Training, Mentoring and Developing Others
My previous role as Technology Enhanced Learning Support Officer included a supervisory role for a number of lower grade technicians. While this could have been viewed as purely workload management and service delivery it was important to me that staff should be able to develop their career and develop important skills in communication, teamwork and customer service D. I encouraged all staff to join ALT or other relevant professions and take advantage of the networking opportunities available across the university C,D. In particular, the regular meetings held for educational technologists.
While working on various recruitment cycles with my manager it became apparent that attracting candidates with the specialist skills required would benefit from a different approach and I recommended that a Digital Internship was created. (Ref. 5.1. Internship Job Description – pdf) My rationale was:
- Recruitment would be quicker: we could advertise through established internship schemes
- Candidate pool would be wider: we wouldn’t be looking for specialist experience or qualifications
- Greater in-house training opportunities: internship staff would have access to university schemes
- Early-stage career development for staff: our interns would be able to see if a learning technology career was right for them
I created a training program and a skills matrix so that our interns could track their development and we could ensure we provided them with the specialist skills needed D. (Ref. 5.2. Intern Skills matrix – excel file)
The move to the City of Liverpool College represented a fresh challenge for me, not only in my own role as a Learning Technologist but also as a new manager. The eLearning team is a team of two, and my co-worker was also starting in the team on the same day. Although she was experienced in technology, she was new to education and it was reassuring for us both to be starting a new journey together.
My previous experience supervising and working with interns meant I recognised early on that despite the information we both needed to take on board, my co-worker would enjoy a feeling of ownership of a new part of the role, beyond the handover documentation. I would be able to guide them through my experience. We undertook an audit of the VLE in our first month to familiarise ourselves with the context and structure of courses and quickly identified accessibility issues A. I asked my co-worker to independently research accessibility legislation and how it applied to our external and internally facing websites B,D. It quickly became clear that to drive a strategy of inclusion for all learners our digital accessibility would need clear work and focus. I encouraged connection with various professional networks and she felt confident in promoting accessible technologies to staff.
During my time at the university, I worked with four different interns. Of these one left to pursue a different career before the internship was completed, the second moved to a different role but still at the university, one is still working in learning technology at The University of Liverpool (Ref. 5.3. Supporting statement Ethan Hearty – pdf) and another in Learning Technology at another HE institution. Of course, many people move into the field of Learning Technology because they feel immense satisfaction in helping and guiding others in the use of technology. I am particularly proud that so many of those who I have worked with at the start of their careers have stayed in the field and moved onward and upward.
As mentioned above the work with interns meant that I recognised that my co-worker would benefit from ownership of a particular area. I was very fortunate that she showed both aptitude and enthusiasm for the area, as a result of the work she has done a need was identified in the college for a more formal role and the role description and title was changed to reflect this. She has also decided to take a further, higher qualification in Inclusive Education with both my support and that of the college. She’s also shown an interest in coaching and mentoring others (Ref. 5.4. Supporting Statement Kat Purdy – pdf).
An option for the future is expanding the e-Learning team to include an apprentice role. This would allow me to both carry on training and mentoring an individual member of staff, but allow my co-worker to gain experience of doing so.