Thursday, 19 January 2017

Problem-based ILT workshop

Over the years in a learning technologist role I have delivered many training sessions on introducing and reinforcing the creative use of Information Learning Technology (ILT).  It can be challenging for some people to modify and develop their ILT practices.  If you are in a similar role you will have experienced how difficult this can sometimes be.

ILT training sessions have moved well beyond 'show and tell'.  Many people can gather what the tool or system does so there is no need for a detailed demonstration of it, just an overview of it's potential to improve learning experiences and teaching practices.  Time needs to be allocated to explore and critically evaluate digital technology against tutors practices and specialist subjects.  This is something that I have covered in the conclusions of my masters research.

Problems are based on a specific situation that we encounter on a daily basis, and with a positive mind set they can be overcome.  It's about being proactive and being able to see a solution and not a problem - which we are always quick to do.  During a training session on problem solving skills in my previous learning technologist role, I had the idea of developing future ILT training sessions around a problem solving workshop.  Tutors would bring their recent experiences and lesson plans and be prepared to dig deep on their ILT problems and find solutions to them.  However, this is really another reason for implementing ILT; solving pedagogical problems.  Below is a basic outline that can be used to deliver a problem-based ILT workshop.

Step 1 – recognise the problem

  • Split into groups
  • Describe recent problems and experiences of using ILT inside and outside of the classroom
  • Identify and decide on a common problem to resolve

Step 2 – specify the problem

  • Collate and critically examine all relevant facts of your selected ILT problem discussed in the previous step
  • Analyse how the original ILT plan did not meet the desired expectations

Step 3 – identify the cause

  • Analyse and list the effects that the ILT problem has impacted on such as learning experiences, teaching practices etc
  • Eliminate the facts that you think are not relevant to the cause of the problem
  • Draw up a list of the remaining facts
  • Work with facts that you are left with as they are the likely causes

Step 4 – develop possible solutions

  • Brainstorm a list of potential solutions to overcome the causes of using ILT effectively (quantity of ideas not quality at this stage)
  • Include any barriers that are against your ideas
  • Amend any unacceptable solutions to make them acceptable

Step 5 – evaluate solutions

  • Revisit the list of potential solutions
  • Analyse which solutions are the most efficient at alleviating the cause by considering their practicality
  • Decide and remove the solutions that are not practical at alleviating the cause

Step 6 – implement the best solution

  • Develop a detailed action plan that includes what, why, when, where and how of using ILT that includes solutions to any potential problems
  • Include milestones, target and review dates, early warning strategies
  • Test your solution through creating and experimenting with your new ILT plan

Step 7 – monitor and review

  • Evaluate how effective or ineffective your solution is after testing
  • Review any changes to be made to your action plan
  • Revisit Step 2 to see if the problem has been resolved.  If you have only identified a cause, the problem still exists
  • Understand that to identify and solve a problem requires regular awareness of practice

Hopefully this has sparked some ideas on how a problem solving workshop could be structured.  However, it's also worth investigating change management strategies as these are also useful to developing problem solving skills and attitudes in using ILT effectively.