Decision making, problem solving traps and course management systems

As part of the missing Ps framework, in the “People” category, I’m planning to talk about how the decision making around adoption of course management systems (CMSs) is always posited as a rational act. When, in fact, most people involved in and the decision making processes around CMSs is far from rational.

In a discussion on IT-Forum, Clark Quinn has mentioned in one email a few problem solving traps

  • Set effects – solving subsequent problems like previous problems, even if a different approach might be more effective
  • Functional fixedness – only seeing one way to use a tool
  • Premature evaluation – rejection or acceptance of an alternative prior to full consideration

I believe these three, as well as others, are very obvious in most of the literature and practice around the evaluation of course management systems.

In fact, the phrase “evaluation of course management systems” to me indicates one example of premature evaluation. The decision has already been made that it must be a course management system rather than some alternative approach that may be more appropriate and effective in the longer term.

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