Program Design through Imagery

By Rossman, J. Robert | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, October 1993 | Go to article overview

Program Design through Imagery


Rossman, J. Robert, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Recent literature on programming suggests that program design should include a plan to animate a program (Rossman, 1989) or manage program flow (Edginton, Hanson, & Edginton, 1992). The task is to plan, step by step, the action scenarios and configurations of program components that will guide participants through the social interactions necessary to facilitate the leisure experience intended by the designer. Unfortunately, training in programming often focuses on the static elements of a program with little attention to designing the interaction scenarios essential to creating the leisure experience. In this article, theoretical and practical aspects of mental imagery are explored as a technique for designing an animation plan.

A Program Design Model

Program design consists of planning design tactics - the intervention interactions - necessary to facilitate a leisure experience. Tactics activate the design components to accomplish the specified design goals. The final result is a written plan of how the design tactics for a program will be implemented to facilitate the experience intended by the designer.

Program design requires programmers to have a working knowledge of design goals, design components, and methods for designing tactics. The relationship of these to each other is illustrated in the program design model figure 1). In this article, design goals and components are discussed and methods for planning design tactics, including the use of imagined interactions of a program's frames, transitions, and sequences to make multiple forecasts of candidate plans for a program's operation, are introduced.

Design Goals

The outcomes intended for program participants are its goals. Although a program may be designed to accomplish more, a program is at least an opportunity for an individual to experience leisure. Two assumptions in this definition have implications for specifying design goals. The first is that we know what a leisure experience actually is. Based on current information, to be considered leisure, a program must provide participants with perceived freedom of ongoing choices, intrinsic satisfaction, and an opportunity for positive affect (Kleiber, Larson, & Csikszentmihalyi, 1986), in addition to fun, enjoyment, and relaxation (Kleiber, Caldwell, & Shaw, 1992).

Second, we assume there is sufficient knowledge to enable us, through planned intervention, to increase the probability that individuals will have this experience. Programmers need a design technique to plan the social interactions necessary for creating leisure experiences.

Often, two additional sources of design goals exist - the agency and the individuals in a program. For example, in a corporate or military recreation setting, building esprit de corps may be an organizational design goal for recreation programs. In any agency, the benefits sought by individual program participants are a potential third source of design goals if there is consensus among participants and their desires are known. To design a program, then, a program's goals must be specified, one goal of which will always be to create a leisure experience.

Design Components

Six basic components of program design have been identified (Rossman & Edginton, 1989, p. 163):

1. Interacting people who are present during an occasion.

2. The nature of the physical setting itself.

3. The objects that are found in the setting upon which action is based (including physical objects, abstract objects, or other patrons).

4. The norms, customs, rituals, and rules that govern interactions during an occasion.

5. The existing relationships that bind participants to each other.

6. The animation or dynamics of the occasion as it moves through time.

A change or alteration of any of these six components will fundamentally change the character of a program. …

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