Before our children are even thinking about their careers, classroom technology is preparing them, by building lifelong skills. The great news is, they aren't the only ones.
The adoption of devices and increased use of technology in all of our lives is about more than just fancy technology. It's about engaging us all to learn in a way that increases our learning and ultimately sets us up for success. By using technology to enhance the learning experience, we are being equipped with future-ready skills that we can apply in the workplace.
1. Encourages teamwork
Technology encourages us to collaborate more, affording us the opportunity to communicate, work on team projects and share our strengths regardless of time or location. Throughout our professional careers, there will be many situations where teamwork and collaboration are necessary. As we work together, we learn how to listen, work well with others and work through conflict to find the best solution.
2. Establishes critical thinking skills
One of the top skills on employer wish lists in today's job market is critical thinking. Employers don't want to spend time explaining how to complete a task they just assigned in so much detail they could have just done it themselves. In order to be successful in the workplace, we need to be able to think through the task being asked of us and come up with the best steps to complete it. Initiatives like mentoring, coaching and networking, give us greater access to helpful tools and resources, allowing us to build a habit of working through tasks creatively and effectively.
3. Instils responsibility and ownership
Some programmes of learning now provide learners with a tablet, as opposed to printed workbooks. Many employers provide their staff with laptops or smart phones. Employees are required to agree to a code of conduct regarding the use and material accessed on their relative device. This agreement sets a degree of ownership and responsibility on the learner. If the employee doesn't take care of their assigned device or breaches their code of conduct, they can be subject to having the device taken from them, or at worst, disciplinary action. By setting this level of accountability, employees not only have the reinforcement of consequences but that they are in fact capable of being responsible.
4. We learn to adapt
No one can deny the rate and speed of changing technologies. Because most people nowadays become familiar with new technologies before they are used in the workplace, these digital natives are more apt to easily adopt new technology in the future. Even employees with restricted access at home, have the opportunity to engage with technology and increase their computer literacy skills, as technologies are deployed in their workplace. As technology changes, employees will develop the technology foundation that allows them to quickly adapt to future technologies.
5. Focuses on Career Learning
Because the use of technology in the workplace helps employees become more engaged, it teaches us to enjoy and embrace the learning process, even if they don't realise it. As a learner seeks out new information and answers to questions, they develop a habit of exploratory learning. This is the foundation of career learning. Career learners continually seek new information and ways to better themselves, ultimately leading to skills they can put to use in their personal and professional lives.
Lastly, there's another benefit of technology that might be understated and that's confidence.
As we use technology to collaborate, problem-solve, explore subjects, etc., we gain confidence in our knowledge and abilities.
This confidence builds up like a reservoir for those moments that will inevitably come where we don't have the right answer or seem to have hit the proverbial brick wall.
Confidence will remind us that we have the skills and resources we need to develop a solution and move forward, which might make it the greatest future-ready benefit of using technology.
Jennie Marshall is a double award-winning Learning Professional who joined QA in 2011 as a Learning Specialist in our Management, Leadership and Personal Effectiveness team. In her career she has enjoyed a variety of roles within different industries including Estate Agency, Imports and Exports, Financial Services, Call Centres, Utilities and Staff Unions.
In January 2014 she moved to a new role within the same department, as Head of Courseware Development where she was responsible for the overall quality, design, development, administration and coordination of our market leading courseware.
In January 2016 she then moved to a new role of Learning Consultant in the same team, where she now leads the design and delivery of innovative learning programmes linked to business / individual performance improvement for our customers.
She is a respect and trusted advisor within the team, and known for her experienced and dedicated approach to learning and development, with expertise including management, leadership and talent and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has also supported our customers as a Product Owner on a secondment basis, using Agile methodologies to manage and deliver new learning products to their business. Her experienced was recognised in December 2018 when Jennie was awarded Chartered Manager (CMgr) status.
In her role she acts as lead consultant for a number of large clients and remains frequently involved with the development of various initiatives and programmes from graduate programmes to modular skills development journeys.
Alongside developing great learning products for clients, Jennie also works on refreshing the Management, Leadership and Personal Effectiveness curriculum and is a regular blog contributor on QA.com.
When not absorbed in course development, Jennie can usually be found in her garden, or involved in various pursuits through the Women’s Institute, where she is a Communications Secretary. She also features frequently on her local BBC radio station as a newspaper reviewer.
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