Thinking Differently: The Persuasion

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Back in 2010, I wrote a blog post called “I think differently”, back then I said then that

I use to think that the “message” of e-learning could be sold to practitioners.

I use to think that once the “message” was sold that these practitioners would then embrace e-learning and use it to enhance and enrich their teaching and their students’ learning.

I use to think, once sold, that these practitioners would continue to use e-learning as e-learning evolved and changed over the years.

I use to think, that these practitioners would sell the “message” to others in their curriculum area and the cycle would continue.

I no longer think this way.

I still agree with this.

I am still told though today by managers that the “case” for using learning technologies needs to be “sold” to the practitioners, and that persuasion should be enough to “convince” them of the value that using these technologies will add to the learner experience and learner engagement.

The problem I have with this, is if it worked then it would have worked years ago!

Don’t get me wrong I know that this way of engaging with practitioners will, and does work with many practitioners (or should that be some practitioners), it will also work for most learning technologies.

However let me ask you another question, is this the approach used when using administrative systems such as registers or assessment tracking? No you wouldn’t try and persuade practitioners to use the register, you would tell them that they have to use it as part of their job.

If managers want practitioners to be “sold” the benefits of technology and persuaded to use them, then they shouldn’t be surprised if practitioners “choose” not to use them, or not use them to their full functionality and benefit. That choice many not necessarily be an informed choice, or a rational choice.

However I also know that “forcing” or telling people that they “must” use learning technologies also doesn’t work, or isn’t very effective.

I should say that at this point my view is that learning technologies should not just be used for the sake of using learning technologies. They are best used when they help either to solve a problem, improves efficiency, makes things better or more effective, or allows for learning to happen in a totally different way that makes it more open, inclusive and accessible.

In order to get practitioners using technology extensively and creatively is to change the culture, from one where technology is the problem, to one where it is part of the solution. Now that is easier said than done.

One thought on “Thinking Differently: The Persuasion”

  1. Speaking as a time poor practitioner who wants to teach well… We are given no time to develop our practice – we do it in our time – evenings, holidays, weekends… We are rarely given the tools that we need to use – and cannot upgrade our own PCs – we need permissions for that. So on those weekends, evenings, holidays, we are learning on equipment that we have had to buy ourselves – so that our development is actually transgressive behaviour… And then the tools that the University does provide take time away from our development and our students – imagine not student registration by swipe card – but too busy staff having to open online registers and input attendance data slowly, by hand – with the threat of the whole system closing down and losing your data… Overall is the threat of punishment – there is no joy, no ownership, no creative team work – but isolated individuals always feeling that they are not good enough… It doesn’t encourage learning in our students and it rarely achieves positive development in the staff…

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