By Paul-Stuart Greenough
Technology can make our lives easier day-to-day; from checking emails using our mobile phone and watching a film on our laptop to reading an e-book on our tablet. Technology isn’t always the primary thing we think of when we imagine education – we usually think of books, teachers, notepads and pens, but tech can be hugely advantageous to the learning experience.
Speaking with our Head of Learning Kirsty Mac on the topic, we have compiled a list of the ways in which technology can benefit learners.
Instructors can personalise the learning experience: Webinars, e-books and virtual tutoring all help students to work at their own pace and in the own time. “It’s the accessibility of it, I’m probably not going to have a facilitator that will rock up in my bedroom at 3 in the morning, but I’ll have my phone. I can listen to a podcast in the gym, I can bring it into any area of my life that I want to. It helps to maximise travel time. I’ll be doing some training exercises or watching a webinar while I am on the train. It’s really personal for the individual, because they are learning in their own way.”
It gives learners instant access to knowledge that goes beyond textbooks: “We are in a world where we can always get instant access, when we have a question, we often say straight away “Google it”. Instantly, you are on your phone finding out the answer. We live in a culture of “We can get the answer now. What do you mean you are going to wait for a webinar or wait for a meeting? I’ll just google it.” There are so many ways you can find out about something, we have a video, a webinar, a blog and a website so we can go anywhere to find creative content to any of the topics in any of our programmes and it’s going to give people different views.”
It has become the preference for students: Computers, tablets and phones are the same tools that students are using at home, so delegates are more comfortable with these methods: “This thing [a mobile phone] is like an extension of a limb. There’s that horrible feeling where you think you’ve lost your phone. We’re attached to it. If I’m travelling I’m on my tablet, if I’m at work it’s usually my laptop. I use all of these things to do my role and so there’s a place for all of these things within learning.”
It helps students to get workplace ready: Mobility is the next great movement in the workplace. You’re more likely to adapt well in the workplace if you use technology when training. “It’s what we’re used to. It comes down to accessibility again. The Head of Learning at one of our clients’ businesses did a something brilliant while thinking about learning – they created a Netflix-type platform so that people can watch videos about learning. Name me someone who doesn’t know what Netflix is. It’s about meeting people where they are. He is saying, we don’t need as many trainers or consultants or facilitators, but I need people to create content, I need producers, I need directors, I need editors.”
Teacher support: Advancements in technology are proving to be hugely beneficial to teachers and facilitators across all fields. Looking at it as simply as changing from the black board to interactive screens, technology helps to save time for teachers; engage learners and save space in the classroom, as fewer physical books, notepads, pens and pencils are needed. “In the past people were usually told to put their phones away during a class. There was a time when this [a mobile phone] couldn’t help you to learn, but now… of course you can learn from it. It’s about incorporating that into what we do.”
Proven student engagement: Tech helps delegates to stay focused for longer. Allowing learners to use technology like our app, breaks up the traditional learning process. It creates a new path for learning which helps to stimulate a learner’s mind and increase focus. “We know that people’s attention spans are decreasing. Technology helps to keep students engaged and interactive which ultimately increases their focus.”
Tech is improving all the time: “Tech is exponential all the time in terms of what’s happening. For instance, Magic Leap [the augmented reality (AR) company that uses tech in education – well-known for their AR video of a Blue Whale leaping into the ocean in front of a group of students in a school sports hall]. All these things have been around for a long time however they’re now just really coming into it and we’re seeing more accessibility to it. Things like that are incredible, imagine learning about that in school.”
Website creation is cost effective: In comparison to continuously purchasing new textbooks to keep information up to date and relevant for learners, creating a website with hundreds of books worth of information on it, that can be updated in a matter of seconds, for low costs makes the learning process more efficient and streamlined. “It’s far cheaper to make a website now, you can do one on your own. It’s super easy to do and super easy to access”.