Operant Innovations 013 | OBM Certificate: Your Questions Answered | Ryan Curran & Dr. Allison King

So you have questions about training in OBM? We have heard your questions and Ryan Curran and Dr. Allison King are here to answer those! Ryan and Allison will also be describing the current OBM Applied course and how the [BRAND NEW] OBM Specialist Certificate has taken your feedback and created this new certificate program!

If you are interested in learning more or want to sign up for the OBM Specialist Certificate - follow this link!

For questions about training in OBM, email pdteam@abatechnologies.com


Shauna Costello (00:02):

You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA technologies. We've been receiving a lot of questions regarding our brand new OBM specialist certificate. So today we have Ryan Curran and Dr. Allison King here to tell you the differences between the current OBM applied and the brand new OBM specialist certificate.

Ryan Curran (00:26):

ABA technologies has recently decided to move forward with a new model of teaching professionals about organizational behavior management called the OBM specialist certificate, the previous model, known as OBM applied, provides opportunities for professionals from various fields to learn about scientifically validated methods, to improve employee performance and gain real world experience applying these principles to a business opportunity with the current organization. The previous model offered an extensive overview of organizational behavior management by having participants take three different courses, including essentials of organizational behavior management, learning in the workplace, and OBM applied, which was taught by a variety of co-instructors separated into small groups. The first two classes are completely on demand. Students complete them at their own pace. They primarily consists of a series of videos of the participants watch and the videos prompt them to answer active student responding questions that are peppered throughout the course.

Ryan Curran (01:20):

The third course, OBM applied is asynchronous and instructor led. It requires students to implement their own OBM project in an organization they're familiar with, with the support of a sponsor. This course also includes some videos for students to watch as well as four workbooks to read, according to the course timeline. Participants are also required to submit assignments that relate to the videos and assigned chapters every other week, which focus on applying the concepts and principles reviewed to the project. The co-instructors review the assignments and provide feedback to the participants on their respective projects. During the live meetings, the co-instructor has each participant review the status of their project with a small group of other participants, the participants receive advice and guidance for challenges they're facing with their settings, from their co-instructor and benefit hearing about the progress and challenges their classmates are facing. While this program has been very successful for many of the participants, areas for improvement were identified that could enhance the learners experience. The primary challenge associated with the original OBM applied was that the participants first exposure to the OBM project tools was in the final applied course. So the first time they saw all the OBM project tools and action was when they had to apply them to their own project. Although learning by doing is an excellent way to learn OBM exposure to appropriate instructions and modeling first is important, seeing examples and non-examples ahead of time better assists learners up to practice applying the tools correctly and recognize when they need to modify what they're doing. The two prerequisites in the older OBM applied, although great OBM courses did not necessarily cover topics that prepared these students to begin their own OBM project. It is common for real world scenarios to be met with extraneous variables that complicate the process.

Ryan Curran (02:53):

Some challenges the participants encountered have included experiencing difficulty obtaining buy-in from key personnel, correctly identifying all key stakeholders, facing challenges with sustainability, and gaining access to necessary information from key stakeholders in a timely manner. The course includes coaching from an instructor for this purpose. However, learners still wish they had learned more about how to select and navigate an OBM project before being required to do a project-based course. Another thing to take into consideration is that an OBM project rarely fits into a consistent timeframe. The OBM applied class can be a bit intense for the learner, as they're trying to get through the different bases of a project within the specific constraints of the class. Basically every project progresses at a different pace and the structure of the course may be difficult for the learners to continue getting value out of it if they lost their project or change their jobs in the middle of the course, the OBM applied class also presents a large amount of information to the learner on methods of OBM in general, and only really focused on the process of developing and implementing an appropriate intervention in the final course while they're working on their project, the presentation of large amounts of information with limited opportunities to repeatedly interact with the material and the lack of modeling and exposure to the tools may have limited the learner's ability to learn and retain all the important details of running projects.

Ryan Curran (04:11):

This seemed to leave a lot of participants learning about things they should have done differently in terms of selecting project, engaging the doers of the project, addressing systematic disconnects in the process, and ensuring that the project is sustainable and capable of ensuring lasting change. Finally, the design of the program helped the learners focus on a specific concern or business opportunity within their organization. However, it left many participants wanting more guidance on future projects to help them practice, again, now that they better understood the tools and to generalize the information they learned to address other opportunities. This information was taken into consideration when developing the new OBM specialist certificate program.

Allison King (04:54):

Hi everyone, Alison here, I'm here to share some things about ABA technologies, updated OBM specialist certificate. As you may know, ABA tech has offered an OBM certificate for several years now, in partnership with Florida tech, we've been receiving some questions about why we made changes to it and what those changes are. So, as Ryan mentioned, the third and final course, and the previous certificate required learners to already have an identified project supported by a sponsor from their organization that they were required to implement throughout the course. And we learned that there were a lot of folks struggling to identify an appropriate project and get the support of a sponsor, and the funny thing is that the first couple of units in the course covered more information about how to do this. So there was also the other issue of some students using the tools in the first couple of weeks, and then realizing that they wanted to change their project around.

