Applying Thinking Patterns to Ethics Case Study Activity: Destructive Emotions Avoided

At PFEW 2018, I serve as a Company Advisor (CA). The program has an incredible history which means they have a well developed educational program for the students. With 447 students at this week’s camp, a plan is certainly a necessity. As a CA, one of 23 other professionals, I join my peers in the effort to bring our experiences to the students within the PFEW framework. Since learning the Thinking Patterns (dsrp) by Drs. Derek and Laura Cabrera, I’ve evangelized how all learning and organizational situations benefit from their application. Today, I witnessed first hand what I consider a Mission Moment.

MYNDDSET’s Vision (My Dream or Future State) = Transformed People, Transformative Organizations.

MYNDDSET’s Mission (The repeatable work I do. What gets me to my Vision) = Map (Make thinking and ideas explicit), Advance (Build knowledge and “grow” people using thinking), Transform (Use Systems Thinking to shift people and organizations.)

Mission Moment = A rare moment in time when all of the parts of your mission are evident.

This Mission moment exemplifies one of those rare moments in time worth sharing. During the camp, the students are exposed to a fantastic ethics situation. The challenge I have personally with the study of ethical situations is that we (the collective education system) teach kids to debate ethical issues. Debate meaning they “argue” for or against a particular scenario. Presenting sides and creating a “I win, you loose” situation was the approach I planned to avoid during the session I would help facilitate. Enter THINKING.

I certainly didn’t have the floor to teach students about dsrp. That’s not needed. I used dsrp to help me design the event, the student role, the rules, the context for the interactions between the students. With 60 students, a process suitable for the educational goal was paramount.

I created a perspective table in the middle of the group. Each team faced one side of the table. The forth side was used by myself and the other CAs. I placed three paper tents on the table. One said “Questions”, one “Perspectives,” and one “Ideas.”

The three student groups were asked to have their representative explain their perspective on the ethics case. After, the two groups would have time to respond through individual representatives coming to table and standing on opposing sides of the table. From there they would ask questions in an effort to understand perspectives and build new ideas.

Before this happened though, we discussed the framework. To ensure we moved beyond a debate and to knowledge building, we agreed that responses would be in the form of questions. “I disagree with you because…” statements were replaced with “Have you considered the impact of X and if so, describe your thoughts.” We discussed how these questions would help us uncover more information and that sharing perspectives would allow us all to build on our mental models or create new ones (new ideas). We adopted this approach to avoid little to no progress (ie, everyone stays put on their idea because they are fighting for it).

This group of 60 teens did an amazing job. The occasional slips into old routines took a few down the path of showing how emotions made them stubbornly attempt to prove they were right and others wrong. But we corrected each other. The students policed each other and demanded their peers ask good questions rather than simply attack their position.

Without teaching dsrp, Thinking about Thinking created a Mission Moment for me. I saw respectful teens demonstrating empathy and a thirst to learn, agreeing to be okay with the ambiguity of an ethics conversation and the willingness to participate in a structure that helped them pursue a learning goal.

The best result was the lack of teen emotions that often cloud their thinking. In this case, their emotions allowed them to share ideas openly. It was an awesome thing to be part of.

Simple IM Example

Instructional Design Model vs. Instructional Model

By Mark T Burke

Over the past 20 years, I’ve consistently asked curriculum providers to share their Instructional Models.  With few exceptions, I get asked to clarify what I’m asking for.  Often an immediate response is “We use ADDIE” or some other in-house instructional design model.  It could be that knowing I have an instructional design background, others assume I am interested in learning HOW they’ve built their instructional content.  As a client representative however, I want my clients to understand the true value of the content being considered for purchase.  I need to hear WHY the content looks and feels the way it does.  I need to know the design was purposeful.  I need to know that a model was followed based on knowing HOW a learner will build knowledge.  I need to know the components of the instructional environment, the methods used to actually get the users engaged in the content and how the user will be guided through a journey to THINK about the content and build knowledge.  In other words, I need to know the Instructional Model.

Let’s look at how Instructional Design Models and Instructional Models differ.

Instructional Design Model:  I’ll use ADDIE as an example since it’s rather ubiquitous.  I won’t go into detail about ADDIE.  If you would like to learn more, here’s a great link on the Articulate Heroes page that covers the model components.  In brief, an Instructional Design Model (IDM) showcases HOW the content was developed.  The IDM model will describe the process followed by the writers, project managers, media developers, artists, instructional designers, subject matter experts, clients and others to assess the need, design the instruction and build the instructional components. Knowing a vendor follows an IDM is nice, but it does little to add value to the end product.  It’s very possible to follow an IDM and end up with a poor instructional product.  For that reason, I don’t ask to discuss the IDM, I ask for a conversation and visual of the Instructional Model (IM).

Instructional Model:  IM’s communicate several important instructional components including:

  • The main instructional delivery method.
  • The activities learners will engage in.
  • The assessment types used.
  • The media types (movies, sound, graphics, etc.) and their purpose.

The IM’s overall purpose is to communicate the structure of the learning so that those of us who are reviewing curriculum can “see” its value.  Here’s a really simple example of an IM.  This one is somewhat incomplete, but it starts to show how an IM should look.

Simple IM Example
Simple IM Example










This example shows that at the heart of the instruction, the learners interact (reach, watch, listen) with a story.  In this case, the instruction is delivered via stories that convey a relationship between the topic being covered and how that topic influenced either a fictional or non-fictional character within the story.  As the story unfolds, the learner is presented with a variety of activities that get the learner to think about the topic from several perspectives, including other experts and their own with the help of other devices such as maps, journals and actual products (other pieces of work including papers, articles, plans, designs, drawings, poems, models, etc.).

In a quality course, the IM will be witnessed throughout.  The example above is an adaptation of a model I used to build a course.  The model is evident through the course.  By building the IM prior to starting the writing and building process, I was able to construct the entire course based on knowing what would best help learners build knowledge.  That was discovered during the analysis phase of the project, something demonstrated in the IDM.  (NOTE…there is a relationship between the two models).  That’s an important aspect of IM creation.  IMs are NOT built after a course is written, they are always built PRIOR. They serve as a guide and later a tool to communicate the value of the instruction.

I hope you see the important distinctions between IDMs and IMs. If you’re a vendor and want to showcase the value of your instruction, showing an IM is a must.  Not all courses will be the same, and that can cause some providers a bit of angst.  However, within curriculum and topic areas, it is important to have a communicable approach.  If that isn’t something you have as a vendor, you can work toward that level of systems thinking and ultimately, marketing and promotion.

Thanks for reading this article.  I would love to hear how you’ve made use of IMs in your work.