Using a Futures Approach in Organizational and Instructional Development

International Islamic University, Malaysia
Centre for Professional Development (CPD)
Facilitator: James L. Morrison

Thursday, 6/1/2011

The Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education's My3S initiative is designed to increase student competency in communication, problem solving, team work, leadership, and information management. A change of instructional paradigms--from passive to active (authentic) learning strategies, such as project-based learning, problem-based learning, or inquiry-based learning--is clearly needed in order to meet these objectives.

Current approaches to broaden the instructional repertoires of faculty members include faculty workshops, summer leave, and individual consultations, but these approaches work only for those relatively few early adopter faculty members who seek out opportunities to broaden their instructional methods. The major problem is how to affect organizational culture as a whole so that most professors will be receptive to adopting active learning methods and using IT tools to enhance these methods in their classes.

One approach to this complex issue is to engage faculty members at the departmental level by using elementary futures tools in thinking about the future and its implications for their institution, their curriculum, their students, and their careers. The underlying rationale for this argument stems from an experience that faculty and administrators at Lincoln University in Christ Church New Zealand had when they implemented a campus-wide futures program. Lincoln was facing a 25% reduction in public funding over a four-year period; the trustees were concerned that Lincoln’s Oxbridge culture would not support a sufficiently entrepreneurial effort to make up the deficit. However, by implementing a program whereby faculty members in all departments were heavily engaged in environmental scanning, issues analysis, vulnerability assessments, and scenario planning, Lincoln’s organizational culture was literally transformed (see "Using the Futures Program as a Tool for Transformation at This experience illustrates how using these tools with departmental faculty members harnesses their intellectual power to identify signals of change, analyze the implications of these signals, and develop plans that have their active support (since they made them).


The purpose of this workshop is to demonstrate how IIUM institutional leaders can use futures tools to increase faculty receptivity to expanding their repertoire of instructional strategies to meet the future needs of their students, themselves, and their institution. Specifically, this workshop will (1) demonstrate a procedure that encourages participants to be open to new ideas and (2) allow participants to experience a set of exercises that they can use to engage faculty members in planning for their and their students' future. In addition, participants will explore what is meant by technology-enabled active learning strategies, how these strategies relate to student success, what the barriers are to implementing these strategies, and what approaches can be used to facilitate IIUM faculty members implementing authentic instructional strategies to prepare their students to be more successful when they enter the workforce. The ultimate objective is that participants be able to replicate this workshop's methods in working with their faculty colleagues to consider using technology-enabled active learning strategies in their instruction.


Please review the following publications prior to the workshop:

  1. Mack, T. "An Interview with a Futurist." Futures Research Quarterly, 2003, 19 (1), 61-69
  2. Morrison, J. L. (1996). "Teaching in the Twenty-First Century." On the Horizon, 4(5).
  3. Morrison, J. L. (2005). "Experiencing the Online Revolution." In G. Kearsley (ed.), Online learning: Personal Reflections on the Transformation of Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.
  4. Morrison, J. L. and Long, P. (2009). "The iCampus technology-enabled active learning project at MIT: An Interview with Phillip Long. Innovate 5 (4).
  5. Morrison, J. L. and Long, P. (2011). "Technology Enhanced Learning at MIT." Higher Education Teaching and Learning Portal.
  6. Brown, M., Auslander, M., Gredone, K., Green, D., Hull, B, and Jacobs, W. (2011)." A Dialogue for Engagement." EDUCAUSE Review, 45 (5), 38-56.ho
  7. Lombardi, M. M. (2007). "Approaches That Work: How Authentic Learning is Transforming Higher Education." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"
  8. Lombardi, M. M. (2008). "Making the Grade: The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"]
  9. Page, C. (2007)."Why Today's Students Value Authentic Learning." [Download PDF file from "View this resource:"].
  10. "Authentic Task Design" (Web pages that illustrate authentic tasks in a variety of settings).
  11. Herrington, J.(2006). "Authentic eLearning in Higher Education: Design Principles for Authentic Learning Environments and Tasks." Keynote Address: 2006 e-Learn Conference.

Also: Please consider reviewing (and participating in) three discussions on Linkedin’s Ideagora group related to using Technology-Enabled Active Learning Strategies (TEALS) in Asia ( and the Middle East ( as well as a discussion focusing on faculty resistance to TEALS (


8.00am - 8.30am Registration

8.30am - 9.45am Anticipating the future
9.45am – 10.30am Trends and events that will affect the future of our students

10.30am - 10.45 Break

10.45am – 11.15am Selecting the most critical trends and events
11.15am – 11.45am Implications of the most critical trend or event affecting our students' future
11:45am - 12.45pm What do we mean by technology-enabled active learning strategies?

12.45pm - 2.00pm Lunch and Dzhur Prayer

2.00pm - 3.00pm Are these strategies important in improving instructional effectiveness?
3.00pm - 3.40pm What are the barriers to faculty members adopting these strategies?

3.40pm - 4.00pm Break

4.00pm – 5.00pm How can we encourage faculty members to adopt these strategies?

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