Topic 1: Are you ready for change?

Is your school ready for the new digital teaching and learning practices?

When introducing complex organisational changes such as digitally enhanced teaching and learning in a school, it affects the whole teaching staff, training and learning processes, methods and practices, existing knowledge and competences of the people involved, but also the values and culture of the organisation. Think of the shift from a teaching-centred to a learner-centred approach: it will affect learner empowerment, classroom and school management style, etc. Therefore, it is crucial that change is only embarked upon if we are certain it will succeed. To do this, it is essential to prepare the organisation for the change and to ask ourselves whether the teachers and leaders in the school are ready for the change. Assessing a school’s readiness for the changes associated with the launch of a digital education strategy and, on the basis of this, preparing it for change is crucial. The following tool can help you do that.

This part is also strongly linked to the Module 1 – “Setting up SELFIE WBL in your school – engaging the ecosystem”.

Getting going: the change equation 

The change equation was developed as a tool to highlight what is needed to initiate a process of change. It was developed by Richard Beckhard and Rubin Harris in 1977 in “Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change”, a resource that is still very useful today. Although expressed as an equation, it is not a mathematical tool – the variables cannot be given numerical values. However, it does provide a useful way to look at the necessary conditions to know if a change is acceptable. The basis of this equation is the simple assumption that people are rarely interested in change unless the factors supporting change outweigh the costs. Here is an interpretation of it:

If 

A = the individual’s or group’s level of dissatisfaction with the way things are 

B = the individual’s or group’s shared vision of a better future
C = the existence of an acceptable, safe first step 

are higher than

D = the costs to the individual or group change is unlikely 

then: 

A x B x C > D

Dissatisfaction x Desirability x Practicality > Resistance to Change

(The mathematical symbol > means ‘is greater than’) 

You may decide, after applying the change equation to the implementation of the digitally enhanced teaching/learning strategy of your school, that the balance between A, B and C on the one hand and D on the other is so unfavourable that change is impossible. However, you may see ways to alter the balance in your favour. It is then your job either to reduce D, the perceived costs, or to increase  A, B and/or C.

And because there is a multiplicative relationship between Dissatisfaction, Desirability and Practicality, if one element is missing, that variable will have a value of zero – meaning that this whole side of the equation will equal zero.

Before moving forward to topic 2 “Understanding and managing resistance”, please complete activity 2.