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.
The aim of the ALPHA tool is to change attitudes and therefore have an impact on those who intend to dope. ALPHA will potentially reduce doping behaviour amongst athletes who are already doping, or prevent other athletes from doing so. If the intention of the learner is not to dope, the tool provides all the necessary information for the athlete.
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 and instead provides athletes with solutions to allow clean progression. The tool also allows athletes to recognise when they are in situations which put them at risk of doping and provides them with ready-made solutions to resist the pressures to dope.
ALPHA’s effectiveness is measured through the provision of information, whereby knowledge is measured through pre- and post-course tests. Once a pre-test is complete, the learner is then taken through a short introduction explaining the learning process.
The six sessions included in the program are based on the same structure; a motivational scenario is presented, placing the learner in a position where s/he 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 Commission members is expected to have a strong impact too, as it is a use of peer-to-peer education.
The Alpha Course can be found at alpha.wada-ama.org