It’s no secret that learning institutions pay big money for educational tools that are meant to make the teacher’s job easier. But I reckon most learning institutions have a hard time getting employees to use these tools. Perhaps we’re missing a huge opportunity to equip facilitators to be passionate users of tools that are useful for learning in all spheres of life – their own and their students.
From a professional development point-of-view it could be a win-win situation. Employees come away with tools that are not only useful for work but can be used at home to save money or help organise the family holiday or just to have fun! But employers also benefit: because of the inherent worth of certain tools, there’s potentially a higher motivation to use them, employees may naturally spread the use of valuable tools to other employees and less money is needed for training. As an additional benefit, the company may see more innovation as employees are encouraged to experiment with new tools in their practise.
This all came up while planning some professional development last week with a bunch of fun people (for a Learnscope project). We were talking about the amazing educational potential of some of the available tools, but that this potential is zero unless people can see “What’s in it for me”, or “How is this going to make my life easier?”
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Imagine a professional development session advertised like this! If we start using a tool in a fun and worthwhile way, we’re much more likely to see its inherent value and then we’re in a position to consider the possibilities for learning.
Having trouble organising your next home renovation or just keeping track of all the “ToDo’s” in your life? Come along and see how a free BaseCamp account might help you manage your projects at work, at home and in class!
Or even just:
Want to make free phonecalls and even conference-calls with friends and relatives? Come along to our workshop to try it out… We’ll be chatting with other educators in Adelaide and Perth!
Of course there are some tools that are specific to a task at work and yet are still very worthwhile to learn because they are used in many industries (like Sharepoint, for example). But nearly all of the Learning Management Systems that are used in education with huge price tags (in terms of licenses as well as training) are really an amalgamation of real-world tools (that could have been used for free) packaged together into the one not-so-realistic educational box.
Why are we investing so much time and money in specific learning tools for which many don’t see the inherent benefit in our everyday lives? Why not instead learn to use tools that might benefit both our work and home life?