I'll get my coat …

Our Canadian correspondent (well … Stephen Downes actually, but never spoil a good story for the sake of the truth … as they say) suggests an interesting idea.

Namely: “to consider the oft-repeated (especially by teachers) requirement for ‘training’ in new technology to be code for I don’t want to use this.

Read Stephen’s post on this by clicking here.

Can this be true ?

Is offering training merely pandering to the procrastination and avoidance strategies of the unwilling ?

How many of the people we’ve trained have gone on to be enthusiastic, innovative users of our systems ?

How many of the enthusiastic, innovative users of our systems have needed us to train them ?

Should we be spending our time trying to spread the use of technology in learning and teaching, or should the push come from those teaching with it already ?

As learning technologists we often worry about preaching to the converted. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps it is the role of the already converted evangelists to spread the word and it is for us, the e-learning support officers, to pick up the job of facilitator ?

Is this a mild polemic ? 🙂

Your comments and insights would be welcome …


  1. Really interesting thoughts here. I think that Stephen has a point, but it's not always true. It depends on the nature of the change you need to make. For small steps, I think training is fine. For major change, you need innovators and champions. I think……

  2. As well as the nature of the change, as Paul rightly says, it depends on the context of the individual as well. It's fine for Stephen Downes who spends all his time using technology but what about those for who it's not the be all and end all but just a tool they need to use?

    Having said that, there may be an element of trainers and learning technologists justifying their own existence by running training courses and also doing them because they like doing them – not necessarily for the benefits they may or may not bring.

    Who needs trainers if people are training themselves? Should our role not be, as Seymour Papert suggests, "to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge."

  3. I'm probably closer to Stephen's side of the fence than most of my colleagues and I'm sure there is an element of truth in what he says, That said, to get the most out of them, you really do need training in some tools I think. But that's probably the fault of the tool.

    I think that "if you want to do this, use this" type of session may have more lasting long-term benefits though and I'm glad to see that approach starting to emerge in our community of practice.

    I also think that you need to identify and use some of those innovators and champions that Paul mentions.

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