After helping organise a staff development day about 21st C Learning (more about that later), I find myself musing on the link between feedback and encouragement as reciprocal actions.
This was a day with mixed ability and experience staff, all encouraged to take the next step up on their education technology skills ladder. They did this in groups, led by a colleague who is more experienced.
Usually what happens with these ‘traditional-style’ staff development sessions is that a survey is sent the next week to staff (the ‘happy sheets‘). Did you find this useful? That’s interesting but not as interesting as asking again 6 weeks later, are you still using your newly acquired skills? If not, why not? If yes, how else can we help you?
Now a little red cynical me, popped up on my shoulder, and said: “of course they will not still be using it in 6 weeks”. There’s rivalling priorities (research, clinical placements, marking) and suddenly what was claimed today to be a timesaver (Moodle quizzes, Flip videos), seems like just too much work.
But then I thought, wait a minute, that is my responsibility too. How can I encourage and support them over the next 6 weeks, so they will continue to use these skills?
My preference would be to run staff development through networked learning. Inducting staff into an education technology network of like-minded colleagues, would make on-going encouragement and support easy. But this is not a part of our institution (yet – give me time ).
So in traditional staff development situations (one day, 2 days, a 2-hour workshop), how do I deal with my side of the bargain? If participants are expected to continue using a newly acquired skill and give me feedback on my workshop/my work, then my side is to provide active encouragement & support (more than just being on the end of a phone or email). But being realistic about my available time too, as only e-learning advisor in an institution of 350 staff.
Options to keep my side of the bargain within current institution structures:
- Use the newly set up Faculty community page to provide links to examples and instruction videos
- Send weekly emails to the group with interesting education technology and 21st C learning news
- Send 3 surveys for feedback, 1 next week, 1 in 6 weeks, 1 at end of the year. These need to be informative & snappy, but not happy sheets
- Encourage the staff with more education technology experience to share examples of their work on the Faculty community page
- Run virtual debates via the Faculty community page. Some valid questions and worries were posed today about use of social media in education. This conversation can be continued
- Ask faculty managers to take active role in encouraging continued ed tech use (through above mentioned methods).
Any other suggestions?