Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Technologies in the Workplace

Attitudes to computer use
When I was first introduced to the computer in the early 1990’s I refused to use it.  Accustomed to using the typewriter it was as if I was being asked to jump off a cliff.  No one had volunteered to teach me or give me an easy lead in to it.  Students were given the option to either type or word process their essays.  Of course I continued using the typewriter.  When automating the workplace my experience was foremost in my mind.   It was decided that the best approach would be to teach staff basic computer skills.  Those who were reluctant to participate in the training program proffered several reasons including the following:

1.       My religion does not allow me to use computers.
2.       I am too old to learn to use computers.
3.       I might touch something and damage the computer.
4.       I have never used a computer and I am afraid.

The apprehension and fear of the technology was clear.  What can a trainer do to motivate prospective learners like these?  Keller developed a sequential motivational framework (Driscoll, 2005) that can inform instructional design processes.  These motivational steps can be followed to help learners achieve success: Gain and sustain learner’s attention, make the content relevant to the learner, build the learner’s confidence, and generate their satisfaction.

To gain and maintain student’s curiosity.  I would share my personal experience and apprehensions about computer use with them.  To maintain their attention I would vary the practical exercises used in each lesson and vary the methods used throughout the course.

Enhancing relevance
Learners must feel that there is something in the lesson for them.  This must be a personal appeal that will stimulate a desire to learn the material being presented.  I would therefore give reasons why it is important for them to learn to use the computers.  These reasons would not only include its applicability in the workplace but how this knowledge and skill can benefit them personally.  Tie learning to use the computer to their need to serve clients well and show how they can then teach clients the skills they have acquired.    

Building confidence
Explain to students what will be expected of them at the beginning of each lesson.  Driscoll (2005) equates fear of failure with fear of the unknown and suggests that clarifying manageable objectives would help to alleviate fear.  Provide opportunities for practice and match tasks to students’ abilities.  As students advance in the course allow for their control of the learning process.  For example, give them several options for practice and assessment.  Also have them suggest additional learning experiences.   

Generating satisfaction
Ensure learner satisfaction through application of the three categories of strategies proposed by Keller (Driscoll, 2005).  They are natural consequences, positive consequences and equity.  Trainees can practice using the automated loan system, the library’s online database and inputting cataloging data.  The positive consequence component will be met since the basic computer skills course is built in to the organization’s library assistants’ training program.  At the end of the course trainees will receive a certificate and satisfactory completion of the training program will lead to promotion and change in remuneration.  Consistent standards will be set and maintained throughout the course to ensure equity, since learners must feel that they are being treated fairly (Driscoll, 2005)

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.


Segla Kossivi said...

Indeed, Keller’s ARCS theory of attention (A), relevance (R), confidence (C), and satisfaction (S) are important for students’ successful learning (Driscoll, 2005. In my case, I used my personal and students’ success stories to motivate apprehenders. I counted the relevancy of the use of the new technology and its benefits to them. I invoked professional development and training sessions to build their self-efficacy providing stimuli for their confidence.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.).Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

renjohnson said...

I think many teachers feel the way you felt in the 1990s with computers about all the other technology available fot classroom use. I feel like many teachers do not use technology because it overwhelms them. They understand the components of Kelly's ARCS model and want to adapt to students need because they are there to educate students, however they have no real understanding of available technologies. I think about how technology training, if any, goes in the district that I work. It is someone who is a know it all and rushes through a presentation. This is okay for someone like me who has a good grasp of the available technologies, but for teachers who have limited experience this could serve as a problem. Teachers who are expected to use technology need proper training to improve self-efficacy.

Dorothea Nelson said...

I was first introduced to computers as a university student and believe you me I was unwilling to make the shift. Now I wonder how I survived without it. Technology has so much to offer the classroom teacher especially when you think in terms of authentic teaching and learning. Teachers need to be taught how to fully integrate technology into the teaching/learning process. Teacher training colleges have a lot to contribute t the process.


Dorothea Nelson said...

Segla, I am sure the teachers and students benefited from your approach.