Love the one you’re with!

This post begins a series of articles about learning, technology, and how they intersect. Jenny Hill, CPLP, CTDP explores how we can embrace the digital revolution without shutting ourselves, our stakeholders, or our learners outside the pod bay doors.

Love the one you’re with!

In the world of technology, there’s always something newer and cooler out there to try.  I’m coming up to the end of my phone contract this year, and I feel like I have the oldest phone in the world even though it’s super powerful and still less than 2 years old!  Maybe your organization always seems a version behind on Microsoft Office, so the cool templates you downloaded aren’t working just right. It’s so easy to want to just get the newest thing out there to solve all our problems!

Since every company is now a tech company– the pace is quickening and so is our adoption of new tools. Change is a constant struggle, though. Many of us are still feeling like we’re lagging far behind the cutting edge, and some of these new, problem-solving tools aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

This frustration is a big roadblock to incorporating tech into your workplace learning practice.  Maybe you don’t have access to the newer authoring software that publishes for mobile delivery, so you just give up on reaching mobile devices with your eLearning content.  You don’t have access to a web server, you avoid using web-based technology to deliver training, and keep printing out workbooks and binders.  You’re not sure how to get the survey platform working, so you skip doing a digital survey this time around.

Even in the least tech-savvy environments, there are still lots of options available to us. Incorporating technology is worth the initial struggle- without technology, our employees and businesses risk falling behind! We might just have to be a little bit more resourceful and resilient in order to keep improving.

If budget is your main constraint, there are authoring tools and frameworks like Adapt, which provide the ability to author responsive learning content without breaking the bank. Or maybe you’re picking up some web development skills and want to try out working with a responsive framework like Bootstrap or Foundation.

Some workplace learning professionals will have access to Adobe Creative Cloud– but are you making use of all the applications available when you have a design or delivery problem to solve? I definitely haven’t picked up Animate or After Effects in a while, and they might be the breakthrough I need for my next project.

In the social learning space- while many organizations are picking up Slack and Workplace by Facebook, just as many more block these applications on their networks.  Yammer is much more frequently available as an option and provides great avenues for informal networking and learning, and even regular old email distribution lists can be a great avenue for supporting ongoing social and informal learning.

Many resources can be hosted on an intranet, document repository, or fileshare, rather than a dedicated web server.  Without a great option for serving up internal web content, my team uses SharePoint to great effect to host internal websites and applications. Definitely not a recommended use for SharePoint, but it works for us for the time being!  I’ve been continually surprised at what we’re able to put together to solve our problems and support learning, even if we don’t always have access to the newest and shiniest tools. To this day, one of my favourite old-school tech tools is notepad.exe– sometimes, all you need is text!

We often have much more available to us than it seems at first glance.  What tech do you already have that might help solve problems for you?

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