Location: LA, California, United States

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mark Clements, Helen Harris, Willa Lewis-Zeiler, Susan Lulee, Nguyen Ngoc An-G

Analysis Phase

Context: Students completing the Professional Development Program in Distance Education (PDPDE) identify stress as a major factor impacting learning while in the certificate program. Evaluations report a high level of stress while trying to balance work, family, community and education pursuit. Further, health issues related to stress are such that progress in the program is suffering.

Identified Need: There is an identified need for the university to develop a learning module on stress management, as part of the student support services, offered to all learners. While stress is often most acute at the beginning of the program, learners at any point in the curriculum can experience stress and may need extra support. The department overseeing the PDPDE is noticing extended program plans for completion: students are not progressing on schedule and a high attrition rate. The student attrition impacts faculty retention, departmental budgeting, and program expansion to name a few areas.

The goal for this unit of instruction dealing with stress management relates to student needs and secondarily to the mission of the university which broadly identifies developing human resources as the overall broad goal. In essence to develop students to be all that they can be which in turn affects business and industry outside of institutional borders. Preparing students for competency includes learner support materials, which the institution has integrated into orientation for new and returning students. Content on managing stress is either missing or needs to be re-evaluated for quality and to ensure the material contains the most up to date information.

Learner Analysis: At any given time there are students in the two tracks of the program: a collaborative track and an individual track and cycles start at different times a year for each track. The demographic profile for all students in the PDPDE, include an average age spread from30-58. Sometimes referred to as the sandwich generation, key characteristics of this group include their busy lives which includes multiple responsibilities for family (immediate and extended), friends, and community, work, and now school. Educational background includes post secondary degrees ranging from associate to doctoral. Student’s professional work background includes experiences with teaching/learning either in private and public business, military (governmental) settings and/or educational institutions: secondary and post secondary which includes instructors, administrators, and technology resource personnel.

Students are motivated and understand the concept of stress although are not completely able to manage their own stress. Managing their stress will precipitate a cascading effect and enhance their overall feelings of accomplishment and potentially impact others around them.

Content and Task Analysis: Content on stress management needs to be sequenced in the following manner to make the best use of time. Students need to first develop a knowledge base, secondly apply their knowledge and thirdly synthesize their newly learned knowledge.


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