How Much Is Too Much (Training)?

I’ve been thinking about the resources we provide for the continued migration of faculty at work from whatever system they’re using (there’s FirstClass, WebCT, Blackboard CE 6, maybe one or two Moodle, several proprietary web-based creations and CourseTools – so a total of 6 different systems) to Desire2Learn. The department has offered over a hundred training sessions over the last year and a bit. We’ve pushed out thirteen multi-page documents in addition to Desire2Learn’s documentation. We have a dozen training videos, and have published all our workshop documentation. We’ve seen probably a hundred or more faculty members walk through our doors for one on one help.

Are we doing too much?

Is there too much information, or are people turned off by the sheer amount of resources and contact we’ve provided? Or maybe is it not enough? Our rough estimates guess that we’ve maybe seen one third of the faculty. Will another two hundred sessions get everyone? What about the part timers? No one pays them to attend workshops, no one pays them to develop resources, but it’s in their best interest to do so (keeping it for themselves and reusing it again or elsewhere).

I think that maybe we’re stifling people’s curiosity – people might explore and innovate with online learning if they had the curiosity to do so. Maybe too much is too much and we’re creating a real version of information overload. If this is the case then we need better ways to manage the information, or to teach these skills to people (which we do not). Maybe we’re killing people’s sense of play by telling them what they should do. I don’t have any answers really, just questions, which if you’ve read my blog at all, you should come to expect.

Testing The Technology?

I saw on the OLDaily an article that railed against technology testing at the K-12 level in the US, sort of a “No Child Left E-Behind”. A ridiculous idea at best. Even if it is a good, well designed test about technology (and that’s like doing a great big test on literature… what kind of literature??) who’s to say that this test will not be outdated and passe by the time the test is written, vetted, collaborated on and approved.

The other thing this idea reinforces is the gap between the haves and have nots… if you are unable to access a computer on a regular basis, your skill level will lag behind those that do. Over time, you can catch up, sure, but is your technical capacity really that important in grade 5? Or grade 8? Is it so important to test something that doesn’t start to come into play until much later in life? Or maybe we all could spend a little more time teaching and modelling critical thinking? Yeah.