The Athlete Learning Program about Health and Anti-Doping (ALPHA) has been developed with the input of eLearning specialists, athletes, anti-doping specialists and anti-doping social scientists. It was officially launched at the ADO Symposium, in Lausanne on 25-26 March 2014.
Based on the latest findings in Social Science Research and learning technology, the aim of this tool is to change attitudes and therefore have an impact on those who intend to dope. Therefore, if effective, the tool will potentially reduce doping behavior amongst athletes who are already doping, or prevent other athletes from doing so at all. If the intention of the learner was not to dope, the tool provides all the necessary information for an athlete and reinforces the protective factors.
The uniqueness of this tool lies in its ability to provide positive solutions to athletes to stay clean. By studying all the performance-related areas, such as rest and recovery, training, nutrition and helping athletes to identify where they could do better, the tool shifts the focus away from what athletes are not allowed to do to instead providing athletes with solutions to allow continued progression in a clean way. The tool also allows athletes to recognize when they are in situations which put them at risk of doping, and provides them with ready-made solutions to resist pressures to dope.
ALPHA’s effectiveness can be measured through the provision of information, whereby knowledge is measured through pre- and post-tests, and pre- and post-tests that measure all predictions of doping intention. This includes self-efficacy, subjective norms, perceived control, beliefs and willingness. The measurement of effectiveness will allow for evaluation and, therefore, the program’s continuous improvement.
Once a pre-test is complete, the learner is then taken through a short introduction explaining the learning process.
The first six sessions included in the program are based on the same structure. A motivational scenario is presented, placing the learner in a position where he/she has to help a teammate solve a problem. The learner is then provided with material such as a tutorial and other information/resources, and a moral reasoning activity. This allows the learner to help his/her teammates, by explaining the “how” and “why” of the solution.
The six sessions are:
• Ethical Reasons not to Dope
• Medical Reasons not to Dope
• The Doping Control Process
• Rights and Responsibilities
The final two sessions of the program concentrate on providing athletes with positive solutions to enhance performance, and ways to identify risk factors. The use of video messages from the WADA Athlete Committee members is expected to have a strong impact, as it is a use of peer-to-peer education. The message does not emanate from authorities, but from fellow experienced athletes.
With booster sessions proven to increase effectiveness, a reminder will be sent by email six months after the completion of the program.