ASADA and the NISU get to grips with ethical decision making in sport

Examining the ethical decision making process with Australian athletes and athlete support personnel.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and the National Integrity in Sports Unit (NISU) lead Australia’s fight against doping and the use of illicit drugs in sport as well as match fixing. Together, they engage with athletes, athlete support personnel and the general public to raise awareness of these issues through a variety of education programs, including face-to-face presentations and elearning.

The Challenge

In recent years, the decision-making processes of athletes and athlete support personnel has come under scrutiny as they walk the very fine line between competing fairly and cheating. Doping cases, both here in Australia and internationally, show the level to which some athletes and athlete support personnel will go to achieve success.

ASADA and NISU faced enormous pressure from the public and the government to tackle the issue.  In response, the two agencies developed a face-to-face program with Bluestone Edge. The 90-minute program was designed around engaging the participants in a series of ethical dilemmas, providing them with the facts and asking them to make a choice. The facilitator would then lead a guided discussion, in the style of SBS’s Insight program, over why they made the choice they did and what factors went into it.

With the success of the face-to-face program, ASADA and NISU decide to develop an online version to reach greater numbers. The challenge was to replicate a face-to-face program that was designed to illicit conversation and the unpacking of the decision-making process which is made even more difficult when there are no right or wrong answers, nor do the participants want their responses tracked.

Our Solution

Joining forces once again, ASADA and Kineo Asia Pacific worked together to develop a ground breaking solution that mimicked as closely as possible the face-to-face program.  The result is a course, built on the Adapt Framework, that challenges the learners to carefully consider situations they may face in their sporting life that may blur the line of fair play and cheating. 

Using the content developed for ASADA and NISU by Bluestone Edge, the team at Kineo worked with the ASADA Education team to craft a course that would achieve results similar to that of the face-to-face program. This required some out of the box thinking and some bespoke development in the Adapt Framework to achieve the desired result.

The biggest challenge for the development of the course was to condense the theory down to a manageable, bite-sized chunk. The learners are guided through the basic theory of ethical decision making, exploring their values and principles, as well as their reason for participating in sport. A key component of the face-to-face program is for the participants to identify their values and principles and use them in the decision-making framework during the scenarios.

Functionality was specifically developed by Kineo to enable the selections made in this part of the course to be carried through to the three scenarios and have the learner identify how the decision they make aligns with their identified values and principles. This ties together the theory of decision-making and making the choice when presented with a tricky decision, which is the entire purpose of the course.

Integrity in sport covers several different areas, including doping, illicit drugs and match fixing.  Each of these areas has a scenario that places the learner in a difficult position that requires them to reflect on their values and principles, then apply that to the decision. After the choice is made, the decision is revisited, but with a twist, to see if the learner would stick to their guns or change the decision.

The Results 

The face-to-face program is designed to challenge the participants understanding of their decision-making processes. The online equivalent has made great use of the Adapt Framework to give learners a comparable experience that can be accessed anywhere, on any device.

In contrast to the anti-doping course previously developed, Ethical Decision Making is not mandatory, yet it has seen 331 completions since launch in October 2016.  88% of the 156 survey respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the course, and over 86% stated they are more likely to consider their values and principles when making decisions around sport integrity issues.

Comments about the course include:  

“I recommend everyone who is an athlete to complete this course as it truly helped me understand my values & principles”
“Very easy to learn… Great information and well delivered with known sports person… so kids can relate”
“I believe the course to be very competent in all areas and that it educates athletes of their requirements which must be considered for any future careers and roles in sport.”
“This Ethical Decision Making Course helped me develop a better understanding about anti-doping and decision making.”
“This course did help me reflect on my morals and assured me I’m on the right path and happy with the decisions I would make.”  

We are really happy with the Ethical Decision Making Course. Converting an interactive values based face-to-face workshop into an elearning setting was a difficult ask, however the final product is exactly what we had envisioned, and it was wonderful working with Kineo again to create this course. It’s been well received in the community so far, and we’re looking forward to the benefits from the greater reach this online course provides us. Chris Butler - ASADA 

 

Kineo and ASADA won Platinum for Best free elearning resource at the LearnX Awards in 2017 with this project.