Allison King (05:51):

So people would often tell us and the instructors that they wished they would have had more exposure to some of this material and the tools before being required to have a project ready to go. And this final course in the older program includes activities that students are required to do at certain points, which involve having them apply a certain tool to their project. And because all projects progress at a different pace, some of the tools that the students were asked to fill out for their project were not relevant to their project at that time, either because the project had not progressed enough yet, or their project was past that point. And they were wishing they had exposure to the tool ahead of time. So the idea of having students apply the tools to their project is great, but the students should see the tools in action applied throughout the life cycle of a project before doing their own.

Allison King (06:46):

That way they can get the practice and experience of identifying and selecting and using the certain tools, uh, when, when they think it's appropriate for their project. The first key change I'll share about the OBM specialist certificate is that it's currently designed as one course. And it does not require students to do their own projects in their workplace with a sponsor. Of course, the goal is for them to end this program, being able to better apply OBM in an organization they're familiar with, from identifying an opportunity that's important to the organization, getting the support from a sponsor and other stakeholders, all the way to making those lasting measurable improvements in the organization. So as they go through the course, we do expect students will begin to start thinking about how to apply this material and tools in their own organization, or they may actually begin initiating and completing their own project, but they're not required to instead everyone who goes through the new program will have some consistent exposure and experience with the OBM tools and the model for implementing the tools, whether they're already doing their own project or not.

Allison King (07:57):

And they get this by following a couple of example projects from start to finish throughout the course. So now they're getting this experience with the tools before they're pushed to apply them to a project in their own organization. The new OBM specialist certificate also includes an interactive PDF tool kit that students will get when they begin the course. And the kit explains how and when the tools can be used throughout an OBM project with the use of the SPACE model, which stands for scope, pinpoint, assess, change, and embed, we organize the process and tools into a model to provide a visual roadmap and to show where the tools can be used throughout the life cycle of a project. And the SPACE model doesn't necessarily reflect a completely novel approach to applying OBM. It was actually somewhat inspired by the success and scalability of lean and six Sigma with the use the DMAIC model, we found that having a model like this with some defined phases that have associated tools and objectives provides individuals and their project teams with a shared framework and process, instead of tools, which can help project teams navigate the application of an OBM project to completion in a way that can be easily understood by stakeholders in the organization who need to be informed and provide support along the way. Related to that, some of the tools in the tool kit are ones from the previous certificate that have been refined based on some feedback and experience with them over time. And some are ones that learners may be very familiar with as they're based off of cited research methods that already exist as tools, like the different variations of the performance diagnostic checklist, or the various tools that guide one to do an ABAC assessment and a consequence analysis. But it also includes some new tools that were designed to fill in some of the learning gaps that we noticed in the previous certificate program. For example, we noticed that people after they learn more about defining a business opportunity and, and some high level or bottom line metrics that had room for improvement, they would struggle to work backward from that to define a project that fit within a reasonable scope and had pinpoints or more sensitive metrics that would allow them to evaluate the success of their project in relation to those higher level, more lagging metrics.

Allison King (10:32):

And we found that being skilled in this linking of metrics is pretty important because people need to be able to evaluate and demonstrate the impact that their project is having on that larger business opportunity. So one of the new tools is designed to assist with this. Um, it's designed to guide people to think about the business opportunity, which is linked to some metric on a very high scale that is influenced by many variables and continue drilling down further until they've clearly defined some measurable outcomes on a smaller scale that will more quickly and noticeably change as they implement their project. So the tool can help learners find a project with targets that are within a scope that their sponsor has already defined for them, if that's the case, or it can also help the project lead and sponsor as a team see some different options that they have for a project linked to that business opportunity and then determine priority and scope if they haven't already.

Allison King (11:34):

And finally, the last thing I want to share is related to another question that we've seen people asking, which is whether there will be an updated course, like the one in the older version. And that includes coaching from instructors while, while students practice applying OBM in their workplace. And the answer is, yes, we are planning on soon offering something like this, but rather than it being a course with brand new material, plus some coaching on application of the material, the plan is for it to be mainly just focused around that coaching the student through application of material and tools that they've already had exposure to. So applying that to their project, so students will have already had been exposed to the tools and the model from previously going through the OBM specialist certificate and with the project-based course designed this way, it means that we can hopefully allow folks to go through it as much as they want, anytime they have a project or opportunity and want some continued coaching and mentorship from an OBM instructor and small group of others who are in a similar situation, without requiring them to apply certain tools to their project according to, of course, timeline. It allows the students to practice identifying next steps for their project, for themselves on their own, according to whatever is happening in their project. And it also gives the instructor more freedom to truly coach based on where each individual and their project is at. So the thought is that the OBM specialist certificate will better set people up to get the most out of project-based coaching from an instructor. And the project-based coaching course can now give students and instructors more freedom since it will be less of a course and more of just a coaching lab. But again, this wouldn't be required to get the OBM specialist certificate, the OBM specialist certificate instead better sets them up to do their own project and they can choose to get more individualized mentoring after that, if they wish.

Shauna Costello (13:40):

Thank you for listening to operant innovations, and as always, if you have feedback, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at operantinnovations@abatechnologies.com.



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