Looking for signs: Leave nothing out of focus


Article By: Dr. Kenneth Bartlett

Like a portrait photograph, when a face is on focus, everything else around it is a blur. The focus on implementing new processes and attention to modify behavior often dominates our daily efforts. During change process it is important to purposely stop and assess the progress made. You want to capture everything. It’s time to switch from portrait mode to landscape mode.


Keep it in your sight

As change agents, we don’t want to miss signs that positive change is being made. We want to know whether we’re doing well or not. Maybe many of our expected new behaviors are now the preferred way to work. To effectively progress a change it is necessary to be active. Noticing signs is not enough, you must look for them.

The MekongSkills2Work (MS2W) Network is focused on significant change to instructional development and technological support with adoption of innovative, cutting-edge teaching approaches. The aim of this multi-dimensional change process is to prepare students to meet and exceed the demands of the 21st century workforce. With a mission focused around youth employability, women empowerment, economic development, and ASEAN integration. This high level mission makes it is equally important to look for the signposts along the way that show progress towards the broad overarching goals.

Therefore, it is important to observe, take note, and celebrate signs of progress. In the Mekong Learning Centers (MLCs) signs could include:

  • Grades for homework and course assignments posted online
  • Collaborative software used to complete group projects
  • Assignments completed online and uploaded through classroom portals
  • Cloud storage used for students to organize and store their work rather than flash drives or paper
  • Faculty, students, and administrators communicating via online platforms designed specifically for education


As effort to institutionalize change continues, remember to keep an eye out for the signs that change is well underway.

A good preliminary sign of change is when people recognize what they no longer want. As an example, faculty and instructors may recognize that pure lecture learning is not something they wish to do as it will not fully prepare workforce ready students.

As in any journey, we need signs to show us we are still on the right way. Signs also give motivation for the next stage that lies ahead. As much as multiple players in an institution can challenge changes, but that also means more possibilities to spot good signs from. So seek signs as evidence that some changes may already be successfully made and institutionalized.

Have you noticed any good signs of change in your institution?

Tell us what are your techniques to look for and spot signs in your institution on Institutionalization Workspace on Edmodo.