Posts Tagged Training

Training & Development Certificate Program

I recently completed the Training & Development Certificate Program offered through the Workforce Learning & Performance Institute at The University of Southern Mississippi.  The program requires that you complete 84 hours of in-person hours and 4 extended learning activities outside of the in-person sessions.  Participants complete the program over a 4 month period where  they attend 3 full day sessions a month.  The program covers 35 competencies outlined by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

This program was the best experience of my life.  I made some wonderful friends and professional contacts as well as learned a lot about the field of human resource development.  The all day sessions include a variety of activities working in groups to allow you to learn from the facilitator as well as the other professionals in the program.  I took so much away from this program and have implemented many of the things I learned in the program already.  I will never forget this experience and would recommend this program to anyone in the field of Human Resource Development or Training.

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Technology Showcase

Last week we put on a technology showcase for our faculty. We called it the Tools for Transformation Showcase. We designed the event to be fun by using different types of technologies to play different types of games. We opened up registration for the event to 60 and much to our surprise it was completely full within 2 days. Due to the great feedback from the faculty we now plan to do a technology showcase twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. We plan to incorporate different types of technologies each time.

This time we showcased our Course Management System (Blackboard), our video conferencing tool (Wimba Classroom), social networking using Facebook and collaborative workspace using GoogleDocs.

In our CMS we played “Name that Tune” using the assessment tool. We created a quiz that had 5 questions with each question playing a different piece of music. The faculty were in groups of 3 and took the quiz together. They had to listen to the music that was played and name the artist and title of the song. The faculty had a lot of fun doing this. We had the music randomized so no 2 groups were listening to the same song at the same time.

In our video conferencing tool, we used the content area to display baby pictures of famous musicians and they had to guess who the musician was. Then, at the end they had to figure out what all of the musicians had in common (they were all musicians from Mississippi). Then we used the Break-out room feature to break them out into 5 groups and they had to work together using the whiteboard and text chat to come up with as many more Mississippian musicians as they could. The winning group won a prize.

We introduced social networking and collaborative workspace to them by having a faculty member who uses these tools show how they use them for their classes.

Throughout the event we gave them prizes and treats and served them lunch at the end. The event was an overwhelming success. One of the things that we do stress when doing things like this for our faculty is that it is not all about just using technology but using it in an appropriate manner. We also stress good instructional design techniques.

Our local news did a TV spot on the event: http://www.usm.edu/lec/tfts/t4t.mp4

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Do our students know more than we do about technology?

A faculty member came to me last week who wanted to incorporate podcasting into his course and one of the questions he asked me was, should I assume that my students will already know how to use this technology (or something to that effect)? I told him that I try never to assume anything. Although we like to believe that our students are more technology savvy than the faculty, it is not always true. When speaking of traditional students, yes, they probably know how to use Facebook and download music, but do they even know what a podcast is? There are probably a lot who don’t. First of all, they don’t use the same terminology as we do, so that is something that needs to be addressed first. It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page at the beginning of the course, so that all of the students have the opportunity to be successful.

What if your student population is made up of “non-traditional” students, maybe students who are working full-time already in their field, or who just waited a little longer to go to college, choosing to have a family first…this population of students have a whole different list of concerns than your “traditional” students. Many of these students are already scared to come back to school because they feel out of place and in addition to that are intimidated by the new technology they feel they know nothing about.

Well, what did I tell this faculty member? I told him to get to know his student population, ask questions, create an environment where the students feel they can ask questions (that there are no stupid questions), and tell them up front what to expect in the class. I told him to include on his syllabus the technology requirements so they know up front what is expected to be successful. For example, he is going to require that they use iTunes to view his podcasts because he is creating enhanced podcasts with a Mac. I created an iTunes Cheat Sheet for him to put in his course and told him he should provide the link to download iTunes (which is free) in his syllabus the same as he would his required textbook.

I don’t think we can assume that our students know more about technology than we do. I think they know different things about technology, like how to use youTube and text message on their cell phone, but the types of technologies we use for education could be completely new to them.

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