The Level of Skills Needed for the Technology Categories
If you are like most people, your first thought after learning about the categories of technology is: “How much do I have to learn about them to enter the training and development field?”
Employers expect job applicants to have certain minimum levels of technology skills. Employers’ expectations also vary, depending on the nature and level of the job. For example, an employer expects a learning technologist to have stronger skills with technology, especially enterprise technology, than an instructional designer. (Enterprise technology refers to hardware and software used in managing an entire organization or major parts of it.) Similarly, employers expect intermediate instructional designers to have stronger technology skills than junior instructional designers.
Furthermore, the types of technologies that Training and Development professionals use vary among roles. For example, training administrators use enterprise technology more extensively than instructional designers. Instructional designers, in turn, use software for designing and developing materials more than training administrators and instructors.
So, in addition to familiarizing you with the categories of technology, the sections that follow also suggest the level of skill needed in that category of technology by people working in different roles. To do so, we refer to the five-level definition of skills presented in Table 6a below (it also can be downloaded at the end of this article). If a discussion says someone needs to develop “Level 3” skills in a category of technology, it means they can perform all of the broad tasks defined in Level 2: Define the technology, name its key capabilities, name two products, and differentiate among them. It also means they can perform all of the broad tasks defined for Level 3—that is, use the software or hardware: Start it, enter and change information, handle common tasks, and quit the software or stop the hardware.
One last point: Although technology plays an important role in the work of Training and Development professionals, remember that it is just a tool for accomplishing our primary responsibility: developing the skills and knowledge of others. Although mastering authoring tools is terrific, a more significant effort is required to develop online programs learners can use any time and any place that meet training goals.
Excerpt from Chapter 6: About Work Processes and Tools: Technologies from “An Overview of Training and Development: Why Training Matters” by Saul Carliner and Margaret Driscoll (Lakewood Media, 2019). For more information, click here.
Margaret Driscoll and Saul Carliner are co-authors of “An Overview of Training and Development”and“Advanced Web-Based Training Strategies: Unlocking Instructionally Sound Online Learning,” and internationally recognized as authors, keynote speakers, and experts in training, performance improvement, and related work. Theirs is an international, industry-academe partnership: Driscoll is a training executive who delivers outstanding results for Fortune 500 clients; Carliner is a professor of Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal and director of Research at Lakewood Media Group.