Could our Learning and Development programme offer more?

Earlier this year, the third and final (for now) meeting of the ‘Exemplars’ from Becta’s Technology Exemplar Network took place. Among other subjects, we discussed the outcomes from our mini-network events and open days held earlier this year to kick-start engagement between Exemplars and the Participating Providers with whom we have been partnered.

We had an open discussion with no other agenda than discussing technology in relation to teaching and learning. The conversation began with a comment from South Devon College’s Becky Barrington who asked ‘how do you maintain staff attendance in your learning and development offerings?’. Becky elaborated by explaining that she has been involved in delivery of learning and development training for some time, and has recently come to the conclusion that teaching ‘the technology’ may not be the most effective approach. Instead, Becky has shifted her focus away from teaching application skills. You know the ones – Word, Excel, PowerPoint – the somewhat predictable staples of the classroom.

A shift in direction has been made, focusing now upon enabling staff to effectively apply available tools in the classroom with desired outcomes in mind. This is in distinct contrast with a “here’s how you perform with ” approach. The general assumption being that with the new approach, outcomes of greater benefit to the teacher and (more importantly) the learner become achievable. The same view was echoed by Sandra from City and Islington, who added ‘we’re not offering that IT stuff any more!’, instead focusing upon ILT needs.

A number of other simple and effective ideas emerged from the conversation, although the discussion did tend to focus upon technical aspects of the classroom, rather than teaching and learning. Full credit for all this to those who participated in that conversation:

  • use a ‘just one thing’ theme
  • post a ‘what’s coming next week’ reminder somewhere prominent
  • drop into classrooms regularly to kick start ILT usage, and find out what works (or doesn’t!)
  • adopt a flexible planning approach and listen to staff availability comments
  • ensure that the trainer enters the classroom to witness the impact of delivery!
  • focus less on training in technology and more on building learning practice with technology

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