There are so many good reasons that you need complete a skills audit coupled with a learner analysis with your learners, when training adults due to an organisational change management process it becomes paramount.
Recently I had been invited to appear at an “up-skilling of lecturers’” series of sessions that were designed to help a group of displaced lecturers to migrate their content across from one LMS to a new LMS. When I arrived it was nice to see that I knew most of the participants, having worked with them over the years on various projects involving technology and its use in a trades training environment. These trades’ lecturers are switched on forward thinkers who have been using an LMS for a number of years. They’ve become good online operators who have mature skills and well developed course work plus did I mention they are a good group of people to work with.
I was not presenting, but was representing the government agency I work for as we will be working in the training team to support the stragglers into the future.
The presenter started off well with general introductions and then asked around the room for in-depth points about what they were doing in the current system including their skills. He took note of this information, to contextualize the session. This, I have to say, is where it went horribly wrong. The presenter then took the next 90 mins to show from the front the system that he had them log into but not touch. It was a basic click and show session about nothing. The learners disengaged and chatted among themselves.
For me the basic of basic concept about learner profiling was forgotten prior to the session. What would have been useful was to have had the participants fill out a quick learner skills audit to gauge their skills and mastery level of technology prior to the session; this would have then informed a contextualization of the content. At the base level it would have helped the presenter to even remember that the participants had skills and not to just power on as if there was a group of users who could not even turn on a computer in the room.
When I am presenting to a group I do take the time to yes, do an ice-breaker of introductions. Like many of you I will then contextualize my session on the fly based on what the responses to my thoughts have been. Never do I like the look of glazing over in a session as you have lost them.
Technology skills sessions can be especially tricky to moderate the content to ensure everyone is happy, but it can be done. I am old school I guess as a teacher I like to:
- do small group work;
- scribe on paper hung around the room; and
- get my students talking and sharing.
Is this necessary in a skills session you are wondering, well yes.
It helps flesh out the points from a skills audit or learner profile that the participant may have glossed over, it allows contextualized teaching points and also allows important robust group support discussions.
I do know that many presenters feel that learner profiles belong in the domain of a classroom, whereas my belief that all professional learning sessions can benefit from these.
My take-away lesson from this experience is simple: it shouldn’t be about the “e” but should be all about the “learn”.
Boud, D., & Garrick, J. (Eds.). (2012). Understanding Learning at Work (1). Florence, US: Routledge. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au
Herner-Patnode, L., Lee, H.-J., & Baek, E.-o. (2011). Reflective E-Learning Pedagogy. In Instructional Design: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 18-33). [Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global]. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch103. Retrieved from: http://www.igi-global.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/gateway/book/47333