A couple of years ago, I help incorporate learning technology into the delivery of training for the student record system in a university. I was responsible for training staff (within the university) in the use of the university’s student record system. When I took up the post, all training was face to face. But the university was keen to adopt a blended learning approach for the training of staff in this particular area as other areas of staff training were based on the blended learning model. I deployed new learning technologies, developed online courses and ultimately launched a introduction course for beginners that staff could do at their own desk.
Did you contribute to the strategy, if so, in what capacity?
I help develop the new LT strategy with other colleagues from the Registry (who were the team responsible for running the student record system within the university). As this student record system was an off the shelf product used across several other UK universities, I began by looking to other universities to see what approaches they had taken in training their staff internally. I visited 3 other universities (including 1 university where the student record system was still being implemented). So, at this university there was a big focus on getting the training right and they had lots of great ideas for the use of eLearning.
I collated all this information and presented it to my colleagues at the Registry including costs for the deployment of new tools and technologies. The strategy was born from this.
Is the main focus of the strategy on Learning Technology, or if not, what is its main focus?
Yes, the main focus was on technology. The university already had a well established training programme based on face to face delivery and were looking to incorporate technology into the delivery of training.
How often is it reviewed and is it flexible enough to adapt as things change?
The strategy was designed to be flexible and was introduced at a pace so as to not overwhelm staff. Feedback was actively sought and this feedback was reviewed by a “project board” with the view of recommending changes as and when needed.
Does the strategy impact on your practice and if so, how? If not, why?
I think it certainly did. Whilst not everyone was keen on the new blended learning approach, there was active engagement from a lot of staff. Because of the varied uptake, I was able to tailor my approach to the delivery of face-to-face training and focus on the faculties of the university where uptake was limited. Where the uptake was high, I ultimately spent less time on those faculties and this was compensated by the online resources.
I also spent a lot of time initially “spreading the word” about the new technologies, resources and tools.
Finally, if you were to provide input to a new version, what, if any, changes would you make to it?
Largely, the strategy would remain unchanged. However, I would have taken more time to review some of the technologies before they were implemented as some minor flaws were found in the technology after implementation.