New Technologies

new tech

My workplace is similar to many other corporate environments. In that, there are different individuals with a variety of skills and abilities. Working with technology is my passion. Most people who are familiar with this industry know that technology changes at a rapid pace. And while the basic structure of a house (a building with a door, walls, and a roof) has essentially remained the same for  centuries, the appearance of some of the earlier software applications have no semblance to later versions of the same application.

An example of this is the Microsoft (MS) Office suite product. When the organization that I worked for at the time decided to upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2007, the IT department faced a lot of opposition. Office 2003 had a menu driven toolbar and Microsoft decided to convert to a ribbon-based platform for Office 2007. Because the appearance of the newer 2007 version of MS Office was significantly different, IT encountered a lot of resistance from the user-population. Despite all the training, there were some individuals who managed to get approval to keep the older version of the software on their computers. And it took an additional year or so before everyone in the company was converted to Office 2007.

This upgrade to Office 2007 did have some disappointing results. Many users voiced their disapproval from the beginning. The mindset amongst users was that some departments had too many existing and pending documents in the system that upgrading to a new office suite application could have resulted in the loss or corruption of needed information. IT presumed that “motivation” would evolve via the use of the new system. This is reminiscent of the psychologists who asserted that motivation is not necessary during the development process because it is the use of the application, in this case, that would yield knowledge (Driscoll, 2005, p. 311).

The ARCS model that was created by Keller (Driscoll, 2005) focuses on motivation and the key to effective learning. According to Keller, students become engaged during the learning process which has to be initiated and sustained by the learner. The ARCS model is learner-focused and is predicated on the four categories; attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction (Driscoll, p. 333). The model reflects that the learning process starts by igniting the interest and curiosity of the student. It is necessary for there to be some type of relevance to the learner’s experiences because the familiarity of the topic as it relates to the student’s goals and motives serves as a catalyst to spark confidence and satisfaction in the student.

Conducting training sessions that were tailored to the specific needs of the departments could have helped to maximize the number of successful conversions to Office 2007 at my organization. In addition, training classes could have been held in the corporate training lab which would allow the students to remotely access their computers at their offices. This hands-on training would have allowed the employees to access their documents during the training session so that the learner could witness how to maneuver around their actual documents. This process could have matched the student’s motives while showing the learners how they were directly responsible for their achievement which could have produced a more positive result. Using the principles of ARCS when devising a project plan to introduce new technology in the workplace can change motivation of the staff and encourage success.

References:
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA : Pearson Education.

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5 thoughts on “New Technologies

  1. Renee,

    I agree with you and Jackson that any type of change can be scary. When individuals are given the necessary resources to deal with change, then the process of change becomes much easier. Incorporating Keller’s ARCS model (Driscoll, 2005) is another way of easing the pain of change.

    Reference

    Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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  2. Renee,
    Most people are resistant to change especially if that change is seen as coming to “interfere” with the normal way or life. Personally, I have don’t like switching from one computer operating system to another. While some earlier operating system had some deficiencies adapting to a new system means that one has to start learning something new. I never liked the window vista series. Sometimes change is not always a good change meaning that even when we try to motivate those who are not ready to embrace a given new technology we should first ask ourselves is the new change beneficial or better than the order one. For example, windows Vista-a Microsoft operating system released in 2006, was censured by both reviewers and users. This product had a lot of issues ranging from privacy, security, performance, and driver support and product activation. Motivating people to embrace such a product could be disastrous. In clinical areas we can continue to embark on evidence based practice where we can base our support since it is hard to dispute with the established wisdom—supported by empirical evidence (Groysberg, Lee, Nohria, 2008).

    Groysberg, B., Lee, L., Nohria, N. (2008). Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model. Harvard Business Review.

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    1. Doc Jack and Renee, I have to jump in to the conversation about operating systems. Just as I was thinking as I wrote my blog, we are faced with opportunity after opportunity to walk away from change or to jump in with both feet. Personally, I think if we are to be successful in this age of technology, there really is not a choice and instead we must be good role models for change. So, if we are going to go for a swim… I have always been one to jump in instead of testing the waters for a while. That first jump in can be shocking, but then again, we can encourage so many others to come on in! About 2 years ago I knew the time was right if I was going to make the move to “mac”. Basically I decided to go “cold turkey” as is my pattern with so much in life! One day I was using a PC and the next a Mac! I truly felt as though learning to use a Mac was like learning to write with your non-dominant hand. It was intense! However, I survived it and enjoyed the outcome. Then I went back to work in a office building and guess who had to go back to a PC?! So, now I am working on being proficient in both. I must say though that the benefits are wonderful in being able to switch back and forth depending on what is available and what tool might work best. Being able to adapt and overcome must be part of the tool belt of any staff members in this day and age! The way we learn must be adaptable as well. Tammy

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  3. Renee,
    Keller’s ARCS model of motivation is a simple concept which focuses on the motivation to learning. In reading your blog, it seems that although individuals may employ the four concepts of motivation, institutions don’t always provide employs with the ammunition to attain the organization’s values and goals
    Jackie

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    1. Jackie,
      I agree with your statement. While most would agree that educational institutions are slow to switch to new technologies, I believe that the educative approach is more structured and focused (in many ways) because the strategy employed is based on a pedagogical foundation.

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