“Most teachers are very busy. They are already juggling a great many things just to do their job. Try to make training as convenient and appropriate as possible, and provide teachers with time to learn the technology before expecting them to use it.”
—Robin Smith, educational technology specialist, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Pennsylvania
Robin Smith made these comments during a recent interview with Education World about what elements are essential for successful teacher technology training programs. Her observations about making training convenient, appropriate and applicable are relevant within the context of technology training that associations provide to their staff members.
Do your staff, IT or otherwise, look forward to technology training or dread it? If the latter is the case, it may be that the training is not scheduled optimally or that staff don’t see how it will be immediately applicable to their day-to-day jobs. Similar to teachers who went back to school this around the country, your staff members are being challenged to learn and use new technologies in order to better serve their customers.
In the larger scheme of things, this isn’t an outrageous expectation. However, Smith’s final point is also an important one that we’ve emphasized with clients: Allow enough time for staff to be trained on a new technology solution before expecting them to use it. When they understand the benefits of implementing such a solution to them personally and their organizations as a whole, they will be more likely to deliver the time and cost savings that often come from these implementations.
Smith offered some great suggestions for successful technology training that you might consider for your association. Here’s a quick summary:
- Get support from the top.
- Include staff in the decision-making process when determining the types of training needed.
- Be sure technology instructors are knowledgeable and well trained.
- Provide incentives for attendance at training programs.
If your training doesn’t work, neither will your technology.