Saturday, March 3, 2012
I am employed as a Training Capability Leader (TCL), because you can't have an acronym for the title 'Trainer,' and in the Insurance industry acronyms are rampant. I have been in this role (or variations of this role) for 7 years; you may have already guessed that I love my work and the business(es) I work in. My work currently requires face to face training of new starters who will be working in a call centre selling insurance products directly to customers. I must say that these people are all amazing and they work really hard, they make my job so rewarding. Where have I been? My journey with eLearning began 3 years ago when I commenced maternity leave with my youngest son. I was keen to keep my mind active, whilst spending time at home with a tiny baby and I wanted to find out more about eLearning and online facilitation, so I enrolled in an 'online facilitation' course with Gipps TAFE, this was a great intro to using tools such as Blackboard, Elluminate and just generally to what online learning was really about. When this course was completed and the baby was out and in a routine, I committed to another course titled 'Facilitating online communities 2010' (FO2010) with Sarah Stewart from Otago Polytechnic NZ. This course changed my perspective about learning online, and was instrumental in directing me to where I am today. Learning online is no longer one of my interests it is and is fundamental to who I am. That was all a bit deep wasn't it? So I have built an online network of resources and tools that keep me informed about current trends in eLearning and any new tools that are available (usually open source). I have dabbled in MOOCs (Massive Open Online courses) and I am willing to admit that I am addicted to podcasts and my iPhone; which allows me access to Twitter and FeeddlerPro (to read blogposts). I felt as if I had really turned a corner as an L&D professional and when I returned to work, after 18 months, my role had changed, I was no longer the dedicated State training resource within a growing insurance business (Apia) but I was now part of a team of 17 trainers across NSW which services 4 major businesses and 12+ smaller businesses, within one of the biggest General Insurers (Suncorp) in Australia, but I felt like I had stepped back in time. No-one really was interested in what I had developed into a keen hobby and wanted to develop into my professional practice.Hardly anyone used Twitter, and if they did it was mostly for personal use with friends rather than professional development. I was witnessing all of this amazing work happening in The field of Educational Technology (via my PLN) but I was just standing on the outside looking in. I am determined to make a change in my organisation, so I ask nearly everyone if they listen to podcasts or TED talks and what they recommend. When I hear of people who are studying online I want to know what tools they use, how they manage their learning and what they like or dislike about their learning. Yes I am one of those (annoying) people who asks lots of questions when they first meet someone. I also latched onto our internal social media tool -Yammer, and slowly but surely I am getting people (both frontline staff and Trainers) connected to Yammer and some do use it, but would post maybe once a month. Where am I going? I want to provide training that is available online or face to face and a blend of both, I think flexibility is what people require to allow them to manage their busy work and personal schedules. I would like to find ways to deliver training to existing staff using webinar tools, share info through social media, promote a culture of self-directed learning. I have access to Microsoft suite of products at work and have used Microsoft Office Live Meeting tool to deliver a one hour training session, however this was not received well as the learners were all in the same role but spread across the country in various locations, and they were keen to meet face to face and expected training to be an opportunity to achieve this, whereas their manager was determined to save costs.