Analysis of the characteristics of a work setting simply referred to as setting analysis is deemed as the process of identifying the resources in an organization, citing the constraints and culture in order to design an instructional setting that bests suit the environment. In order to enhance the learning process, the standard requires that the instructional design should be fundamental. It will only be effective through examination and assessment of the learning environment. The instructional designers should be able to identify the aspects of the physical and social environment that may affect the instruction, identify environmental and cultural aspects that may influence instruction, identify the nature of the learning environments and the influence on the learning activities and determine the extent to which the organization's philosophy, mission and values influence the design of a project.
Steele attaches great importance to setting analysis during organizational change. He explains that if one wishes to institute change in an organization or a social setting then he must consider the physical context and setting that constitutes the social system. Instructional design is a change effort that is designed to reduce deficiencies in knowledge, skills and attitudes. Thus, it is important to consider the environment in which the learning activities are to take place and the appropriateness of the place for what is to be achieved and involves the making of appropriate changes to make it fit for these activities.
In order to carry out setting analysis, the instructional designers should, therefore, determine the preparation, presentation and application environment at the onset of the instructional process. The instructional preparation or development characteristics that need to be assessed include the mission, vision, structure, philosophy and the goals and objectives of the organization. Additionally it should determine how this will affect the current instructional design in the organization.
In assessing the instructional delivery, the designer should determine how the instruction will be delivered. They should also determine whether the organization managers have the idea of how the instructions are to be delivered, who should participate in the delivery, when it should be delivered, why the delivery, and what needs are to be met by the delivery. It should also include learner involvement, learner affiliation, instructor support, innovation, instructor control, rule clarity, order and organization, task orientation and competition.
The instructional application environment assessment should be considered. This will ensure that the learners are able to transfer what they have learnt to their work environments and thus improve their performance. The instructional designers should thus focus on ensuring there are a similarity between the three aspects, development, delivery and application. Application characteristics such as supervisor support, involvement, peer cohesion, autonomy, clarity, control, innovation and physical comfort. Additionally, the application environment characteristics that can be assessed include leader behavior, work behavior, worker capability, strictness, delegation, safety, and worker satisfaction among others.
A research sponsored by the US department of labor identified eight categories of high performance work place. These characteristics should be assessed and used to determine their applicability in the current instructional setting.
Instructional designers should be able to judge the setting analysis by ensuring the setting analysis was done in the first place, whether it was conducted properly and ensure that the results are used during the development, delivery and application. They should also explain the justification for carrying out the setting analysis and the reasons for focusing on features of the development, delivery and application environments.
Papp, Raymond. Strategic information technology: Opportunities for competitive advantage. Pennsylvania: Idea Group Inc., 2001.