Starting The New Semester – A new batch of teachers to educate.. Before we educate the students!
September is looming closer and closer. And with that, comes a new semester. New books, new classes and a new online learning environment being tested and teachers to be educated in how it’s the answer to some of their problems.
Once all upgrades and plug-ins have been tested and now it’s time for the real test, how it will all perform in the real world.
One thing though, that we can’t really test is how the teachers will actually cope with the new environment or more importantly how they will actually adopt the new learning environment. Will they take the chance and go “all online” or will they just use it as a repository for course notes?
How each individual teacher takes it, is really up to personal choice. If they like it, they may explore a little deeper and check out some of the other features the environment has to offer, or if you are lucky they may end up suggesting some plug-ins to add which they found… sounds good doesn’t it?!
But how can we prepare the teachers and give them the best opportunity possible for maximum uptake? In short, we can’t but all we can do is provide them with a firm grounding in the basics and then point them in the direction they need to be looking to further their knowledge whenever they feel like doing so.
We need to remember that learning (especially in working world) doesn’t happen in a formal setting anymore and time is not on our side. In the real world, learning happens at 11:55pm on a Thursday night when we can’t sleep or 2pm on a Sunday while waiting for our other half to come out of a shop. When we don’t have time for learning, we wait for something to spark out interest and that is when we decide to dig a little deeper and find out more.
When we hit a brick wall during a usual working day, we don’t have the time to go searching for the answer. We usually just look for another way of doing it and in the case of e-learning this means a paper multiple choice questions not an online test which self grades. Why? Time!
To make this coming semester easier on teachers, we need to make the path to learn more as simple as possible. Although books are great, they aren’t an on-the-go solution. Simple step based approaches for common tasks should be widely available for teachers, not through an email exchange. The effort of even that can sometime be off putting to some.
If time is on your side, a really simple web page, with clearly defined tasks on the left hand side could save them and you time in the long run. Remember that information is good, but when you are busy information is the enemy and bullet lists and single sentences are your friends.
Usually teachers don’t care why, they just want to know how!