating the principles of adult learning and Instructional System Design (ISD) throughout curriculum development. The instructor is guided by the course goal, course outcomes and lesson learning outcomes when developing course materials. 
 
Courses shall be structured in an INTERACTIVE format such that the learner is actively involved in the learning experience, rather than a passive recipient of information. The training shall include a combination of instructional strategies such as lectures, facilitated discussions, group exercises, videos, case studies, and the like. 
 
National Center for Chaplain development utilizes the four levels of Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation (reference Evaluating Training Programs, the Four Levels, Donald L. Kirkpatrick), and trains to a minimum of Level Two which is defined as the participant acquiring added skill and knowledge as a result of the training, which must be demonstrated in the classroom, and confirmed by the instructor. Additionally, National Center for Chaplain Development recommends Bloom's Taxonomy of performance levels when crafting learning outcomes, Dave's Taxonomy for psychomotor skill development and Krathwhol and Masia for Affective learning. Additionally, expected learning outcomes must be written as observable, measurable and performance based having the audience, behavior, conditions and degree clearly stated. 
 
Before revising, developing or presenting any training program targeted at adult audiences, it is first useful to gain an appreciation of the difference between child-centered learning and adult- centered learning. Almost all of us have experienced 12 or more years of education as children and many of us have experienced additional years of education as young adults. The educational models fixed in our minds are the pedagogical models-- the art and science of teaching children--drawn from those experiences. As adult trainers, it is easy for us to teach as we were taught rather than implement good adult learning principles. 
 
We know the following things about adult learners:

  • Adults have a need to know why they should learn something. One of the first tasks of the adult trainer is to develop a "need to know" in the learner — to demonstrate the value of what is being offered to them. 
  • Adults have a deep need to be self-directed. However, often when they enter a program labeled "education" or "training" they revert back to their conditioning as children, put on their hats of dependency, fold their arms, sit back and say, "Teach me." This puts them at immediate odds with their need for self-direction, causes inner conflict and a resistance to participation in training. To resolve this as adult trainers we must help adult learners make a quick transition from seeing themselves as dependent learners to becoming self-directed. 
  • Adults have a greater volume and different quality of experience than children. Adults bring into the learning situation a background of experience that is itself a rich resource for many kinds of learning for themselves and others. Adults have a broader base of experience to which to attach new ideas and skills and give them richer meaning. The greater experience, however, also has a potential negative consequence. The greater experience can cause people to develop habits of thought and bias, to make presuppositions, to be less open to new ideas. Evidence indicates that this phenomenon is especially characteristic of undereducated adults. 
  • Adults become ready to learn when they experience in their life situation a need to know or be able to do in order to perform more effectively and with greater satisfaction. Adults learn best when they choose voluntarily to make a commitment to learn. 
  • Adults enter into a learning experience with a task-centered (or problem-centered) orientation to learning. Adult learning activities are better received when designed around tasks, problems, or life situations. Very often, if they can apply what they have learned to a recent experience or situation, they can better appreciate the newfound knowledge and skills. 
  • Adults are motivated to learn by both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. The problem is they may not be motivated to learn what we want to teach them, hence the importance to develop "a need to know" as a basic ingredient of adult training. The most potent and persistent motivators for adults are intrinsic motivators such as self-esteem, broadened responsibilities, power, and achievement. 

Implications for practice

Adult learning concepts-- combined with an understanding of the training need-- suggest the following approach to course design: 

  • Participants want to have a chance to tailor knowledge to their local situation. 
  • Participants want to have an opportunity to interact with others during the training session. 
  • Participants want to understand why something is important. 
  • Participants have a need for training that will demonstrate the benefits of learning. 
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