VLE Staff Training

Posted on January 22nd, 2009 in VLE | 6 Comments »

In the world of Educational ICT money is often spent at hardware and software without thinking about training and time. It doesn’t matter how amazing technology is or what change it can facilitate, if teachers don’t understand how to use it or don’t have time to use it it won’t get used! There are many reports and articles that back up this argument but I think to most of us in the edtech world who aren’t salespeople (and to the honest and good salespeople of which I’m sure there are many) this is a given.

So the challenges of implementing our VLE are pretty much what I’ve expected. The jobs that are being done or need doing are: Finding time to create examplar resources, setting up a sensible look and feel for the system, setting up sensible navigation for the system, the admin part of uploading users, training pupils and training staff.

I’m going to have to just get stuck in and tackle as many of these things as possible simultaneously but right now my priority is to get the training off the ground.

We started with our inset in the first week of term where I spent an hour with the whole staff introducing the concept of a VLE and did a tutorial on how to login, change profiles, add a course and add items to a course. There’s only so much you can do with 80 people or so in an hour with only a handful of laptops. Nevertheless it was a good start and taster for everyone and at least gave people an idea of what was now available for them to use. A friend at a North London school who uses their VLE extensively across the school told me that every one of their whole school insets has to have a VLE related part, maybe that’s something to aspire to.

The next step is organising extra training sessions. I’m going to aim for sessions to have a maximum of 10 people in each and try to schedule them either during the day (taking staff off timetable for an hour) or after school. My plan is to offer staff the option of beginners, intermediate and advanced sessions at either time. I am also offering departments the option to take their training in departments.

We’ll see how it goes this term. I’d be quite happy to get a few groups of enthusiasts wanting to come back for more training rather than a large number of people with knowledge but less desire. I’m also wary of overstretching myself in terms of giving the training, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.

A quick question to you all to finish? How do you train the staff in your school or institution and what model works best?

6 Responses to “VLE Staff Training”

Katie Hart

Hi check out
http://www.2simple.com/2diy

You can make flash content for your VLE.

Thanks for the post; definitely hit home. Whenever I’ve done VLE training in the past, I’ve done it wrong. My one request to my district this year is to create a support position to assist teachers in using technology in their classrooms. My argument is that we are spending millions of dollars on new technology, but the majority of teachers are clueless about how to use it. There is no point.

I found a study a few weeks back that explained that when it comes to getting teachers to use technology effectively, training is good, but support is best. Here it is:

http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume5/Zhao.pdf

Short answer: with great difficulty…

Time at our INSETs is hotly competed for between senior management initiatives and department time. Fitting other things in is tricky. Other barriers include sheer numbers of staff and the massive diversity of skills present. How do I run a session that hits the right notes both for tech-savvy staff and the ones who don’t have much skill or motivation at all?

I identify with both of Patrick’s links – there is a tendency to go overboard with the feature-love, and the support-over-training argument is a very strong one. Will get reading that report.

Katie thanks for the link. I’ve got a blog post almost ready on the problems of creating content and I hope more innovative and simple but presentable content creation packages appear.

Patrick, thanks for sharing your experiences and the article. I think there is a large learning curve and it’s really important for all of use doing similar things to share what works and what doesn’t.
One thing I forgot to mention in the post is my plan to create and get students to create tutorial videos so staff have a place to go if they get stuck.

Steve – too many initiatives, sounds familiar I guess to most UK teachers! What I’d really like is more time rather than more initiatives!

“I’m also wary of overstretching myself in terms of giving the training, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.”

I was in a similar position in my last role of being responsible for training staff on a VLE – staff who weren’t very versed in the use of ICT in the educational setting. I was working with approx. 120 teachers across 2 sites and quickly realised that although they were all part of the same school, office cultures created quite different atmospheres and resultant perspectives on ICT. In any case, I started off by identifying the eager ones – the ones that were willing to ‘give it a go’ and conductive individual training session with them where we worked one-on-one to tackle the ‘specific’ issues of the teacher (including not only their skill levels but also examining their learners and the learning objectives to be reached by the end of term). This is in line with the idea of ‘support over training’ your commenters highlight.

This approach worked very well and soon we had benchmark examples to show others, as well as growing groups of students who were putting pressure on other teachers to ‘get in the game’ – a pleasant twist!

I quoted your above statement because indeed you will most likely reach a point at which you have stimulated so much interest that you are no longer ‘enough’ and more man power would be required to fulfill the demand for ICT training and development. Even when I moved to small group training sessions, an interesting dynamic began to occur. Even though there was a growing number of teachers who wanted to try to integrate technology into their deliveries, they didn’t have faith that I would be available to them on demand (because so many people would be asking for the same level of service that one person just couldn’t provide) and this became the new reason why they weren’t going to explore technology!

Upper level management had an opportunity here to build on the momentum and hire more learning technologists, but we parted ways before I could see the next stage in the development of this interesting teaching culture!

Good luck with your work and feel free to get in touch if you have other questions or want to share experiences.

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