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