IDEAL: Cognitive Dissonance & Other ID Principles – Relationships!

Previous posts in this series:

  1. IDEAL: Understanding Cognitive Dissonance – Explanation and Illustration.
  2. IDEAL: Cognitive Dissonance in On-ground and Online Trainings – Reasons & Remedy.

Cognitive Dissonance & Other Instructional Design Principles:

Icon of section IDEAL (Instructional Designer's Evolution through Analytical Learning)- Creative Agni ezine.

Cognitive dissonance reflects in many other ID theories and models. This isn’t surprising because many ID theories are based on observations of the human learning behavior. If you’ve read the previous two posts in this series, you must be already forming some connections. Here are two such connections – one with andragogy (adult learning principles) and the other with ARCS (the Learner Motivation model given by John Keller.)

Cognitive Dissonance and Andragogy:

Malcolm Knowles’ Experience Principle (adults are repositories of experiences) is a double-edged sword. While it enables the adult learners to learn by sharing experiences and mapping the new knowledge to their own experiences, it also brings in a lot of cognitive dissonance. As a trainer attempting to engage the adult-audience, you must be prepared to handle both sides of the experienced adult learner.

Due to their prior experiences, adult learners may have cognitions that conflict with the new learning. Depending upon the learner’s methods of handling such cognitive conflicts, you might have a disruptive participant in your classroom. If you are an astute observer, you’d see the dissonance simmering, and you’ll be able to pre-empt it (please refer to my previous post on this.)

Cognitive Dissonance and ARCS:

The Attention dimension of John Keller’s ARCS model too is relevant in the discussion of cognitive dissonance. Among the three main methods of gaining and retaining the learner’s attention is Inquiry Arousal. Cognitive Dissonance can be deliberately generated in a classroom – and the resulting curiosity can result in an attention-gainer. However, it’s important that when the learners try to get rid of their dissonance, the trainer guides their reasoning correctly, freeing them of the dissonance.

Illustration: You are training a group of trainees for handling American queries, and you’d like to help them memorize the names of the states. There’s a strong chance that most participants would pronounce the name of Kansas state correctly, as they would be using phonetics to arrive at the pronunciation. Soon after, ask them to pronounce Arkansas. The general tendency would be to pronounce is according to the phonetics, which would result in incorrect pronunciation. This would lead to a dissonance that you could use as inquiry arousal.

(Read “Here’s Why We Pronounce ‘Kansas’ And ‘Arkansas’ Differently” at the Business Insider India Website.)

Reflection Activity:

  • Recall two experiences, one each for the relationship of cognitive dissonance with the experience principle of andragogy and with ARCS.
  • Try to review some other theories and models to determine whether they reflect the concept of cognitive dissonance.

Previous posts in this series:

  1. IDEAL: Understanding Cognitive Dissonance – Explanation and Illustration.
  2. IDEAL: Cognitive Dissonance in On-ground and Online Trainings – Reasons & Remedy.



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