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Making the brave step towards learning technology

Technology. How many of us have the privilege of being taught how to use some of this by our young children? I can't imagine many of themeven beginning to consider what was it like before the smart phone, the internet, social media, cloud computing and all that jazz. How many of us though can remember life before the telephone (showing age now!) yet here we are relying in it today like it has always been around?And the fact is the young ones don't even need to worry too much about life before this digital era. The fact is it's here to stay. We all know it even if some of us are still in denial!So what does that mean in the world of HRD and the traditional training approaches? How many professionals fear this new technology thinking that these computers will take over the world and write us off as no longer required? After all, the powers that be recognise the huge cost and time savings of using technology.Well, let me give you my take on this:Number 1: Face to face training will NEVER DIE! Period! It's here to stay. Some situations, some topics absolutely are best delivered face to face. Can you, for example, learn how to drive using a computer? Well yep, some of the theory definitely, but the actual practical aspects of driving er no! There is always a place for face to face.Number 2: Regardless of how training is delivered some HRD expertise is required in designing that to hit the mark. A HRD professional is fundamental in ensuring material in any form is engaging, relevant and effective whether it's on or offline.Number 3: Our society expects technology to be around. Schools, colleges and universities seem to be leading the way. How many of those have got fancy new smart boards compared to us in the business world still with our flip charts and pens? How much more time have we got before people coming into our face to face training in the business world feeling like they're stepping back in time because we haven't kept up?Number 4: We are pressed today, more than ever before, to deliver more, but in less time and with less cost? Surely technology has a place in helping us with those challenges.So is the trick here to continue burying our head in the sand stating that we don't get this technology, have any interest in using it kidding ourselves that we'll never need it anyway?Or is it time that we rise to the challenge, get to understand it, use it, and figure out how we can work with this stuff to be at the cutting edge of leaning provision.I'm even going to go as far as to say if we don't do the latter we're seriously going to be left behind.So what does that mean? How do we even begin to pick through how it all works, what we should look at and what skills we need to develop? After all, if people are leaning using technology, shouldn't we learn about how this impacts on the way we design, deliver and evaluate this content to ensure that we're ready to lead the way?I'm looking at live online learning at the moment as a serious consideration. Given the cost savings associated with a particular project, I simply can't see how it can be ignored. As a trainer I need to get myself ready for that. Whilst my face to face delivery experience and skills will be relevant to the online learning space, I'll be kidding myself if I believe I can move from an off to an online environment and expect it to be exactly the same. I need I learn about new and different ways of interacting with my online audience.So what's the first step in learning online live learning delivery skills? Personally I think a great step is to start from the beginning and become an online learner. I will find some time and opportunities to attend some live online sessions. There's loads out there for free. I will make this time, attend, listen, learn, watch, share, participate. I will evaluate them for myself. What did I like? What worked well? If I were leading that session would my approach be the same? How was the interaction in the session? Was it enough to keep me engaged or did I get bored? What would I do differently if I were running it? Let alone what system is being used, what are the best ones out there from a cost and usability perspective.It's just like observing a face to face training session and picking up tips from your fellow trainers but just online instead. I'll pick up many ideas that will help prepare me for the future of learning technology. And when I get started, I'llsoon realise it's not as bad, scary or threatening as perhaps some might have first thought. Oh and I'll no doubt learn new stuff too.My next steps. Well I've already begun this process. I've both attended and facilitated online live leaning sessions. I don't consider myself to be an expert, but I'm getting there! It's a continuous journey.My journey today continues with DPG's online learning event today at 12pm. You'll find details on this site. I'll be grabbing a coffee and taking some time to soak up and learn even more about online learning.Who's with me today?Sent from my iPhone not by carrier pigeon, fax or post!
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Ady Howes - Community Manager, DPG

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