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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Heath

Becoming a Learning Technologist

I am flattered by the amount of people that have contacted me (mostly through LinkedIn) to ask for advice regarding the Learning Technology / Edtech sector. Both aspiring learning technologists and educators in support sessions tend to ask: the same questions:

Did you study this (insert platform or Edtech tool here) in University or something?

How do you know so much about so many systems / online tools?

Where do I begin when it comes to recruiting a Learning Technologist?

So here goes, here is my groundbreaking advice....

The honest answer is no, I do not have specialist training for the majority of the systems that I use. I didn't even have training for my first marketing role creating billboard images, distribution campaigns, brochures, posters and more using the fantastic Adobe Suite. I do however, have a wide range of technical skils, an enquiring mind and a passion for edtech. Therefore, the age old phrase is true, 'you cannot train a personality but you can train skills'.

As teachers seek to use online collaboration tools during the pandemic I find out about a new site or system on a daily basis so there is no way that any formal qualification could keep up with the changing world of technology. Therefore, I begin my sessions by relating to teachers rather than establishing a specialist verses amateur dynamic. This allows me to communicate with teachers at an appropriate level and to remind them that we all have to start somewhere.

The secret is, Learning Technologists, Digital Learning Specialists, Digital Leads, Innovative Educators all have one thing in common... they are passionate and willing to learn!

The key message that I aim to pass on to every educator that I train is that I can only provide them with options and ideas. The next step (adoption and delivery) has to be taken by them, I want them to feel the drive to want to learn more, to empower them to select the tools that they feel comfortable with and to enable them to continue to innovate.

The recent move to remote teaching and learning has demonstrated the importance of this development for many organisations. Those willing to learn, to adapt and to innovate can pivot quickly and those that lack confidence, support or the passion to learn more will fall behind. In edtech the main trait of a Learning Technologist has to be the passion and initiative to find learning solutions and to inspire others to do the same. They must be excellent communicators and trainers in order support a range of skill levels and teaching abilities and to observe when more support is needed. In addition, they need to have a pedagogical understanding of the practice in order to empathise with staff, to establish curriculum needs, to understand the student experience and to meet quality assurance requirements.

*08.03.21 update

Due to the overwhelming response to this post I will add a new article in the coming weeks to provide a detailed summary of role responsibilities, successes, challenges and recruitment. #watchthisspace


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