By Chris Vaines (Cert Ed) MSET
When thinking about the content of this article, I have felt the relevance of it very strongly within the education and training sector. As you may have experienced, the evolution of the educator keeps on evolving and doesn’t show signs of stopping. Although every role is different, at some stage, have you ever stopped to consider what your role now encompasses? For example, did your role as a trainer used to include the production of video? Now, it still may not include the production of video within your job description, however the fundamental skills and knowledge with which to produce video content would be useful. The explosion of digital learning content in recent years has identified that these ‘digital content development’ skills are a must in today’s educational roles. Yes of course there are easier methods such as finding content on video streaming sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, and yet sometimes we need to ask ourselves if that video does satisfy the need of the learner, or would a video detailing the exact content you require them to have be more beneficial.
This is obviously one example, there are other streams of ‘blended learning’ methods which can be achieved digitally such as e-learning courses, social learning and virtual training to name a few. None of these are anything new, but sometimes due to organisational structure, when we finally decide we would like a 5-minute video producing or a 20 minute e-learning course developing we end up being at the hands or mercy of someone else. When we refer to organisational structure, many educational establishments and organisations have a dedicated department which looks after the digital learning aspects such as e-learning and video etc. They are usually servicing the entire organisation and because of that, they are subject to strict commissioning processes, service level agreements and turnaround times. Some of these things make it either impossible or impractical for the lone teacher, assessor who whoever to create quality digital learning content which meets their learner’s requirements, not organisational requirements. The trainer would probably need the content soon and not want to wait their turn in the ever-growing queue.
Now, hats off to the digital learning developers who have an equally difficult task in keeping up with the digital learning trends and servicing everybody’s requirements. Also, hats off to the educators who are also doing what they can to help the learners under whatever circumstances. The solution to the educational problem is to empower the educators to create their own content at their level, which will give them the control and timeliness they need to create their digital curriculum, and free up the digital developer departments to focus on the organisational requirements.
In the spirit of the Education and Training Foundations’ Digital Teaching Professional Framework, having educators who are trained and skilled in all the digital learning approaches mentioned will only enhance every aspect of the learning experience. It will enhance the educators’ professional practice with regards to digital learning, and it will enhance the learner experience in using custom made learning experiences that will help them achieve. This is something I have experienced first-hand, therefore I, like many others, champion the notion of the ‘Blended Learning Practitioner’ which can compliment the area of school teaching, Further Education practitioners and industry learning. We must all be brave in this ‘brave new digital world’. This way we can help each other to help others succeed.
About the author
Chris Vaines has worked in education for more than 10 years. He is now the director of KMF Training & Consultancy Ltd, the author of the Blended Practitioner Handbook, the creator of the Level 3 Blended Learning & Instructional Design (BLaID) course and copyright holder of the F.E.W training concept. He is also a full member of SET.
To find out more about creating digital learning content, please click here