In my role as a Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor (TELA) working in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), one of the main issues I have encountered time and again is how to get academic staff to engage with their own continuing professional development (CPD) in the use of technology to support their learning, teaching and assessment strategies.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Catherine Wasiuk and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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I am sure all of you in a similar role in other institutions will agree with me that this is one of the trickiest parts of the job. What is the best way to get staff engaged? After 5 years I still hadn’t cracked it. I’d tried a range of different options and approaches, such as drop-ins, 1-2-1s, dedicated programme training sessions, cross faculty training sessions, but still engagement remained low and staff tended to favour just-in time or retrospective training (“Oops this went wrong, how do I fix this?”)
This issue was obviously still bugging me when I needed to write a research proposal for my own CPD where my question focussed on ‘Exploring the barriers and challenges to engagement with learning technologies within the context of continuing professional development’. The literature review confirmed what I had long suspected – one of the main contributing factors to the lack of engagement is time. Time is often one of the most cited reasons for staff not engaging with professional development (Singh and Hardaker, 2014; Kopcha, 2012). This can be the amount of time required to attend a staff development session as well as the perceived amount of time that it takes to learn and use technology. This is linked with institutions not allowing enough time to learn new technologies as it is a perception that research is ‘rewarded’ and ‘respected’ over teaching (Quinn, 2012; Reid, 2014). Therefore, a supportive work environment with professional development linked to strategy can encourage staff to engage through allowing opportunity to attend professional development events (De Rijdt et al., 2013).
After another disappointing turn out for a staff development session, Kate Soper (@KatesSoper) and I were left scratching our heads over coffee about what else could we do? We thought we had tried everything.
And then mid-sip we had a Eureka! moment! What if we could deliver 1 minute of CPD every day to all staff for a whole year? Everyone can spare a minute, right?
And if everyone could spare a minute, then we would be delivering over 6 hours a year of learning technology CPD to every member of staff over the course of 365 days. These numbers and time engaged in CPD would be beyond the reach and scope of anything we could imagine or could hope to achieve in our current practice. That very day we set up the#1minuteCPD blog and set out our plan for 2016. Our focus would be on building capacity through enhancing academic staff digital skills. Our aim would to improve staff digital skills one minute at a time, one day at a time.
If staff weren’t going to attend CPD sessions, then we would bring the CPD sessions to them!
On the 1st January 2016 we launched our first ever#1minuteCPD post. And every day since then we have released a blog post that will take staff 1 minute to either watch, try or read. We have encouraged staff to either sign up to the blog, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get #1minuteCPD directly to their inbox. We’ve had some great feedback from staff within our institution. Our favourite so far is:
“And it really only takes a minute!”
However, from the beginning we knew that this would be an open educational resource. But little did we know how popular it would become in a short amount of time and we are genuinely overwhelmed by the reaction and support for the project from the #edtech community on Twitter. Thank you!
The blog is going from strength to strength. To date, we have had over 10,000 views from every corner of the globe and we hope that this will become a valuable OER for educators across the world.
I hope you enjoy this journey with us over 2016.
De Rijdt, C., Stes, A., van der Vleuten, C. and Dochy, F. (2013) ‘Influencing variables and moderators of transfer of learning to the workplace within the area of staff development in higher education: Research review.’ Educational Research Review, 8(1) pp. 48-74.
Kopcha, T. J. (2012) ‘Teachers’ perceptions of the barriers to technology integration and practices with technology under situated professional development.’Computers & Education, 59(4) pp. 1109-1121.
Quinn, L. (2012) ‘Understanding resistance: an analysis of discourses in academic staff development.’Studies in Higher Education, 37(1) pp. 69-83.
Reid, P. (2014) ‘Categories for barriers to adoption of instructional technologies.’ Education and Information Technologies, 19(2) pp. 383-407.
Singh, G. and Hardaker, G. (2014) ‘Barriers and enablers to adoption and diffusion of eLearning: A systematic review of the literature–a need for an integrative approach.’ Education + Training, 56(2/3) pp. 105-121.